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!


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Handmade Linen Romper

I adore linen! I love the texture, and the way it looks so amazing when sewn into little threads!
I wanted to share vintage linen romper I designed + made for a sweet baby boy. It was a custom order - a rarity for me! - and I really loved making it. From the wooden buttons to the beautiful colour, this romper is already a favourite of mine.

Designing and making little clothing is something I absolutely love! I can't do as much as I once did due to physical limitations but I enjoy creating new designs and orders when I can.

If you would like to purchase a handmade outfit, please see my shop here!

So vintage.

Megan xx

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Pretty Handmade Pillowcases

I love vintage caravans. I know that seems like a random sentence when the blog post titled is "Handmade Pillowcases"... but for me, they are connected. I love looking at pictures of cute old caravans, with pretty patchwork bedspreads, bunting, and cushions. It's all so cozy! 

Handmade patchy pillowcases seem to be a perfect addition to this imaginary setting. They go with my mental vision of patchwork quilts hanging on verandah railings in the afternoon or freshly laundered linen on the clothesline, moving in the breeze. Homelike. Comforting. Happy.

When dear friends were going away in August, I decided to make a set of cheerful, colourful patchwork pillowcases as a birthday gift, and to add a splash of colour to their little van. The first case I made using a dresden block I had waiting for the perfect project. I mashed up a whole heap of gorgeous bright fabrics to finish the case.

On the second case, I added a few personal details and appliques over the patchwork that meant something special to the recipients.

I really love how these bright and beautiful cases turned out and they make wonderful gifts - especially when space is limited. I love making pretty but useful gifts! My own bed still has run of the mill pillowcases on it, but I do plan on making some pretty patchwork pillowcases of my own one of these days!

If you fancy making a gorgeous cushion, why not check out my Washi Fox Cushion Cover pattern?
I've also popped a few favourite fabrics from my own stash in the store here.

Megan xx

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Miss Hazel 2017 Pageant Sewing Competition

On December 12, a special little Deer turns 1! That's right, it's Hazel's birthday and she wants to have a little party. Firstly, as any good mother would, I will reflect upon Hazel's first year.

She burst into the world last year, and though she was created many months before her pattern release, I'm counting her pattern launch date as her official birthday because that is when the joy that Hazel brought was first shared with everyone. I casually published Hazel's pattern, with no plans to embark on a pattern making spree. I just wanted to share Hazel with you!

Her pattern enjoyed unexpected success, and Hazel has flown to so many different places, all over the world. These destinations include the USA, the UK, South Africa, Germany and New Zealand. The joy I felt seeing others make my design sparked off the inspiration to publish a further five patterns this year (Croissant to be published soon) and early in the year I knew how I wanted to celebrate Hazel's first birthday.

I thought how amazing would it be to see all the Hazel's from around the world at the end of the year? And the idea behind the Miss Hazel Pageant was born.

To celebrate Hazel's first year as a pattern, together with Hazel's sponsor the gorgeous Cassie from Sew Stitching Happy, we are holding a Miss Hazel 2017 Pageant. Cassie has provided a gorgeous fabric bundle featuring 12 fat quarters as the grand prize and she will also have exclusive fabric bundles in her store for making your own Hazel doll, that Hazel helped her curate!

The pageant will be held on Instagram and is open to Hazel's all over the world, past and present. Have I sparked your interest? Read on for the details on how you can enter!

1. To be eligible to enter the pageant, you must make or have made a Hazel Deer doll using the Dolly Henry Hazel Deer doll pattern. Hazel and Hazel's outfit needs to be in accordance with the pattern, so the pageant is fair. This means she needs to be wearing the original bonnet, cape, dress, and socks design as depicted in the pattern. If you wish to knit a cardigan using the official pattern by Say! Little Hen that is allowed too. Your creativity and choice of materials within these guidelines is up to you! Any Hazel made in the past year may also be entered, in accordance with these rules.

