Don’t Tell Them You Sew

Don’t Tell Them You Sew.

I know what its like, you’ve got this amazing new skill and you want to shout it from the roof tops. It never gets old that feeling when you say “I made It”, after all these years I still get that buzz.

but trust me……….. its a trap!!

You see, none sewers don’t know the ups and downs of sewing. I recently was told a story by a lovely lady who comes into the shop. Lets call her FRANK.
Frank and her neighbour were having tea in the garden, the neighbours son came home with a hole in his blazer. The neighbour asked Frank to repair it……….
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, pressing your beautiful repair with the iron to high, burning the said blazer and having to go and spend £40 on a replacement.
Thats what can go wrong.

When I first opened Dolly’s I was approached by someone who offered me the world for altering curtains, free advertising, a stall at market gate, breakfast with the Mayor. The things as a business owner money couldn’t buy.
Guess what, since he picked his curtains up I’ve never seen him since.
Another of Dolly’s regulars is doing alterations for friends and family. Great and a nice little earner you would think?
Think again, when a Donna Karen dress doesn’t fit as anticipated after alteration, your “friend” is taking you to the small claims court, because you’re “doing them a favour” you’re not insured for the mistake.

My Girl has spotted a prom dress she fancies its only £150 from china. I just couldn’t spend that amount of money on something that will be poorly made, not ethical, and a naff fit.
So I’m making her dress! (listen to your own advice Linsey) fabric  and notions alone have cost £210. £60 more that the ready to wear original. I’ve spent about 8 hours on it so far and its nowhere near complete.
This dress is a job made for love not money, but you can see where I’m coming from…….

Lovlies, Use your skills, Be proud of your skills, but be careful who you tell. 😉

TTFN Linsey @ Dolly’s

Use It Or Loose It

This week I heard the sad news that our neighbours Warrington Skate Academy was closing down. Now I am not sure of any of the details of the situation, but was infuriated with some of the Facebook comments.

“Why would you do this”

“This isn’t fair, my son loved it when he came 2 years ago”

“Its just selfish”

How many of these people actually went and spent a little of their had earned cash?

On Academy Street there were 4 now 3 Independent businesses, all struggling because of the redevelopment work, again today the road is closed for another 2 weeks!

It reminds me of the Just A Card campaign, check it out here

Its about a beautiful card shop, that had to close due to financial reasons, after the owners said:-

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

In Summer 2015 things were in a desperate situation at Dolly’s, The School Summer Holiday had been like a baron wasteland at the shop, in 6 weeks, not 1 customer through the door.

I just simply didn’t have any money for rent. I had no choice but to ask for help. I launched “A Tip For A Tip”

Everyday I am thankful for all those lovely people who donated and kept me in business.

Thankfully Dolly’s is in a much better place now, I still havn’t taken a wage for 2 years, but Dolly’s now has its regulars, its a social place, and the love of sewing is growing within our area. Exactly what I wanted.

Dolly’s will never make me rich, but it will defiantly make my life richer.

I think it is important to shop local especially in Warrington  during the redevelopment.

So instead of taking to Facebook when an independent business has closed down, lets support them whilst they are still open.

Use It Or Loose It.

TTFN Linsey @Dolly’s xx

How do you do?

Nice to meet you!

It is an absolute coincidence that my sister wrote a blog introducing herself today, I had panned to to this all week – I wish i’d have not in there 1st 😉

Hi I’m Linsey – Spelt the way the 1st nurse spelt it way back in 1974, yup I’m 42.
I own Dolly’s Sewing School.
Let me tell you bit about me and mine……..

This is me

My hair isn’t that colour anymore, it rarely stays the same colour for long.
I was a hairdresser before darling Dolly’s – I am completely over hairdressing, but the need for change is still there.
My husband says if I go missing he wouldn’t know what colour my hair was to tell the Police!!!



This is him

I think he is gorgeous, I’ve been in love with him since i was 14
– he didn’t know I was alive…. pfft
We had a secret wedding for 3, and text everyone after the deed was done we partied into the small hours after.

