Cheongsam

simp5098I love cheongsams; you know, those Asian style tops. I finished Simplicity 5098 fitting toile, the woven version. I’m pretty happy with it. I need to fix some of the alterations, but I think I’m going to really, really like this top. If anyone out there is considering the cap sleeve, I strongly recommend that you put the sleeve in in-the-flat. I had to ease mine in, and it poufs, very 70s, yuck.


Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: 
This is a pattern for cheongsam (Asian style tops). I made view E, woven fabric, cap sleeves, faux wrap front, zipper in back.

Pattern Sizing:
I made a size 18 which is for a 40 inch bust. My high bust is 41.5. The size 20 is for a 42 inch bust. I always use the smaller size when I’m between sizes. I think this is typical of Simplicity patterns; i.e. they run large.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
If you can ignore the wild print, I think it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Mostly. Unfortunately, there were a few mistakes. They called the undercollar the facing at one point. That threw me, but with the pictures next to the instructions, it’s pretty easy to figure out. This isn’t a difficult top.

Note: I didn’t finish the top because this was a toile. So I didn’t put in the zipper.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
LIKE: I love the style.

LIKE: I like the idea of the faux wrap. It looks like the genuine article, but it’s much easier to construct.

LIKE: This top has side bust darts, waist darts, and back darts.

LIKE: The collar isn’t too high on me.

DISLIKE: The facings. I didn’t put them in because it’s a toile, but I think I won’t use them on the next version. Instead I’ll use bias binding around the neck seam.

DISLIKE: The cap sleeve is put in in the round. I don’t know if I stretched the sleeve; it’s on the bias, so that’s very possible. Or if the sleeve and armhole don’t match, but I had to ease the cap sleeve in. So my cap sleeve doesn’t hang flat; it poufs a bit. Very unattractive on me. Next time, I’ll be putting the sleeve in in the flat.

UNSURE: I’m not sure how I feel about the zipper. I basted the back shut, then pulled it open to slip over my head and put on DTD. I’m not sure that I’m going to use a zipper or that it needs an 18 inch zipper. I may make a back placket instead. Of course, this version was way too big. I may find that the next version fits, and there’s no way I can get it on unless that 18 inch zipper is unzipped ALL the way.

Fabric Used:
Old quilting cotton. I’ve had this in my stash for 20 years, I think. I’m sure I bought it on clearance, thinking I could cut it up into small almost monochromatic pieces. I do like the colors … individually. All together, it’s too much. I think this is one of the most horrid pieces of fabric that I’ve had the honor to own.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
Full Bust Alteration. I added 3 inches per side to accomodate my 46 inch full bust. It was too much. Next version will have a 2.5 inch alteration.

Because the front is cut on the flat, I altered the side that had a shoulder, folding the pattern in half at center front. Once I’d finished the alteration on one side, I folded the pattern down the middle again, taped an extension onto the unaltered side and cut out the alterations on that extension.

I had to add to the back, too. I checked this pattern against a Burda woven top that fits well, and I added 1 inch at the sides for the back. That meant I had to add 1 inch to the back of the sleeve. I’m not sure if I’m going to stick with the cap sleeves or not. It much easier to add the extra inch to them than to the traditional sleeve. The Burda blouse that I like has cap sleeves, so I may copy the style from it. The Burda cap sleeve is longer and only 1 layer thick. A longer, softer sleeve would look better on me.

On top of that inch, I need to add another 1/2 for my high hips. This is one place where the DTD really helped. I’m not sure I would have noticed this fitting it on me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes. I’m completed the needed alterations to the front and back for the second version. I’m also excited to try the knit version and the knit, raglan version. I think this is a really neat pattern.

Conclusion
If you like the cheongsam look, this pattern offers you lots of options, and it’s very easy to sew.

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