Student Feature: Suan - Soulful Cheongsams
From Cheongsam Jumpsuits to Shang High Collar Dresses, traditional silhouettes are definitely Suan's sewing forte. Who said you can only sew one piece? We've watched her grow and churn out a variety of beautiful garments with her skills! Read Suan's interview on her thoughts and views on sewing and fashion below. (It was great to have you, Suan!)
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Suan and I'm a Communications professional with interests in the arts, reading and cooking.
Why did you decide to make your own Cheongsams/clothes?
I was looking for an activity that engages my natural inclination towards craftwork that is practical at the same time!
How different do you think are handmade clothes, compared to clothes bought at a store?
The biggest plus is the opportunity to design my own clothes. Right from the selection of fabric prints, to details like frills, types of buttons, etc - such that the final garment truly becomes one of its kind made only for me! Most of all, as with all handmade creations, I do think there is more 'soul' in my own hand sewn clothes despite the newbie's less than perfect workmanship!
Suan did not stop at sewing her own garments - she's currently in the process of embellishing one of her pieces with beads as well.
What do you most enjoy about sewing?
Sewing transports me to a space of solitude that provides a respite from daily hustle and bustle. It is almost meditative just hearing the purrs of the sewing machine as various pieces of cut-out fabrics gradually take form and shape. The fitting of the final outfit brings an immense sense of satisfaction and delight!
Which piece out of everything you've made do you think is your best and why?
Suan's checkered pattern jumpsuit
This checkered jumpsuit is one of my best! Right from the start, I knew I wanted to do something more to it to suit my style even though I had already cut out the pieces. I wanted to give it more of a blousing effect at the waist - and an epiphany struck me to lengthen the torso by adding a strip in between. And that's where the fun started!
You would never realise that the middle strip of diagonally placed checkered fabric was unintentional!
However, just as this was resolved, another imperfection showed up in less than perfect alignment for the back pieces. This being a checkered pattern fabric, the misalignment is rather distinct! I guess one could unpick and resew but that didn't appeal to me. So another 'rescue idea' surfaced in the form of attached buttons that draw attention away from the misaligned pattern.
Misaligned fabrics saved by innovative button placement!
Is there a dream garment you wish to make? What about it attracts you?
I do like a bit of surprise and drama here and there, so I have an idea for a qipao that is dramatised by frills and flounces.
How has your opinion on fashion in general changed after you learnt how to sew?
After learning how to sew, I am actually buying less. Other than an intentional 'no-buy' attitude, I've become more discerning towards pricing as a result of a better appreciation of the value of a garment because of the construction process it went through.
Share with us some words for those who want to start learning how to sew!
Be patient, it takes time to acquire skills. Be forgiving, there will be tons of mistakes. Most of all, enjoy the process of each creation and joy that comes with its completion!
Part of Suan's collection of her hand made pieces.
We've learnt that even though the journey may not always be smooth, (begone, mismatched checkered prints!) it's the process of learning, finding creative solutions and having fun that makes it all the worth while. You'd definitely see a part of her soul in every piece she makes. Thank you Suan, for being such a star!
You will find most of our Cheongsams in our Fashion Sewing category, browse all of it here or check them out individually below:
Stay tuned for more features straight from the students themselves!