When we finally got together Billy came with a 6yo side kick.
Now nearly 16.

billy and tyler

Tyler Rottweiler

Now, I’m not saying it has been all Mary Poppins with Tyler, but she is my love.
When she was little I was Mumsey (half Mum half Linsey) too cool for that now, she has however “allowed” me to make her prom dress.
It was always very easy to love Tyler, she is so much like her Dad it is scary.
Much to my disgust she doesn’t have a creative bone in her body, Tyler loves football, her aggressive style where the Rottweiler comes from.

tyler and linsey


Until May 2016, I was the love of Billy’s life. Some Bitch has stolen his heart!!
Margo the shop dog. She came to us in the strangest way, but is good as gold. Kind and friendly, even though she is the size of a shetland pony.

billy and margo


Awww there she is, Dolly the 1st.
Dolly was my 1971 VW Beetle sold to fund Dolly the shop.
Today I think it was worth the sacrifice, Ask me on a rainy morning when I’m on my bike and the answer would be different.


10 things about me

* I have the odd tattoo
* I have 4 siblings
* I didn’t have a shop bought dress until I was 13
* I’ve not had a shop bought dress for 2 years
*I can turn my tongue upside down
*I have been sewing for 20 years
*I’ve been on a diet for the same time!!
* I have travelled the world
*I bought my house when 21 – I don’t think I’ll ever move
* I HATE wearing the same as anyone else. ( I’d go him if I did)

Thats me – probably a hipster, trying to change the world – 1 frock at a time.

TTFN love Linsey @ Dollys

Happy New Year

Better late than never

I can not believe its 18th January already, Where does the time go?

With Garment Making booking up months in advance – I have decided to do a full years timetable.
I thought it would be easier for people to plan.

March an April Class list has been done too

There is also still availability for classes in February.

No flies on me Eh??

There has been a very sad cloud over Dolly’s this past week, Friend of Dolly’s Julie Shaw lost her battle with cancer last week, and boy did she battle.
Anyone who has been on a class here with Julie knows what a character she was, with her time keeping as unique as her.
Julie will certainly be missed here.
Our love and thoughts are with her girls Niamh & Gabby and the rest of her Family.


RIP Julie You’re certainly going to be missed

It’s all going on at Dolly’s

Its been busy busy since our last blog, some of us are still recovering from Lisa’s Wedding. *ok that’ll just be me then!!

We have a new class list, and new classes called Mini Makes.

Mini Makes are shorter classes, less expensive, but still lots of new skills to be learnt and friends to be made.
Mini Makes have a short Sewing Machine run through, Ideal if you want to build confidence, if its been a while since you last used a machine, Or you just want to dip in to see if sewing i for you ( I recon it is)

Have a look at the list.

We also have some great Christmas Classes.
Why not arrange your Christmas night out at Dolly’s instead of fighting through crowded pubs, we can even provided a glass or two of fizz.

Garment Making still proves to be our most popular class – which makes me very happy. The next classes are currently full.
The Next Block will start in January. If you have missed out this time a small deposit secures your place until nearer the time.

After #unicorngate, We have decided to make up some trophy heads that can be given as Christmas Gifts.
Unicorns can be personalised by adding different colours to match your decor or personality. £40 each.
Giraffes, Elephants and Rudolph are a little more conventional, but  we love a challenge, drop us a line with your ideas. £37 each.

Dolly’s is closed for a week from 24th October for a little battery recharge before Christmas.

Keep Warm
TTFN Linsey @Dollys

Here Comes The Bride

Here Comes the Bride.
I first met Lisa in January this year, she was booking on a Garment Making Class whilst on Maternity Leave.
Instantly likeable and absolutely gorgeous, we hit it off straight away.
Lisa had been on a short sewing course elsewhere before, and is a natural sewist.
She told me about her wedding plans, I’m not sure how we got onto her making her own dress or who’s idea it was, but we were both up for the challenge.
Lisa had tried a couple of dresses on, but either didn’t feel comfortable or wasn’t really her. Making a dress wasn’t about saving money ( although I’m sure she did) It was all about making something that fit great and would be comfortable on the most special day whilst looking after 2 little boys as well.

An so were off Pattern cut and altered, Fabric bought and cut. Its really happening.

