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The Maker: Seamstress Anne Dougans

A local seamstress creates custom dolls for those who want to meet their match—in felt-and-fleece form.

By day, Anne Dougans sews mascot costumes such as the IUPUI Jaguar in her large studio in the Stutz building. By night, she works on a much smaller scale. Dougans’s “People by Anne” dolls—miniature versions of relatives, friends, and strangers—bear a striking resemblance to their life-sized counterparts. “I’m making things with a 110-inch waist, and, later, I’m making things with a one-tenth-of-an-inch stitch,” she says. “I work at both ends of the spectrum.”

Dougans started making the dolls in 2016, and since then, her orders have included replicas of Indiana Fever assistant coach Tully Bevilaqua and a partner at Borshoff. She begins by drawing the head and adding layers of foam and Antron polyester puppet fleece fabric, the same stuff the Muppets are made from. Because each doll requires a lot of hand-sewing, it takes her about 16 hours to complete one. “Early on, I would do mustaches and beards with a machine zigzag stitch,” she says. “Now, I’ve started hand-sewing those, too. It’s a lot of little lines, but it just looks better.”

Such details help bring Dougans’s cuddly copies to life. She takes particular pains with the mouths, where she doesn’t shy away from including gaps and chips in teeth. “I don’t think anybody else does that, and everybody seems to get a kick out of them,” she says.

Getting the noses right is another hard part. Sometimes, she has to redo them three or four times to arrive at something that looks good.

Despite all the time spent, Dougans insists she doesn’t get too attached to her creations. “I made a little person for you, not me,” she says. “I just want them to go and be where they’re supposed to be.”

Buy It
Want you own Mini-Me? Dougans needs a clear, forward-facing photo to create a carbon copy of you or a loved one. Finished pieces measure about 14” to 16” tall, and prices range from $200 to $300 per little person. More info at: etsy.com/shop/peoplebyanne

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