SLIDER

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

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.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!


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 hold...it'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
www.mollyandmama.com.au
@mollyandmama

2 Sept 2017
Jemima Flendt
www.blog.tiedwitharibbon.com
@tiedwitharibbon

3 Sept 2017
Sharon Burgess
www.lilabellelanecreations.com
@lilabellelane

4 Sept 2017
Lauren Nash
www.transientart.com
@transientart

5 Sept 2017
Sarah Edgar
www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk
@sarahedgarprettyfabrics

6 Sept 2017
Ange Hamilton
www.alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com
@alittlepatchwork

7 Sept 2017
Elea Lutz
www.elealutzdesign.com
@elealutz

8 Sept 2017
Sarah Scott 
www.piccolostudio.com.au
@piccolostudio_sarah

9 Sept 2017
Martina Bahre
www.avaandneve.com.au
@ava_and_neve

10 Sept 2017
Heather Andrus
www.quiltstory.blogspot.com
@quiltstory

11 Sept 2017
Faith Essenburg
www.saranaave.wordpress.com
@faithessenburg

12 Sept 2017
Alisha Orlando
www.ministryoffabric.com.au
@ministryoffabric

13 Sept 2017
Bev McCullough
www.flamingotoes.com
@flamingotoes

14 Sept 2017
Stacy Olson
www.stacyolsondesign.com
@stacyolsondesign

15 Sept 2017
Ali Phillips
www.arabesque-scissors.com
@arabesquescissors

16 Sept 2017
Mollie Johanson
www.wildolive.blogspot.com
@molliejohanson

17 Sept 2017
Kristyne Czepuryk
www.prettybyhand.com
@prettybyhand

18 Sept 2017
Xanthe Grundy
www.wife-made.com
@wifemade

19 Sept 2017
Anne Oliver
www.lolliandgrace.com
@lolliandgrace

20 Sept 2017
Larisa Shurupov
www.stitchingnotes.com
@stitchingnotes

21 Sept 2017
Sedef Imer 
www.downgrapevinelane.com
@downgrapevinelane

22 Sept 2017
Wynn Tan
www.zakkaArt.blogspot.com
@zakkaArt

23 Sept 2017
Veronica AM
www.VividFelicity.wordpress.com
@vividfelicity

24 Sept 2017
Minki Kim
www.minkikim.com
@zeriano

25 Sept 2017
Elise Baek
www.eliseandemelie.com
@eliseandemelie

26 Sept 2017
Megan Price
www.dollyhenry.com.au
@dollyhenryau

27 Sept 2017
Nadra Ridgeway
www.ellisandhiggs.com
@ellisandhiggs

28 Sept 2017
Ayda Algin
www.cafenohut.com
@cafenohut

29 Sept 2017
Jodi Godfrey
www.talesofcloth.com
@talesofcloth

30 Sept 2017
Lauren Wright
www.mollyandmama.com.au
@mollyandmama

6 comments

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



2 comments

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Estelle | Handmade Doll | Story



It's a golden afternoon, and you are walking down a little cobblestone lane. The aroma of just-baked bread and freshly ground coffee floats out from open cafe doors. A bicycle goes steadily past, the rider wearing a faded headscarf and chambray dungarees. Her basket is filled with wildflowers and books. 

Estelle.


Mademoiselle Estelle harks from France, but she now lives in Australia on a little riverside homestead. Estelle loves nature and spending more time outside than she does in. Every morning, she throws grain to her flock of three fat hens and picks fruit from the orchard for her breakfast. 

Estelle has a pet duck called Armitage, and he is a bit confused. Armitage thinks he is a chicken. Estelle bakes fresh bread each morning for her and Armitage to sup on. She wears chambray overalls, thrifted from a flea market back in her homeland and has her long locks secured with a lawn scarf. 


