Favorite Shopping Spots in Oak Island / Southport NC

by Amy Draughon


School is finally out and summer has started for the kids around here in North Carolina!

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about my favorite beach to visit in NC: Oak Island. 

Some people enjoy a beach vacation for the sun, sand, and ocean breeze. Those are very nice, but for me, I prefer a getaway that includes...shopping!

The best part about shopping in the Oak Island/Southport area is that there is a great variety of shops. There's something for both the window shoppers and the bargain hunters!

If spending a whole day hopping between shops and boutiques excites you, whether to buy or just explore, this is the place to visit!

Get Thrifty!

In my opinion, thrift shopping is the ultimate treasure hunt! I love looking through items that need a new home.  Of course I'm always on the lookout for sewing materials. The drive between Oak Island and Southport is dotted with thrift stores and consignment shops. 

A couple of our favorites:

  • Thrifty by Nature: Look for the flowered fence as you drive through Southport. You don't want to miss this cute little shop. Thrifty by Nature is my favorite place to look for new jewelry (only $3)! I got my dorm plates and bowls, as well as a beautiful vintage creamer there. 

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you are looking for bargains or for up-cycling projects, the dozens of thrift stores around Oak Island/Southport won't let you down!

Boutiques/High End

Okay, so maybe thrifting isn't your thing...or you just want to find a great gift or souvenir? Well, walk down North Howe Street in a sundress and sandals and visit the fun boutique shops full of pretty clothes, decor, and trinkets. There is so much eye-candy for those who love to window shop, and beautiful products if you want to purchase and support a local business.

Other Fun 

Last summer we visited a vintage shop called "Stuff", full of clothes, furniture, and odds and ends. I bought a pretty green nightgown there that I love! ("Stuff" is now located inside of Klassy Konsignment). There are many other cool antique shops in Southport as well. Don't forget about furniture! There's plenty in the thrift shops, but being in a beach town there are whole stores dedicated to home decor and furnishing. There's places for the artists to, from craft supply stores to local art displays and shops. 

If you want to shop around Oak Island and Southport, a few google maps searches is all you need to uncover unique places to visit. As you drive around, keep a lookout for small shops and be willing to pull over, go in, and explore!

 

More resources:

List of Retail Businesses in Downtown Southport

Shops in Southport/Oak Island/Bald Head, NC

 

Where is your favorite vacation spot? Am I the only one who considers shopping a vacation must-do activity? 

Here's to a great summer!


How To Sew New Jeans From Your Old Jeans

by Amy Draughon


For the past couple years my favorite jeans had been a pair I found on a Kohl's clearance rack for $8. 

Recently, I had to retire them. (You can only go so long with fraying patches in the inner thigh threatening to burst open!)

However, I wasn't too torn up about it. 

Earlier I'd splurged and bought some beautiful stretch twill denim online (thanks, Girl Charlee!) with which I was determined to make into my first-ever pair of handmade skinny jeans.

Have you noticed? Floral fabric turns me into the heart eyes emoji.

With my beloved jeans rendered unwearable, I had no problem dissecting them to use as a pattern.

You could do the same when your favorite jeans get too holey. Or buy a well fitting pair from Goodwill for a few dollars. 

 

The process is pretty simple:

  • Cut up a pair of jeans along the seam lines
    • You'll probably have the pant legs, back piece, belt, zipper, and pockets 
  • Use the pieces to trace a pattern onto paper, or cut directly from your new fabric
    • When working with stretch fabric, make sure the stretch is going across the pants (side to side, not up and down)
  • Be sure to add seam allowances and extra length for the hem!
  • After cutting your pattern pieces from fabric, sew them together into a new pair of jeans
    • Sew pockets onto the pant legs before sewing the leg pieces together

It might take a little thinking, but pay attention as you take apart the jeans to how the pieces work together. You learn a lot about clothing construction when you pick things apart!

The pockets were probably my favorite detail! So darn cute!

For my jeans I actually didn't put in the zipper; my fabric had so much stretch it didn't need it. (That's also why I didn't add seam allowances either.)

I love the floral pattern so much! I actually had to make this black peplum top to go with it - the pants are so bold!

There are plenty of other ways to use your old jeans as a pattern! Add more seam allowance for roomy pajamas, subtract allowance for leggings, make shorts...

I can't wait to make more things from my new pattern. I've already got more denim in my stash waiting to be sewn!


Florals and Bright Colors...New Handmade Items in the Shop!

by Amy Draughon


I am so excited about these new items in the shop!

There are so many fun fabrics that were dreamy to work with! They just radiate those warm-weather fashion vibes. 

Click the links below or visit the SHOP

Bring on the sunglasses, sandals, and summer outings!

