The original Dotee doll was designed by an Austrailian artist named Dot. Hence, the name Dotee. Her blog and Etsy shop seemed to have disappeared off the internet so I cannot link it back here.
Traditional dotees have a felt face with the facial features embroidered on the felt. Then the felt is sewn on the fabric. I usually either use a paperclay molded face or actually draw the face on some dolskin and attach the faces using seed beads to hide the stitches.
This a tutorial of Rose. See Blog entry on Rose
My first step is to make the faces. Other people do this last. I find once I complete the face, it takes on its own personality, then I can pick out the fabric and embellishments to fit the face.
Paperclay molded faces:
In this case, I used a paperclay molded face. I use Sculpey facemolds and will normally go ahead and use the entire package of paperclay so I don’t risk it drying out on me. I leave the faces to dry overnight. They dry surprisingly light and a sewing needle passes through them easily.
I will then pick out several faces, normally will complete 5 at the time. I use a waterbrush and flesh pink watercolor pencils to tint the entire face. I use the waterbrush to stroke the “lead” of the pencil then apply the color to the face with the waterbrush. Important: Let dry completely before continuing to the next step. I use the same technique to apply the eyeshadow and blush to the face. The eyeliner, lashes and eyebrow are drawn in with a Micron .35 pen. After I am sure the face is completely dry, I stick a quilting pin through the top of the head to attach to a foam board, then spray with a fixative. I always take the foam board outside to spray with the fixative!!! Let dry completely.
Pattern: I fold a piece of thick paper in half and cut a pattern for the body. Again the traditional dotee is usually a straight retanglur shape that is 3 – 6 inches long. I prefer to have a little shape to my dotees. I have a head and neck area then straight down. See below. My dotee bodies (finished size) are normally 6 inches long and 2.5 to 3 inches wide and squeezable soft!!!
Next I choose which finished face I want to use and then gather the fabric and embellishments (beads, laces, ribbons, buttons, etc) that I think suit the face.
Cut out the body from your chosen fabric using your pattern.
To better stabilize the face while I am attaching it to the fabric, I use fabric glue and glue the face on to the fabric and let dry completely. When gluing the face to the fabric, don’t forget to allow for the seam allowance around the head.
After the glue is dry, I take a beading needle and the seed beads I have picked out to attach the face permanently to the fabric. I will load the needle with no more that 3 seed beads per stitch and go complete around the face.
Put fabric right sides together. If using a ribbon for the hanger, piece should be between 4 and 6 inches long. Fold the ribbon in half and pin between right sides of the fabric on top middle.
Stitch sides and top of dotee and turn dotee right side out. Stuff. I always use a polyfill to stuff my dotees so they will be soft and squeezable. DO NOT use fabric scraps or cellophane to stuff dotees…Unless, of course, your dotee is going to be a cat toy!! In which case, cellophane would be ideal. Hmm. Idea lurking here.
At this point, I pin the bottom of the dotee and apply my embellishment to the body. In this case a small ceramic rose bead. Sometimes I may add small beads to the body, a satin rose or bow, pretty buttons, etc.
Deciding on the tail: I’ve seen some dotees with feather tails, leather tails, even ribbon tails. Traditional dotees have beaded tails and that is what I usually do. Sometimes I take a long head pin and load the beads and bend the wire on top into a loop. Sometimes I use firewire to load the beads so the tail can be sewn on when the bottom is sewn closed. In this case I have used a long head pin.
Sewing the bottom: I turn under the hem about ¼” and machine sew the bottom. If using firewire for the tail, I can sew it in the hem. If using a head pin, it will need to be hand sewn to the bottom middle. Then if I want the bottom to have a ruffle, like Rose , I hand sew the lace or whatever I use for the ruffle.
Hair: The traditional dotee has yarn hair similar to the rag dolls Ann and Andy. My favorite thing to use as hair is “fun fur” yarn. I like my dotees to have wild, long hair.
I sometimes use store brought curly doll hair and have used homespun yarn. The homespun yarn also give some really cool wild hair!
And here's Rose