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I had the privilege of meeting with a cheongsam maker when i filmed a chinese new year special for The 5 Show. and what an honour it was to meet with Peter Chew, who is the cheongsam maker to many of Singapore’s first ladies.

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Peter learnt the fine art of cheongsam-making at the tender age of 12, when he was in primary 6. he comes from a long line of cheongsam makers, and picked up the skill from his father and grandfather. he went into the trade full time at age 22 and today, at 61, is still riding high as the industry’s best-kept secret IMG_8106 IMG_8107IMG_8102

peter makes his cheongsams by hand, including the intricate flower buttons. he revealed that, back in the day, cheongsam makers were all male, whilst the women specialised in the buttons. he even has a formula for calculating the hieght of the slit – a conservative slit is cut 7 inches from the hem, a sexy slit is 10 inches from the waist, and any higher means you’re a slut !!!

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before we parted, peter showed me some of the pieces he’d made for one of Singapore’s former first ladies, mrs wee kim wee. he started making garments for her when she was 30 years old, and, to date, has made over 100 cheongsams for the elegant lady.

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