Like something but it's not your size? Contact me for a custom design! Facebook.com/dressedlikeadream or amydraughon@gmail.com

How Your Favorite Hobbies Make You Healthier

by Amy Draughon


It is clear that crafting provides us with

more than just "something to do".

     A 2010 survey reported that 56% of American households had participated in a craft or hobby during the past year. With over half of the United States involved in craft activities, you might wonder what benefits or effects these hobbies have on people.

     It turns out that creative pastimes do impact a person's health, and in a positive way. We might first think of the practical perks - having a skill that is useful, marketable, or just something fun to do - but crafting can also offer both cognitive and emotional benefits for your health.

     A 2010 study on elderly persons sought to observe the impact of certain activities on the aging brain. Over one thousand people ages 70-89 were studied to see how different pastimes affected their MCI, or mild cognitive impairment, which is the decline in brain function between what is expected with aging and more serious dementia. After studying and interviewing  elderly people who participated in activities involving books, crafts, art, computer games, music, and social activities, the researchers found that craft activities were among those that significantly reduced chances of MCI

     Scientists believe that crafts aid your brain because of how it is stimulated while crafting. Therapist Sharon Gutman notes that many hobbies engage multiple parts of the brain, such as the frontal, parietal, occipital,and temporal lobes, and the cerebellum. Because all of these parts are active, it strengthens the neural connections and keeps them in good shape. This way, as a person ages, they have a buffer against illness, cognitive decline, and dementia.

     Perhaps for most of us, the emotional benefits of our hobbies are a lot more tangible and evident in our daily life. It has long been known that doing the things we love makes us happy. Crafters know there is a certain joy and confidence that comes with creating something beautiful, expressing yourself, and just being able to say “I made that”.

     The emotional benefits of sewing were evident for Charlie Wensley. In an article for Seamwork Magazine, she shared how she faced her diagnosis with postnatal depression with taking up a hobby. Wensley found that sewing kept her from being irritable or frantic and gave her something productive to focus on. She reported feeling a deeper sense of self and enjoyed becoming a part of the sewing community. Sewing translated into other parts of her life too; she says:  “this flexibility with the rules and how one interprets them has opened my eyes and given me more confidence in my own way of doing things, not only as a person who sews, but also more widely in my life. Gradually, I don’t feel like an impostor or that I have to fit a certain mold, or subscribe to a certain parenting style. I can decide my own way of being a mother, my own way of being a role model to my children, rather than constantly bench-marking it to others or worrying I shouldn’t do something for fear of being judged. I have new confidence in my way being the right, or at the very least, an OK way.” 

     Science backs up Charlie Wensley’s experience. Many have noted the calming, therapeutic, and meditative effects of doing a craft. In one case, women with hospitalized cases of anorexia were taught to knit. 74% of them said that knitting for about an hour per day helped them to cope with fear and anxiety. Specialists tell us that when a person becomes absorbed and focused on one task, the nervous system cannot process the outside factors of stress and worry. They are in a state of meditation. Crafts can also be an antidepressant, as dopamine is released when you do activity that makes you happy.

     After looking at the evidence, it is clear that crafting provides us with more than just "something to do". Creative hobbies contribute greatly to a person’s health. These activities strengthen the brain, making us better equipped for the effects of aging. They are a method for keeping us emotionally healthy through relaxation, self-discovery, and community. With hundreds of crafts to choose from, there is certainly a way for anybody to begin a hobby that could benefit their health for a lifetime!



Thanks for reading!

This was an assignment I wrote for my freshman English class at UNC last fall. Yes, I did a "two for one" with this paper so it could double as a blog post :)

College has kept me away from the blog for the past 9 months...so I'm very excited to get back to it this summer!

Works Cited

Geda, Yonas E. et. all. 2011. Engaging in Cognitive Activities, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences. [cited 2015 Aug 27]; 23 (2): 6.  Neuropsychology Online [Internet]. American Neuropsychiatric Association Publishing - Available from: http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/jnp.23.2.jnp149#

Mascarelli, Amanda. 2014. Might Crafts Such as Knitting Offer Long-term Health Benefits? [internet]. The Washington Post; [cited 2015 Aug 27]. Available from:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/might-crafts-such-as-knitting-offer-long-term-health-benefits/2014/04/21/d05a8d40-c3ef-11e3-b574-f8748871856a_story.html

Wensley, Charlie. 2015. Finding Me Again [internet]. Seamwork Magazine; [cited 2015 Sept 8]. Available from:https://media.seamworkmag.com/issues/2015/seamwork-2015-09.pdf

Wilson, Jacque. 2015. This is Your Brain on Crafting [Internet]. CNN; [cited 2015 Aug 27]. Available from: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/

2011. CHA Announces 2010 Craft Industry Statistics [Internet]. Craft and Hobby Association; [Cited 2015 Sept 7]. Available from: https://craftandhobby.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/cha-announces-2010-craft-industry-statistics/


Product Spotlight ~ My Favorites

by Amy Draughon


I'm super excited that there are now several items for sale in the Shop!