2. A maximum of three Hazel Deer Dolls is allowed per entrant.

To enter the pageant, post a photo of each entry separately on Instagram with the hashtag #misshazeldeer17 and caption the entry with the following: "Miss Hazel Pageant 2017 by @dollyhenryau Sponsored by @sewstitchinghappy - My Hazel Deer Doll is called (put her name here) and she lives (her location) Her special talent is (whatever special talent your doll possesses)"

3. You must be following both @dollyhenryau and @sewstitchinghappy on Instagram

4. Entries are open from October 14th 2017 and close midnight November 14th 2017 AEST. Five finalists will be chosen by a guest judge. From the five finalists, a grand winner will be chosen. The grand winner will be announced on November 18th 2017 via Instagram. The grand prize is a 12 piece fat quarter fabric bundle from Sew Stitching Happy, the official pageant sponsor and a handmade Hazel sized sash and crown from Dolly Henry.

5. The remaining four finalists will be put up on Instagram for the People's Choice Award - an honorary position. The winner of the PCA will be chosen via a voting system on Instagram. The PCA winner will receive a $25 pattern voucher to the Dolly Henry store, valid for 6 months.

T & C’s
This competition is open to International Entries.
The competition closes November 14th 2017 Midnight AEST.
The winners will be announced on Instagram on November 18th 2017.
Only 3 entries are permitted per person. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram. Winner will need to claim prize within 24 hours of announcement or the prize will be redrawn. No exceptions. Dolly Henry is not responsible for the delivery of items offered in this giveaway - each host is responsible for the delivery of their own item. Hosts are not responsible or liable for any loss or damage that occurs during transit. Prizes may not be exchanged for money or vouchers.


Q: Where can I purchase a Hazel Deer pattern?

A: You can find both digital and paper versions of Hazel's pattern in the Dolly Henry store.

Q: I'd like to enter but I don't have an Instagram account?

A: That's fine! You can easily open an account with Instagram here.

Q: If Hazel's birthday is in December why is the pageant being held now?

A: December is a busy time for little Deer, Hazel is one of Santa's favourites and she is too busy helping sew and deliver presents in December to participate in her pageant.


Friday, 29 September 2017

Dolly Henry Wholesale Sewing Patterns

I am so excited to announce that Dolly Henry patterns are now available for wholesale! Owners of brick and mortar or online retail sewing and craft stores are now able to have Hazel and her friends sitting on the shelves. 

The patterns are available in paper, and they have been designed to look just as gorgeous as the completed projects. Each cover tells the story of the project, and has a supply list printed handily on the back, so your customers can shop for supplies while in your shop.

Our first Brick and Mortar stockist in the USA is Quilt n Things Fibre Arts in California. Hazel is so excited to be living at owner Lana's amazing store, with all those pretty fabrics and yarns. 

If you have a retail store and are interested in becoming a Dolly Henry stockist, please email Megan here with your store information! Or if you would like to see your local craft/quilt/fabric store stock our products, ask for our patterns in store.

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Monday, 25 September 2017

Pretty Handmades Book Showcase | Molly and Mama


I was so excited when Lauren Wright from Molly and Mama asked if I'd be interested in joining in her online book tour, showcasing the beautiful projects from her debut book, Pretty Handmades. After all, it's not every day one gets an opportunity like this!

Lauren lives at the far end of the state (Queensland), in a small rural town just north of Toowoomba. It's no surprise beautiful blooms are a constant source of inspiration for Lauren - given Toowoomba itself has a Carnival of Fowers each year! All her designs are the essence of feminity and charm, if you don't follow Lauren on Instagram, make sure you look her up @mollyandmama - each one of her projects features stunning florals and dainty attention to detail, that will have you reaching for your needle and thread in a jiffy.

So what was my initial impression of the book when the parcel arrived? In truth, I was gobsmacked. I knew it'd be pretty special, knowing Lauren's style, but I was thrilled at the size and layout of the book itself. Other books I have from this publisher have always been a little smaller, however Pretty Handmades is a generous A4 which is so much easier for reading and following the project instructions. From the cover design to the little tea party and floral details on the pages, this book is instantly inspiring. The pages have a beautiful matte feel, which is very on trend right now and my personal preference.

