Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Dolly Dimple was my cash cow.

Back in the very early 1980's I had a great job in a really big "proper " office. Forget "Dress down Fridays" we had " Cream bun Friday's" and "Go to the pub at noon, and don't come back till home time" Fridays. The stories I could tell would make a great book with fabulous characters like "Doreen" who would come into work every Thursday with a great big love bite, as her hubby went to the WMC (Working Mens Club) every Wednesday night and had a skin full! Any how - I digress.
I earned a fairly decent salary, but I was saving up for a deposit on a house, so I needed a bit extra income. I made a night dress case for my office friend when it was her birthday - enter stage right, Dolly Dimple.

The 200 + ladies in the offices loved her. They all wanted at least one - some wanted several! And so began the nightmare that was the sweatshop, that was our living room at home. I went into full production. And then my pal took one to show the ladies she worked with - 100+ ladies at "County Hall" - same response!!!

Weekends were spent shopping for fabrics and haberdashery, and weeknights were spent sewing and assembling. Dolly wore me out, but she did help me pay a hefty deposit on my first house bless her - and two holidays to Ibiza, and she paid for my Christmas presents for a couple of years too!

I thought I would resurrect her - for old times sake. I had to make her from memory as I burned the pattern! and she is slightly our of proportion (but then so am I these days!), and she is a bit lopsided (ditto). I did treat her to a bit of "Cath" for her outfit though and she looks very fresh for spring!

(apologies for the really poor light!)
And then I remembered that I am way overdue for a giveaway. So if you would like to give Dolly Dimple a home - she is fabulous at keeping your nighty, PJ's, tights, toilet rolls, plastic carrier bags etc etc neat and tidy - then leave me a comment. I'll draw the winner out next week.
PS - you can see why the Tilda Angel may not turn out the same as she does in the book!

21 comments:

50 and still trying to be Frugal .... said...

She is lovely. What a shame you didn't keep one of the originals, but I suppose you were so sick of them you didn't want to.
I also remember working in a 'proper' office in the 80's. I worked in the classified dept of our local newspaper and boy did we have some fun - nights out on a pub crawl, where I used to ring my 'not yet' husband from a pay phone in each pub getting drunker and drunker until he came to fetch me at some ridiculous hour of the morning!! Then I had to get up for work the next day;
I miss the cameraderie the most - what about you?

diane b said...

You certainly were industrious in the 80's. She is cute and useful. I could use her to hold plastic bags as mine is worn out.

Jo said...

She's wonderful, I love her rosy cheeks. I can see why you got so many orders. I think you should write that book, I want to hear more about the characters like Doreen and their shenanigans.

Poppy Cottage said...

Blimey. I used to have one that was a clown. Strange to think that now you'd have to make thousands to raise the deposit on a house, how will our kids get on the housing market. I missed out having a proper job as married young and had the j's. still have it all to look forward to!! Although minus the love bites - yuck!!

Jill said...

Sounds like you worked for a Government Office. When I started working in an office in 1990 it was exactly the same as you've described. I remember there was a 'tuck-cupboard' - it was Lion Bar Heaven :0)
Would love to know more about Doreen and the gang.
I can't believe how Dolly Dimple helped you buy a house and pay for a holiday. I've never seen anything like her before - and I thought I knew everything there was to know about the 80's.
xxx

Louise said...

Fabulous story (I feel very nostalgic about my first office job now!)
Wouldn't it be great to have a Dolly Dimple reunion. I wonder how many are still around? and whether any 'vintage' Dolly nightdress cases will turn up in antiques fairs one day!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a great story and it sounds like a good way to make 'pocket money', sounds a bit more than pocket money though. Wonder if they would sell in France :) I need something over there that I can make some money out of, I could wander around the market with them over my shoulder LOL. Diane

Rosie said...

Dolly Dimple is fab! No wonder you burned the pattern though as you must have been heartily sick of making one dolly after the other. You made me smile re the Fridays in 'proper offices' at one I worked in we would all treat ourselves on friday lunchtime to cheese salad and chips in the 'posh' co-op cafe - as opposed to the less 'posh' one which was for things on toast. Another place I worked we would take it in turns to buy cream cakes for Friday afternoon tea - stawberry cream tarts were the favourite:)

Ray+Joan said...

I feel that I missed out all those years working in a office, I had to work all day in front of a sewing machine working for M&S but never made anything as pretty as dolly,

periwinkle said...

I used to work in several Government offices and it was always pub at lunch time on Fridays and sometimes a little bit tiddly if we did make it back to work. She is very cute your Dolly Dimple , you must have made so many to be able to afford all that -- if only !!

Amanda said...

Good old Dolly Dimple! Its amazing how the memories come back.

Kathy said...

I've never worked in an office so I've missed out on all the fun. Going to the pub in the middle of the day? Good heavens ... not in my job! We bring cakes on birthdays and have a toasted teacake on Friday mornings. Woohoo!
I've never seen a Dolly Dimple before ... I love her plaits.
xxx

Simone said...

I would loved to have been a fly on the wall in your office!!! I wonder how many dolly dimple's you actually made in the end?!!!

harmony and rosie said...

What an amazing story about your entrepreneurial start, perhaps you can start a revival and jet off to Mustique at weekends. Love your story about the old office days, please tell us more? Xx

cieldequimper said...

She's got one hell of a smile! Your story is fantastic!

Carol said...

Dolly Dimples is beautiful, lopsided or not! I can see why everyone fell in love with her - I just did.
Having made such a contribution to your deposit, present and holiday funds she certainly deserves to come out of retirement and take pride of place.
Carol xx

Julie Wagner said...

Diane,

I've just discovered your blog and love it. I am a British ex pat living in Canada and I had a nightie case like this when I was younger. Dolly dimple is a cutie! If you have grand daughters, you should definitely make one for them! Thanks for the memories

Lisa said...

How many dolly's are still out thee I wonder?
You've always been been so creative and busy!
Lisa x

Virginia said...

Oh I love the story. GIrl, you've got talent!!
V

Sue Hayton said...

I'm amazed you still have the patience to make such a complicated pattern. Well done
Sue

The sewing room said...

So creative why are you not making more? judging by the comments there are plenty of people who would like one.


HUGS PAT.