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The Red Packet Dress

Added Feb 29, 2012

by integerclub

London, United K...






My trip to SIngapore last month coincided with the start of the Lunar New Year, so I decided to make a dress for the festivities. Red envelopes filled with money, known as red packets or ‘hong bao’, are often exchanged during the Chinese New Year, and red is generally considered a ‘lucky’ colour, so guess what colour my dress was?

The shiny, red brocade fabric came from eBay about six months ago – I think they started life in the 1960s destined to become curtains, but were left somewhere and forgotten about, until I got my hands on them.
The dress itself is fairly simple – a sleeveless, jewel necked bodice, with darts at midriff and bust, and a half-circle skirt on the bottom. I lined the bodice with some cream habutai silk – very luxurious, and very comfortable too, especially in the tropical heat. I also put in a lapped zipper in the centre back seam, using a vintage metal zipper from my stash.

Lastly, I finished the hem with some horsehair braid (following Gertie’s tutorial ) to give it some shape. That handsewing very nearly defeated me – I was frantically catchstitching just hours before my flight on Friday morning. I think it was worth it though – the hem certainly stands out nicely instead of hanging limply around my knees.

More on my blog

Material Notes

vintage satin brocade, vintage metal zipper, habutai silk, horsehair braid




Spring, Summer, Fall
Garment Type
Classic, Evening Wear, Romantic, Vintage
Cotton, Silk

4 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • 3044175_l_large

    Mar 12, 2012, 11.50 PMby olystyrene

    Joyceling!! I love it!!!! You are totally a little mula envelope!!!! The horsehair braided hem looks goooorgeous too, I must try that myself.. P.S. you should have extended your trip further south!

    3 Replies
    • Firstroll-3_large

      Mar 13, 2012, 12.55 PMby integerclub

      Why fank you, missy! Just make sure you leave enough time to sew up the horsehair, I kinda underestimated it all…
      P.S. I totally wanted to come further south but I didn’t have enough monies and Sebastian could only take 2 weeks off, blah :( Next year though, I promise!

    • 3044175_l_large

      Mar 14, 2012, 03.45 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks for the tip! Now all’s I gotsta do is make an over-the-top dress as an excuse to use that braid…

      P.S. I may be coming to visit YOU this year!!!!

    • Firstroll-3_large

      Mar 14, 2012, 12.56 PMby integerclub

      Oh yes, please visit!! Woo!

  • Burda_023_large

    Mar 6, 2012, 05.48 PMby runningwithscissors1

    Beautiful, and good for you for putting in the horsehair braid. I really must try that some time- now I just need to find it…

    1 Reply
    • Firstroll-3_large

      Mar 7, 2012, 03.13 PMby integerclub

      Yeah, it’s actually pretty easy to insert, just takes a bit of time if you’re handsewing but it makes such a difference to the shape of your skirt. Thank you :)

  • Missing

    Mar 1, 2012, 04.11 PMby Hzlbuk

    Incredible That material, is lucky you gave it home Dress, is beautiful and It is you !

    1 Reply
    • Firstroll-3_large

      Mar 2, 2012, 12.19 PMby integerclub

      They were too beautiful to be curtains! Thank you :)

  • Img_9194_large

    Mar 1, 2012, 03.25 PMby kihli

    Your dress looks great, and the red colour suits you so well! Happy new year ;)

    1 Reply
    • Firstroll-3_large

      Mar 2, 2012, 12.20 PMby integerclub

      Happy new year to you too, and thank you!

    • This is a question
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