It was hard to choose, but in the end I decided to make the Honey Hive Stitchy Book and the Posie Patchwork Pouch. There are loads of projects to choose from, and I can see this book getting a bit of use for Christmas gift making! I'd recommend Pretty Handmades to beginners as well as experienced sewists. The front section has a detailed how-to section for the techniques used in the book. I've purchased craft books before that just assume the reader knows what the techniques are and this has caused me all sorts of drama. I always feel that a book should have more detailed instructions than just purchasing a pattern, and I am so glad that Lauren included these in her book!

Tilda Australia kindly provided me with some fabrics to use for my Pretty Handmade's projects. I loved the Honey Hive Stitchy Book from the outset and just knew I'd have to make one! There is something so sweet about bees and flowers, and Lauren has captured this in a useful little needlebook perfectly. I changed a couple of things on mine, to suit my own needs. It was so much fun to make, and it will be nice to have such a pretty case to use.

I went with a blue floral for the front and a honey-colored hive - my bee is pink because why not?
I still struggle a bit with perfectionism vs perfect stitches. Somedays, my decorative hand stitching is neat as a pin and other days, my goodness....they have a mind of their own! They aren't terrible, but they don't have military precision either. I just let my stitches go these days and if it really bothers me, I undo them. The felt flowers make a gorgeous addition to the cover, and I added some french knots to the hive for good measure.

I added a pocket to the back cover of my Honey Hive...I loved the sweet stitched details in the book but I have a habit of wanting my scissors, needles, and threads all in one place when I am doing hand stitching, so I put some pockets on the back that will fit some different things in them. Seeing as crochet is also something I cart around, I made room for a couple of crochet hook pockets. 

I was nervous about the binding...curved binding! Argggggghhhh! 
Turns out I am a drama queen. It wasn't hard at all, thanks to Lauren's excellent instructions. My binding, like my decorative stitching, hasn't reached that highly coveted pedestal of perfection yet (maybe it's overrated?) But it was pretty forgiving of my bumbling ways...pardon the pun.

I was a good girl and followed the pattern for the first page of the interior...and it's so cute! I love the little details, the lace, and the buttons. It's just so nice to have a needle book that is so darn pretty. It's almost the needle-case equivalent of wearing matching underwear! It's not necessary but it just makes you feel like you've got your life together.....okay maybe not but we can pretend!!

I rebelled when it came to page two...okay not rebelling as such but I decided to make the honey hive pin cushion the star of the show. The reason I didn't do what I was told, is because I have this bee fabric in my stash, and it's honestly my absolute favorite so I hadn't cut into it yet but how could I not use it for this project of all things? I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I let such a thing happen! So I strategically positioned the hive on the fabric so it looked like the bees were buzzing around it...
clever much? 

I actually like bees in real life too, I will add here. Lots of people scream but seeing as I haven't been stung by one, I am quite happy to be in close proximity of a rose and it's honey-gathering friends.


Before we go onto the pouch, let us pause here to stare at the other project I really wanted to make...and will in the future! 

The Posie Patchwork Pouch.....

Ah now I have always assumed boxy pouches must be things of nightmares as far as sewing and zippers go but turns out I am again guilty of being overly dramatic in my thinking....

Because this pouch was easy! Of course I credit Lauren for skillfully guiding me through the project, with her wonderful instructions and photo guides for those of us who still need pictures in their books....

I was naughty and didn't hand quilt mine, but can I pull the 'my shoulder was sore" excuse here. Hand stitching just aggravates it sometimes and I am a speed queen on the machine so I machine quilted mine. Again, the girl who doesn't quilt has been found doing it again....

I used my Tilda to patch this pretty together, and I have never sewn with a lace zipper before but my goodness they are a breeze compared to ordinary zippers. Not that ordinary zippers are bad...I will not be one of those makers responsible for scaring beginners off zippers...they aren't as bad as everyone says they are you know! Unless you are making a couture gown and putting in an invisible zip...that might be a bit fright-inducing!

