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 https://www.facebook.com/festivalofthrift/?fref=ts

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

Just A Card

If you are not familiar with the #Justacard campaign. Check it out here.

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

It’s the same in the Haberdashery side of Dolly’s. People come in and tell me how wonderful it is to see a shop selling fabric and notions, and then leave.
Although I love the compliment, it isn’t paying the bills.

Its been 11 months since our move to The School House and it has become increasingly clear that Dolly’s is now a destination shop.

We don’t have passing trade on our side of town, any offers of help from the council have never materialised.

Now, I have never been “bored” in the shop and can always find something to do or make. Opening a shop for 8 hours and it being fruitless is soul destroying.

It has become increasingly clear classes pay the bills at Dolly’s. (Not a complaint, I rather love them) So until the bridge street redevelopment is complete. Dolly’s will only open for classes. I will obviously be in earlier to prepare and set up.

I have a new jazzy box for outside the shop for leaflets and class info plus I will keep everyone informed on social media/website of weekly classes and opening hours.

I will have the shop phone with me, so can still take telephone enquiries.

With 99% of classes being booked online it is the best decision for the business.

Thank you all for your continued support. This small business really appreciates it.

TTFN #linsey @Dollys

Well, That Escalated Quickly

No great story ever started with ” I had a salad”
I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve had dogs the whole of my adult life, well since I was 26 when I started to behave like a grown up ( paying bills regularly, driving a legal car and I got married)

You all know my darling Dave died on 22nd December, I have thought about him everyday since, I didn’t sleep for 5 weeks after he died. He truly was the love of my life and I look at him through rose tinted glasses like he never did anything wrong!!
In “the real world” he was a sod!, he liked designer glasses, remote controls and mobile phones all burried in the back garden. He would also take himself on “the dog walk” if the front door was left open, the EXACT route we took him on. I’d have to chase him home on my bike!!!!

There he is. The face only a mother could love.

When Dave was 3 we got a rescue puppy called Tilly….. Soon to be changed to Brenda.
Brenda was 8 months old and the prettiest girl you ever saw. Unfortunately her previous owners had done nothing except throw a ball for her!! No house training, No recall. NOTHING.
It was an “interesting first 3 months with Brenda because she was such hard work, I was actually taking her back 3 times it was that bad.
I never did though. She actually turned out to be a really good dog, she died 4 years ago age 9 (the average for a boxer Dog) You see her back legs had gone after spending 9 whole years legging it for a tennis ball.
As the saying goes….. No great story starts with “I had a salad”

I’d had a wee glass of wine, Billy had gone to bed – he was working at 2am, It was May Day, I hadn’t been out of the house all day and the TV was rubbish. So looking at Boxer Dogs on Preloved seemed my only option!!!!!

1 person responded straight away!! He wanted to come and check us out as his circumstances had changed and wanted a forever home for his dog.
Just before his “home visit” he phoned. should he bring the dogs belongings as he didn’t want to do 2 journeys!
WHAT!!!!! *you’re only coming for a look at us and our house!

Needless to say…… I have another Dog. He name is Margo ( we changed her name) We think she is 3 yo and don’t really know much more apart from she is a dream. Absolutely MASSIVE (i’m sure she isn’t 100% boxer dog) she is at the Vets tomorrow so we may know more then. Margo is absolutely good as gold and we are smitten already.

I have a new hashtag #NOTHINGTODOWITHSEWING and have just wrote a whole blog that has nothing to do with sewing.

Back to business.
We have a Tipi Class 12-3pm on Sunday 8th May. Its £50 everything is included.

The Saturday and Sunday Sewers are growing from strength to strength. Producing wonderful things as well as improving there sewing skills weekly.

We still have places on
Saturday 12.30-2pm
Sunday 10.20-12noon
£40 for 4 weeks

Sewing Camp is on agin for Whit Holidays
1st June
8th June
10th June
£24 a day 9-5pm Bring a lunch, Snacks provided.

Don’t forget to have a look at our class list.
We have loads going on, not just dog stories 😉

TTFN Linsey @Dolly’sW

Holiday Wardrobe Challenge

Last week Me and the Hottie had a much needed week away to Malta.

We actually went to celebrate the Hottie’s 50th Birthday and spend some time with his best friend.

I made 8 dresses for the trip………………. want to see some pics?

(I am adding a disclaimer at this point, the woman in these pictures is not the woman I see in the mirror. I’ve mentioned before since opening Dolly’s I have neglected myself to the tune of 2 stone. This is not a permanent feature. TRUST ME!)

holiday pic 8

And they’re off…………..


Fabric from Dolly’s £5 per mtr. Simplicity Pattern £6

Total £17

holiday pic 2

A night out for Birthday Celebrations


Fabric A gift from the lovely House of Heaton. Pattern as before.

