I joined in Yifarn's qi pao (cheongsam) sewalong on Japanese Sewing Books and made R a Chinese dress. Yifarn very generously provided a free pattern and video tutorials for each stage of the sewing process - hard to resist, really!
I went to Spotlight and soon discovered that, free pattern notwithstanding, this little dress was going to cost a fair bit to make. Brocade at $14 a metre, silver bias tape to match, and silver frog closures at a ridiculous $9 each. So I settled for the one brocade that was marked down on the clearance rack ($5 a metre, hooray!) and used black satin bias binding from Darn Cheap where I also found black frogs for just $1.50. That shop has truly lived up to its name this week.
The design is reasonably simple to sew, but I decided - perhaps unwisely - to skip Yifarn's insructions for the 'concealed zip' as i wasn't sure whether she meant normal dress zip or invisible zip. Instead I used an invisible zip and put it in using my usual method, then found that the fabric had puckered on one side, so it was out with the unpicker to remove the zip and start again. That part was seriously unpleasant - the brocade frays and catches horribly, and is terrible when it comes to unpicking stitches. But the end product is festive, colourful and sweet, and fits R beautifully. My one issue with the pattern is that it's rather difficult to get on and off, so if I ever make a qi pao again I will redesign the top section for easy dressing.
Now R is all ready to celebrate the lunar new year in her new dress. Bring on the fireworks and dragon parades!