Estelle's beautiful face is all stitched by hand, she has chocolate eyes and flowers stitched onto her cheeks. Her hair is layers of beautiful Australian grown and milled Alpaca. This yarn is incredibly squishy and soft, it's undyed being the natural shade of the Alpaca the fleece came from. What is special about her hair yarn, is that the company that produces it makes it with almost no environmental waste. Estelle has been handmade using a blend of hand and machine sewing. She is one of a kind and took many hours to come into being. Her peter pan collar is handmade using pure wool merino felt, and her overalls feature reclaimed vintage linen. Her body consists of high quality linen and she is filled with 100% Australian Merino Wool. 


Estelle is now available in my Etsy store.

Megan x

4 comments

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Here & Now 12


Joining Sarah from Say! Little Hen for the monthly Here & Now Link Party


Loving // The last cool days of Winter...even though it is Spring

Eating // Spelt Sour Dough Toasted Sandwiches, made using the bread recipe from this book

Drinking // A Hot Cup of Tea as I write this...isn't tea soothing?

Feeling // Rather tired after a busy week

Making // Lots of things! I have a quilt that needs quilting, I'm participating in the Molly and Mama Book Showcase and I am sewing some summer dresses.

Thinking // That one day the summer heat will arrive and I might not be as grateful as I should be...

Dreaming // Of an amazing craft space with a drawer for every last button (I need to Spring Clean..)


This week I have achieved:

- moving my website onto two Etsy stores, one for my patterns and one for my handmade collection.
- a blog post about why Instagram is driving me crazzzzyyyy with it's changes
- I also wrote about Keeping a Creative Journal
- I dyed some yarn, naturally... I need to blog about that!
- The odd stitch here and there on my knitted scarf
- lots more I am sure I've forgotten about :-)

What's been happening in your Here and Now?

Megan x



15 comments

Friday, 8 September 2017

Instagram, Relationship Status: Complicated



It's no secret that things have definitely changed on Instagram lately, and not everyone is super happy with those changes. Without a chronological news feed, it has been hard for me to keep up with smaller profiles as the big accounts seem to dominate the top space.

I'd have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll to meet up with a post of someone I really would have liked to see up the top. As a result, I have unfollowed a lot of accounts, placing a priority on the accounts that I regularly engage and interact with. Others I hardly ever saw, so now I make 'house calls' where about once a week, I 'manually' visit the profiles and see what everyone is up to. I'm following you, but I'm not! This is a bit like the good old blog days, where I'd go from site to site, catching up on the latest news.

Just because your numbers aren't high on Instagram doesn't mean that you don't deserve to be seen or heard. There are so many amazing, talented makers out there who are being outranked in the feed by bigger, glossier accounts and I find this a little bit wrong. I don't like vanity metrics or the status quo of needing a certain amount of followers to gain credibility - it's STUPID. I'm sure many of you who have been making beautiful things for thirty years can relate to this - why should your years of experience and skills be balanced with a number on a screen? Does having 10k + followers mean your work is superior? No it doesn't, nor does it mean it is inferior so if equality matters - why is the news feed no longer chronological? (I know why....starts with M)

Instagram has lost a lot of the community it once had, in my opinion. It's a bit like a game of monopoly now, have a certain amount of money and a certain amount of followers and you will just keep gaining momentum, outweighing the smaller fish in the pond until they are hidden twenty posts down in the newsfeed, gasping for air. And that feels really selfish. What is a platform if not made up of the members? All the members. Not just a select few. It's incredibly narcissistic to expect the whole world to ooh and ahh over your every move and not take some time to talk, chat and engage with your followers and other members on the platform. It's like being subjected to somebody's travel album or slides...you know what I mean!