Total Free!

holiday pic 3

A walk out to the Beach


Fabric e-bay £5 per mtr. Pattern made up out of my head!

Total £15

holiday pic 4

A day over at Barzebbuga


Fabric £13 ( Hemingway designs, e-bay bargain) Pattern – McCalls £6

Total £19

holiday pic 1

A Meal Out


Fabric, another gift from The House of Heaton, Pattern as before

Total Free

holiday pic 5

Gozo for the day


Fabric £2.50 per mtr. Pattern as before

Total £10

holiday pic 7

A day of drunkenness!!!!


2 different fabrics both Hemingway Designs again £23. Pattern as before.

Total £23 plus a hangover!!!

holiday pic 6

Beautiful beach day out.

Fabric £2.50 per mtr Pattern as before

Total £10

All in all 7 ONE OFF, made to measure dresses. I cheated a little as I was running out of time and made 2 at a time, but i probably spent 5 hours making them.

Ok I had a couple of pairs of leggings and cardigans thrown in and I traveled in my Jeans, but the whole wardrobe came to £94.

The dresses will now be recycled into work dresses so i will get lots of wear out of them, so I can make a 7 more for my next holiday 😉

Fancy Making your own holiday wardrobe? Challenge yourself or learn how to on one of Dolly’s classes.

TTFN Linsey xx

Make your own Holiday Wardrobe

Make Your Holiday Wardrobe Challenge!
I have recently challenged myself to make my holiday wardrobe. Ok so, I’m an experienced sewer so not the most difficult task but £45 for 9 made to measure dresses can’t be sniffed at. (I’ll blog about this if you are chomping at the bit to hear more)

My Challenge is….. Would you like to make your own holiday wardrobe, you can. We have places on our Garment Making Class come available. Previously booked up, but due to unforeseen circumstances we now have places.

Classes starts
Thursday 17th-21st April 6-9pm (1 place)
Friday 18th – 22nd April 11-2pm (3 places)
Sunday 20th – 24 April 3-6pm ( 1 place)

Come along and make what you want, dresses, trousers, coats, swimming costumes. You name it, You can make it.

18 hours of tuition for only £80 in classes of 6. That works out less that £11 per session. Less than a posh coffee and cake…. Did I mention we have tea and cake too.

Don’t for get Dolly’s is closed next week and these classes will book up so strike whilst the iron is hot.

Linsey @ Dolly’s

Could you go a year without buying clothes?

Early January I went into a charity shop where they were holding a half price sale on clothes. The shop had been gifted so many items they didn’t have anywhere to store them.

I have been aware for a long time that the “fast fashion” industry is spiraling out of control, the charity shop sale just proves that.

It got me thinking about one of our lovely customers is Kayleigh, she was one of the 1st people through the door on opening day and has been on several classes. Kayleigh is a shopaholic, if shopping were an Olympic sport she would win every time!

With this in mind I have challenged Kayleigh. For a whole year she isn’t allowed to buy any new clothes in return she can come and sew at Dolly’s anytime, attend any classes for free and get a discount on fabric & notions from the shop.

We needed spies on the streets, so the Warrington Guardian got involved. If the whole of Warrington knew about the challenge Kayleigh could be seen cheating.


Already Kayleigh is off to a flying start and has made a beautiful fully lined dress. It fits like a dream too.

Our 15 minuets of fame continued when a student from Warrington Collegiate came in to interview us for his radio show. Its on this evening 10-11pm. You can listen to us here

In other news, things are really busy at Dolly’s, all our garment making classes are full, We now have 4 children’s sewing classes and sewing camp is booking up for February half term.

Remember Christmas ( yeah it does seem like a distant memory) Well I built a website. Why don’t you have a quick peep here.

Well that’s all for now, I am currently working on some class dates for March and April.

I’ll let you have them when they’re done.

TTFN Linsey

New Year New Skill

For the past 11 years I have done everything I could to avoid Christmas, I have travelled to many non Christian countries to escape anything remotely “Christmassy” (a strawberry tart in a busy Marrakech cafe and fish curry on an Indian beach. Both on 25th Dec were highlights)

More recently I have had to stay closer to home, you see my hottie comes with a plus 1, and let’s face it every parent wants to see their child on Christmas Day. So a box set of Luther and a take away were on the agenda.

New year is another matter, I love it, party frocks, Champagne, everyone in the party mood and New Years resolutions (OK, I have never got around to the getting fit and healthy resolution), but i love them. Fresh start. New plans.

In 2014 I challenged myself not to buy any new clothes for 12 months. Easy, I could make my own you see, and it continues. I buy the odd pair of leggings, and bits and bobs from the charity shop, but nothing like the full blown shopping addiction I used to have.

Why not challenge yourself in the new year, make a resolution to learn a new skill, or just to keep stuff out of the landfill.

Make More Spend Less.
Whatever your plans this new year. Have a happy and safe one

TTFN Love linsey @dollys