About us

This is the start of a new adventure for Joan and myself, an exciting new patchwork and quilting shop called Dotty Dolly. We are based in Wellington, Somerset, at 13 Fore Street (opposite the Nat West). You can contact us on 01823 660879.

We are easy to get to from junction 26 on the M5 - come and see us if you are passing by.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Back from my holiday

I have just come back from two weeks in Rhodes, so haven't got much to tell you all.  I have had a great time sunning myself, reading, eating and drinking, plus a little bit of exloring while Debby has been slaving away here - so she tells me!  I won't bore you  about my holiday, but did take a couple of photographs which might interest you -

We went to Lindos one day which is a lovely little town.  It is a very old  town and consequently there is no traffic because the streets are not wide enough to get cars through, which is great for browsing. It's also very cool because the houses are built so close together. I came across these dresses which are all appliqued, by machine, obviously, but they looked really striking.  I wouldn't wear one, but appreciated the idea!
I have a thing about old doors.  For about the last 10 years I have been taking photographs of them, and this is just another one to add to my collection.  One day I am going to make a beautiful quilt using all the different shapes I have found, just not yet.  John, by the way thinks I am quite mad, but still points them out to me!  This one was very old and I saw it in Rhodes town.

One say we took a ferry to Symi and on the way back we stopped at a lovely old monastery.  This is a photograph of the balcony overlooking a very cool courtyard..  Again I just love the shapes.  I got some very odd looks because I had to get on my knees to take the photograph, but I love it!

In my last post I mentioned Debby's new car, she has now taken delivery of it, and I have been in it.  It is very nice, actually it is more than very nice, and I am quite envious of her.  I am not sure if the novelty has worn off yet, but I doubt it!

For some time Debby and I have been talking about holding an event  for a cancer charity, and at last we have set a date.  It is not until Saturday 17th August, and will be held in the Orangery at Nynehead Court.  We plan to have a day where for a small fee you can  have a go at a craft that you have never tried before whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  Of course if you just want tea and cake and a wander around the garden that is fine.  We are still in the planning stage at the moment, and will have further details later, but we hope we get a good attendance.  The money we raise will go to Cancer Research. We are all touched by cancer at some time in our lives, whether it is ourselves or our family or friends, so we hope to raise lots of money!

Happy sewing!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Trip to Malvern

Time for another post, as once again it's been a while since I posted anything.  We have been keeping busy with various goings on.

Last week we had a day away from the shop and went to Malvern for the quilt show.  I was a little disappointed because the week before Debby came into the shop looking a little distracted.  I wondered what on earth was the matter with her, but it transpired that she was in shock because she had bought herself a new car, not just any old car, but a red Audi!  My disappointment as far as Malvern was concerned was because she didn't have it in time for us to go in it!  Anyway we slummed it in her old car and got there in record time - have I mentioned that she doesn't hang around.  My knuckles are usually white by the time we get anywhere.

 We went not to buy fabric, but to see what the trends are at the moment, and if there was anything new that we hadn't come across, but there wasn't really.  It is a great show and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves looking around.  We were rather concerned to see some fabrics selling at cheaper prices than we can get at cost, but they were not particularly nice quality fabrics, or the colours were not very good.  We always worry that customers will think we are making a fortune on our fabric, which we can assure you we are not!  We met two of our reps there, and they were also concerned to see some of their fabrics being sold very cheaply, and they didn't know where the fabric could have come from and how the seller could sell it at the prices they were.

The thing that really fascinated me was the huge range of quilting rulers, I have never seen so many different shapes and sizes, and  I think I would have to have several lessons to be shown what to do with them!  There was one particular set which comprised of two different kinds of curves and they cost nearly £60.00.  I couldn't work out how you would use them, and nobody I asked could tell me either.  I suppose I should have asked the stallholders, but they were very busy.  May be I need to get on to Youtube and take a look. 

We have had several new fabrics in this week, some have a novelty theme which we hope might be suitable for children.

I love these ones, particularly the little elephants, both are by Michael Miller.  The cat fabric below is actually much nicer than the photograph shows, but it is selling well.  People seem to love cat fabric!