But I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites. 

Why do I love them so much? 

First off, they are cute and stylish pieces for any wardrobe! 

And even better - they are super comfy! 

The best part: these are great "back to school" clothes that transition effortlessly from summer to fall. 


I LOVE this maxi! In fact I love maxi skirts in general.

What's better than a skirt that makes you look elegant while feeling like your lounging in yoga pants?

My favorite things about this Blue Chocolate Chevron Maxi Skirt are the colors and the feel. 

This blue/brown/beige combo is  fun, flattering, and easy to pair with tops and accessories. 

The knit material is sturdy, but has comfy stretch and flow. 

Blue Chocolate Chevron Maxi Skirt
23.00

*Click for larger images*

Stretch knit maxi skirt, with blue, brown, and tan chevron pattern, slight A-line cut, smooth and comfy!

38 inches in length with a 6 inch fold over waistband

Best for hips 34 to 38 inches, or size medium

Add To Cart

By now you must know that I am obsessed with circle skirts!

They're the easiest way to feel like a 1950's cutie. 

It's the ultimate twirling skirt!

I love the Toile de Jouy Circle skirt's white with green details. It's unique, but simplistic enough to be paired with and has a comfortable stretch waistband. This skirt is great to wear high waisted too!

Toile de Jouy Circle Skirt
30.00

*Click for larger images*

White circle skirt with green designs, lined skirt, with stretch waistband. Full-skirted, versatile, and perfect for warn weather!

Waistband stretches to accomatdate waist/hips measureing between 28 and 36 inches

Skirt length is 20 inches, and hem falls at or slightly above the knee

Add To Cart

This one's for my college kids and mommies ;)

Soft pants are the best for getting dressed without feeling like you took off your pj's!

Wear them with a nice blouse or a statement necklace and you automatically look dressed up!

I love the colors in these Sunset Soft Pants! The strong oranges look like the bright summer sun but the warm reds make you think of pretty autumn leaves...

The rayon material of the pants is soft and very lightweight, making these perfect for transitioning seasons.

Sunset Soft Pants
17.00

*Click for larger images*

Comfy, loose, rayon pants with elastic waist and ankles. Bright, fun, and comfortable!

Size Small/Medium. Fits women's pant sizes approx. 6-10

Add To Cart

Check out more handmade products  in the SHOP including skirts, tops, and dresses!


Buying Fabric... Without Spending a Fortune!

by Amy Draughon


Sewing your own clothes is a fun and rewarding pastime!

However, it is not always the best way to save a little money. In fact, buying some fabrics for your handmade dresses can leave you spending more money on an outfit that took days of work to create, than you would have spent after 2 hours in the mall!

So how can you make sewing a practical skill instead of a money-grubbing hobby?

Easy! Know how to shop...

Have Perspective

When you go fabric shopping, pretend your in the department store. That bolt of blue knit? It's really a long sleeve top. The purple chiffon...is really a frilly dress. 

Sometime we don't equate the fabric we see in the store with the item of clothing it will become. When shopping, think about what you want to make with the fabric, and whether the price you will pay for material is balanced with what it will become. 

For example, you want to make a dress. You will probably need 3 yards of material. Picking the $12.99/yd fabric is going to put the cost of your dress close to $40! And that's not including tax and the worth of your personal labor. Now, going for something on sale that's $5.99/yd is going to make your dress more like $18. 

You want to be super thrifty? Snagging that great deal on clearance fabric plus your coupons for $2/yd will make your dress....*drum roll*.... only $6! 

That's when sewing becomes a money saver. 

Get The Weekly Ads

So if you're going to start looking for fabric at it's best price, the first step is to start getting the weekly ads for your local fabric stores. 

Stores like Joann's and Hancock's offer many ways to stay updated with their sales. Check out their websites to sign up to have ads mailed to you and/or emailed to you.  

Pay attention to sales and coupons. Knowing how to shop is just as important as knowing when to shop. 

Understanding Sales

The trick to finding fabric when it's on sale for a good price, is to understand when a sale is actually a deal. 

One you sign up for weekly ads, you will constantly be bombarded with different sales. It will seem that nearly everything in the store is on sale! 

Keep calm and remember: anything on sale for less than 40% off is not worth getting excited for. 

Why you ask? Because stores usually always offer "40% and 50% off one regular price item" coupons. It would be better to buy that fabric at regular price and use your 50% coupon, than to "take advantage" of the "big" 30% off sale. 

