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Cheongsam Quilt No. 2: The Old Shanghai

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2024 with a reiteration of my Cheongsam Quilt, this time featuring dainty folding fans and fancy purses in fabrics from the Bloomsville collection by Tilda.


The FPP patterns for the Cheongsam, Folding Fan, and Purse blocks in this quilt can be purchased here, here and here respectively. To purchase a package of all three blocks, click here.

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

As I was searching for quilt inspiration for this year's Chinese New Year, my thoughts kept creeping back to the Cheongsam Quilt which I featured in last year's Chinese New Year. I felt like I was not quite done with the Cheongsam quilt block, that it had room for enhancement, and that I could (and should) use it again in a different quilt. As this time I no longer need to fit the large motifs of the Tilda Chic Escape fabrics, I can add some diagonal strip details to the Cheongsam block.


Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up

Then I felt the Cheongsam blocks needed accessories, and that's where the Folding Fan Block and the Purse Block come in.


Folding Hand Fan FPP Quilt Block by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up

Old SPurse FPP Quilt Block by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up

I feel the assortment of the Cheongsam, Folding Fan, and Purse blocks in this Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt nicely represent the outfit ensemble of a Cheongsam wearer (although the typical everyday Cheongsam wearer even in the old Shanghai period didn't really walk around with a folding fan all the time - it's more for special occasions, performers and photoshoots).


Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

 

BLOCKS ARRANGEMENT & DIMENSIONS


(All dimensions are finished dimensions.)


The Old Shanghai Cheongsam quilt consists of:


  • Four Folding Fan Blocks each 14" (W) x 10" (H);

  • Four Cheongsam Blocks each 14" (W) x 41" (H);

  • Four Purse Blocks each 14" (W) x 14" (H);

  • 1.5"-wide sashing between all blocks; and

  • 3"-wide borders all around.


The quilt finished at 66.5" (W) x 74" (H).


Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year

 

MATERIALS


All the colourful floral fabrics on the Old Shanghai Cheongsam quilt are from Tilda's Bloomsville fabric collection, which I purchased from my local fabric and craft store Fabric Fanatics. The solid red strips are Prima Homespun fabrics in the colour aptly-named "Rich Red", from my local Spotlight. The background is a white-on-white in the natural tone with subtle wild floral prints, also from my local Spotlight.


The backing is pieced from four yards of regular quilting cotton fabrics (also from Fabric Fanatics) and the batting is a cotton-polyblend (from Spotlight).


 

QUILT CONSTRUCTION


All the quilt blocks are made using the foundation-paper-piecing ("FPP") method. The FPP patterns for the Cheongsam, Folding Fan, and Purse quilt blocks can be purchased here, here and here respectively.


With the four Cheongsam blocks, four Folding Fan blocks, and four Purse blocks done, I added 1.5" sashing between the blocks and 3" borders all around to complete the quilt top.


I baste-stitched the quilt top to my batting and backing, by hand, using very long running stitches in thicker contrasting thread, before machine-quilting the quilt sandwich.


I chose an all-over meandering quilting pattern that is not new but I am not sure if it has a common name. I guess I would call it "floral swirls". For binding, I used the same Prima Homespun "Rich Red" solid colour fabric. Really brings out the festive mood, I think.


Old Shanghai Cheongsam Quilt by SewJahit in Tilda Blooomsville Fabrics for Chinese Lunar New year close up quilting

And finally, I couldn't resist adding these Chinese frog fasteners to my Cheongsam blocks!


cheongsam qipao quilt block with chinese frog fastener


 

SOME BEHIND-THE-SCENES


I had an interesting time coming up with a name for this quilt. I could go for a boring name like "Cheongsam Quilt No. 2" since this is after all my second Cheongsam quilt. But as I keep getting the mid-1900s Shanghai vibe from this quilt, I feel the name "Old Shanghai" is also much more intriguing. I was a little apprehensive, however, because the name has been used by a local bar (a quite popular one too). In the end, I figured the aptness of the name simply outweighs any desire to be original. So, "Old Shanghai" it is.


Next was my search for photography locations. I photographed my previous Cheongsam Quilt in several locations in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, which included the Kwai Chai Hong. In continuing my effort to do things differently this time, I searched for alternative photography spots, with not much success at first. As I completed this quilt around the end of January 2024, Chinese New Year was already looming. Incidentally, I found out that a few local shopping malls had Chinese New Year decorations around the 1950s/1960s Chinese aesthetics theme. Knowing how crowded the malls will be especially in weekends, my husband and I arrived at our selected mall before it opened for the day, just so we can have our own private uninterrupted photography session. I think it paid off.


People think that quilting is just quilting. The joy I get from quilting is the entire creative process - from getting inspired by sometimes totally unrelated things to making the quilt and finally to documenting and presenting the quilt.













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Thank you for "vacation" to see across the ocean. I can almost smell the wonderful dishes. Love the bold color choices of this fabric. And the purses and fans are such a delightful touch - the complete outfit. Thanks again.

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The pleasure is mine! I honestly enjoy writing about and photographing my makes. It serves as my journal as well. And to have it enjoyed by you and others - I am delighted.

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