Chinese clothing tutorial

Happy Chinese New Year!  for you today I have a tutorial on how to create a traditional Han Dynasty woman's outfit on a paper project. This tutorial was requested after seeing my Year of the Rabbit ATC.

The project assumes that you have a stamp for a head, but you want to present a full body.  There are a gazillion stamps featuring the heads of women in a classic oriental style; the one I am using is by CS Designs.  I like that it is in a traditional pose, but the line work is clean and modern.
Here are all the things I used.  The stamp is Framed Geisha 2 - it's a collage stamp, but I only wanted the head.   To get the head to print at about 1 inch high, I needed to print the collage image at 2 inches square.  Isn't it great how you can resize digis?  Note:  If your head is a different size, you will have to adjust the measurements given here accordingly.(duh!)  You can always use my Asian head freebie, if you want to make hair yourself.
  Here I have prepared the head for use.  I used Sharpie to blacken the things that weren't already black, and Wite-Out to remove things that I didn't want (if you are wondering why I didn't do that all digitally, all I can say is that it isn't always possible, and sometimes, even if you do change an image digitally, there is no guarantee that you won't have stray marks anyway.  This is a tutorial, I've taught you how to fix things manually)
Here are the pieces that I used for the outfit cut out.  The top needs a 4 by 8 inch piece of paper total.  Cut it into two 4 inch squares; cut one square diagonally into 2 triangles, and the other laterally into 2 rectangles.  I used a 3 by 4 inch piece of paper for the underskirt (here it is already crimped, so it looks thinner), and a 2 inch punched circle for the overskirt.

Notice that I have that cheap lousy double-sided tape that you can buy at the Dollar Tree.  It has terrible adhesion, but for my purpose, to temporarily hold things in place to check for size and position, it is fine.  I will use tacky glue to hold everything together at the end.
Let's start with the top. Using the triangles, fold over the diagonal edge twice, about a quarter inch, and crease well.  Open it up and color it a nice coordinating color on the part that will show.  Do this to both pieces, then fold them up again.  The colored edge represents the binding at the neckline.
Now I wrapped the first triangle onto the body.  Fold down the top corner about a third of the way, keeping the colored edge aligned with itself.  That forms the shoulder(image on left).  Then take the left side and tuck it under.  If you flip it over, it will look like the image on the right.
The other side is done the same way.  Trim off the little bits sticking out with scissors.
The sleeves are done in much the same way as the front; roll the small edge of the two rectangles  up twice a quarter of an inch, open them, color the part that will show, then roll them up again.  Fold in the sides, and squish the shoulder cap down into a rounded shape.  The pictures above show how it looks front and back.
Here is how the sleeves will be placed.  I love the traditional pose where the body is facing one direction but the face is facing the other!  Here I noticed that one sleeve is longer than the other - to fix it, I just crunched the shoulder down a little more until the two sides matched.  If you want a bent elbow, just bend the sleeve, keeping the crease to the inside.  I didn't have to make hands, as it was traditional to have the sleeves so long that the hands would be covered.  The Chinese love gigantic sleeves!
The underskirt is traditionally pleated.  I folded up the hem and ran it through my crimper to get that effect, then folded the sides under a bit for shaping - this is how it looks from the back.
The overskirt is made from two quarters of a circle.  I used a metallic accent pen to edge this part.  I folded a curved shape to the hips here - the photos show the front and back views of these pieces.  The edging is a little smudged, because I was too impatient to let it dry before handling it.
Here is the arrangement of the skirt pieces on the body.  I moved the sleeves you you could get a good view.  Now is when you can adjust the width and length of the skirt and sleeves as needed.  I would recommend gluing these parts together before attaching the sleeves.  A thin sash around the waist completes the body.  I used thin ribbon. 

Here is the complete outfit.  I decided against visible shoes because of the whole bound feet issue; I think it looks fine without them.  The background panel is 3.75 by 8.25 inches, perfectly sized to layer on a long card.  I ended up cutting the bun from the hair, layering it underneath, and wedging the punched flowers between the layers. 

If you end up using this tutorial, let me know!  I would love to see your work.
Juliet Arrighi

6 comments: said...

Absolutely lovely! Thank you for sharing the step-by-step instructions!

Beach Cat ! said...

ThANK YOU FoR posting this!
It is a wonderful tutorial too ... I am off to play right now!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [04 Feb 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Shar said...

Great tutorial! I love the effect! I'll have to try this out!

Vicky said...

great tut Juliet :)

Denise said...