Whenever something is on sale for 60% off or more, that is the time to stock up! These big sales usually occur around the ends of seasons, holidays, and years when stores want to clear out old fabrics. 

Coupons

Coupons can usually be found on a stores website. When you sign up for weekly ads, you will also receive coupons. Coupons for fabric stores take a little bit of thought, and they can often be a little tricky. 

Most coupons have restrictions. It is important to pay attention to whether a coupon applies to all items, only regular price item, or include on sale items. 

It is also often sticky with how many coupons can be applies to an item. For example, some stores won't let you take 50% off an item as well as take 25% off the total purchase. In those cases it is good to think about whether coupons on individual items will be better than a coupon discounting your total purchase. 

Clearance!!

Clearance fabrics are your best friends. This is where you find the greatest deals. Clearance fabrics aren't any less valuable than the regular priced ones. The fabrics that get put on clearance are there because the print has been discontinued and the stores can no longer re-order more of it for their customers. 

Joann's clearance fabrics are stacked on a table in the back and are labeled "Red Tag Fabrics". Often you can find fabric for $4/yd. 

Hancock Fabrics has a similar set up in their store called "Spot The Bolt". Reduced price fabric is stacked and marked with a colored sticker, and the color indicated whether the fabric is 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, or 90% off the original price. 

Walmart Isn't Cursed 

In the fabric world, a lot of the time Walmart gets put down for having cheap material. But cheap doesn't exactly mean bad or unusable. 

Walmart is a good option for projects where high fabric quality is not a necessity. One time costumes, casual crafts, and clothes that will most likely get dirty or grown out of are times when low priced fabric will be your best bet. 

Think Outside The Bolt

Not all fabric is found at the fabric store. In fact, a fun place to go in search of material is the thrift store!

Curtains, bed sheets, and plus size clothing sold at thrift stores at a small cost can give you a nice amount of fabric. My best find was a set of three gorgeous lace curtains I found for $7! I have a few dressed actually made out of pretty floral bed sheets. Large sized full skirts a great too, and a thrifted men's shirt is the perfect size for baby and toddler sewing projects!


Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas for better, simpler fabric shopping.

And some ways to save a little more $$$

Did you like these tips?

Follow the new Fabric Shopping Hacks board on Pinterest for more!

 


Lace Earring Holder DIY

by Amy Draughon


Here are some really easy DIY ideas for your earrings. 

The best part is, they all use one of my most favorite things:

Lace!

For these projects it is easiest to use lace trims. You can buy them by the yard, or sometimes I just buy them from the "remnant grab bags" at Hancock Fabrics. You can also find lace trims on spools at most fabric or craft stores for a few dollars. It's also possible to use lace scraps or cut the scalloped edge off of lace fabric.

Lace is such a pretty way to hang your earrings. It works great for both dangle and stud earrings.  It's a simple and decorative way to organize!

Pin to the Wall

This is how I hang my earrings in my room now. If you have paneling it is easy to use pins or thumbtacks to stick the lace to the wall. 

However, I will soon be moving to a dorm where you can't put things into the walls! So here are some wall-damage free ways:

Cork Board

The next best thing to pinning lace to the wall is to pin it to a cork board! This is also fun because you can leave pegs to hang your necklaces nearby.

Picture Frame

Here's another cute one: use an old frame or a dollar store picture frame!

Take out the backing and glass. Either staple or hot glue the lace to the back of the frame. Have fun laying out the lace in a fun pattern!

It's also great because you can hang it on the wall or find a place to lean it against.

Flower Pot

Lastly, and maybe my favorite, let a flower pot do double duty as a earring holder and as a place to put things.

If desired, paint the flower pot you match your room.

Use hot glue to wrap the lace trim around the edge of the flower pot.

Hang your earrings!

Maybe you've found a new way to display your earrings? I'm not sure which one I'll using in my dorm next month! 


5 Ways Pinterest Can Inspire Your Sewing

by Amy Draughon


If you're like me, there's no doubt that a huge part of your summer will be spent on Pinterest, pinning all things pretty!

Although it's extremely addicting, Pinterest is incredibly useful for organizing, researching, and stimulating your creativity. 

But did you know Pinterest can be a sewing fanatic's best friend?

1. Visual Inspiration 

When you create your own designs, one image can be all it takes for you to construct a new piece of clothing. Pinterest is an excellent tool for this! The whole site is based on images!

When you see a picture of a dress, skirt, or outfit that you like, pin it! Make a specific board where you compile images of clothing you feel like you could or would like to recreate. 

Having all these images in one place is super helpful when you've got some pretty fabric and no idea what to do with it. Just go back to your inspiration board and pick something that catches your eye!

