Cheongsam Tailoring

Category: Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events; Traditional Craftsmanship

The cheongsam is a long, loose one-piece dress that originated from old Manchu times. It was adopted as the national dress of China in the late 1920s and has continued to evolve with it becoming shorter and more form-fitting over the years. It was popular among affluent or white-collar Chinese women in Singapore up to the 1960s, due in part to the sizable number of tailors offering their services.

Purple and green floral cheongsam with cap sleevesPurple and green floral cheongsam with cap sleeves. Source: Roots.sg

Today, it is mostly worn on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and/or for weddings. Cheongsam tailors continue to enjoy brisk business by incorporating and offering more modern design elements such as flared waistlines, unconventional patterns and other customised options. These tailors usually use traditional sewing machines to make their cheongsams.

Older cheongsam tailors used to rely on word-of-mouth to promote public awareness about their services, but many have since taken to the Internet and social media to promote their services. As a result of their stronger social media presence and the resurgence in interest among the younger generation towards cheongsams as items of fashion for special occasions, there continues to be practitioners who offer services related to cheongsam tailoring.


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