Continuing with the animal theme, we couldn't resist these rabbits!  This fabric is by Sevenberry.
Finally we loved these toadstools.  Let's hope everyone else does!

Debby ran a workshop on Bucket Bags last week, as usual there was a waiting list for this one, it always seems to be very popular.  We also ran our first Know your Sewing Machine Course this week.  A friend of ours Angela ran this.  Again we have a waiting list for it so will be running it again.  It seems like everyone wants to sew at present which is good news for us!

I have been busy making samples for a Stars and Stripes Workshop which I am running in June.  Time does not seem to be on my side at present.  I will be away for a couple of weeks from next week so need to get them completed.  I am just about there.  I found the idea for this in a book I have called The Quilter's Book of Days.  I felt that offering a workshop called Stars and Stripes that I needed to have at least one sample that was red, white and blue!

I quite liked this one,  the photograph does not do the colours any justice at all, but I am sure you get the idea!  I have made a couple of other samples, and just need to make a wonky star, which for some reason I keep putting off!  I have two days left in which to complete it, so need to get my skates on!

We had three of our fabrics featured in Sewing World this month in a section called Summer in the City.  It's always exciting when you see your fabric and the name of the shop in a magazine.  There has been quite a good response and we have sold quite a bit of it.  The editor saw a photograph of one of the pieces on our Facebook page and asked if we had any more.  Sometimes you beaver away at blogs and Facebook and wonder if it is worth it, and then something like that happens, and you realise that yes it is!  We also have two cushions which will be featured in Sewing World next month, so that will also be something to get excited about!  We are very sad!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Once again a whole month has gone by and I haven't posted anything.  Both Debby and I have been busy the last month - I suppose that is obvious really!

We have had several workshops including bags, cushions, log cabin and variations, and jelly rolls.  The jelly roll workshops are always very popular and fill up quickly.  I find it strange because I like layer cakes, but those workshops just don't seem so popular - perhaps it's me!  I took the log cabin workshop, I was really keen to do some wonky log cabins, however, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be!  Below is my first attempt which turned out OK, but you have to be careful that you don't make it too wonky!
The next one was made as one large piece that I cut into 4 and stitched back together.  I thought I would use some colours that I don't normally go for, well except for the pink!  I quite liked it, but just left it as a sample, as it was too large for a cushion or a bag, and I couldn't seem myself making a quilt with these colours.
I have been working on the quilt below for a layer workshop which I will be running tomorrow.  I have put the top together, and hopefully will put the quilt together tonight, ready for quilting which I will do by hand, when I get round to it.
This is made from a layer cake called 2wenty-thr3e, no it isn't a mistake that is what it says on the label.    It was supposed to be split into light and dark, but it was quite difficult to do, so many were neither one or the other, but it's turned out OK.  There is a small border made from the left over fabrics as is the binding.  I going to back it in calico.
My next project is going to be a top for the window, and hopefully one or two for me for my holiday.  I saw the pattern when I popped into Bredon's in Taunton last week.  Terin (I hope I have spelt her named correctly!) had it on the counter as she was planning on using it, I love little cotton tops rather than t-shirts which I find too hot when I am somewhere hot, which I will be soon.  If I make the top for the window, I am also going to have to make a skirt!
We have been selling a lot of fabric for dressmaking.  I put a dress in the window which lots of people have commented on, although one or two people didn't seem to realise that I had made it with fabric that we sell!  I really do think the Great British Sewing Bee has helped.  I loved every minute of it, and thought the correct person won.  I understand that they are already recruiting for next year, and that there will be 6 episodes with more contestants.
I had last week off,  We went to a wedding just outside Cardiff.  My daughter Katie's close friend Vicky got married.  Katie and my grand-daughter Georgia were bridesmaids, and I made their dresses.  Unfortunately all the photographs are on my husband's camera which I don't have in the shop.  It was also Katie's birthday.  The weather was glorious and it was just a lovely day.  I also made 40 odd metres of bunting which looked great, and took a couple of orders for other weddings on the day!  Vicky had been collecting vintage china for the last year or so, and all the flowers on the tables were arranged in old teapots,   There were china cups and saucers on the table and we all drank tea out of them after the meal.  Needless to say my husband wanted coffee - there is always one.  Inside the cups were beautiful heart shaped biscuits, it was all fantastic.
Hopefully I won't take so long before I do another post, but don't hold your breath, I am off to Rhodes at the end of the month.  If you are interested in what's going on we are a little better at posting on Facebook.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

At last a new post!

