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Welcome

Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Pretty Little Project Bag


With all these projects coming out my ears - from dolls, to knitting, crochet, patchwork and even a pinafore waiting to be sewn, I decided a project bag was a must. Of course after my above list you might think I need ten or twenty project bags! But one would do for starters. 

I wanted a draw string bag, it just seemed to most sensible to me. Zippers can be dangerous for yarn.
The draw string allows the bag to open up big and wide to stuff it full of crafty things and then be drawn up to hang on the wall for storage. It also is rather fabulous for taking out and about!

I made my project bag up in a morning. No I am not some kind of freak-patchwork-speedster...I wanted a colourful, inspiring bag and I knew I wanted pom-poms. So when rifling through my project bucket, I found this patchwork block that was supposed to be the start of a quilt. That quilt is still off in pixie land with a lot of my other ideas, so I decided I wanted to see this block more often and a bag it became! It makes me so happy just to look at it.


On the back, I chose a print that would go with all the colours on the front and added this stitched girl I made a year or so ago. Here is the link to her post, my photos have improved somewhat since then! 

She now finally has a place to live. I've got a stack of drawings I've been meaning to turn into stitcheries and then maybe one day patterns. 

It's always been important to me to have a pretty bag lining. You know how sometimes jeans come with the inside band in a pretty floral? That always makes me happy. So bags are the same. You don't see the inside much but when you do, it has got to make you smile!!


I think I am best friends with pom-poms. I can't get enough of them. I even have a pom-pom rug.
So I stuck some on the bag. That sentence isn't refined but with pom-poms, you don't have to be.
They are casual creatures. I had a pom-pom spider once. From the school fete. It had googly eyes, pipe cleaner legs and bounced on a piece of elastic from what looked like a bamboo skewer.
We go way back, pom-poms and I.


Of course the bag is already holding way too many things. Which means I need to make another one!
Do you have a project bag?

Megan x


PS. I will blog about my knitting, the gorgeous yarn is from Say! Little Hen



6 comments

Friday, 21 July 2017

Meet Rosella | Handmade Doll


Meet Rosella! I decided I needed some creative time the other day, so I pushed aside my lengthy to-do lists and decided to make a doll. I've been enjoying doing some stitching lately so my plan was to make a doll with an embroidered face. Quite time-consuming but it was nice playing with the silky threads and while I stitched I thought about what kind of doll this would be.



Lately I have really wanted to add more dolls to my store so that alongside my patterns and kits, there were dolls available for good homes. I love making dolls, it's like making a little person. Each comes with his or her own personality, and as I discovered with Rosella, that isn't always up to me, the dollmaker. Have you ever tried to write a story? Well if you have, you may have noticed the characters don't always do what you want them to! Rosella was a bit the same. While I was stitching away I was envisioning this sweet, demure little doll with possibly blonde hair and a cute party dress. It wasn't long before she had ideas of her own, and this cheeky mischievous girl arrived! Thankfully I was soon reconciled to Rosella and decided to go with the flow. 

She has underwear- it's cold right now so I thought she could do with some! Her little undershirt is from a thrifted vintage sheet and her little knickers are sweetly embroidered. Her hair is a glorious mix of pink and fawn locks - Rosella has been causing a bit of hair envy on Instagram.


Her little peasant top is comfortable, Rosella didn't seem the type to wear restrictive clothing. She is a bit of a free spirit, creative and a little bit wild. Her little blouse is made in a dusty pink lawn and her skirt is actually linen. I felt she needed a scarf and this is an absolutely squishy soft Japanese double gauze that I had saved in my stash. Only the best for my dolls! It has tiny babushkas and apples dancing across the fabric.

I started stitching a sweet little fox which was originally meant to be incorporated into a dress of some kind but again Rosella changed her mind, and so I stitched it into a carry-bag for her. Her grey socks would be my favourite part of her attire, but the bag trumps them by its ability to hold things. I couldn't resist! I cut two 5in fabric squares as Rosella sized fat quarters - that's right, she is a crafter and has just been shopping! I thought the future owner of the doll could either leave them in her bag or being a 5inch square, take them out and create something with them. She also has a "skein of yarn" and a sewing journal, somewhere for her to capture her ideas!



