Kits are in production *right now* and will be available on our online store shortly!
It started with a kit ...
Picture the scene. It's 10 ish on a Tuesday morning, I put down my cup of half-cold coffee and thought (literally) .. "wouldn't it be so lovely to offer a craft kit to adults wishing to make Dolly! I bet it would encourage them to make her, actually - I BET it's a real pain having to hunt on eBay for 10 different fabrics trying to track down what I've used in my photos and then pay loads of different postage costs .. I SHOULD MAKE A DOLLY KIT!
*Insert big, triumphant, heavenly fanfare here*
Long suffering Mr Dolly rolls his eyes and reluctantly says - "yes dear, go for it".
So I started to collate fabrics, pretty boxes and order stuffing.
From previous experience of CE testing a raggy doll (for the Imajicalia Fairy Adventure) I knew that I should probably ask my local trading standards to sign off on the ADULT craft kit to make Dolly and her range of costumes.
In the first instance, all I wanted to do was make the fabrics I had used (in the example photographs) available to anyone who would go scouring the web to buy them. And the fabric bundle was just for adults so that was O.K. ... Right? ... yeah?
Drat. And double DRAT.
For those of us in sensible land (around 99.9% of us), I'm pretty sure you'd realise that if a kit or craft pack said NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN that you'd not give it to children, huh? And that'd be enough.
Apparently not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not slating the system - I definitely want my products to be safe. It's the rather hypocritical, ar$e-about-face-ness of the legislation that gets me. It seems that no matter how rigorously I test everything, it doesn't really ensure anything.
Let me explain...
I can sell you a pattern and you can choose your own fabrics - from any source - and proudly present your finished doll, in whatever quality of manufacture or fabric you've managed to achieve AND THAT'S FINE.
They want Dolly tested to safety regs for CE marks - specifically the toy safety directive, but have acknowledged that I can't control how well a sewist makes the toy, or, whether they include, leave out or change the design or fabric pack provided in any way. HOWEVER, the kit itself (designed for over 14's) does NOT require testing. EH?
You can buy giraffe fabric from me and it has to be tested for flammability and migration of toxins (EN71-1 & EN71-2) for the giraffe costume, or you can use it completely UNTESTED from another source.
The real kicker - I can CE test and get a pass for Dolly if made correctly as in our awesome instructions (as with the fairy rag doll made for Imajicalia) BUT I CAN'T MENTION IT TO YOU as a benefit or feature of buying a product from us... because then .. *you'll love this* .. I'm admitting it's a T-O-Y, TOY... and a toy needs CE testing. So is Dolly a toy or not?
Trading standards say yes. I'm not a twit - I can see it appeals to kids.
So, with steam coming out of my ears I went back and forth from Trading Standards, to Conformance.org trying to get a definitive answer on what was a LEGAL requirement. All I got was 'suggestions and recommendations'. How frustrating is that?!
BUT ... I suddenly came to the conclusion that wouldn't it also be wonderful to be able to sell Dolly PRE-MADE for clients who wish to gift them to a younger crafter to experiment with making the costumes and maybe, just maybe, it might end up a mother and daughter craft for a rainy day. If it's CE marked then I can.
It's expensive though. Each piece in the kit requires testing for migration of toxins at around £45+ VAT each. The last count of items needed to be tested was 200 individual items.
I've decided, that despite the costs, that testing the items provides the BEST opportunity to develop the business and we've launched a Kickstarter campaign to BACK BRITISH CRAFT and ensure we can get Dolly to market in the form of fabric bundles for costumes, full kits for Dolly and the whole costume range and even Dolly herself straight off the shelf. All UK made, and AGAINST ALL ODDS. I'd imagine that a lot of brilliant craft ideas have fallen at the certification hurdle and gone by the wayside.
Not us. Dollies never say die!
If you can, back British crafters and the underdog and grab yourself one of our early bird Kickstarter rewards by giving Dolly a 'Kick' in the right direction - UP!
So, here's your chance. Please help us to succeed by either choosing one of our rewards in exchange for your special pledge to bring Dolly to life, and be sure to give a simple share of this blog article to your social profiles to show your support.
May your seam ripper never be needed and your tension always good ...
Love and stitches,
Sheryl & Dolly xxoo