My Sewing Inspiration Board is probably my most utilized board (aka: hours of pinning actually pay off!). Check it out!

2. Tutorials and How To's

Pinterest is a great place to find tutorials and sewing tips! I love how you can search a topic or skill and instantly find links to blogs, info graphics, and quick image tutorials. 

Pinterest helps filter all the information out there, and lets you see it all at once. It eliminates having to click though Google search results and condenses everything so you can look though visual results sorted by popularity. 

It also nice to be able to keep handy any clear explanations, videos, or tutorials and instructions that have worked for you in the past. Here our some of My Favorites.

3. Color

Have some fabrics and not sure how the colors will look together? Use Pinterest!

I love looking up color combos! It's super addicting! This is great for studying color pallets, outfit coordinating, and what colors works for which seasons. 

With fabric I have on hand, sometimes I'll search "grey lace dress" and "grey lace top" to see which looks better or is more versatile.

4. Detailing & Design

Sometimes I pin clothing not because it's my style, but to keep as a reference for it's design or the details. 

High quality photos of clothes are great to use to study clothing structure and pattern construction. Compiling images of clothing with unique uses of trims, layering, hems, or textures makes a great reference. Also, you can use Pinterest to visualize the look of different fabric prints and patterns, as well as types of necklines, sleeve, and skirt lengths - before you start sewing!

I often look at Pinterest when working with plaids and stripes, to decide if I like horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines. It's good for color-blocking, pocket location, and figuring out the look of eras and styles.

I pin a lot of detail oriented images to my Sewing Inspiration board, but I did a good amount of pinning for my Prom-sperations too.

5. Friends

I can't tell you how many times I've had a Birthday/Christmas party with friends and we've said "I got you this because I saw on Pinterest that you really like ...."

It's easy to connect and follow your friends on Pinterest, which is a fantastic way to be in the know on their fashion loves and personal style. 

It is so fun to check out a friend's clothing board to look for inspiration for a gift, and it exposes you to new fashions you may have never tried!


Are you on Pinterest? 

Follow Dressed Like A Dream to get tutorials, inspiration, tips, DIY, sewing hacks and blog updates straight to your feed! 

FOLLOW HERE

Dressed Like A Dream would love to follow you back!

Happy pinning!


Graduation Dress

by Amy Draughon


Let me introduce you to my new favorite dress:

IMG_5920.JPG

It's funny how things work out....

I got this beautiful fabric as a birthday present, back in October. 

Somehow things kept getting in the way of me sewing with it.

I'd originally wanted it to be a Christmas dress...then Valentine's Day...then a spring dress...

I guess it's fitting that the fabric ended up as my Graduation Dress, with school being the thing that monopolized most of my time and energy this past year! 

In the end, I'm glad it took this long! I am absolutely in love with this dress!

The bodice is an improved version of my prom dress. The skirt is gathered and it zips in the back. It was amazing how the dress coordinated perfectly with my graduation regalia!

(But so that you don't think I'm too sentimental about high school, I'll let you know that the real reason graduation needed a special dress was because there was a vintage themed after-party)

Now that I've been a high school graduate for a`few weeks, this feeling of being in-between is hitting hard.

Like yesterday when I had to schedule my next dentist appointment:

I realized I had no idea what days of the week or times of day I would be available in a few months. It was exciting - but a little unnerving - to think that I would no longer be in school from 8:45 to 4:05 every weekday!

For now, I'll enjoy this summer of in-between.

I'm anxious to prepare, ready to start something new, but sad to let go...and at the same time I'm nervous about what's ahead and reluctant to leave old things behind.

IMG_5928.JPG
IMG_5924.JPG

Well, at least I've got a pretty dress to accompany me.

And that's all you really need right?

;)


Fashions I Want to Try This Spring

by Amy Draughon


I don't know about you, but I have been ready for spring for what feels like forever!!

I'm ready for warm weather, flowers, and blue skies. 

And more than anything, I'm ready for bright, spring fashions!

One of the best things about sewing is that you can test out fashions without too much shopping hassle and money wasting.

Simply grab some spare fabric, make a pattern and test that style out!

Not to mention you can customize to your shape, height, and comfort level when you're in control of your clothing.

Here are the Spring/Summer styles I want to test out:

Rompers

Hopefully these will still be cool this year, I never got around to it last summer. 

I'm not sure if I have the body type to pull this off, but I find rompers so adorable that I just can't help but want to give them a shot! 

Plus, it's impossible to find rompers with longer shorts in stores, so I'm excited to try out something new!

Printed Colorful Shorts

The hardest thing about wearing knee-length shorts....is finding them! It's literally impossible - you're better off cutting up the pant legs of your old jeans. 