I asked my friend Ulla for name suggestions and among them, was Rosella. Perfect I thought! It's a nature inspired name. If you don't live in Australia, you may not know that we have beautiful native birds here that carry that name. They are often seen in pairs, feeding on the honey in the blossoms. A Rosella is also a plant and flower that we grow in the garden and it makes the prettiest jam, that you use with savoury dishes. It also makes a beautiful cordial and tea!


She was a tricky doll, took hours and hours to make and sigh, even broke a needle on my machine!
However I think she was sending me a message, telling me to let go, let the creativity go where it wants and more importantly, drop the perfectionist tendencies. I really love this little doll, and hope that she will find a home with someone who needs a Rosella in their life.

She is already causing mischief, I caught her on the sewing machine this afternoon trying to make some friends!


If you would like to adopt Rosella, you can find her in my store.
Shipping is available worldwide, if you need any assistance, please contact me, I am happy to help!

Megan x

2 comments

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Here & Now 11


Here & Now July 2017

Loving // Having no really serious creative deadlines - freeeedommmmm!!

Eating //  Breakfast Pasta - yes! Cook up some mushrooms + greens + bacon if you dare in a pan, with lots of butter. Add cooked pasta, preferably long. Get it all buttery and saucy, serve. Fry an egg, throw on top with grated cheese and let the runny yolk work it's magic.....it's delicious and not naughty at all...if you remember not to eat another full-blown meal for dinner :-)

Drinking //  A Turmeric Latte I found at the supermarket- it's basically turmeric, ginger, black pepper and cinnamon. I make it in a saucepan with some milk and water each day and I swear it is helping my shoulder a bit! Turmeric - and the other ingredients for that matter - are anti-inflammatory...

Feeling //  Creatively peaceful...all is right with the world just now.

Making //  Okay! I am making another pattern - Freckles the Fox and I also cut out a medium weight winter fabric I have had forever. I love winter layers and plan on making another pinafore for myself. The fabric reminds me of The little grey rabbit. I am also making a baby storybook for a gift, using this pattern. 

Wearing //  A fifties style pettiskirt arrived in the mail this week, I can't wait to make a dress to go with it!!

Thinking //  With the world news in the background, and the young son of a friend of my Mum's in a critical state after a bad horse riding accident, I think it's important to always be grateful for what we have and realize that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Also, that craft is my therapy.

Dreaming // Of being lucky enough to have another fabulous fabric find like I did on Saturday! I got a bundle of vintage fabrics! I never find anything like that at our local markets and this is the first time I have had vintage fabric to work with. It's a bit dusty and needs a wash but that's okay!

Creatively Inspired

1. This adorable little pig pattern! Seriously, can you get any cuter???
2. Can't decide whether these are funny to give as a gift or just a little rude lol!
3. I'm knitting this pattern at the moment

What is happening in your Here & Now?


Here & Now is inspired by Sarah of the Say! Little Hen blog. Join in with your blog! Share your Here & Now link over on Sarah's blog :-) Sarah has also introduced an INSTAGRAM Here & Now Link up this month for those who prefer it!

Megan x

10 comments

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Meet Freckles the Fox

Meet Freckles the Fox! Her design has been on the radar for awhile, but it was the secret collaboration with Kellie that pulled her to the front of the queue. I have a few things to finish up before I can reveal all (ooooooooooh) but I couldn't help letting you meet Freckles while we wait.

I often think my view is funny about foxes. You see, we don't have them in this neck of the woods but further south, they cause a great deal of calamity for unsuspecting chickens and their owners. Having chickens myself, the fox probably shouldn't be highly regarded by me, however I grew up loving animals and in their proper place, foxes are rather amazing little creatures. They also lend themselves rather well to creative work - that magnificent rust red and iconic paint dipped tail! A bit like bunnies (which are such a pest here, you cop a whopping fine for even keeping a pet one) it isn't the foxes fault that they were introduced into a country that was not their own. Livestock aside, I love foxes and rabbits!



I researched a lot of different foxy looks before coming up with Freckles - there are a lot of fabulous foxy dolls out there and there really is only one colourway for a fox so making something different was tricky. Finally I shrugged my shoulders and decided as Freckles was kicked off from my Washi Fox pattern that I would design her to resemble Washi Fox as best I could.




