The Dressmaker

Character: Myrtle 'Tilly' Dunnage
Created by: The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
Directed by: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Written by: Jocelyn Moorhouse, P. J. Hogan
Produced by: Sue Maslin
Other cast: Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving
Release date: September 14, 2015
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Running time: 118 minutes

Based on Rosalie Ham's best selling novel, The Dressmaker is the story of femme fatale Tilly Dunnage who returns to her small home town in the country to right the wrongs of the past. A stylish drama with comic undertones about love, revenge and haute couture.

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A film about love, revenge and haute couture.
Revenge is back in fashion
She left town in disgrace. Now she’s back in style.
Secrets, gossip and scandal are back in fashion.


Kate Winslet and Judy Davis had a hard time keeping a straight face while filming the scene where Liam Hemsworth strips off to get a measurement.

Tilly’s sewing machine is a Singer 201K2. They were incredibly sturdy and very expensive, costing the equivalent of up to 6 months wages for a working woman. They are still considered one of the best sewing machines by professional dressmakers and tailors.

Kate Winslet learned to sew for her part. Following this, she assisted Margot Wilson in creating the costumes for her character. Wilson was exclusively hired to create the outfits for Winslet’s character.

The fictional town of Dungatar was built from scratch as no town in Victoria, Australia, matched production designer Roger Ford’s wish to achieve a Western town with Australian characteristics.

Production was pushed back a year to accommodate Kate Winslet’s pregnancy with husband Ned RocknRoll.

The red dress and coat worn by Kate Winslet are made from a silk moire fabric found in Milan 25 years before it was used in the film.

300 mice were used for the scenes in the silo.

Shooting of the film was interrupted several times as wild emus interrupted the scenes.

Received a standing ovation when it premiered at Toronto Film Festival in the Roy Thompson Hall which holds about 2,400 people.

Spent 13 years in development before filming began.

Kate Winslet enjoyed working with Liam Hemsworth, but admittedly hadn’t seen any of his films before she worked with him; “Like everybody else, all I knew was the fact he was engaged to be married to Miley Cyrus – and to be honest, not a huge amount more than that” she has said of her co-star.

Jocelyn Moorhouse described the film as “Unforgiven (1992) with a sewing machine”.

The most nominated film at The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) in 2015, with 12 nominations, beating the 11 nominations for Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Jocelyn Moorhouse’s first film since A Thousand Acres (1997). She has two children with autism and most of her time off has been dedicated to them.

The second highest-grossing Australian film of 2015 and eleventh highest-grossing film of all time at Australian box office.

Kate Winslet used the same dialogue coach who helped her prepare the Australian accent for Holy Smoke (1999) and only had to re-record one scene during post-production. In a scene with the New Zealand-based Kerry Fox, Winslet would adapt the accent and accidentally revert to Fox’ accent; “I’m a terrible one for picking up accents from other people – especially Kerry, because hers is so ‘thuck’.” has Winslet said.

Elizabeth Debicki and Isla Fisher were both originally attached for supporting roles.

The name of the town seems like a take off on the slang word Dunny which is an outside toilet or outhouse.

The first of two films in which Kate Winslet and Sarah Snook have worked on together. The second was Steve Jobs (2015). The Dressmaker was shot in 2014 and released in 2015, while Steve Jobs was shot and released in 2015.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse originally considered adding back-story to the start of the film, instead of opening the movie with Kate Winslet arriving in the small town. However, Winslet was against this idea as she loved the ambiguous feel of the scene and her opening line; “I’m back you bastards”.

Character Quotes:

“There is no limit to what desperate men will do when pushed.”