Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, August 20, 2015

· Chinese Parasol Dress ·

· Edit 6/2016- due to closet shortage, I have to pass along some of my clothes!  This dress is currently for sale in my Etsy shop ·

This dress steps out of my "normal" a bit.

It's only vaguely retro-influenced.  Shocking!!  I loved this Chinese parasol print at JoAnns, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little Chinese flair. :-)

I used Simplicity 3877 because it had a mandarin collar, and the diagonal seaming on my dress is just an illusion created with narrow bias tape.  I made the frogs myself from cord because I was appalled with how expensive they are to buy!  I also wanted a simpler style than I could find, so.... making them myself it was. ;-)

Pockets are always a good idea.

The star of this photoshoot- our wonderful parasol!  I love it!

I made this dress 5 years ago and it's gone in and out of favor in that time.  It's never been an absolute favorite and there have been a few times when I've contemplated selling it.  Well, that day may come again, but for this year it's experienced a revival of favor with me. ;-)  It's kind of fun wearing something besides my crinoline and 50s dresses, but even on the best of days, I still miss my crinoline. ;-)

I edged the neckline and sleeves in very narrow hand-sewn bias tape.  The narrower it is, the happier it makes me! ;-)

The dress closes down the back with an invisible zipper.

This hat is not remotely Chinese-inspired, but until I can find a suitable replacement, it coordinates remarkably well with this print!

A bias fabric belt completes the look!

The skirt features godets in each panel, and it creates a flattering, fun skirt!  I feel like this dress can be 1930s inspired or 1950s inspired, but well, it's also pretty modern, too.... ;-)

Oriental styles were hot in the 30s and 50s and this is my first and only such style.  So far, anyway!  I'm dreaming of a fancy brocade dress for the winter.... we'll see if it makes it to fruition this year or if the perfect fabric will yet again elude me. ;-)

· Photography by Kathryn ·


  1. SO pretty! Even though it is a very slight departure from your usually impeccably retro style, I still think that this dress looks stunning on you! You pull of the style very well :) Oh and that neckline with the illusion diagonal seaming and the frogs is totally compelling me to make myself a dress like this ;) Lovely, lovely!


  2. This is gorgeous! I'm pretty sure that it suits 30s style as well as modern day. :D

  3. This is SO lovely, Lily! You look seriously adorable. But then, you always do!! :)
    You pull off the novelty prints so well! I love the design you used; it's perfectly suited for the print, and fits you perfectly. Even though it might not be very vintage-inspired, it still has a definite vintage flair, in my opinion! Cuteness!!
    Gorgeous outfit! The umbrella is indeed wonderful.
    Did I ever say I was jealous of your hairdo? Er...yeah. I did. ;)

  4. Now how is it, that when you say that a dress is only "vaguely" retro inspired, the first thing that I think when I see your dress is "50s Oriental inspired fashions!" :) This dress looks positively gorgeous on you Lily, and with that hat... OH! So elegant!


    the Middle Sister and Singer

  5. Oh Lily.....don't get rid of this dress!!!! It looks so fabulous on you and boy does it totally and completely capture the oriental styles that came into style in the 30's and 40's. I love how the fabric just makes the dress, but the cut and fit in impeccable!!!! This dress is so out of the norm, but so perfect......oh I just can't stop looking at it :) Fabulous job dear!

  6. This is fabulous! And the bias tape is SO narrow, and so perfect! Good job!

  7. So... I guess this as close to being Asian as you will ever get... ;-)

    1. Yep.... gotta live it up as much as possible!! ;-)

  8. This dress, however old it is, is timeless if you ask me. I absolutely love and admire your habit of always trimming your sleeves and necklines with bias tape, or rick-rack, or whatever else you have on hand–it always makes the dress look like Lilly of Mode-de-Lis.

    I was wondering if you could share your hair styling secret of how you always pull off that perfect roll? I have been trying and trying, but always ending with a sloppy looking mess. I would greatly appreciate some pointers! :)

    Much love,
    Jessica, the Eldest Sister & Singer

    1. Awww, thanks so much Jessica! You're right- I guess I *do* tend to put some sort of trimming on my garments, it's really become such a habit it's almost just my subconscious doing it now! ;-)

      As for the roll, thanks for the compliment! I have a post about how I do it here: I'm not the best with giving hair advice, so.... I'm not quite sure how to advise more than that. ;-) I will say that using a real-hair rat makes it lots easier! Also, be sure your rat is nice and firm and pretty large, like the one I have pictured. Other than that, it might help more to know how you do it so I could give pointers on how to do it differently. Maybe we'll just have to use that as an excuse to get together sometime...! ;-)

      Hope you have more success with this style! It really is so handy and easy when you have the knack of it! :-)

  9. Beautiful dress and these photos are extra lovely! I really like the contrast of the sharp black detailing on the pastel colors of the fabric!

  10. This is such a great dress, definitely keep it, we all have days when we want to dress a little outside our style

  11. Honest to goodness, I gasped - loudly. These photos and your dress are incredibly lovely and capture the warm, magical light of the second half of summer. Swoon!

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! I'm rather partial to how well Kathryn always makes me and my dresses look! :-)

  12. Absolutely stunning!
    Would you mind me sharing this on SSB in the future? I link to your post and let you know when shared.

    1. Thanks so much, I'm flattered! Yes, you have permission! :-)

  13. This dress is so gorgeous and you've done a fabulous job of taking a standard pattern and making it your own design. The print is so lovely and I adore anything oriental, so this appeals to me greatly. You've inspired me to think about making an orient-inspired dress of my own.

  14. Love this! So cute and colorful, and the contrast bias tape is a nice touch. Great job!

  15. Thank you all so much! You're the best!

  16. I love everything about this outfit! It definitely has a vintage vibe to me! 1930's to 1950's when asian styles were popular like you said <3 I adore the print so much. The umbrellas are so pretty and so fun with your parasol! And wow! The godets in the skirt! I've never seen that before! I learned something new today! So pretty! Such a pretty outfit!

  17. Adore this color palette, and your dress is such a lovely nod to the cheongsam!

    bonita of Lavender & Twill



Copyright © 2013 Mode de Lis . All rights reserved. | Designed by