I did up a mock-up version - always a good idea with new designs - that helped me finalize her head shape. The fabric I used made her look like she'd eaten one too many funny mushrooms but that is what ugly fabric is good for - making up a test version before taking the plunge with one's 'real' fabric!

I have yet to create a pattern, that is to say, write the pattern and professionalise the pattern pieces but for now, say hi to Freckles - she is a new friend for Hazel and while they might not have braids to plait, they can play wardrobe swap! Freckles was originally supposed to have a top and skirt but when I was making it, she said "no, Megan, no! I fancy a sixties style dress..." So I paid attention to this and this is what we ended up with. I am actually rather envious of her little a-line dress, it's quite fun! I design my patterns to be simple for everyone to make, while having maximum visual impact so I can't wait to release this rather foxy girl, complete with her headband and dress pattern. I checked too, and Hazel looks great in the dress!

Stay foxy,
Megan x
4 comments

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bunny knitting and other animals

I want to say thank you so much to everyone who left comments on the last couple of blog posts, I will be getting back there to reply soon, I read them all and really enjoy hearing your thoughts. I went to respond the other day and for some reason blogger wouldn't let me so I will try again soon. The last week has been a bit of a whirlpool. I've had July 1 as my deadline for having my website and products up and running for so long, knowing that the week leading up to that date would be the most intense. And it was. I was still uploading products 6 pm Saturday night. 


My website finally looks the way I've always dreamed it looking and I reached my goal date, which is an achievement in itself. After such a tech-heavy week though, I am pining for a bit of creative down time. Sunday I picked up some knitting I had laid aside. I've loved the Little Cotton Rabbits patterns for so long, I decided to have a go at making one! I'm definitely not an experienced knitter, I've done a teeny tiny bit and that was a long time ago. However I've never ever been able to learn a new skill on a 'boring' project, so my tendency to pick patterns above and beyond my skill level always causes a few headaches but I wouldn't have it any other way. I decided I needed to just embrace the fact I'd make mistakes and so stopped pulling my knitting apart every time I made one. This bunny will have flaws. Once I've finished knitting one in cotton I want to reward myelf by making one in this beautiful soft yarn from Say! Little Hen - it's Australian Alpaca and gosh it is so nice. 

The bunny is worked in DK/8ply and the dress and shoes are in 4ply. I'm using this beautifully soft organic wool to make her tights, shoes and dress. There is something so nice about working with wool!

Sarah recommended I try knitting awhile ago, as it is a different action than crochet. Unfortunately as much as I love crochet, it currently really fires up my right wrist, arm and shoulder. Knitting doesn't, if anything it's my left arm that gets a bit cranky and as it doesn't have an injury, it's nothing more than a bit of general stiffness after sitting for too long. My arm is getting much better, it's just very slow. I've worked out on days I can't make anything or do computer work, that I can just tidy or do photography instead. Trying to have a business around it has been tricky, as some weeks it just won't behave. So I have gotten better at not planning but just doing. Doing when it's happy and then swapping to other tasks when it isn't. For someone who finds crafting plays a huge part in how I handle stress and anxiety, it can be quite tough when I can't be creative.


I really enjoyed getting my little clothing collection up, but I am excited to be able to get back into some pattern making. I worked on Freckles the Fox today - she will be a softie doll to match the Washi Fox Cushion pattern I published in June. I've sped up my pattern making process a little now. Previously, I would just work on the new idea and then have to make another item specifically to photograph for the pattern. As I've ironed out a lot of my bumps and wrinkles along the way, I have finally become a bit more efficient so should be able to get more patterns published in a shorter amount of time. Oh it's so nice to get to that point!


Tomorrow is craft day, I will pack up some little hand projects and drive over to one of the beautiful lakes here to spend half the day crafting. Completely unplugged, surrounded by others who just love to make things. It's so relaxing. There isn't any emails, social media or other distractions. There could be I guess, but I don't use the internet on my phone. I don't like to be wired in at all times. There's so many things you can miss when staring at a screen instead of looking around, and I look at my screen enough when I'm at home. I often wonder how people are going to keep making incidental friends or conversation. So many people, particularly in my age group, seem to be physically attached to their phone. Guess we'll have to text each other instead.... "hello, sorry for breaching your wifi connection but could you please tell me which way the such-and-such is?" lol!


