But let's get down to business, here. It's taken a little while to decide on winners for the Sew Dolly Clackett competition because the quality of entries was so high. Like, ridiculously high. Frighteningly so. It's been weird and emotional and flattering for me to watch the dresses pop up across the sewing blogosphere. It's honestly a little bit unsettling to see that your style can be so easily emulated and even pastiched - but it's really touching to think that so many people care and wanted to take part. There are 198 members in the flickr pool, and an astonishing 585 photos. LOLWUT. So I'm incredibly grateful that my darling Nic and my good friend Disha stepped in to help me make this difficult decision. Both of them are well-qualified to judge - obviously Nic knows what I like, and Disha sits next to me every day at work so she has a good idea of what are the key elements of Dolly Clackett style!
I went through the squillions of entries and put together a very long shortlist. I sent this to Nic and Disha. Independently of one another, they whittled this down to a shortlist. Surprisingly and pleasingly, there was a lot of crossover. I had the final call. So, without further ado... the winners!
Winner of the Brother sewing machine and sewing kit, courtesy of Argos is...
Agh! Isn't this perfection?! Sadly for everyone involved, this fabric is from a 60s duvet so it's not even like I can rush out and make my own. Nic said, "Everything about this rocks" and Disha said, "I can totally see you wearing this." Nice shoes and doorstep combination too, Zoe!
Winner of the By Hand London Anna and Elisalex patterns is...
Alex of Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks!
Alex describes herself as 'shit at sewing' but I beg to differ. I think this is only her third dress or something?! Anyway, I loved the fabric and, you know. AWESOME SHOES. Nic said, "This feels more 'Dolly Clackett' than a lot of the flowery prints" and Disha said "Awesome! Such a classic fabric." I totally agree. I love a bit of toile.
Winner of the Christine Haynes Emery pattern is...
Jenny from Sewing Pies!
Now, Jenny sewed about a million dresses for this competition. Seriously, she had 12 finished by the deadline and I think she's made a few more since. She really went for it! I loved them all, but the one that won it for her was this one:
Errr fabric? Awesome. Also, this is a mashup of the Sewaholic Cambie bodice and the By Hand London Charlotte skirt, and I need to get on this immediately if not sooner!
Winner of the Colette Pattern of her choice is...
Jenny Clark of Tea for Two!
This is an Anna dress with a gathered skirt, which is obviously a winner. I really love the fabric and so did Disha and Nic. Nic said, "The fabric and cut work really well together here - and the placement of the tree on the left shoulder is awesome" (I love that he notices this stuff!) and Disha said, "This just says SUMMER. Lovely." I couldn't agree more. Nice work, Jenny!
Winner of the Sewaholic pattern of her choice is...
I love this fabric, and these photos are so sweet and summery that I was pretty captivated. Also, dudes. SHE MADE A MATCHING PARASOL. I mean, come on! That's unbelievably rad. Both Disha and Nic also loved the parasol, with Nic saying, "It adds a classy touch."
Winner of the $75 voucher for Harts Fabric is...
Heather actually entered a few dresses into the competition - I think she entered three in total, and I loved them all. There was some pretty awesome shoe action there too. But this one totally and utterly stole my heart:
I'm actually pretty much consumed with envy over this dress. And the shoes. In fact, I may have to buy myself the shoes. Anyway, all of the dresses in the Sew Dolly Clackett flickr pool are dresses I would wear, but this is one I'd be tempted to steal. Disha said, "Stunning. I would love to own this." BACK OF THE LINE, DISHA.
Winner of the £50 voucher for Berylune is...
Melody Mae of Bourbons and Bras!
ANCHORS THOUGH. This dress made me jump out of my chair and run into the next room to get Nic when Melody first posted it. I think it's heartstoppingly, outstandingly beautiful. I need to get some of this fabric! Also, excellent shoe choice once again.
And finally... I did say when Sarah announced the competition that I would donate a prize of my own. Nic and I are off to Paris in a few weeks on our honeymoon and I'm going to be doing some serious fabric shopping while I am there, so I decided that my prize is going to be some specially chosen fabric from Paris. And, the winner of that is...
Lynne of Ozzy Blackbeard!
Again, Lynne entered a few dresses into the competition and they were all beautiful, but this one is what won it for her:
Lynne is a great girl for an awesome print, and this is no exception. Check out the pattern matching too: impressive or what?! This dress is just so bright and pretty and cool. Disha pronounced it "totally fabulous" and Nic thought the fabric choice was "Exciting without being novelty" and I just love the combination of the pattern and the dress. Thoroughly excellent, and I'm excited about picking something fun out for Lynne in Paris.
I really wish I could give space to everyone who took the time to enter the competition. I am genuinely touched by the quality and imaginativeness of the entries! Everything in the flickr pool is something I would love to wear. More than that, though, Nic and I have been so moved by the warmth of all of your best wishes for our wedding and our marriage. People we have been lucky enough to meet and get to know in real life took part in this competition. One of my best friends did, and one of my colleagues did as well. And then there are all of you who I only know through blogs or through twitter - the good will and well-wishes are so gratefully received. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
A special thanks should go to dear Sarah for having this crazy, thoughtful and generous idea, for organising the prizes and for cheering everyone along the whole time. There's a little gift on its way to Sarah as I write, but it's so minor in comparison to the gift she - and all of you - have given me. Thank you all so much!
There only remains a little bit of admin - could the winners please email Sarah at email@example.com - and she will sort out your prizes!
I'm going to go and finish that gin now. Once again, thank you to everyone who took part. YOU GUYS ARE TOTALLY AWESOME.