Since I'm not ready to sew my own jean shorts, I'm going to try bright, print shorts made of silky polyester and chiffon. 

Crop Tops

Don't freak out, I'm not about to bare my mid-drift to the world! 

I am in love with the look of lower cut crop tops paired with high waisted skirts and shorts. It's so sleek and gets rid of all the extra bulk of a tucked in shirt. They are great for layering too!

I'm hoping to make a few in knits...maybe even lace? 

BoHo

Okay, Pinterest has got me obsessed with the Bohemian look! It's so dreamy and relaxed, but effortlessly chic!

I'm absolutely seeing more maxi's, lace, braids, and headbands in my future!

...

What fashions are you going to embrace in this beautiful warm weather?

I'm excited to share photos and tutorials about these styles soon!

Enjoy the sunshine :)


Prom Dress Planning!

by Amy Draughon


Prom is 2 weeks away! 

And if you didn't already guess...I am making my own prom dress.

The planning process has taken many ups and downs and whole lot of decision making. 

And don't forget Pinterest planning.

The first challenge was choosing a color.

For the past couple years I've ad my heart set on olive green. Something to match my eyes and compliment the red in my hair. 

But I also considered yellow, purple, and coral. I kinda wanted something bright and springy. 

Mom and I went to Southpoint Mall to try on dresses, looking at colors and styles.  I liked this dark purple color. But I also tried one that had a grey-green tint to it that I really loved. Structurally my favorite was this blue one with tapered layered skirt. 

I went to both Joann's and Hancock's twice to look over all the fabrics and take in my options. 

The second time around at Joann's I bought this: 

"Olive Night Peachskin"

I got 3 yards of the Silky Solid and 1 yards of the Basic Suiting. I planned to use these for lining and find matching chiffon to make a flowy gown.  

I ordered 5 yards of chiffon online via Stylish Fabrics. I was very pleased with the prices and the prompt shipping from L.A. to NC. They even added a free tote bag and measuring tape in my package!

The only problem was that the fabric color was not what I wanted. 

(I highly suggest that anyone using Stylish Fabric should order samples, if color matching is a priority. The photos online and the actual fabric are nowhere close to being the same color. The only reason I didn't order samples was because it would have cost me $7 and shipping time.)

This green chiffon didn't go with the fabric I bought at Joann's at all. And I didn't look good in the green chiffon because it was too bright and missing the brown/gold undertones. 

Sorry for the grainy photo...but you can tell the shades don't match!

Sorry for the grainy photo...but you can tell the shades don't match!

So with the chiffon fail and not wanting to order any more, I went to plan B. 

I ordered the last 2 yards of Olive Night Suiting from Joann.com. I decided to work with what I had, because I did really love the Olive Night's color and texture (and was sad when I thought I was going to cover it all up in chiffon).

But that night I started thinking about a dress with a less full skirt and realized that if I did that, I already had enough fabric. I suddenly remembered some pretty brown lace I had in my fabric stash too! I was starting to regret the $20 Joann splurge to by fabric I might actually not need.

And then a wonderful thing happened: Joann's emailed me to say they had refunded my order because they were out of stock of Olive Night!

Now that I had my materials set, I was ready to start finalizing my dress pattern!

I made some rough shells of my dress ideas with some spare fabric. I spent a ton of time playing around with the fabrics and draping.  

IMG_5543[1].JPG

There's more than just these pictures. I honestly played dress up with my fabrics for 3 days.

You know when you were 7 and wrapped your towel under your arms and pretended you where at the Oscars? Yep, that was me this week...

The plan now is a princess seam bodice fit through the waist with a fabric belt and long 1/4 circle skirt with lace overlay. 

^ but as you can tell, my plans might change at any moment ;)

The one thing not decided on yet is the sleeves! What do you think...subtle poof or flutter sleeves?


How Much Fabric to Buy: Rules of Thumb for Shopping

by Amy Draughon


So you're at the fabric store, not searching for anything in particular, just having a look around. Suddenly you spot something in the corner! It's so pretty, so perfect, it was meant for you! You snatch up that bolt and rush to the cutting counter. 

"How much would you like?" the lady asks.

Your mind goes blank. How much? How much do I want?

As someone who never uses commercial sewing patterns, knowing how much fabric to buy is a regular determination I have to make. It's all in my head, there's not pattern envelope with all the numbers laid out for me.

What's a girl to do? Here are a few factors to consider. 

What are you making?

The best way to make a good guess on how much material to buy is to know what you want to make with the fabric. A shirt? Skirt? Dress? Knowing what you hope to make narrows down your choices quickly. Refer to the Quick Cheat Sheet at the end of this post!

