Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top Three Dress Contest Entries and First Shopping Trip to Ben Thanh Market

I lied, I didn't need another day to get this together. It's 11:25 pm and I am lying here dreaming about dress designing. Three entries for my dress contest really stood out to me, so here you go:

Entry #1:

Maggie London Printed Stretch Satin Dress - submitted by my sister, Angie and her co-worker, Marie - at the very last minute. When I saw this dress I gasped...isn't it cool?

Entry #2:

Wrap-Around Dress by Butterick, submitted by my mom, Carol. I like this one because it is simple and I can wear it to school. I have always really liked wrap-arounds. I guess my family knows my style or something. Here's an entry from a non-blood:

Entry #3.

Dress by Lauren. I will allow Michelle to speak for this dress (are you in sales?): She says,

"I love contests, prizes, the hard work and sweat that comes from being competitive! And, to involve shopping, can it get any better???? I immediately took valuable work time to find a dress, fabric and notions to make this a fun summer, cocktail party dress that will make you the bell of the ball and the envy of every woman in attendance!"

Isn't it cute? I really love it. And it's so different from #1 and #2. I like the idea of making this dress and then being invited to an Academy Award party, or hanging out with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda in NYC.

So go ahead and vote, if you have strong opinions. But most of the 360 people who read this blog every week (there is a counter for things like that) remain voyeurs, which is cool. But while you do or don't vote, excuse me while I take my sister, my mom, and two people whom I have never met (but will meet Michelle in March after she bikes here from Hanoi!) shopping.

I went to Ben Thanh Market today after school to do a little research. You see, it's not easy becoming a designer...there is so much to learn. At first I was making all kinds of mistakes - I was buying the wrong kind of material for the wrong item. For example, I was buying pant material and wanting a shirt out of it. I kept getting the "nooooooo" from Sweet Seamstress and my seamstress at Ben Thanh kept sending me back into the market to get the right stuff.

But now I am on the path to enlightenment - at least I think so. OK, here we go: on the link for dress #1 on, it tells you what kind of material the dress is made out of. The Maggie London one is made from "stretch satin." OK, so let me show you a few pictures of the aisles in Ben Thanh:

Here is one of about twenty aisles, and here is one stand out of about 100:

As you can see, it is overwhelming. So this is what I did: because I knew I was looking for "stretch satin," I just walked through the aisles (at least 20 like these) and asked the vendors "Do you have any stretch satin?" until I found the sweetest two ladies who spoke some English and who seemed really interested in helping me. I showed the first one the design (which I had printed out) and she says, "Oh, let me take you to my friend. She has all kinds of stretch material that would work for that dress." So nice.

I couldn't find a pattern like that in the picture of , so I'm just going to show you a few patterns I liked, and then a bunch of solids. The sky is the limit. I liked the blue/white/black and the paisley in the middle here:

And I liked this brown with gold design, too:

And here are a bunch of solids... these will all work for dress #'s 1 and 2. (Dress #2 should be made from stretch, too - it says so on the pattern- see how intelligent I am? It can be valour (sp?) stretch or satin stretch or polyester stretch)

As for dress #3, these two women sell the spectrum of silk, too. All kinds of patterns and solids. Silk is easy here, they all tell you "made from 100% Vietnamese silk." Now that I know how it's made (see "36 Hours in Dalat"), I really do stand in awe of it.

They have the exact color of the silk in the photo and also the one that Michelle suggested, which I would call a "light mustard." And this is a patterned silk pictured here:

I learned so much today, it was really fun.

Well, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

How fun!! I like all 3. Indecisive as ever. I think I vote for #1 since Vietnam is a bit warmer than Washington and it can be practical or dressy. #3 is a very fun party dress.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Marjie, I can't believe the dresss I chose was actually the first one you posted! I thought it looked like you. I have to vote for that one. I think the brown patterned stretch silk would be perfect for it. What a lot of choices!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marjie! When my mom told me to pick out a dress that I liked, I would personally have to say Brian's, but since that one is kinda out of the contest, I would have to say the first one or the third one. i could see the first one on you, but the third one is cute with a little bit of a twist to it. Anyhoo, I would have to say for you that I like the first one with the blue, black, and white meterial. Happy dress making!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't wear any of them, but I think that the first dress is the prettiest and the second is both nice looking and practical. I don't care for the design of the third.

Anonymous said...

I like the first dress and a solid dark red. That is all. But I would not wear it!

Brian Bowker said...

Well, because I love my niece I'm going to have to side with Megan and vote for my original Renaissance Royalty entry. I feel it has a real advantage if you should ever find yourself in a situation where you are on stage with people throwing money at you because the over-sized "funnel" collar would really help catch more of it.

But if that one truly isn't an option (if you're looking for something less practical I mean) then I think the first two are acceptable.

Since you mention the show, I can totally see the third dress being worn on Sex and the City. I'm not sure you have a big enough nose to pull it off though.

Anonymous said...

I definitely would have chosen the last one! Not because the other two weren´t nice, I just loved the design (and glamour) of nr 3! It would have been less of a party dress without the belt, and a silk that isn´t shining that much. Go for classic colours - then you can use all dresses forever. As for pattern, simple and small is better than large flowers etc - in my opinion! Just imagine dress nr 3 in black with golden high heeled shoes, a clutch (that´s a purse kind of handbag, right?) and a golden neckless. Absolutely stunning for a party and so posh! Especially if you do your hair in a Jennifer Lowe Hewitt kind of way, or strighten it, like Jenifer Aniston. Anne Hathaway´s hair look from Bride Wars would be pretty cool on you too, I think. If you tone it down with sandals or ballerina shoes, you could easily wear it for work. I love wearing dresses for work! The others are nice too, though. And the gold/brown pattern would look stunning on you! Once you get me going writing about fashion, I cannot quit! Sorry :-)

Unknown said...

Whichever one you choose, it MUST be lemongrass. (That it if you want to be in for 2009).

Anonymous said...

Im voting for dress #1

Michelle said...

My mother always said if you can't vote vote for yourself, how can you expect anyone else to vote for you?? With that in mind I vote for dress number 3 and I might add; I did suggest a yellow color BEFORE Michelle Obama showed up for the lemon grass yellow!!
On a different note: I will be overwhelmed by all those fabric choices! I think I will spend some quality time at the fabric store doing some pre-work before reaching Ho Chi Ming City!

The Norris Clan said...

#3!! And can you do it in the color it's pictured in?!

Anonymous said...

#1 #1 #1!!! =)

Anonymous said...

I have to vote for number one. I was looking at dresses with Marie, and that dress popped right out. (Angie gives us homework at work!)
I wish I could wear it. I love the blue paisley!

Unknown said...

Actually, I think you should have all three made, in both plain colors and prints. Michelle Obama seems to be seen in dresses often; I think wearing dresses is going to be more in now that it used to be. Also, the news said that hemlines are getting longer -- I guess every time the economy weakens, hem lines go down. Why? Who knows? All the dresses are cute; I can see you wearing any one of them. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I'm a friend of Angie's, but I'm not just voting for her dress because she told me to...I really do prefer it to the others! Although we don't know you, my daughter and I have very much enjoyed reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Number two because:

1. You said you always do what your mother says.

2. It's adorable.

3. Because at SOME POINT you will return to Seattle and all those sleeveless numbers will be brought out for only 4 days in August, and then covered by a sweater.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the voting is over, but I'd go for #1 and the blue paisley.