I decided when I got up this morning that I really must update the blog.  I was rather shocked when I looked to find the last post was done at the end of February, and here we are in April.  So much for my good intentions.

  I don't know about you but I sometimes feel there is a conspiracy against me as far as computers are concerned!  As some of you will know we got a new camera for the shop and I couldn't seem to download the photographs on to my computer at home, although I could on the shop one.  However, I have been so busy in the shop that I didn't have time to write the blog when I was in there, and so it got left.  We also had another problem in that we just couldn't seem to download any photographs onto Facebook on either computer.  The final straw was that having solved the problem last time of downloading the new details of our workshops on to the website, it doesn't want to play this time.  Oh yes and hotmail have yet again changed everything, and we seem to have lost our favourites!   I finally managed to sort out the photographs on my computer this morning with a little help from my daughter-in-law.  I am now able to post photographs on facebook.  I hope you are not all too bored by this hopeless saga, but I just feel I need to explain why we disappear of the radar every so often!  I  need to try and work out what to do with the shop computer now, but I just can't face that at present.

Last time I wrote I mentioned a cushion workshop I was going to have to make some cushions for, well I made them and the workshop is now done and dusted, but I thought you might like to see some photographs of the samples anyway.

Every time I do a workshop I find that anything with hearts is popular, and in fact nearly everyone who came made a version of this cushion.  I struggle with these traditional fabrics as I have said before, but I think it worked out OK.  Certainly this range is going very quickly.

I like this snowball pattern, and I don't know why I don't do more of it.  I only every seem to do it in fabrics that I am not that keen on.  I also like the quilting on it.  I have seen lots of quilts quilted in this fashion and keep promising myself that I will make one one day - who knows when that will happen.

I have also been busy making a dress.  I like to make clothes, and it is especially nice to make something that doesn't have to fit anybody or anything apart from a dress stand.

  I got the pattern free with Sew magazine, although it was a Simplicity pattern.  It would look better with a net skirt under it, but I wasn't about to make one!  We have had lots of comments about it.  One reason we decided on a dress to go in the window was that the Great British Sewing Bee starts tonight - great excitment about that!  Debby and I have a copy of the book, and I have made a laundry bag which is in the book and was also featured in the Radio Times.  The instructions told you to buy 1.9 metres for the bag which seemed an awful lot to me.  Having made it I managed to get it out of 1.5 metres, although if your fabric was one way then you would need 1.9 -it's rather an expensive laundry bag!  I hope the programme is a success, it would certainly be good for business, and it would be great to see more and more people sewing.  I read somewhere the other day that sewing machine sales are going through the roof at the moment, long may it continue!

I have also been making bags for our next workshop
I have been wanting to make something from this fabric ever since we got it in the shop.  I am rather pleased with it and would use it myself.  We finally got some more pellon in and it makes such a difference to the stability of the bag.

I decided to make this bag after our Coates rep came into the shop with something similar (one of only a couple of female reps!) I rather liked it and thought I would have a go.  It is reversable, and is made from squares.  It is quite floppy - no pellon in this one!  Hers had two sets of handles, so you could either put it on your shoulder or just use small ones, but I decided not to do that and leave it with just the long ones.  I think I like it!  I certainly like the fabric, although the blue flowery fabric is in our clearance section, I can't understand why it didn't sell.

I don't know about all of you, but I am fed up of all this cold weather.  Yesterday, Easter Monday, we went to Lyme Regis.  The sun wasn't shining, and it was freezing down there.  The wind was coming off the sea, it was the sort of cold that makes your face and ears hurt!  One good thing was we went via The River Cottage Canteen at Axminster, we went early in order to get a table, and were lucky.  We had a great meal, as always.  There are some lovely shops at Lyme, but as we were with my husband and son, I didn't get to go in many of them!  The sun has been shining here today, but it is still really cold.

