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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

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Making Hazel Dolls


Hazel has been continuing her plan for world domination this week! As she whispered her secret plans in my ear, I set about creating some more little Hazel Deer so that she can be one step closer to her goal.

Three seemed like a good number to make together and my sister very kindly stepped in to help me stuff the little Hazel arms and legs while I focused on stitching Hazel's rosey cheeks and flirty lashes. 

I went for three very different but very darling looks, and after a couple of days and many hours of work, Hazel has three new sisters to join her at the Brisbane Finders Keepers market in June.


I used my Hazel Deer Doll pattern and some of the gorgeous tassel trim from the Dolly Henry shop to create these gorgeous dolls. I also have been dying to work with this fabric so I incorporated it into Fig's outfit!

Would you like a more formal introduction?


This is Bella. She has a sweet disposition and absolutely loves ice-skating! It's her favorite thing to do besides shopping for her couture wardrobe. Bella has won quite a few skating championships, and having conquered the ice-skating world, is now working on her ballet moves.



Bright, and bubbly, Fig loves old-fashioned picnics with jam sandwiches and tinned sardines. Fig reads lots and lots of Enid Blyton and is rumored to be starting her own "secret seven" society! (could this be a cover for Hazel's world domination plans??) 


Finally,  meet Piper. Piper lives in a beautiful white weatherboard cottage near the beach and makes necklaces from the shells she gathers on the sandy shoreline. Piper is well known for always having a pot of hot tea on the stove and her delicious ginger cake.


Things are going along quite well here just now, though there are a few nudie dolls that are still waiting for some attire! I had better get cracking on those because the weather has become quite chilly and I don't want them catching cold. I'm already layering up - every year I want to do Me Made May and it's rolling around again! Unfortunately, I don't have the time to commit to it (again!) this year but I will do my best to slip something in here and there if I can. I was layered up in a jumper and a dress I made out of a beautiful floral the other day, so I took a casual self-portrait in attempt to at least salute Me Made May from afar, even if I can't participate as fully as I would like!


If you would like to purchase a Hazel Doll you will be able to find them on my stall at the Brisbane Finders Keepers in June. Alternatively, I have published Hazel as a pattern on my website, with both the PDF and Paper versions available. There are kits coming soon too!

Megan xx

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Indigo and Aster | Fabric

Indigo & Aster brings together the playful idea of animal friends crowned in blooming florals and multi-cultural inspired designs. Deep blues, purples, and greens highlight Bari’s painterly foliage balanced by geometric and animal prints to unify this rich collection.
I fell head over heels when I discovered this gorgeous fabric collection and images of beautiful little dresses, cushions, and quilts floated through my mind. I love it when a fabric is so inspiring that it instantly produces a thousand ideas that you want to do all at once!


Indigo and Aster is a delightfully modern and bold collection of stunning prints, suitable for so many different applications. I have selected four of my favourites for the Dolly Henry store and when they arrived last week, I fell in love with them all over again. Quite often quilting fabric collections work the best when they are all chopped up to play together, but with this range, I feel confident that each fabric could stand very well on its own!

The star of the show is the Radiant Menagerie Panel - featuring the cutest, sweetest little painted faces of all creatures great and small sporting rather darling flower crowns. The uses for this fabric exceed the imagination, and will really add a pop to your projects. The menagerie runs along the outer edges of the print and is wide enough to use as a border print with seam allowances taken out. The middle section is incredibly cheerful, featuring a running-stitch like pattern that coordinates with the colours in the Indigo and Aster collection.


This range would also pair very nicely with this Hello Bear print, also available in the Dolly Henry store:




You can find this collection here in the Dolly Henry store.

Megan xx
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Thursday, 19 April 2018

On a Social Media Break (and loving it!)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook or subscribe to this blog, chances are you would know that I am a busy little bee getting ready for the Brisbane Finders Keepers market in June. I must admit there have been a few hiccups since my application was accepted and it just seems to be Murphy's Law that things that haven't gone wrong before would start to once I had a bit of pressure on!