A week or so ago, my sister said to me "I just got ten of your posts in a row!" What a nuisance. Not my sister; the fact that people are now seeing ten posts of mine in a row in their newsfeed. No wonder keeping followers is harder now - it doesn't really matter if the photos are lovely, it's a bit tiring seeing so much of one account all at once. Posts I had likely originally spread out across several days. It's also ruining the quality of the posts - when bombarded, you aren't likely to really pay attention to any of those posts given there is such a gigantic load of them. I bet you don't even hit the like button or read them. I bet that finger just keeps scrolling down to get to see somebody else's posts - because was we learn as children - it's not all about being the center of attention. Except now it seems, it is.

I don't want to be. I loved Instagram for the variety and the fact my newsfeed was a blend of different posts. Now I experience all the heavy weight accounts before I set eyes on a smaller account - often my favorites because as I mentioned, quantity doesn't always equate to quality. Smaller accounts often usually talk to you more too...I have no idea if when you reach a certain level of popularity if it all just becomes a bit so-so, a bit every day, but really, every so often in a while, would it hurt those guys to interact with the people who make their business popular? Without them, what you do wouldn't be possible! It's so common now - from people you'd least expect - that I am honestly surprised when a bigger account replies to one of my comments!



Vanity metrics are huge now. I suppose because vanity is at all new level. Or it seems so. I mean just think about the word selfie and the fact we are all carrying around phones with half a dozen self-portraits in them...if you are conservative that is. Oh go on, have a laugh! Really, it is hilarious! Can you imagine back in the day of the film camera taking twenty shots of your face to whip out and show to friends...carry them in your pocket...stick them to a street pole. Ummmm....no people would have said that was an incredibly vain thing to do. Eccentric. That'd be the old fashioned equivalent of NOW. I take selfies...granted very very few for my age bracket and I'm not against them but I am realistic. I do think it's a tad vain and it has had an impact on society, interaction, and attitudes.

I thought if I worked extra hard, I'd be able to keep up with Instagram's changes. If I added more posts, paid for some adverts but things have definitely changed. It's harder to get people off the platform now and onto my website or into my store. That is the goal, because I do have something to offer outside of social media and so do a lot of other people if we get off the app from time to time. It's social, it's there for engagement, and that's good. But I found it was eating up such a large portion of my time and I'd even decided to cut back blogging. It didn't take me too long to realise that MAYBE I'd killed off the wrong beast. Maybe I needed to look at what output I was getting for all my input in regards to Instagram. And it's time to adjust.

I've had to work so hard to drive traffic to my website, and it's not effective as it was even 12 months ago. I don't have a big advertising budget, I'm still hovering at hobby status and trying to grow a new business. So I was sadly, quite reliant on social media and Instagram in particular. But I am looking at other avenues now I can pursue because I need to. I have started to feel like I am spending a lot of time ONLY curating a pretty Instagram gallery when I'm also supposed to be earning an income, too. I decided I will be moving back onto Etsy and I really don't know what else to do. The pond is a lot bigger than it was eight years ago and you have to think on your feet. I really like Etsy, so this doesn't worry me. I also loved my website but it's hard driving traffic to your website, without advertising.

Thankfully, I established my blog when everything was a little bit more favourable on Instagram, and though not so many people comment on blogs as they used to, I receive feedback often enough to know someone does read it...you know..besides family :-)

In spite of all I have said, I do still like Instagram but we will just be spending less time together than we used to. Our friendship has cooled off a lot, and it's time I went back to those that have served me more faithfully in the past. After all, the world is made up of people and if it's not a fair playing field for everyone - including those who stand beneath the pillars holding the roof up so it can bask in the sun - then I'm afraid I don't have a lot of time for a platform like that.

Megan x










11 comments

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Keeping a Creative Journal


I realised some time ago that I have a habit of often feeling like I don't achieve a lot. I know it's a bit silly, but still a feeling is a feeling! The list of everything I had yet to do overshadowed the celebration of completing tasks and projects, and finally, I decided I needed to do something about it. 

From the end of August I've been keeping a creative journal and I am surprised at how much I DO achieve. Even if it is in snatches here and there throughout the day, each day I do in fact achieve something. That's important to me, I never sleep as well if I don't achieve something creative for the day.