Debby is off to Germany tomorrow morning and will be away for a few days, so I am in the shop for most of the rest of the week, and next week.  Hopefully I will get lots of work done.  I have some orders to complete and I also have to send instructions to Sewing World for two cushions that will be featured in the magazine later in the year.  I have a Log Cabin Workshop coming up and am going to make some wonky log cabin blocks so am looking forward to making those.

Happy sewing everyone.


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Longer Days at Last!

We seem to have got rid of the rain at last, and although I keep saying I don't mind what the weather is like as long as it doesn't rain, it would just be so nice if we had a bit of sun!  At least there is more daylight now, I am getting up when it is light, and leaving work when it is light - it makes such a difference.

It has been a funny few days in the shop, It was quiet on Monday and Tuesday, ticking along nicely. On Wednesday apart from the Post Lady, I didn't see anyone for three hours, then everything went mad, and I didn't stop.  I had great plans to cut more fat quarters which seem to be going down rapidly and  get lots of sewing done, but have not achieved much at all.  I managed to make these bags, which I have decided to call 'Bits and Pieces Bags', mainly because there are all sorts of bits and pieces you could use them for, and I can't think of another name for them!

 I sold several cushions on Monday morning all of which were in the window, and then had a panic about what to replace them with, hence the bags.  I have also made a couple of knitting bags with Mother's Day in mind.  Retail is a strange occupation.  A few weeks ago I made some cushions for Valentines Day which I showed you in the last post, and didn't sell them, however on Monday I sold three of them.  There is no rhyme or reason to what happens, and Debby and I have given up trying to work it out!

I now have to make some cushions for a workshop later in March.  I have them planned, but just haven't managed to find the time to make them.  They are now my top priority.  We have  some new Moda fabrics La Belle Fleur, including charm packs and I intend to use these - Debby has given me my instructions! They are quite pretty traditional patterns, and I am looking forward to getting on with them.

Next Wednesday I am doing a workshop on quick and easy ways  to make triangles.  I have made quite a few samples for this.  I eventually intend to make a sampler from them, but I have left them at home, so will show you them later.  I also have several other samples including  two quilts, and  two cushions.

The photograph doesn't do justice to the colours.  I have been wanting to make a quilt with this pattern for so long, and now I have.!  It just needs a border on it.

I made this one when we first opened the shop, but people are always commenting on it.  It's made from a charm pack.  The colours are not my favourite, but I do like the pattern.

Lots of customers seem to like this cushion, and I love doing churn dash.  The fabric is a french design.  It was quite fiddly because the blocks are tiny, but well worth the effort.

I have made a runner from this pattern,  and I had enough for another block.  It is from another Moda Charm pack called Trade Winds.  I wish I had made a larger pink border.  The cushion pad is 50cm x 50cms, so it quite large.

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to see Madame Butterfly.  I wasn't entirely convinced that I wanted to go.  My daughter Katie bought the ticket for her dad who enjoys the opera.  She persuaded me to go along as well, so all three of us went last Friday.  I have seen the Opera House in Cardiff from the outside lots of times, but have never been in.  It is as amazing inside as it is out.  We had fabulous seats, second row from the front, so we could see the orchestra as well.  The actual opera exceeded my expectations.  I had said to a customer last week how much I was looking forward to seeing the costumes and she told me I might be a bit disappointed as the Welsh National Opera Company have a reputation for doing things a little bit differently.  I was expecting lots of colours which we didn't get, but the costumes were nevetheless beautiful.  They were very simple and colour co-ordinated in shades of brown, coffee and cream, quite stunning.  The set matched and it was all just perfect. Then, of course, came the actual singing and it was fantastic.  Admitedly Madame Butterfly looked a bit older than the 15 years she was supposed to be, but you soon forgot about that when she started to sing, it was just wonderful, and at times made me want to cry.  If you ever get the chance to go you must!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Longer Days at Last!