Perfecting the fit and going off plan with the design, just how to attach the 2!

lisa 3.jpg
We even managed a mini Garment Making Hen night.

lisa 5.jpg

Week number 6, only a few finishing touches to do so time to relax ( and make my outfit)
With 1 week to go Lisa calls, she still needs to add the finishing touches and get her dress cleaned #HorizontalBride

lisa 6.jpg
I am panicing, how can my outfit be done before the brides???
In true Lisa style, laid back and casual a quick 3 hour session had the finishing touches completed and her dress looking second to none. Phew!

lisa 7.jpg

Even us Girls got an invite.
I think you’ll agree, that Lisa Looked amazing on her Wedding Day and did a wonderful job of her dress.
Many Congratulations Lisa, Steven, Ollie and Henry. xx
TTFN LInsey @Dolly’s

Festival Of Thrift

Cheap Skate or Thrifty
I often question my thrifty ways, is it necessity I don’t buy anything new or is it really because I want to recycle and reuse?

If I can’t make it, I will generally buy 2nd hand (I do draw the line at undies of course)
The Saturday sewing children take great amusement in asking every week, “Did you make that?” The answer is usually yes!

Just recently I really fancied a handbag, I’d been lusting after it for years. Without the funds I had to raise them. I sold 3 handbags (from my former life) and made enough to buy it new.
It arrived and I felt abit flat, It was such a lot of money and as soon as I took it out of the house it would have been 2nd hand. As luck would have it the same day I saw the EXACT same handbag and matching purse on a selling site for half the price.
New bag pack up and returned. Instead of the flat feeling I had with the new handbag, I was elated with my bargain find.

A coincident that #baggate was just 2 weeks before the Festival Of Thrift.

The Festival is a free event promoting, sustainable living, recycling, reusing and keeping things out of the landfill.
It was held in a stunning little village called Kirkleathem, as we wandered around the village we stumbled across lots of things to do.

Giant Knitting
Toilet DJ

Wine from a caravan

Plus Lots of recycled things to buy.

Tiny quilting and goodies made from old inner tubes

Spoon Wind chimes
There was lots of lovely food outlets, but we chose to have a 3 course Vegetarian meal with 100 other people. Oh and Wayne Hemingway.

The highlight of the whole visit

Oh yesssssss, I won the 1st award of the weekend for my dress sense.
It was explained a thrifty dresser was all about someone who looked differently and had there own style.
I wasn’t at all gracious and actually punched the air when I received it.

All in all it was a brilliant day. The festival is getting bigger every year. I hope there is camping next year. Because I’ll be there with a car full of outfits 😉

TTFN Linsey @Dollys

Read All About It

What a busy couple of months!!
Some of you will remember this time last year I actually had to crowd fund to pay the rent.
Being a new business I was ill prepared for how tough the school Holidays would be.
What a difference a year makes. This summer has been crazy.
Summer camp saw 80 places fully booked within a blink of an eye.

Those children certainly kept me on my toes, they all came on there best behaviour, impeccable manners and a certain amount of giddiness. They learn skills that will last a lifetime.
Needless to say it wasn’t a walk in the park, but I do hope they enjoyed themselves.
We also have a new children sewing class beginning 24th September. Some of our older sewers have gone up to high school and are ready for a new challenge. This new class will be focusing on fashion and working from patterns. My 2 favourite things, so I am really excited about this.

Unicorns seem to be very popular, so when I found a pattern for a unicorn “Trophy Head” I couldn’t resist.
Unfortunately someone took great offence and reported me to Facebook for animal cruelty.
I’m still hoping someone fesses up as a joke, but its been a while now! so make what you want of it!
With 3 Garment Making and a lot of creative classes added to the timetable. It certainly looks like Sewing is becoming fashionable again. Yayyyyy
Have a look at September & Octobers class list, you could even make a start on your Christmas Presents.
Dolly’s will be closed this weekend. So no Saturday Sewing or Garment making on Sunday.
I am off to the East Coast – to the Festival of thrift to be precise.
have a look

Its an even to promote sustainable living, recycling and basically leaving the plant in a better state than how we found it.
I’m really excited and hope to get lots of ideas. I’ll tell you all about it on my return.Read

Is It Sexist To Comment On Womens Clothes?

Is it sexist to comment on Women’s clothes?
I recently read a post on social media, It was a newspaper cutting commenting on Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom outfits.
People (mostly women) were outraged and angry that the paper had done so and obviously their outfits had nothing to do with there work.