My journal is solely for recording in short note-like sentences what I did, experienced or found. I write down everything I have done for the day to do with Dolly Henry. Whether I only worked for 15 minutes on a pattern, only posted one parcel or someone said something lovely on Instagram. It's a positive journal and it's working quite well. I am really surprised each day at how much I really have gotten done, instead of glancing wearily at a list and pile of unfinished projects I am yet to complete.

I accidentally missed about three days and it was surprising how difficult it was for me to recall with precision what I had achieved. I don't think I am experiencing memory loss, it's simply that my tasks are sprinkled throughout the day and coupled with stress and being a bit too busy, it's easy for the achievements to slip under the rug and the dust of what's to come to settle on top.


New things I have discovered: Daphne's Diary. A gorgeous magazine that a dear friend recommended. I've never truly clicked with most creative magazines so I don't buy many of them. This one is like a kindred spirit. It is so beautiful and it's not filled with craft projects, it's literally like looking through someone else's journal. There are beautiful paper cut outs and stickers included, and sprinkled on the pages are antidotes on far away places, history, little stories, and inspiring makers. It's food for the creative soul, and if you haven't read it, I do recommend grabbing a copy!

The Dolly Llama, available in the Dolly Henry store

Keeping a journal has also helped me establish a better work flow. Knowing I will record each detail at the end of the day brings new meaning to just cutting out a project and then moving onto something else. Working a little bit on one thing and then doing something else. So that collectively across the day, I am achieving a bit of everything without exhausting myself in big blocks. 

I do have a problem with making, that I learned while running my clothing business. I am so used to completing a project I started the day with, working without a break that it has been really, really hard for me to break that habit and feeling. Even two years later. It's difficult walking away and working on something else. Or allowing myself time to complete a project across a week instead of in a sweat shop style of working. I think this is why I do struggle a bit with quilts for example because as I was explaining to a friend recently, even the most badly made quilt in the world would be hard pressed to be finished in a day.


So much so, it's hard not to feel guilty when I make something just for myself. Not in a I think it's selfish way, but it's because I am so used to sewing being an income, I feel like the time I spend making something for me, could be spent creating for my store. I have worked hard to overcome this, having spent a few years never doing anything creative for myself or even family. 

I've managed to deal with the family aspect, it's easy to feel good about making gifts. It was the other week when I looked through my wardrobe, forehead crinkled and realised the hot weather would be here soon and my summer clothing collection was in dire straits. It's been one of those years where all my clothes seem to reach their use-by date and I've replaced the winter things. When I realised the extent of my cupboard was only a couple of old tee-shirts, something had to be done.

Having well and truly reached the point of not being able to stand the cheap quality of a Target t-shirt anymore (they don't even last a season in North Qld without needing replacing!) and not having the budget for more expensive items, I decided my needle really ought to be put to good use in the wardrobe department. This was a struggle (getting over the making for me mentality) at first, but I've just made my first dress for this summer (above) using some cottons from my stash. It'll be PERFECT for hot summer days. I used the bodice off a dress pattern that is simple in shape, and very much the same as all the silhouettes in my cupboard. Then I added a pleated skirt onto the bottom.

I love being able to choose the fabrics and make styles that really suit me, and all without the hassle of a day long shopping expedition that can often end with no clothes and a headache! I also figure if I save money by sewing a good portion of my wardrobe, then I can afford to spend more money on better quality clothing. I'm not growing anymore, I'm a grown up so it doesn't matter if a shirt is a lot of money - if it lasts ten+ years, it's cheaper in the long run than having to buy twenty $10 shirts a year!

Betty Hazel Doll, and Ballerina Blush Dress Available in Store


Other creative projects lately have included sewing for the Molly and Mama Pretty Handmades Book Showcase. You can see all the gorgeous makes and pre-order this amazing book here on Lauren's blog. And today I started dyeing some yarn, a la natural....I will update on these two subjects soon!


