'Tailoring' My Need for Clothes in Hoi An...
My sketches of what I want for a dress.
November 24, 2006

Aside from cooking, there is one thing that Hoi An seems to be notable for. The incredible amount of tailors waiting to create/re-create anything you
want them to. If I was going to do this, I needed to act on it today as I am leaving here in two days. I went to a tailor that my hotel recommended. At
this point I didn’t even care if I was given their name because my hotel would earn a commission – I was just happy to not have to make a decision of
which tailor (of the hundreds) to choose.

I went there knowing I would want a suit. I ended up ordering two to be made. I also knew that I wanted a dress. I ended up ordering two of those
as well. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I guess in this case I was a kid in a clothing store. Well, maybe a
female in a clothing store. Okay, definitely
not the same ring to it. What I am saying is that all you really feel in temptation in a place like this.

I have to say something right now. I am sure many people might think I am selling myself short when they read this. But I have to say it. I think my
chances of ever winning a
Project Runway is pretty much next to nil. I know, I know. Some of you are blown away by this acknowledgement. As I
was ‘designing’ my dress, it became apparent that I am far from being a ‘sketcher’. The lady at the tailor shop laughed out loud at my picture. I feel
like Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn would have an issue with this. Such a shame. Such a crying shame.

I go to my first fitting tomorrow after my cooking class. Everything will be ready to pick up by tomorrow night.

After dinner I was walking and saw a beautiful wool coat in a style that was a bit different than the typical wool coats that I own. I was drawn to it in
a big way. The lady told me it would be $50. However, I was still loyal to the initial place I ordered my stuff from (plus it didn’t hurt that I was told
before I left that they would give me a special price on a wool coat of $35 if I decided to have one made). I snapped a picture of object of my desire
and brought it to my shop. I was a bit uneasy about them being able to capture the details from the picture that I took. This is when I was sent on
‘Operation: Point Out Coat To Undercover Tailor Spies’. The two Vietnamese seamstresses followed me at a safe distance when I finally found the
shop on the street with great stores and restaurants (pretty much geared to tourists). I went up to the coat. I asked to try it on. I think the girl
smelled something fishy as it seemed like she saw the two women (they happened to be in their pajamas). She had me try on the coat inside the store
and I really liked it. I told the salesgirl I would ‘think about it’ and I headed out. The two women were there hiding besides the building and waved
for me to get out of these. I walked down the street the entire way without acknowledging the two women at all. We finally met back up at the tailor
shop. The woman said it wouldn’t be a problem at all. She kept a mental picture of what she saw.

I placed the order. Considering all of these things are going to have to be made tonight in order for them to be ready in the late morning for the first
fitting I can’t help but wonder if my purchase is supporting some sort of slave labor. They assured me that they were the actual tailors (as opposed
to some ten year old hidden away in the back).

November 25, 2006

I was a bit nervous when going back to the tailor shop for my first fitting after my cooking class. I heard a story from a girl that I sat with during
lunch at the cooking class that she was having a difficult time with her tailor as even after her third fitting, it
still wasn’t fitting. Plus the fact that time
is not on my side (as I need to leave Hoi An tomorrow morning and it was 2pm when I was heading there). I was just keeping my fingers crossed.

Apparently, crossing my fingers worked as the suits fitted almost perfectly – all that needed to be changed was hemming the pants a couple inches.
The dresses needed some minor adjustments and the coat just needed to be taken in a little bit. Now I needed to come back at 6pm.

My second fitting proved to be a complete success. After trying on all of the clothes, they bagged them up and I was on my way.

Bring on any interviews, weddings or cold weather – I’m ready!
Back to Vietnam.