Many many months ago I was asked by a business contact if I would consider making a dress for her daughter for her wedding. Not her wedding dress or the dress for the reception, she wanted me to make a cheongsam.

Her daughter is half Chinese and would like a cheongsam to wear for a small ceremony after the wedding.

I sew for creative expression and for fun. As a rule I do not sew for others. Too stressful. I know I’m not perfect and still have a lot to learn and I can live with that. It’s different when you’re making something for someone else. What if they can’t live with that?

This is a picture of the dress she wanted.

The woman who made the dress lives in Canada and wanted $450 for it. I e-mailed back and forth with her daughter for a while trying to make it clear that I was not a professional-this is not what I do for a living. She seemed OK with all of that so I decided to give a it a go. At our final fitting for the muslin she said she did not know that I do not do this for a living. She thought I was a professional. I know I made it very clear so I just won’t go there.

I decided to use Vogue 8633. It was the closest I could find to the original design.

She is petite so I had to get rid of the band around the middle so it wouldn’t cut her body up so much. She wants piping around the sleeve openings and the neck and instead of a back vent she wants side vents. She lives in Indiana so I had her take every measurement possible and send it to me. I enrolled in a sewing class and had my instructor, the lovely Veronica Brackett, help me adjust the pattern for her size (which turned out to be simple because her back length is not petite) and to make the adjustments to the waist because I was not using the band.

I did not use the darts in front because they didn’t line up with the darts on the skirt so I made the muslin up minus the front darts and then pinned them in at the fitting.

I couldn’t find good piping and now I’m wondering if I should have driven all over town using time I did not have to find it. Here’s what the bodice looks like so far.

She wanted me to use the black brocade I used for the muslin as the lining so you can’t see the piping very well here. It’s not satiny or very thick. I hope she’s OK with it. She also wants a frog closure at the top but now that the bodice is made i see that the right and left sides are not supposed to meet in the middle.

Say a little prayer that it all works out. I’ll post pictures when I finish the dress and let you know if this story ends well.