Recently, I submitted an entry into a sewing contest. For it, I motivated myself to finally learn how to make an ao dai (ow-yai, meaning long garment), the national garment of Viet Nam, my country of origin. I used a pattern for a base, Folkwear 139. However, I customized it to fit a 5’10” friend who was my sewing model. I also fixed how the shoulders were done because sewing it as instructed left a very jagged shoulder “dart”, which was essentially what I was doing more than sewing it together as a seam. Then I extended the neck line from the body up so it didn’t leave such a big collar. Finally, on my real garment, I redrafted the front and back pieces to remove the vertical darts so as not to disturb the beautiful big print, and took out a dart on the sleeve.