Presenting, my first boxy pouch!

So easy to make, I will be returning for more!

Also, it is surprising how much this pouch can's like a veritable Mary Poppins bag!

Oh by the way, my stitches behaved for the pouch.....

This concludes my makes for the Pretty Handmades Book Showcase...
I could have kept making more things if I had the time! 

Now, I hope I have convinced you to buy this amazing book because it's such a lovely book, I consider it community service to recommend it to you! You can pre-order a copy here.

Lauren's gorgeous blog and Etsy store.

And if you would like to further explore the other stunning projects from the book, here are all the amazing bloggers who are also on the showcase!

Megan x

1 Sept 2017
Lauren Wright

2 Sept 2017
Jemima Flendt

3 Sept 2017
Sharon Burgess

4 Sept 2017
Lauren Nash

5 Sept 2017
Sarah Edgar

6 Sept 2017
Ange Hamilton

7 Sept 2017
Elea Lutz

8 Sept 2017
Sarah Scott

9 Sept 2017
Martina Bahre

10 Sept 2017
Heather Andrus

11 Sept 2017
Faith Essenburg

12 Sept 2017
Alisha Orlando

13 Sept 2017
Bev McCullough

14 Sept 2017
Stacy Olson

15 Sept 2017
Ali Phillips

16 Sept 2017
Mollie Johanson

17 Sept 2017
Kristyne Czepuryk

18 Sept 2017
Xanthe Grundy

19 Sept 2017
Anne Oliver

20 Sept 2017
Larisa Shurupov

21 Sept 2017
Sedef Imer

22 Sept 2017
Wynn Tan

23 Sept 2017
Veronica AM

24 Sept 2017
Minki Kim

25 Sept 2017
Elise Baek

26 Sept 2017
Megan Price

27 Sept 2017
Nadra Ridgeway

28 Sept 2017
Ayda Algin

29 Sept 2017
Jodi Godfrey

30 Sept 2017
Lauren Wright


Monday, 18 September 2017

Making a Summer Dress

With summer approaching, I had a bit of a panicky moment when I looked in my cupboard and realised my summer wardrobe was dismal! As in almost non-existent. Certainly, I have clothes hanging in the 'out' section of the cupboard, but my 'round the house' clothing seemed to be missing. It's been one of those years - when all the clothing seems to have reached its expiry date and needs replacing. I dealt with winter, having purchased new clothes in Autumn.

But there are holes in the summer department. I'm a fabric addict. This means I am more likely to buy too much fabric rather than clothes. I love clothes but because I grew out of buying lots of fast and cheap pieces of flimsy fashion a few years ago, I don't add to my wardrobe very often. I prefer to purchase better quality, longer lasting and better fitting pieces these days. Of course, a shirt can set you back upwards of $100 which used to sound expensive. However, even the cheaper chain stores will charge you upwards of $60 for a badly made shirt now, so it seems more sensible to buy less of the better stuff. 

Nobody shops like I do. I turn things inside out and check the seams and fabric to decide on the quality of the item. I can't come at the four dollar shirts. They don't last anyway, not in this Northern climate and they continue to shrink wash after wash. The tiniest bit of sweat and the shirt won't get you past a season. And people sweat in North Queensland. 

Being a dressmaker, I can't fathom how you can make a shirt so cheaply anyway. I've heard arguments as to why it's good we can buy cheap clothes now but nobody has made a convincing case. Living rurally, you occasionally have to visit the local tip and piles of household waste in a natural environment really brings home how much damage we wasteful creatures are doing to the environment. It's scary.

The combination of wanting better quality clothes and not being able to afford to fill my wardrobe with high-end pieces coupled with my growing need to make sure the fashion I love so much is more ethically produced brought me round to finally turning some of my extensive fabric stash into clothes for me. Cotton is perfect for summer, it washes well, it's cool and it doesn't absorb smell in the same way synthetic fibers do. 