Keep in mind that certain shapes take up more fabric than others. For example, skirts made of rectangular pieces will fit onto a rectangular cut of fabric really well, and use up almost all of the material. However, a circle skirt will take more fabric to fit it's shape onto, and will leave you with a good amount of scrap fabric leftover. Thinking about the rough design for what you're making will help you decide whether you need a conservative amount or if you need to over estimate on your yardage.

Also, if you ever have doubts, add a half yard. I've found it's better to pay a few more dollars for an extra half yard, than to start working with the fabric and end up wishing I'd bought more of it. 

I Don't Know What I'm Making!

Okay, but what if you don't know what you're making? You just found some pretty fabric that could become anything!

My suggestion is to buy 2 or 2.5 yards. This is a good number that could give you room to make a blouse with some leftovers, a skirt that's long or shot, or a simple dress. 

However, if the fabric you've found is on sale for a great bargain price (Less than $2/yd) buying 3 yards or more is a good plan. When I find fabric I like for less than a dollar I usually buy 4 yards. It gives you plenty of material that you can experiment with...without wasting any money!

How Wide is the fabric?

Something to think about when guessing how much fabric to buy is to look at how wide the fabric is. Most fabric is sold at widths of 44"/45", 56"/58", and 60". There will be a number on the label of the bolt telling you how wide the fabric is.

The bigger widths (56" and higher) can usually get more use out of them because pattern pieces can fit better in the space. On the other hand, 44"/45" wide fabric is smaller and I usually have to split up pattern pieces to make them fit.

For example I can cut a whole circle skirt in one piece with just 1.67 yards of 56", 58", or 60" wide fabric. But if the fabric is 45" wide, I have to split the skirt into two half circles and buy 3.33 yards. 

Quick Cheat Sheet:

Here's a quick chart...keep in mind that these numbers are based off my size (medium/8 dress size) but they will work fine for any sizes close to mine. 

Pin it so you won't forget it ;)

After a while, you will be able to very quickly come up with yardages. Things that you make often will be numbers you remember and know off the top of your head!

Happy Shopping! 



#UNC19 1960's Dress + TUTORIAL

by Amy Draughon


I am so excited to start wearing this dress more when the warm weather comes!

The 50's are my favorite decade of fashion...but this dress has me thinking the relaxed dresses of the 60's aren't too bad either!

I love the lace on the neckline! And this flowery pattern just screams spring!

The ruffle happened...well...because this was originally supposed to be a shirt!

But then I made it too long for a shirt, so I thought it might a well become a dress. 

The ruffle added just enough length to make it fun and bouncy!

I also added a small elastic detail to the back, to give it a little more shape in the waist. 

TUTORIAL: How To Make The Dress

I made this dress using my Basic 3 Piece Pattern

Cut both your back and front bodice pieces on the fold of your fabric. Modify the pattern by drawing a diagonal line extending from the point right under the arm hole. 

A longer line will make your dress longer. A bigger angle will make the dress bigger and more flowing. Make a line for the bottom of the dress that curves slightly (rather than being straight and creating pokey corners) into the center on the fold line. 

Do this for both back and front pieces. (I find it easier to double fold my fabric, cut 2 back pattern pieces and then use my front pattern to cut out the neckline on one of them).

Next we will put darts in the dress on the front piece. Roughly pin your pattern pieces together and try the dress on yourself or on a dress form. 

Use pins or chalk to mark where the darts go. Take out a section along the arm hole, that tapers to a point near the fullest part of your bust. 

Sew the darts in place by drawing triangles. Match up the sides, folding the fabric and sew along that line. Iron the seams.

If you want to put lace on your dress, now is the time! Pin the lace to the dress and sew in place. 

Cut your sleeve pattern pieces and sew them into the dress. 

Sew up the sides of the dress (Right Sides Together!). 

It should look like this:

Now add your ruffle hem. Cut long rectangles of fabric and sew them together to create a long strip. 

Gather the top edge of the strip. If you need a quick and easy way, use my How To Gather Fabric Quickly.

Pin in place on the bottom edge of the dress and sew the ruffle on RST. 

Awesome! Finnish all the raw edges with a serger or by hemming. 

It's ready to wear!

This dress and tutorial are part of my submission to the #UNC19 Celebration Contest. Original post HERE


#UNC19 Blue Lace Dress

by Amy Draughon


I kinda feel like Elsa wearing blue out in the snow...

Gosh I wish it were spring! 

I am ready for bright colors and lace and florals!

IMG_5272.JPG

This dress is part of my submission to the #UNC19 contest. 

I've been saving this pretty pale blue lace for a while now. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

But my acceptance in to UNC made it obvious....I needed a Carolina blue dress!

I can't wait to wear this around campus next fall!

I love using lace and a lining! It makes it so easy to have clean edges by using the lining as a facing throughout the dress. 

