The Dummies’ Guide to the Shuhe, Part 2

Hu Jingming wearing his Shuhe final product, with a leather belt with Warring-States era style bronze buckle.

This post is a continuation from the Dummies’ Guide to the Shuhe, Part 1. The previous guide describes the techniques involved in measuring, tailoring (cutting), drawing patterns onto the material and painting them with acrylic colours. This second part will cover sewing the pieces up, attaching the lining to the clothing, making facing for irregular-shaped edges and hems, and attaching the Hanfu collar.

Source: Hu Jingming’s Shuhe Complete Tutorial, page 2


The Dummies’ Guide to the Shuhe, Part 1


Source: Baidu Hanfu Bar
Author: Hu Jingming 琥璟明, President, Art Association of Hunan Normal University. 

Translator’s note: Hu Jingming (b. 1991, courtesy name Zongwu) is an expert on Hanfu, Chinese armors, and martial practices (including archery). A “Mount and Blade” and “Total War” fan, and member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Hu has published various articles online regarding the process of reproducing armor and military wear, raising the awareness of Chinese armors as an artisanry and for practical purposes. He despises how modern TV dramas create ludicrous mockeries of historical armors, which would be “disasterous if actually used”. He is currently a Fine Arts student in the Hunan Normal University. 

A Shuhe (“Shoo-huh”) refers to a tight-sleeved cross-collared top that extends to the knees, coupled with tied trousers. It is the basis of almost all underclothing, the casual outfit of commoners and labourers, and is usually the clothing worn under armor.

Asides from being a Shuhe tutorial, Hu’s detailed accounts are also an excellent beginner’s guide to making clothes and tailoring practices. Because of this level of detailed instruction, this tutorial is split into two parts, with the first section covering basic tailoring of the pieces, suturing, and hand prints. The latter half will cover curved hems, collars, and seaming. More

2010 March Break Hanfu Workshop

Top Yi cutting schematics. Image by Ganling of Baidu Hanfu Bar.

 Toronto Guqin Society (TQS) will be having its March Break Hanfu DIY workshop to teach hands-on techniques for basic designs of traditional Han Chinese clothing, outlining the principles of fu幅 division, collar design, measurements and shapes, and much more. The workshop will also allow participants to make their own yi-shang standard based design, which includes:
– Shenyi (Deep robe)
– Ruqun/Aoqun/Yishang (top & skirt)
– Zhongyi/Zhongdan (midlayer clothes)

The workshop is divided into two parts:
Friday, March 12, 2010 @ 1630H (4:30PM): Material purchasing outing, meetup at Yonge @ Bloor TTC station.

Friday, March 19, 2010 @ 1200H (Noon): Workshop at noted venue location. Please be on time, and bring your own materials and sewing machine if you have one!

*** Registration by email (jt_revolution (at) hotmail (dot) com) or Facebook PM (Juni L. Yeung) is mandatory. ***

Facebook Event page:

The Dummies’ Guide to the Aoqun

Ever wondered how the glamorous design of the Aoqun was made? What is it that makes the whole set worth thousands of yuan, asides from the superior quality of the fabric? How is the top made so that it forms the body so well but remain comfortable, or how does the skirt hold itself up? Here, I will try to deliver the “secrets” right from Chinese sources. 

The Aoqun 襖裙 is comprised primarily of two pieces – an Ao 襖 top, which is defined as a “top with cotton lining, and goes down to just below the waist”, followed by a Qun 裙 – or more specifically the “Horse-faced skirt” 馬面裙, with small pleates on both sides and one large “face” pleate on the front and back. The Aoqun is a commonly-seen design among mid-late Ming relics from wealthy families and the royal court, as part of the casual or semi-formal fall-winter wardrobe. Currently, unlined versions of the Aoqun are also produced for the market – although technically “Ruqun”, they are still labelled Aoqun for noting its iconic Ming conical cutting, and the top worn untucked to the skirt. 

Although some argue that the Aoqun gives the woman an older image, real life examples show that with the right colour and material, this design can give just as a youthful image as any other Hanfu design. 


The Shenyi for Dummies: A design with no absolute measurements!

The completed clothes should look like this!

EDIT: Here is the completed thing!

Revised diagram.

Revised diagram.

For someone with next to zero tailoring skills (such as myself), here is the simplest explanation as to how a proper Shenyi, the “white-tie” for the civilian adult male, is made.

The Ruqun, which is the standard dress for women that can be formal or casual (depending on sleeve size), is more or less the same, with exception to detaching the top from the bottom, and adding a separate skirt head. The Ruqun’s technicalities is beyond the scope of this post, for now.

With this diagram, one can fabricate a Shenyi by acquiring some black and white fabric. At 120cm broadcloth, one would require about 5m of material (on the safe side). Dark blue or green can replace the black, but black is still recommended.

NOTE: Sashes for tying up the clothes itself for wearing is not included in these diagrams. These are assumed knowledge for the Hanfu tailor, and sashes should be sewn on all Hanfu in four places:

  1. The inside of the left armpit, and is tied with 3 when worn.
  2. The upper edge of the end of the left collar, which is tied with 4 when worn.
  3. The upper edge of the end of the right collar, which is tied with 1 when worn.
  4. The outside of the right armpit, and is tied with 2 when worn.

In the details of this post, I will summarize the recent discussions and findings of the Hanfu Movement in regards to necessity of cutting seams, fabric widths, and the shape of the skirt. Please read on.



June 2023