Of course, I'm not blind to the fact cotton has it's own rather ghastly impact on the environment but one step at a time. I am all for improving things but I do think it needs to be done as I can manage it, preferring to believe in the ripple effect over a save the world complex, self-denial and sacrifice. I don't think that makes me selfish, just realistic. There is too much pressure these days for what to eat, what to wear and what to care about. No wonder it's easy to self-implode and crash on the couch with some escapism tv and a box of chocolate.

Before this post gets any more serious, let's get back to my dress. I really love it, I've worn it several times already and while it is still cool, I am wearing it over leggings. Cool as in the temperature. I have no idea if it's considered cool to wear leggings under dresses. Even the word cool might be uncool. Who knows? I don't care anyway!

I've had this floral in my stash for ages, I didn't have enough for a whole dress so I decided to use these Cotton Steel bears for the front bodice, as a feature. At first I was a bit put out I didn't have enough floral but now I like having the fun bodice!

I used an old pattern from my Mum's pattern box for the dress. After a series of unfortunate makes in previous years, I decided to actually look at what dresses I liked to wear already rather than just going with a pattern that I thought looked really pretty without stopping to consider if I would actually wear it.

I had a lot of unrealistic expectations as a teenager, which I think is why whenever my Mum or Grandmother made me a dress or I attempted to make something that I was bitterly disappointed. I laugh now, because I can't believe how silly I was. The downside to the dressmaking mayhem was it has taken me awhile to realise that I can actually sew myself clothes and all the trouble I used to have doesn't exist anymore. 

After surveying my wardrobe, I concluded what I wore most of was very simple bodice shapes with pleated skirts. So I took the bodice off a New Look Pattern (6355) and used it to make my dress. I cut the bodice off at the waistline, added a self-drafted pleated skirt and adjusted the back bodice to create a slightly scooped neckline.

I took the shoulders in several sizes smaller because I always find shoulders are too wide on patterns for me. I cut a 14 (Australian) for the bodice but took the shoulders into a size 10. This troubleshoots the problem I have with bodices gaping at the back between my shoulders, and also the neckline being too wide at the front. It's amazing the difference this makes! It's not hard to grade your pattern in at all. 

Another reason I used to struggle to make my own clothes, is because I followed the pattern measurements. All sewing patterns, both independent and large-scale manufactured point me several times larger than I am. You can imagine the blow to my self-esteem as a teenager when I would measure up at a size 20, only to find when I made the dress it didn't fit at all. It was terribly frustrating. I don't understand pattern measurements! So now I cut off my standard dress size. I usually make a 'mock-up' item first as it is so much more relaxing knowing I am not ruining my 'good' fabric and can tweak the pattern if I need to. 

I've found I nearly always need to move the shoulders right in, as I'm not very broad. The funny thing about making your own clothes is you'll discover you aren't actually a size at all! You are simply you. By the time you have tweaked a pattern to fit you perfectly, not only will it look ten times better than your store-bought dresses, but you'll find your measurements are all over the place. My bust is the deciding factor in most clothes I make,  and darts have become my best friend when it comes to my waist area. With woven fabrics like cotton, there is no stretch so the bigger measurements need to be accommodated. Even if it means your top or dress is a bit big at the waist.

I hate having my shirt stick off my bust without any waist definition. It's just a pet-peeve of mine. So back and tummy darts are a great way to bring the garment back closer to the body. Of course, unless you want to wear a fifties corset and have limited movement, you could make it quite tight but one does need room to breathe when sitting down so leaving it looser can be a good idea. 

Perhaps that explains the slow movements, the upright postures and sexy-breathless tones of the fifties starlets...the poor girls were just strapped in too tightly!

This dress was simple and quite quick to make. I love the simplicity of the design, and recommend using a favourite bodice pattern with your own gathered or pleated skirt attached! It's going to serve me well in summer, it's cool, easy to wash and not at all restrictive to wear - which is important when you work from home!

Have you got any summer sewing plans?

Megan x

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