Chinese-inspired top – Sewing Bee Pattern Challenge – Week 4

This top is based on the qipao, a traditional Chinese dress. It is an unusual asymmetric pattern with an invisible zip and frog fastenings. Ideally it would be made in a silk brocade, as they did on GBSB.


Silk brocade suitable for this top

Brocade is a richly decorative woven fabric often with extra weft (left to right) threads in gold and silver, which give the appearance of embroidery. It  frays very easily, is slippery and quite challenging to work with. The word ‘brocade’ comes from the Italian word broccato meaning embossed cloth.


This one is made from a crushed silk furnishing fabric


Instructions in the GBSB book are full and comprehensive. Follow them to the letter 

Claire’s top tips:

  1. Make sure all pattern pieces are placed right side up on the right side of the fabric  as it is an asymmetric pattern.
  2. Mark notches very accurately. The more accurate you are with cutting out and marking the more successful your finished top will be.
  3. Stay-stitch accurately – no cutting corners on this garment.
  4. Follow the instructions to the letter, without pre-conceived ideas. Do not assume you know how it will work. Re-read everything.
  5. Take particular care with the positioning of the invisible zipper. Use the notches.
  6. I did not find it necessary to use interfacing for the armholes.

If you would like to come and make this top, book an ‘In Stitches’ workshop here.




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