At first, while fabrc shopping, I thought I would get my own fabric and make a ‘qipao’. But, I realized I didn’t want to be decked out in all embroidery. I thought I would look like a hummingbird. But, Helen and I saw these two beautiful, simple, classic designs that I started thinking maybe I would get them made.
When I was told each dress would be about $45 I realized it could be years before I got around to making one (and really. was I seriously going to make a traditional Chinese dress??) and I might as well give it a go. When they told me it would be ready the NEXT day, I was sold.
They took just a few simple measurements and asked how tight I wanted it. I told them loose figuring it was better to have have it taken in later (which I did in Xiamen) rather than struggle with a dress that was too tight.
Helen and her husband picked my dress up for me and delivered to my hotel since I had meetings that day and they thought the 50 RMB delivery fee was too high. For this dress, I had them move the side slits to a CB slit.
One of the things I found frustrating about China is the bargaining and ripping off of foreigners. In Xiamen the first tailor (admittedly at the hotel) wanted 400 RMB to take in my two dresses. The dresses cost 650 RMB. The next tailor I found in the garment area? 40 RMB. About $5. Isn’t that some BS?
I’m currently not a fan of sheath dresses on me. I’m too bottom heavy for it. But, I couldn’t resist this simple design in black. The red insert is a phoenix which is the symbol of the empress. I was born in the year of the dragon and figured that design was what I wanted. But was told by everyone that dragons are for men.
Did I mention I only took one pair of shoes with me to China? Try not to shake your head at me. I did buy better shoes for the the second time I wore this dress.
The second dress was actually the first one that caught my eye. All the topstitching in hand done.
The cap sleeves are a bit limiting, but I love, love the color combination and fit.
Elizabeth had her dress made in Xiamen for about $30 for dress and jacket (not including fabric). Hers took four days to make.
It took a great deal of self control and FABRIC choice overload to prevent me from having another two made while we were there.
Here it is at my BEST dinner in Shanghai at Lost Heaven with our friend Fred. Have I already mentioned how great it is to have friends all over the world? Shanghai couldn’t have been easier to navigate thanks to Fred and Helen / Hai.
I think, if I lived in China, I would sew far, far less. The finishing techniques used I aspire to. The speed of garment production and the cost would really make sewing my hobby versus my primary way of clothing myself. If you can ever have something custom made (and not by you!) I highly recommend it! I love, love, love my dresses.