The rain seems to have gone at last, and I have said to lots of people that I don't mind what the weather is like as long as it doesn't rain, but I do wish we could have a bit of sun

Monday, 18 February 2013

Plodding On

Despite all my good intentions to write this blog every week, I have failed miserably.  In my defence, I have had a really horrible bug, which has taken a while to get rid of and left me feeling a bit like a wet rag.  John, my husband went down with it first and passed it on to me.  He has been really quite poorly.  I am lucky in that I am married to a man who does not get 'man flu', when he is ill he just gets on with it, but we have been like a couple of geriatrics for the last fortnight!  Happily the sun has come out and we both feel so much better.  How lovely to see the sun, it can be as cold as it likes as long as the sun keeps shining!

I have not managed to get too much sewing completed the last fortnight, although I got a few things done before I was ill.  Unfortunately I managed to knock my camera off the ironing board - don't ask - and it has broken, so apart from a few photographs that I took previously I haven't got much to show you.  I did go into the shop one day and had a panic about Valentines Day and put together some little cushions for the window.

I started by cutting strips of red fabrics and zig-zagging them onto some calico.  I then drew heart shapes onto bondaweb, and ironed them on to the back of the fabric.  The above photographs shows the piece after I have cut the heart shapes out, but I think you will get the idea.

I then stuck them on to some linen, zig-zagged round them and then stitched a running stitch round the heart shape.

When I had finished, I then ran a running stitch around the edge of the cusion to finish it off.  I made several, which are shown at the top of this post.  I put some photographs on Facebook, and was quite surprised to sell a couple!

I have had two workshops since the last post.  The first one was a Beginner's Class which was quite small as a couple of people dropped out.  We had a lovely day and those that were there got a lot done.

This is Fiona's quilt.  She managed to get the top completed, and then layered it ready for quilting.  The pink spotty fabric will be the binding.  She was very quick and accurate, and I am looking forward to seeing the finished result.

I loved these colours.  This was going to be a much bigger quilt than Fiona's

I took another class last Wednesday which was a Bag Workshop.  There were some lovely finished items, but by then I had broken my camera, so am not able to show you any of the work.  We had one nine year old, Molly, who came with her mum.  She had never used a sewing machine or iron before, but was more than competent with both, and had completed a lined bag by 2.30pm, so then cut out a small drawstring bag, which she also completed by the end of the day.  We were all very impressed with her.  Her mum, you will be pleased to know, completed her bag too! 

The shop continues to be busy which is good for us.  We are selling lots of our new fabric. Above is a Russian Doll print, which has been flying out of the shop.    I put this photograph on Facebook and the response was amazing.

This one comes in another colourway, and it was while I was photographing it to show the Editor of Sewing World that I managed to break my camera, so you will have to make do with just the one colourway.  I am not sure what I would do with this, but I do love it.

These two are also proving to be very popular.  The blue cakestand fabric also comes with a white background.

 I have several little quilts on the go, most of which have completed tops, but need layering up to be quilted.  Hopefully next time I write this blog I will be able to show you at least one finished.  I started to put my quilt as you go together, and got so far with it, but then decided a couple of bits weren't quite as accurate as they should be so have unpicked it and can't quite get myself motivated to put it back together again.  I am making a quilt with my friend Rosalind which is a Tree of Life.  She has appliqued the trunk and the leaves, and I have been working on a border.  When I have added that, I will then start to quilt using kantha which I love doing.  I am enjoying this one, although the border consists of 2" squares and tiny triangles and is taking a little while, but hopefully I will have something to show you next time.

Debby informs me that she has bought us a camera to keep in the shop at all times.  I am taking my own camera into town tomorrow, and hopefully it can be fixed, otherwise I will have to buy a new one. I do hope it can be fixed, I haven't had it six months, and am feeling very cross about it.  You have probably gathered that, because I am getting a little boring about it!

That's it for now, hopefully I WILL write another post next week.  I'm off to Cardiff for the weekend to see Madam Butterfly, which I am really looking forward to, not for the opera particularly, but for the costumes!