Recently, I submitted an entry into a sewing contest. For it, I motivated myself to finally learn how to make an ao dai (ow-yai, meaning long garment), the national garment of Viet Nam, my country of origin. I used a pattern for a base, Folkwear 139. However, I customized it to fit a 5’10” friend who was my sewing model. I also fixed how the shoulders were done because sewing it as instructed left a very jagged shoulder “dart”, which was essentially what I was doing more than sewing it together as a seam. Then I extended the neck line from the body up so it didn’t leave such a big collar. Finally, on my real garment, I redrafted the front and back pieces to remove the vertical darts so as not to disturb the beautiful big print, and took out a dart on the sleeve.
Last Christmas, I made my Mother a custom fit Chinese style jacket from New Look pattern 6435. The pattern was easy enough, but I was using a heavier fabric with embroidery that resembled Chinese brocade, but wasn’t. I was only starting out and couldn’t afford to make mistakes costly by investing in expensive fabrics. Because of this slightly heavier fabric, I lined the pattern to make it wear comfortably. This was for Mom, after all!
In lining the jacket, I basically threw out the pattern instructions. I don’t follow instructions well, anyway. Continue reading