This included a bit of a dolly disaster (don't ask me, I'm still scarred lol) that meant about a months worth of work was undone, and added to that was crucial supply delays. Added to this was a lovely little flu-bug thing that descended (very likely due to the anxiety and stress caused by issue No. 1) not long after the first hiccup.

Random Sketches
Some new dolly friends that will be coming to the Finders Keepers

Thankfully everything has ironed out a bit now and I seem to be back on track. We had a Finders Keepers countdown calendar in plain sight near the kitchen. I took it down this week. It was getting a bit much. That number was in my face even when I had finished work for the day making it impossible to forget about the timeline I am on. I realized this may be an issue when I flicked through my diary and the months just seemed to dissolve before my eyes. I've always been hopeless with deadlines.

I feel like there is a ticking time-bomb and I find it very hard to relax or enjoy working when I know there is a time constraint. At the opposite end, I do work well under pressure and can produce wonders in twenty-four hours but not when it's a long drawn out deadline. That's just painful!

This week I was struggling a bit to see how I could get it all done. I have already gotten a lot ticked off my almighty to-do list but I just didn't feel like I was making headway as fast as the days were flying. I began looking at what I could eliminate from my day-to-day for the next couple of months, that would release some of the pressure. Oddly enough, I chose social media. I'll explain why because I know it seems insane an online business would choose to opt-out of social media promotion which for a lot of small businesses like mine happens to be one of the only ways to promote yourself these days.

Teeny Tiny Outfits
Hello, it's another Mama Llama!

What did we do before it? 

Well I do sort of know because I started my first website before Facebook and Instagram were what they are today and prior to that, I found other businesses through other methods such as Google, magazine advertisements, and blogs. Then the socials took off and they became the place to be. And it really worked fabulously in the good old days. It did have results. In the past 18 months, however, I have seen a dramatic decline in the effectiveness of using SM (social media) as a sole promotional channel. 

I am speaking in a ratio of effort versus results. Speaking to others, I know I am not alone in this. I have a few ideas as to why this may be and possibly the word algorithm is in there somewhere. But I also have another theory. I have a good feeling a large portion of us go onto SM and stay on there. Just scrolling. Just posting. Just chatting. Which is all totally great but it means that we are devoting a large amount of time to these sites and apps, and becoming less active at getting off them and exploring the larger, wider world.

Anyway, I decided to take a break from all of this as it takes up a huge amount of my time, the results are minimal and I need to focus on the task at hand. Jumping off this bridge actually wasn't very hard as I very much felt I needed the headspace and a break. It also helps that it isn't working great guns so it's easier to dump something when it isn't serving you well. Aside from that, I also have a newsletter that I use to reach out to my readers and customers so I am not completely and utterly disconnected.

Croissant, doing a "this is me after a long day" pose
Mama Llama in mustard and pink!

It's only been two days but I have already noticed big differences. The first afternoon I finished what I was making and immediately decided to take a break - before I realised it I was tripping off to find my iPad to check Instagram. I thought this was interesting that I had set off before I had even registered what I was doing. When I remembered I had deleted the app, I paused and did think okay so what shall I do? I picked up the FLOW magazine I collected earlier in the week and settled in to read, something I wouldn't have made time for because I would have been on the iPad "working".  I did make me wonder how often I spent time on SM while frequently feeling that I didn't have time for other things like reading the magazines I had sitting beside my bed.

The following morning was definitely interesting for me. I woke up a bit excited knowing that my one (business) task for that day was to get working on product creation. It felt good not having fifty gazillion things to do revolving around in my brain. Apparently, multitasking isn't great and I am starting to see why. I usually make a cup of tea and check my emails straight up to see what things lie ahead for the day - whether it's orders or responding to enquiries, or chasing up wholesalers - and then I migrate naturally onto Instagram just to 'check'. That morning I didn't. I had my thoughts completely to myself and I thought okay what shall I do instead? I went and got my sketchbook and spent some time just scribbling while I woke up with my tea.

Croissant the Cat kit production line
One of my new fabric designs on a panel that was later turned into a cushion cover

Anyway, you don't need a step by step process of my day so here is a summary of what I have discovered so far!

