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, 25 July 2017

The Crafty Box You Need

Out of inspiration? Don't worry, I've got a box of it! Some times creativity needs a spa day, a little boost, a chocolate bar and cup of tea...a treat to keep it happy! So I've spent time creating a little box of inspiration, filled with Dolly Henry goodness to get those creative juices flowing...

I was so excited putting these boxes together, it took me awhile, choosing all the bits and bobs for them and cutting the fabrics. Often I will look around my studio or at my work table and I just get an overwhelming need to share the colours or print combinations I have put together or to find someone and ask them "do you get the same zing out of these things!?" So I decided to put my creative energy into a box, I hope the lid doesn't fly off when the recipient opens it! 

I look at The Little Box of Inspiration as a creative challenge - when you get it, take a little bit to look at all the things. What will they inspire you to make? To create? To design? 

This is one exciting little box! And it has so much potential... with your new box of inspiration, you will do great things! You could make a doll, you could make a bag, start a quilt, make a mini-quilt, stitch something nobody has ever heard of before. This box could make you an inventor!

The Little Box of Inspiration is perfect for a creative recharge but it also makes a great gift for your creative friend/sister/daughter/Aunt/Cousin-three-times removed! Or maybe you know someone who is just starting to dip their toes in the creative water... think of this box like a crafty surprise party!

Anyway, while I dream about the potential of my Little Boxes of Inspiration to take over the world and replace iphones with a needle and can go and grab one here. Because I need help if that plan is going to succeed! 

If you had this Little Box of Inspiration....what would you do with it?

Megan x


Monday, 24 July 2017

An Austen Inspired Doll

It's so lovely to finally be able to share this little doll with you - dubbed Miss Austentacious.
She was a birthday gift for a dear friend so since her creation, has spent awhile wrapped in tissue, safe and sound. She departed to her new home last week.

If you hadn't already guessed, she is a regency-Austen inspired doll. I've been wanting to make a doll like this for a long time, and while I was thinking of birthday gifts, the idea resurfaced. An Austen inspired doll would be just the thing. I still dream of creating Elizabeth Bennet and her family, and that will have to remain a future art project for now. 

From the beginning, I knew I wanted Miss Austentacious to have a dress that was very clear about the era she was from. This involved a bit of research, through which I discovered some rather hilarious facts about the Georgian and Regency eras. Such as....

It appears, from what I found, underwear was optional at this time. Yes, I am afraid the Hollywood versions of this era are quite fairy tale, because the more I delved, the more I found out quite a few shocking facts from the time. It is so funny to think people were shocked by the advent of the mini skirt and even the behavior of society these days...the good old days were not as innocent as they are so often portrayed! I'm going to put some links below....

Anyway, I embraced the no underwear thing, but fear not, Miss Austentacious is not terribly scandalous as this was ordinary for her generation. She does however still have an underdress and stockings on her legs. The bloomers may have been optional, but it seems the dress fabrics chosen at this time were so transparent, flimsy and thin, it would have been beyond immodest not to have a petticoat underneath. Since some of the images I found depicted the lace and ruffles of a petticoat extending past the dress hem, I decided Miss Austentacious could show off the pretty lace I chose to trim hers.

For her hair, I chose a less common hairstyle for the era. I love all the gorgeous hair bows shown on Regency and Period drama, so Miss Austentacious received her very own lavender hair ribbon. She is obviously a lady of consequence too, with a string of pearls around her delicate neck and a rather extravagant jewel nestled in her hair.

She was never meant to be historically accurate, however doing some research helped me find a direction and was rather fun too! Her dress wasn't too hard to design, as I have the style practically engraved in my mind from watching far too many movies. The ruched sleeves and low neckline. The fact that the dresses seem to be rather straight at the front and gathered at the back. I often watch these movies and shows and think if I had to live in an era where I had to hand sew I would possibly choose this one! Compared to the later 1800's, these dress styles seem far simpler!

Her dress is made using a soft pink lawn, I didn't own anything that transparent,
Her underdress is in a white cotton, I chose to make the pink dress removable as it seemed a shame not to be able to appreciate the full details of her attire. The idea of having to sew velcro on the back of her dress did jar a little initially but Miss Austentacious is so petite, choosing a traditional method would have been quite fiddly! 

I didn't make a test version of the dress. I drafted and stitched it in one swoop so I was very delighted (and felt a little clever) when it worked out just as imagined! I'd really love a dress like this....

Of course, a lady needs a reticule, so she has one of those too.

I had so much fun making this doll, from her hair to her gloves, to her pink shoes.
It's always funny that such a petite doll can take three to four times as long to make as a larger doll!
But the lines and style of that era are so long and slender I think she would look a bit odd and cartoonish if she was bigger, and more chunky!

As promised, here are some links for you I found during my research, some of the illustrations from the time are a bit surprising if your knowledge runs along the prim and proper lines. I actually found it very interesting to know that a couple of hundred years ago, people really weren't any better behaved or better dressed than they are now, and perhaps holding up a past time as some glorious golden era is simply putting too much pressure on the present! People are people and that really is all there is to it, the idea that we have changed or advanced in such a large way is possibly a bit of a falsehood. Even something as simple as the skin concoctions and makeup used at the time, most of it was highly toxic and as research continues to show today, the stuff women are putting on their skin isn't much better....

Perhaps at the end of the day, we only know what we know now, and will future generations be glorifying us as we do with bygone eras or will they be saying "good heavens! what were they THINKING!?" My guess is it will be a bit of both!

That's all for now!

Megan x

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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


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


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'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


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
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