Vietnamese Ao Dai robe top

This one is a straight replacement for an authentic Vietnamese Ao Dai robe that a friend gave me when it no longer fitted her.

The original is made of a silk-rayon mix and is absolutely heavenly to the touch. Originally I was a bit disappointed to learn that it wasn’t 100% silk. But then I learnt that rayon is not only more comfortable for hot humid weather, it may also be partly responsible for the superb softness of the Vietnamese jacquard, which none of the other Asian silks have. Sadly it’s impossible to find this variety of jacquard in the Western fabric shops. I would have just kept wearing this original, except the moths loved it as much as I did. And now it’s shredded in places.

The fabric I end up using I got by chance. It doesn’t have the same softness & drape, but is the closest I can get in the West.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1-2 high-rise Ginger Jeans 2018;

The Pattern

Block Used: Fitted Top Block

Design Changes Made

  • Change to raglan sleeve by loosely following the instruction in Designing Apparel Through The Flat Pattern. My personalised Block is too irregular to follow these standard drafting instructions to the T.
  • Disregard front waist dart
  • Marked side splits to end 1″ above waistline
  • For lengths & bodice hem widths, follow the rough measurements of the shifty original
  • For neck opening under-flap draw styleline on front neckline as guide & copy with side bust dart closed.
  • For mandarin collar, started with a rectangle the length of the jewel neckline circumference, then slashed & lapped the top edge to make it fit closer to Q my custom dressform’s neck.

Fabric & Notions Used

  • Fabric: Cotton/Rayon ? Jacquard from Minerva Crafts UK
  • Notions: Linen interfacing from the stash for madarin collar. So Sheer interfacing for neck opening binding/facing. 7-mm snaps x 10. Size-2 hook x 1.

Construction Notes

  • I mostly followed the original’s approach to seaming & hemming. So seams pressed open with overlock finishing. Double folded hand blind stitched hems.

The Verdict

Not bad. But the stiffer fabric does make it look more boxy. Next time I think I’ll start the side splits at the waistline instead to for a bit more shaping if I can’t get hold of a softer jacquard.

It’s not a top with many styling option, but oh the romance of the panels flapping in the wind – it’s a sensual pleasure I can’t resist. So there definitely will be a next time!

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2 comments on “Vietnamese Ao Dai robe top

  1. Beth Duffus says:

    What a shame about the moths but your copy looks great. The original seems to fit you perfectly so I am a little surprised you needed to use your block too rather than the pattern direct from the garment. That said, I like your link to the flat-pattern book and I’ve found an online copy (because I don’t have enough pattern books already!!). I lift a lot of patterns from ready-to-wear, especially ‘fast fashion” as they’re usually clever and sharper than anything found among commercial paper patterns. I always enjoy your blog posts.

    • Thanks Beth! The original’s fabric is soft & shifty. My fabric less so. So I wasn’t confident a trace would give me the same result. And tracing out a paper block is just as quick as tracing out RTW. Plus I got tons of pattern paper to use up!

      Agree with your assessment of RTW designs compared to commercial patterns. Although the latter have gotten better in recent year, where I live in London I regularly see chic looking ladies in their RTW with interesting details I can’t always find in commercial patterns. Copying looser styles might work. But any bits that are fitted run into problem for me as my built doesn’t match RTW target figures.

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