- I have more headspace. Just having this room to think has been amazing. I have been considering giving up SM for 100 days and seeing what happens. Like an experiment. This thought led me to consider exactly what I would do as a business owner if SM disappeared overnight. How would I promote Dolly Henry? How would I get people to find me?  There are a lot of people not on SM and a lot that are do not actively use it in the same way a certain portion of the population does.

- I have achieved more. All those five-minute checks, adding to my stories on Instagram, posting quickly, messages, replying to comments and visiting other accounts must have taken more time than I thought. I have had more energy because my breaks have been unrelated to a screen. I have picked up my sketchbook if I feel fidgety and just drawn pictures. This has led to new ideas. I have also started a notebook to record what I do achieve at the end of each day so I have a way of recording what I have gotten done. When you make things by hand it takes awhile and it is easy to feel like you haven't done a lot in a day. Writing what I've actually achieved in a day fixes this problem and makes me feel good.

- Creativity in regards to marketing Dolly Henry has returned. I have other outlets I could explore for promoting my business. One being this blog, which I could spend more time on if I spent less on SM. Another being this market I am going to in June. I also have a newsletter list I could build on and put more effort into. SM takes so much of my time and energy and it has been a bit of a time suck while not giving me much back for all my effort.

Some of the gorgeous new trims, threads and fabric new to the Dolly Henry shop
Mouse Manor Embroidery kit featuring an original Dolly Henry fabric panel




- I've gone deeper into the pool. Instead of splashing in the shallows of SM, I have exchanged endless scrolling for reading interesting articles and blogs again. I've taken the time to read some of the newsletters in my inbox and even engage with the sender instead of reading and deleting. Makes me wonder exactly how social SM is!

- Exercise and Health. There is only so much making I can do in a day, and it turns out checking and replying to emails doesn't take that long. With the absence of SM I could be left twiddling my thumbs, so I have started going for a walk instead of feeling like I don't have time. I also still have a shoulder and arm injury that plays up a bit, aggravated often by typing on my iPad....this is okay if I haven't got to use it to sew and do computer work as well so taking the some of this load off my arm in a busier season is a bonus!

It's only early days yet but I have to admit so far I am loving this. I have wanted to have a break from SM for a long time without stopping my business activities but I was always too scared. After all, it flies in the face of everything everyone says about promoting an online business now. But it was making me feel stressed, overwhelmed and unproductive. I am glad I have decided to stop for awhile.

I am looking forward to having more time to actually create, both designs and also content for my blog. Instead of giving all my time to big corporations (because that's what SM websites are now) that frankly haven't rewarded my loyalty and time with some benefit to me or my business, I am building my own thing, without any "help" for a little while....it'll be interesting to see where this takes me...it's all very experimental and that's part of the fun!

Megan xx
6 comments

Friday, 6 April 2018

Meet Annie - Waldorf Inspired Doll



For years I have absolutely loved steiner/waldorf inspired dolls. I love their round chubby faces, and adorable hair. I love especially that you can make them super cute clothes and they look like sweet little people. For years I have admired from afar and hoped one day I would be able to have a go at making some myself. Last year, I made the decision to dive in. I bought a book that looked okay and my first waldorf-inspired doll was born. You can see her here.

I was pretty happy with Lilo at the time, given she was my first doll using a completely foreign set of techniques that was de-mystified as I made her. The book instructions were a little tricky for me to follow and I didn't quite get the results I wanted. But I was okay with that because it's a learning process and whenever I do something totally new, the first time is always a bit like fumbling around in the dark until I get the gist of it. With the mistakes under my belt and a better comprehension for the process involved, it's like having the blindfold removed for take two.

Meet Annie. Her little head has been rolling around for quite awhile. I hope that doesn't sound morbid but it's true. I made her head last year sometime, after Lilo. And due to moving and all that didn't get back to finishing her until now. Yesterday when I was eating breakfast, I spied my doll book on the shelf and it twigged in me that I would start working on that little head. I pretty much abandoned my book this time and just sort of winged it!

You know those times when you have spent ages wanting to do something and then when you do it turns out to be so much fun? Well, that was me with this doll! I loved every step, from stuffing her limbs to working on her curly hair.

