Dotee Dolls

6:21 am Beading, Craft Trends, Crafts, Kid's Crafts, Sewing
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By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”.

I spent yesterday afternoon making my first three Dotee dolls, and what fun that was! Have you heard of them? They were invented by a lady in Australia named Dot, and they’re becoming quite the rage, especially for swapping. (Click here to see more dotees)

I was charmed by them right off the bat, and also love that they take so little in the way of materials or even skill. In fact, this would be a great craft to do with a child—a fun way to learn basics like sewing on a button, stuffing a small toy, with a reward at the end in the form of a new toy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Scraps of fabric, roughly 8″ to 10″ square
  • A bit of white, cream, or tan fabric for the face
  • Trims for hair (optional)
  • Dangly bits—those earrings from the ’80’s you held onto work well
  • Odd bits and buttons you might use
  • Pens, crayons, etc., for drawing the face
  • Glue, needle & thread, scissors, fusible interfacing, etc.

The simplest dotees are rectangular, with no arms, legs, or even hair. They always have a hanger at the top, and a dangle at the bottom. Well, actually the dangle is optional, too!

To get started, decide about how big you want your dotee to be. Try a rectangular one first—you can make shaped ones next. Cut a two pieces of fabric the size of the doll you have in mind, plus half an inch seam allowance all around, plus about an inch more to allow for the “shrinkage” that will happen when you stuff it. If you like, round the top of the rectangles.

Now cut a circle of the white/cream/tan fabric for the face. You might want to cut a paper circle first, to gauge size. Draw a face on the circle. I used an ink pen, a fine-tip marker, and fabric crayons to draw mine. Use what you have—it’s all good!

Cut a bit of fusible interfacing the same size as the circle, and iron the face in position on the front of your rectangle.

Now sew the rectangles together, right sides facing. Leave a gap at the bottom for stuffing. Clip any curves, and trim the corners, and turn right side out. Stuff lightly, and blind stitch the opening.

If you aren’t going to put hair on your doll sew the hanger into the seam. If your doll will have hair, you can cut a length of string, tie a knot to make a loop, and sew where the hair will cover the knot.

For Plaidy Lady, I used a short length of upholstery fringe for her hair, with a button sewed to each end, and sewed it around her face, going right through the doll, and putting a French knot in several places just for pretty. I also added a bit from a broken necklace, to hand down in front. Here’s the back:

You could also just glue the fringe in place, which is what I did with the two other dotees.

Now choose a dangle—a dangly earring, a bit of a bracelet, etc.—or create your own. Sew or glue it to the bottom of your doll. If you like, cover the place where it’s attached with a button. (I put buttons on the front and back, both.)

Like many crafts, I think the instructions make these dolls sound harder to make than they actually are. Here’s the truth of the matter: I looked at pictures of a bunch of dotees, and just started making them. It’s that easy, and I think you’ll think so, too, once you’ve tried one!

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Anitra Cameron had the good fortune to be born into a family where creativity ran rampant. Her father has authored several books and worked as a photographer and her mother hand-painted portraits. Anitra’s favorite crafts to make are: Jewelry (especially using buttons), collaged book marks, miniature cake stands, all from recycled materials. Anitra’s moto: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Live with that long enough and you’ll never want to throw anything away, so best to turn it into art! Anitra lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, where their combined family’s total seven children, and (so far) seventeen grandchildren. Recently Anitra became a great-grandmother of a darling little boy! You can find more of Anitra’s work at “Coffee Pot People”.

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2 Responses
  1. Debra Matherne :

    Date: August 25, 2011 @ 7:22 AM

    How cute! Thanks for the instructions!

  2. Diana Robinson :

    Date: August 25, 2011 @ 9:20 AM

    What a novel idea and great for he kids. So CUTE!! Got to me some. Tks for the info and instructions.

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