Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tang Dynasty Dress - 紫燕 (Zi Yan)

It's been a long time since I updated! Am really heartened by some of the comments and the fact that there are still people reading this blog, and using what I wrote as inspiration or even for your own research. Thank you! Do share your projects with me so that I can learn from you too!

Anyway, I've found some time to revisit the Tang Dynasty costume recently and gained inspiration to complete it again. I realised one reason why I was procrastinating was because the fabrics I had previously acquired just didn't feel right - even though they could work, I guess there was some dissatisfaction with the overall look in my mind and I didn't want to get started on cutting the cloth and going past the point of no return. Recently though, I found some brilliant embroidered/woven trimmings, and sketched an updated design (above) based on these materials.

I also got myself a new duo-coloured taffeta fabric for the skirt. It has a gorgeous purple-blue iridescence which looks so much better than the light-weight shiny silk. It was really difficult to capture the nuances of this fabric's colour! I used one of the trimmings for the belt design and am intending to use the other two for the big-sleeved robe. 

Without the woven trimming, the belt appears saggy and kept slipping off. At first I thought it might be necessary to sew on some interfacing, but after sewing on the trim, the belt appeared a lot more rigid and maintained its shape much better. I also eventually got rid of the giant bow and decided to fasten the skirt at the side instead, with a small knot. 

This time, I used the hanbok skirt method to make the robe, but modified it to be a more secure sarong-type wrap-around skirt, with a slit in the waistband for the strap to go through. This is obviously not period authentic, but it was more efficient. The actual way to do the skirt can be found in the picture below:

According to this method, you need to make two pleated panels for the front and back of the dress, with ties at the side. After doing so, sew the sides of the skirt up right sides together, before turning it the right way around. 

This method can be used to make the skirt, as well as to make the dress of the Qi Xiong Ru Qun. It is also a little prettier than the hanbok skirt method, as you won't be left with a slit at the back of the skirt. 

Here's the final outfit. More close-ups next time! 

I suppose it is best to go with your heart and wait to do what feels right, even when it comes to sewing :) Am still waiting for some materials to arrive for the big-sleeved robe. Will update when I get down to that!