Written by Gioia Zhang


A variety of techniques are used in the decoration of traditional Chinese women’s lingerie such as embroidery, inlay, appliqué, patch and more. Those techniques have distinctive processes and fine degree.

“Embroidery” is divided into four major categories, satin stitch, coil stitch, hand sewn stitch, and braid stitch.

  • Satin stitch is also called painting embroidery. The embroidery patterns are mainly in small size, and the stitches are parallel and arranged neatly. It was used more common in the Song and Yuan dynasties.


Part Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


  • Among all kinds of coil stitches, seed stitch is the most distinctive one. Though the stitching process is simple, it produces a solid aesthetic effect.


Part Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty



  • Hand sewn stitches are hand sewn sequins and appliqués used to decorate lady lingerie.


Part Dudou: Period – The Republic of China Era


  • Braid stitch was not used very much in traditional Chinese lingerie. In general, the ancient people in China used “cross-stitch embroidery”.


Part Corset: Period – The Republic of China Era


The ancient people of China were good at decorating lingerie with golden line embroidery.


Part Dudou: Period – The Middle Qing Dynasty



Part Dudou: Period – The Republic of China Era



“Inlay” refers to the use of a decorative strip of cloth /lace /embroidery sewn on the edge of underwear to form a decoration. This brocade (a type of tightly woven fabric) shows the idea of trimming the edge with exquisite silk.


Part Corset: Period – The Middle Qing Dynasty



Part Corset: Period – The Republic of China Era ·



Part Corset: Period – The Early Qing Dynasty


“Trimming”/ “rolling off” is the process of wrapping the edges with cloth.


Part Corset: Period – The Middle Qing Dynasty


“Appliqué” is a quick stitching decoration technique, an integration of embroidery and other processes to form a flat or semi perspective effect.



Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty



Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty



Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty

This Dudou is appliquéd with pre-cut patterns and decorated with satin stitch.


The “patching” is a process of sewing different pieces of cloth together. It has the meaning of “mending the deficiency” and is the icing on the cake for the Dudou.


Paddy Field Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


Exquisite craftsmanship is also reflected in the arrangement of layers and the refinement of the decorations. Decorating the connected parts with frog buttons make the underwear more attractive.


Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


The garment technique of Chinese traditional underwear is in line with the concept of “harmony between man and nature” and, in particular, the “round sky and square earth” theory. The lower part of the garment is “the circle shape in the front and the square shape in the back”. Putting the pattern of the Ruyi and butterfly in front of the chest is a metaphor of “lucky arrival ”.


Part Nashao: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


The ancient Chinese people also use batik, hand-painting and other techniques to enrich the style and effect of women lingerie.


Underwear Cloth: Period – The Republic of China era


They not only use silk, brocade and other premium quality fabric, they also use homespun cotton, cambric and fine bamboo to create lingerie.


Hollowed Out Clothes: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


To connect each part with bead is also one of the most ingenious techniques.


Dudou: Period – Late Qing Dynasty


The spinning technique weaves and wraps fabric into different kinds of tassels. This is very imaginative.



Part Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


Dudou: Period – The Late Qing Dynasty


The beautiful lingerie was made simply by a small piece of cloth and with different stitching methods. The lingerie had infinite possibilities of design, full of imagination and creativity. The wisdom of ancient people in China has amazed the world!


This article refers to 《Fantasy Beyond Body: The Civilization of Chinese Underwear in Ancient Times》


About Interact China


“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.


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Chinese Designers Embrace Global Fashion Stage(1)

When foreigners are amazed and enchanted in the mysterious culture and arts of China, Chinese element has already joined the rhythm of global fashion. Cuties bring forth the vogue of minority style on world stage. You may pick them up in most fashionable cities like Paris or Milan.

Embroidered shoes, pleated batik skirts, shining silver accessories of the Miao minority – these are the exotic Chinese flavors that will pervade the Paris fashion trade fair, which begins in the world’s fashion capital today.




China’s promising young designers, He Jian, Zhu Xiaoyu and Yang Jie – all of whom are winners of the latest Seven Brand Cup China Style Costume Creation Contest – will debut at this premier fashion event that brings together the most cutting-edge designs and collections in Europe.

“We think Chinese designers can win international recognition by incorporating unique Chinese elements into world fashion trends,” says He Jian. His collection features innovative combinations of ethnic costumes and modern men’s casuals, while Zhu Xiaoyu and Yang Jie both derive inspiration from the costumes of the Miao and Zhuang minorities. Today’s youngsters have been inspired by the success of other Chinese designers who have starred previously in such fashion capitals as Milan, New York and London.

Zhang Zhifeng, art director of NE Tiger Clothing Company, is one such example. The veteran designer wants to build NE Tiger as an international luxury brand in China – in the same league as Louis Vitton and Armani.


Zhang has explored the use of Chinese Yunjin, the special brocade once reserved for royalty, in his collections. He adopts the traditional “seamless” weaving method in his haute couture fabrics, once used exclusively for the brocade dragon robe of the emperors. Exquisite handmade Chinese embroideries of the phoenix and peony are also widely used. As the making of the brocade and the embroideries are extremely time-consuming and complicated, it usually takes Zhang and his skilled craftsmen months to make one suit, with the price hovering in the region of 50,000 yuan ($6,756).


“Yunjin and embroidery mark the high points of Chinese clothing culture. I hope to arouse an awareness and appreciation of these rare gems through my designs,” says Zhang.


His collections feature a harmonious combination of traditional culture and modern fashion elements. He includes Western fashion inspirations and solid cutting techniques into his designs and applies georgette, damask, Italian baldachin, lace and Swarovski crystals to Chinese silk and brocade to redefine the Western gown, corsage, pleat skirt and fish skirt.


Zhang’s persistence has helped NE Tiger, the once barely known local brand, to become the leading Chinese haute couture brand for furs, evening gowns and wedding clothes, in just 10 years. His studios are scattered across the United States, France, Italy and Russia, and his designs have even won over royalty in Europe. For instance, Joachim Holger Waldemar Christian, the prince of Denmark, chose NE Tiger, to make the evening gown for his fiancée.


by Xiao Xiao