Annie currently doesn't have any clothes so she is borrowing Melody Mouse's dress. I am still pondering her outfit. She may end up keeping Melody's dress but I will do my best to make sure she returns it. I couldn't wait to start working on another doll, and already there is a new little head in the works.

I wonder who she'll become!

Megan xx




2 comments

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Meet Harriet | Handmade Cloth Doll


Meet Harriet. She's the latest in my handmade doll collection, and is part of team Finders Keepers when we head to Brisbane in June. Harriet is a one of a kind cloth doll, she has pink hair that is the envy of all the other dolls and strawberries and cream cheeks.

Her sweet little face is illustrated and hand-stitched, and her flutter sleeve pinafore features an original fabric design by moi.


Harriet is a bit of a party girl. She loves attending and planning parties. Ally-Fleur is having a birthday soon and has been consulting Harriet on what sort of theme to have. Harriet thinks a unicorn party would suit her friend, and as they are all the fashion, she has a pinterest board ready to go.

Ally-Fleur doesn't mind what kind of party she has, as long as her cake is chocolate.


I wonder what kind of confetti-filled event they will concoct between themselves?

Both these original Dolly Henry handmade dolls will be available at the Brisbane Finders Keepers Market in June.

Megan xx

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Miss Mouse Doll and Embroidery


I'd like to introduce you to Miss Mouse. She hasn't got a first name yet, but I couldn't wait any longer to share her! Miss Mouse has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of weeks now, she is a new design and I have been letting it simmer a bit. I wasn't quite sure what I would do with Miss Mouse right away, whether I would put her into a pattern or make her up as a finished doll for my shop.

I think for now, it's nice to have something just for me to make, so I will be keeping her as a finished design for the shop. I had a lot of fun creating a little dress for her, using my personal stash of Little Dolly fabrics by Elea Lutz for her clothing and headwrap.



Perhaps she was sub-consciously inspired by my Mousey sketches, that feature on my Beautiful Things Sewing Mug and greeting cards. When I was a toddler and little girl, I had a handmade mouse my Mum made, a bit different to Miss Mouse here but just as cute. My mouse had a big frilly dress and frilly cap, a bit of a country mouse as the pattern style was back then. I also remember two little felt mice my sisters got from a market when we were children. Perhaps I remember them so strongly because I didn't get one. If memory serves me correctly, I was a little bit naughty that day and missed out on getting a treat from the markets! 

Miss Mouse reminds me of all these little mouse-dolls from my childhood. Handmade creations at that. I designed a completely new flutter sleeve dress for Miss Mouse, it's so cute, I wish I had one in my size! Her french bloomers and shoes are equally as adorable.




I love it when an idea finally comes to life. This one has been simmering away in my head for quite awhile and then the day came when it was obviously meant to happen and I set to work! My friend Lauren calls it "percolating" which I think is a very apt term! An idea sitting there, simmering, bubbling and growing delicious until it is just right.

I stitched my little friend's face using embroidery cotton, and her nose using one of the gorgeous hand-dyed threads I keep in the shop. It's lovely and soft to use, and it's also a bit more fun having a variegated effect.

Turning to threads, I have rather an exciting sneaky peek for you. And seeing as it's also mousey related, I thought now was a good time to mention it. The next photo is exciting for me, because I finally got around to sorting my mess of an embroidery box into a neat and tidy carded set but that's not what I think you'll find interesting!

Scroll on



Here! Above, an exciting stitchy kit coming soon to my store, this design features my own original illustrations that you can embellish over with thread. Obviously I have a lot more to say on this subject, but enjoy the sneak peek for now! I've started stitching a sample and hope to have these in the Dolly Henry store in the coming weeks.

Can you spy Miss Mouse among the flowers, cactus and mushrooms? This design is inspired by a rambling garden and hopefully when you see the full picture, you will understand.





That's pretty much all my mousey news! How cute is that tiny dress? I wouldn't be surprised if you see Miss Mouse as a pattern one day but for now, keep an eye out for future ready-made dolls!

Megan xx

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