I made this dress using the Basic 3 Piece Pattern. Assemble the pattern pieces as you normally would: Right sides together starting with the shoulder seams, then the sleeves, and then sew up the sides. 

The skirt is a half circle skirt. Combine the top and the skirt, leaving a seam allowance about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch wide. 

Gather the waist by stretching braid elastic along the seam allowance between the skirt and top. If you stretch out the elastic as you sew, when the elastic relaxes it will gather the fabric (similar to a Wide Elastic Waistband). 

If you haven't Liked my status on Facebook, you can do so HERE. I can win by either having the most creative idea or by getting the most likes....So every little bit helps!


Celebrating #UNC19 by Sewing in Carolina Blue

by Amy Draughon


As many of you know, a few weeks ago I was accepted into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill! 

I don't think I've ever been so happy, excited, and relieved!

I am so ready to attend my dream school this fall!

UNC19

Well, UNC is having a small contest on social media: #UNC19 Celebration Contest. 

Basically, find a creative way to express your excitement for Carolina in a picture or video. Post it on Facebook and Twitter. 

The winners are determined by most creative idea and most Likes. 

Care to like my post of Facebook? Click HERE

Thanks everyone for all your love and support!

More pictures and details about these dresses soon :)


Handmade Clothes for Sale (on Facebook)

by Amy Draughon


I hope you've had a good Holiday Break!

I know I'm reluctant to get back in the routine of normal life.

But it's a new year!

And a new year calls for new clothes!

New clothes... for YOU!

I've been busy sewing over Christmas.

And sometimes, designing and sewing for only yourself gets pretty lonely.... (as well as eats at your wallet!)

So I've decided to sell some of my creations over Facebook!

Each item is unique and a one-of-a-kind. 

More details are on Facebook about the designs and the sizing of each piece. 

There's only one of each item, in one size.

Maybe it's destined for you?

Links to the Facebook page are at the top left hand corner of this screen. 

Go there for more details!


Making Custom Sewing Labels with Spoonflower

by Amy Draughon


Last month I finally got  myself some sewing labels!

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but the cost and shipping time were putting me off. 

If I could do anything, I'd have gotten woven labels. The only problem is that they can be a pretty significant investment: $300-$500 for quality labels. The cheapest woven labels I could find on Etsy were about $30.

So I took a different approach. Using Spoonflower, I had fabric printed with my web address that I cut and sewed into labels. 

Spoonflower is an online fabric shop and design site. They let you upload your designs, images, text, and photos and have them printed onto fabric. I live near Spoonflower, so I've actually been there and seen how they print the fabric - it's a neat process to watch!

Using PicMonkey (free photo editing) I created a text design. I had to play with the ratios a little bit, but it was pretty simple. Then I uploaded the image to Spoonflower and selected the tile option to have the label's image repeated on the fabric. I fixed the sizing so each label would be 2''x 3'' and then ordered a fat quarter printed on the basic cotton. 

My total was $10.50 - for 63 labels!

I was super excited to get this package in the mail!

I went with black and white. I didn't want any colors to clash with my creations, or be to girly for boy's clothes. 

Creating a perfect label is not easy. But with practice and a good ironing it isn't too bad.

Then sew it into your clothing item around the edges! 

There's no satisfaction like sewing your mark into handmade clothing :)


The Tardis Skirt & Costume

by Amy Draughon


Of all my Halloween costumes this fall, my favorite has been my Tardis outfit!

What's even better is that it did double duty as my Character Day costume for my school's Spirit Week AND as my Halloween costume AND the skirt is just great for everyday wear!

combine_images Tardis skirt.jpg

I got the fabric while out shopping for Disney costume material. I spotted the Tardis Blue in the remnant bin, and bought it hoping I could make do with just 1.5 yards. 

I had much higher aspirations for the costume. It was originally going to be a dress. Then the limited amount of fabric cut it down to a suspender strap skirt with Tardis window pockets and embellishments. 

But after making just the skirt, I loved it too much to risk ruining it!

It's a half circle skirt, with an elastic waistband and zipper in the back. (My first time doing those two together!)

IMG_4631.JPG

Since I decided to forgo the pockets and decor for the sake of preserving a cute everyday skirt, I incorporated the Tardis with a scarf. I sewed white rectangles on with black thread for windows. The lettering was  painted freehand with acrylic paint. 

IMG_4722.JPG

Luckily each time I wore the costume I was accompanied by The Doctor.

My friend was the Ninth Doctor (Fantastic costume!) on Character Day.

Character day.jpg

And my brilliant little brother was the Tenth Doctor! (click the link for more on his costume)

So there's the inside scoop on my new favorite skirt. Funny how things work out :)