This got me thinking, Is it actually sexist to comment on Women’s clothes, It has nothing to do with how they conduct themselves or their work within the work place……. Or has it?

I recently went to a meeting a Warrington Town Hall. It was a Business meeting – as a sole trader I don’t often attend such meetings. I put an awful lot of thought into my outfit. I wanted to still dress like me, but kind of felt the need to “fit it”. I NEVER want to fit in normally, but I felt like such a fish out of water attending this meeting. I figured it was the best thing for it.

As I was sat in my car watching everyone go in my “fit in” outfit clearly didn’t!!!! Everyone was in suits, Black Grey or Navy. With only a handful of women in attendance (also in the same “uniform”)

I had an important question to ask and needed certain information, so I was determined I wasn’t backing out.
As I went in all eyes were on me, firstly I have A LOT of visible tattoos ( I don’t really see them anymore – but its obvious others do) My “fit in” outfit consisted of a hot pink pussy bow blouse, Leopard print coat and matching handbag.

When it came to the Q&A session I was the first to be picked, you see I stood out in the crowd of Black, Blue and Grey. My questions was (partly) answered and I got the information I needed.

The thing is, If i hadn’t of dressed “like me” I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go in and to ask the question. Clothes help make me who I am. After all, being individual and not following the crowd is what my business is all about.

Our clothes tell a story of where we are from and who our “tribe” is.

Years ago Wayne Hemmingway (quite a cool cat IMHO) made a comment that we all had a tribe except Goths because they had no style. My Sister was outraged, you see he was insulting her tribe.

I don’t think its sexist to comment on women clothes at all, Just lets do it to men too after all Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t dress like David Cameron!!!

Thanks for reading my ramblings. FYI I have a week off with my Family between 15th July to 22nd July I’ll again be having a technology free week and well reply to any enquiries on my return.

TTFN LInsey @ Dollys xxI

How I Improved My Mental Health

How I improved my Mental Health……

I will start with a disclaimer, If this doesn’t work for you don’t sue me. I have nothing apart from a massive rescue dog and a load of pretty fabric!!

Last summer was immensely stressful. Dolly’s had to move, although to a beautiful new building we had NO passing trade or customers for that matter.
Every time I hit my Facebook newsfeed I would instantly feel depressed. Everyone was truly living life to the full. Holidays, new cars, clothes, days out. Everyone was so happy.
When I was sat in an empty shop day in day out worrying about EVERYTHING and miserable.

Now I am not a stupid woman, and I know that folk only post “the good stuff”, but it still sucks when all you ever see is everyone elses “good stuff”

I needed a Facebook account for Dolly’s Shop Page, so deleting it all together wasn’t an option. Plus I have lots of lovely memories, photos and videos of my darling dog Dave on. I only had 1 option. I had to delete all my Facebook “friend” some of whom would actually pass my in the street without saying hello. So why was I bothered about there lives on Facebook?

Almost instantly, it was like a weight was lifted. Other peoples lives couldn’t bother me in my own mind. I concerntrated on the people I did see face to face. Finding out about the good ( and bad) in there lives. Guess what! there lives were as up and down as mine too!


For 11 months in the new building it has been obvious we don’t have passing trade and its classes pay our bills.
It is lovely when people drop in to say HI, but Dolly’s isn’t a free coffee shop and we have bills to pay… BIG bills to pay.

After a tally over 3 weeks it was on paper…
Why am I sat in a shop for 7 hours a day 5 days a week before anyone comes in to attend a class? It wasn’t even worth turing the lights on for.
Plus my house/family have been seriously neglected over the past 15months.

So came the decision to only open for classes. This gives me some time at home to see to “house things” ( I currently have chicken in the oven for tea, I’ll take some to work and my 2 can have a healthy meal already prepared for when they get home. Everyone’s a winner.

OK, so this may not work for everyone and I still super love social media – Instagram is my favourite, but thats all about nice pictures. Whats not to love. I feel much more positive about things although I still rely on you Facebook lovers to share Dolly’s stuff and our stuff out there. So my strategy really isn’t for everyone.

Thats all for now. Have a great weekend
TTFN Linsey @ Dolly’s