Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

Tai Chi Uniform: It’s all coming together


In my last post about my jacket I was uncertain about large parts of the project and it”felt” like I was a long way from the finish line. Now I “feel” I’m not far off finishing the Tai Chi jacket, even though there is still quite some work to do.

The Frog Fastenings

After some investigation I found this video on YouTube. When I watched this video for the first time I was struck by the skill of the person making the knot buttons; I really felt that I was watching a master craftsperson at work here! However, watching someone so competent can also feel intimidating. Would I really be able to emulate their skill?

At first, I tried to use the jacket fabric to make the Chinese buttons. The original jacket that I am copying uses the same fabric for the frog fastenings as the jacket. However my fabric is more substantial and I couldn’t turn the fabric to make a long rouleau loop. I then purchased some bias binding. I was somewhat sceptical about the shiny nature of the bias binding, but at least I could turn the fabric to make the loops successfully.

Chinese buttons using bias binding

I followed the instructions on the video and produced two beautiful, but not identical buttons. I’m quite pleased with the result. I did also buy some silver bias binding, and wondered whether to make contrast buttons instead. Either way, the two buttons I have made are a proof of concept, and I will need to make six in total.

Silver and blue bias binding

Front and sleeve facings

The original jacket uses a contrasting white fabric for the front and sleeve facings. The sleeves are constructed with facings so you can turn up the sleeves when you wear it and reveal the contrast facings. I bought some white cotton lawn for these facings on my copy. I drafted my own facing pieces. The front facing was somewhat different from the original jacket as I wanted the facing to extend to the shoulder seam so it could be secured tidily.

Adding the front and sleeve facings

I haven’t really been keeping track of the steps I have been doing as I go along. It has all become a lot more haphazard. The reason for this is I just wanted to plough on with trying lots of different things. So far I have done the bottom hem and side slits on the front left side only, half-finished the sleeve facings and half-added the collar. At least this way I have practiced the techniques and just need to duplicate them on the right side of the jacket.

Author: steelyseamstress

Sewing a new wardrobe

5 thoughts on “Tai Chi Uniform: It’s all coming together

  1. Looking so good! We’re cheering for you!

  2. The buttons look fantastic. Yet another good use for bias binding. I’ll try and remember that one. Did you need to put any piping thread into the tube you created with the binding?

    • Good questions. The bias binding was really difficult to turn inside out. The person in the video doesn’t have any where near as much difficulty as me, but I suspect her bias binding may be silk. I followed the video and sewed tubes of 5-6 mm in diameter. The tubes are so thin a loop turner just can’t be used with the satin bias binding I used and I turned them with a needle and thread. So, there is no way that piping thread would go down the middle. However, on the video the person doesn’t cut off the seam allowance so this plumps out the tube once it has been turned anyway.

  3. Pingback: Tai Chi Uniform: The finished jacket | Steely Seamstress

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