Chinese New Year Dresses

Every Chinese New Year, I go into a sewing frenzy. I used to sew new cushion covers, new curtains for my kitchen, and of course, new dresses for the kids. It’s a Chinese tradition to wear new clothes on the first day of the new year to signify a new  beginning, but many of us just understand it as time to do some shopping! :) Since I’ve picked up this hobby, I’ve made it a point to make new dresses for them every year. 2 to be exact, for the first two days which are always public holidays in Singapore. During these two days, we have to go visiting so it’s imperative that the kids are all decked out in new clothes or we’ll be deemed as shabby parents ;)

Oh, and the color must be bright and cheerful. The elderly folks will frown upon dark colors, especially black! Red is the #1 favourite color as it symbolizes good luck.

For day 1, I made a dress using an upsized pattern from the website The original size was a tiny dress, really cute, but meant for babies. SMALL babies. But Amber from Inspiration for Crafting upsized it to a 3T toddler size. Which I thought should be perfect for my 3 year old. BUT! It was way too small! I had a bit of a panic attack when I finished the dress and she couldn’t get in! The dress was designed to be pulled over the head but I couldn’t get it on from either way! I love the fabrics so much I couldn’t bear to waste them…. then I thought of putting an invisible zip on one side of the bodice, so I unpicked one side and inserted a zip. Saved the dress! :)

strawberry tea party dress closeup

Top fabric from Spotlight (part of the Christmas quilting range). Lovely sateen finish, and doesn’t wrinkle much, looks good after wash, unfortunately, the red color ran a a little onto the white parts of the skirt. Thankfully it’s not so visible because of the pink motifs already present on the skirt. Bottom fabric Strawberry Tea Party by Michael Miller. Lovely fabric. Check out the link for the full range.

For Day 2, I made a dress using this pattern from one of my new Japanese sewing books that I bought from my last trip to Japan.

Using a pink polka dotted fabric from spotlight. Which was a little too lightweight for the dress. To make the sleeves stand up nicely, I think a slightly heavier fabric might look better.

I know, pure cotton creases so badly, but it’s so comfortable for the kids. The best part of this dress? No zips :) Just put it on over the head. I was worried that the opening on top would be too loose and gaping, but it turned out fine! And the Japanese patterns pay so much attention to details, the lining is made with a Japanese floral fabric and the way it’s constructed, there are no raw seams at all inside the dress! Not even on the sides!

crochet brooches

For a final touch, I crocheted some brooches. R wanted a flower brooch, and C wanted a heart shape brooch.

Oh, and if you do want to know how to sew from Japanese sewing books, it’s not hard. Do check out my other blog which talks about nothing but Japanese sewing books. :)

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  • May 18, 2012 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    OMG this dress (and your little girl) is SO beautiful! Can you tell me, or even better link me, to which japanese sewing book this dress pattern is from?

  • Cotton Candy
    May 18, 2012 - 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! :) The pattern is from this book まいにち着る女の子服 (Everyday clothes for girls) ISBN 978-4-529-04700-5

  • Zesi
    April 9, 2013 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I came across your blog when I was searching on the net for fabrics to make pillow cases for my baby boy. You are very talented and resourceful. I love the dresses and the accessories you make for your girls, they are beautiful. I love Michael Miller fabrics too they are really cute. May I know where you get those pattern books (for clothes and bags)? Are they available in Singapore? I would love to make things for my child and I am starting with the simple pillow cases which doesnt require much technical knowledge. :)

    • Cotton Candy
      April 10, 2013 - 8:21 am | Permalink

      Hi Zesi, Most of my pattern books are Japanese sewing books from Kinokuniya. In fact, I have another blog entirely devoted to this subject :) You can check it out here – Have fun sewing!

  • Zesi
    April 10, 2013 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Hi cottoncandy, thanks for your reply. Do you have any sewing books to recommend for beginners like me?and any pattern books for boys clothes and stuffs?

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