Dress Repair in Laos

If you remember, I tore one of my favorite dresses on a sign while we were in Thailand.

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Since I really loved that dress I knew I had to get it repaired.  I figured it would be possible because there actually wasn’t any fabric missing, it was just torn.  I googled it a little bit and saw I was way out of my league trying to do it myself.

I didn’t really want to try it myself while on the road, plus I suck at sewing, especially hand sewing.  I had tried to mend a shirt with a small hole a long time ago and I did cover the hole but then had so much thread covering it that it seemed like a ball of thread.  It looked OK, but if you felt it it just felt wrong.  I didn’t want that to happen to dress.

So as we’ve been traveling I have been looking for a tailor.  What does a tailor in Asia look like?  You know you found the right person when you see somebody sitting at one of these old school sewing machines:

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I saw this one in Malaysia and was shocked that people actually still use the old school machines.  Yet they do, and since then I’ve seen many people set up, often on the side of the road with an old school sewing machine and they are hemming pants and doing other sorts of repairs or alterations.

So that’s what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, every time I saw one I was way too far from my hotel and didn’t have the dress in hand, so it didn’t happen.

While we were in Vientiane, Laos, down the street from our hotel there was a whole street of real tailors, like the kind you could go to and have a suit made.  I didn’t know if they did repairs but at this point I had been dragging my torn dress around for months so I figured it was worth a try.

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These were the kind of tailors down the street from our hotel.

Sure enough, those tailors don’t do repairs, or at least they told me they didn’t.  One lady kindly referred me to a building with no sign and said she thought they could do the repair.  So I went there and sure enough the lady there she said she would do it.

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The place with the red Chinese lanterns is where I ended up going.  It’s obviously shut down at the time of the photo, I felt stupid taking a photo when there were people in there looking at me.

Of course there wasn’t much actual communication.  I pointed at the hole, she looked at it for a little while and then walked into her shop and told me ten minutes.  In southeast Asia you should never get anything done without agreeing to a price first, otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll get ripped off.  So as she was walking away I kept asking her how much since I didn’t want to spend too much on the repair, especially when I had no idea how she was planning on repairing it. Finally she said 10,000 (so about $1.23 in USD).  For that price I was willing to see what she did.

After what was more like thirty minutes she gave me the dress and I paid.  What she had done was do some sort of sewing over the hole, but then she stitched up a whole new side hem!  I have to say at first I wasn’t too happy about it, I thought the dress fit fine before so I was worried about the new fit.  I was also worried about the dress looking funny because she didn’t do anything to the other side, so I didn’t know if it would hang funny or not.

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But I have to say, I had the dress laundered and then wore it and it seemed fine.  It didn’t seem too tight and I didn’t notice it hanging funny.

While I don’t know if the repair is how you should repair holes like that, the dress is now wearable so I’d consider that a win!

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Until next time!

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3 thoughts on “Dress Repair in Laos

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