Do you keep a creative journal? I'd love to know!! Really!

Megan x

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Teddy - From Sketch to Stuffie


Meet Teddy. Her proper name is Edwina but her friends call her Teddy. She is an adorable, squishable, huggable little friend. Teddy wears a patchwork scarf made by her Aunty Marmalade and a pom-pom headband she found while on holidays.

Teddy was never meant to be. You see ordinarily when I have an idea for a new doll design, I do a quick sketch and then work very loosely off the drawing. Teddy was different. I drew her on a page, with a friend called Mouse girl, just as a whimsical sketch. 

One night, I loaded Mouse girl and Teddy onto the computer and set about creating a sketch of them in Illustrator. I've been playing with these illustrations for a little while. They capture my heart, and I am still working away on their collection - whatever that will be when I am finished. Anyway, the second I locked eyes on Teddy's little illustrated form with her chubby cheeks and bulky scarf, I knew she had to become one of Hazel's friends.



I opened her picture up on the computer screen while I worked. Logically I perhaps could have printed out the illustration but I didn't. I sculpted Teddy to life from the screen. Ordinarily, I let the dolls do their own thing, become who they will. It can be hard trying to bring the drawing to life perfectly, as fabric behaves differently to paper and pen. However I wanted Teddy to be recognizable and she had to absolutely look like the sketch. It was a bit trickier than I anticipated but I got there in the end.


Unfortunately, here is the part that might be scary for little dolls to read. I ran out of filling while I was making Teddy. Her gorgeous face and arms were stuffed but she was a little on the lean side without fill for her tummy and legs. I really wanted to finish her however with a 20 minute trip to town and no other need to go other than to buy filling, I was in a pickle. I'd already sent the post for the day with someone else, and I didn't really want to lose time driving to town for a bag of filling.

So I walked away for awhile. Ate some food. Drank some tea. Then I returned. Glanced at Teddy's underweight form and thought I really must finish you today. Perhaps I could use the filling from another toy - after all I have slit open unfortunate prototypes before when I needed stuffing. Suddenly I felt like some kind of doll vampire. I glanced at the shelf, trying to work out if any of the toys that resided there were surplus to my needs. The only possible candidate as stuffing donor at that point was original Hazel. Can I pause here to say I felt decidedly evil about this later? Was it just me or were the dolls silently shaking in their socks?! This wouldn't do. Clearly my intent was terrifying for them. Unless...

My eyes swung around to a cushion, that I had previously "borrowed' some fibre from. Yes! That's it! I would rip open a cushion! I realise this makes me sound slightly insane at this point but as the cushion had already been borrowed from, it seemed logical to use the rest of the filling for Teddy. That cushion had never been quite the same since, no longer plump but saggy and a little deflated.

I do know in a city, it could possibly take 20 minutes to get to the craft store so you are probably wondering what on earth my insane need to rob cushions and innocent dolls of their filling was about. It's just a different mentality for some reason, when the 20 minute drive consists of farmland and trees. To match the rural mentality, I am a bit of a baling twine crafter. 

Baling twine is what we call the string/twine/stuff that keeps hay bales in order. We don't grow hay but we reuse the stuff - it comes in handy for all sorts of things when you are short of the proper materials. That, and cable ties. Very useful. I have this approach to crafting, if I have a problem or don't have a certain tool, there is usually a way around it. Albeit a little odd or inconvenient at times.


You needn't think either that because Teddy is half cushion, she isn't made of good, er, stuff. It's the same thing really! One just comes in a bag and the other in the shape of a cushion. Most people cover cushions, I just take advantage of their firm filling and slit them open when they least expect it. 

(What you're leaving? Come back!!! Why are you holding your cushion like that?)


In all seriousness, the dolls are safe and the cushion is less full and Teddy has a whole crew of new friends!

Megan x

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