May the fabric be with you,
Megan x

5 comments

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dresses to Eat Cake In

I have been driving family members crazy for years with my "maybe I should make women's clothing....maybe I shouldn't.." But 2017 is the year I take the proverbial bull by the horns and just do it!! My first collection isn't big at all, but having achieved actually getting a handful of grown-up sized garments up will be a big deal for me. I did it...yay!! I don't want to spend my life being one of those people who only talks about doing stuff...and never does. Do you know one of those?

Anyway, I have quite enjoyed my little foray into women's fashion. I am still discovering my style. I mean, I know my personal style but I mean my design style. I think it is quite whimsical for now. And why not? If you want something ordinary or normal, you can buy those. Fun, imaginative and a little different is harder to find.



I've had comments on my clothes when I wear them out - "ooooh! I love your cat skirt! My friend loves cats, she'd kill for a skirt like that!" Well, hopefully not me, but I understand the meaning behind the words. I was sitting down for a seafood basket when the waitress told me that. Sometimes I get a bit anxious and think "gosh, should I be making a dress in this print? Will someone BUY it?" But comments such as the one the waitress made remind me that if you are nuts for something like cats, you can't really go and just easily find a cat dress or in my case, a skirt.

Having fun with clothes isn't restricted to age - I've had remarks from women in their mature years and shy teenagers.

It can be tricky doing photoshoots for fashion where I live. Which is rural. There aren't trendy cityscapes to get arty with. Barbwire, golden grass, dusty roads is where it is at. For example this afternoon, when modelling my new line I was photobombed by a lowline bull who is visiting while his family moved properties...poor Fergus. Or Fernando or Ferdinand. I can't remember his name, it's one of those three, I think. I am sure he thinks he has moved in with fruit cakes. Quietly chewing his cud and staring at the antics going on before him.

I was also photobombed by a neighbours horse. Who, unsure of my fashion sense, ran around rather wildly, stopping to stare and passing wind as he kicked in the air. Well I couldn't exactly say I was photobombed by a farting horse, could I? Not very glamourous. Except I did just say it. Because I thought it might make you laugh. Let us continue....



I'm not a fan of modelling. In fact, I shy away from the camera. And the makeup and hair routine in order to get respectable lasts forever. I have the patience of a five year old when it comes to those things. I was muttering about this while stitching the hooks and eyes onto dresses while my sister blow-dryed my hair. Really, having to design and sew and model the outfits is too much darling!

I'd like to find models but when I glanced quickly at the modelling agencies, everyone is an (Australian) size 8, with the same hair and eyebrows. I have nothing against size 8 people, in fact after my rather intense photoshoot I was tossing up the idea of only making size 8 clothing so I could skip this modelling part BUT I have long admired Colette patterns, who have always had beautiful photoshoots featuring models of different sizes, ages and ethnic groups. I'm not political or feminist about it at all, I just would like to represent the broad variety of women in my photos so I don't really want to fall into only using standard catalog girls for my clothing. The idea of using a model is that they are trained and easy to photograph...it's not really about a certain look, it's about being comfortable in front of a camera.



I guess this is because I'm designing and making clothing for women. Dresses that you can have fun in, eat cake in and wear on days when you feel like track pants would be a better option. I don't really want to make dresses you need a special set of underwear for or dresses that you can't eat in. I want to make dresses you can go grocery shopping in OR dancing in! Life is too short not to wear fun clothes after all, and finding a functional yet gorgeous dress can be hard sometimes. There are umpteen formal dresses on the market but a favourite Sunday dress that you can wear to the markets or to a restaurant that fits beautifully, covers the bra straps (and your bottom!) while it still looks a little flirty.. is hard to find.

Anyway, not sure if I have covered the brief but I have tried to make unique and fun dress designs that are functional as well. I will be offering a variety of sizes, and after the July 1 launch, I will be trying to add to the collection as inspiration strikes!

I have yet to come up with a name for my collection? Perhaps you have an idea? I'd like something kind of unique and fun!

Megan x


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