Kathy the Amish Doll Maker

On Friday we had a look at a West Tennessee Amish community, including some signs of Amish businesses in the settlement.  Today Brenda shares a little bit about one of those businesses, a local Amish doll maker:

My Amish friend, Kathy, asked me to help her come up with an idea to make some extra money, which was needed to help her husband, Mahlon, pay some unexpected doctor and medical bills for their 14 month old daughter, Rebecka. I managed to get her several orders from some of my friends for baked goods. That helped tremendously!

Then one day when I was over visiting, and the girls were playing with their dolls. I asked Kathy where she got their dolls? “From Susie”, she said. (Susie is another close neighbor and cousin to Kathy). She then told me this story…”As their Amish custom, each little girl gets her first doll on their 1st birthday. It is approx. 8” tall. On their 3rd birthday, they are given a larger doll. It is approx. 14” tall.”

~Brainstorm hit me!~ I asked if she could make the dolls; knowing what a great seamstress she is at making all the family’s clothes, kapps, curtains, etc.? She replied, “I could try”. We drove over to Susie’s and borrowed her patterns. So that is the beginning of how her little doll making business began.

I told some of my friends on various Amish sites, that she is making/selling these dolls, and the response has been overwhelming! “The 8″ doll is the hardest to make, as the pieces and clothing are so tiny”, she said. She consumes about 3 continuous hours on each doll she makes. She usually makes two a day, between all the other chores, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and seeing after her three children. “It is something I love to do. Once I begin a new doll, I want to finish it as quickly as possible. There is ‘Love and Pride’ in every stitch”, replied Kathy.

Here are some photos of Kathy’s operation, and a few more comments from Brenda describing what is going on:

The first 4 photos are some of the dolls ready to be mailed out.

Handmade Amish Dolls

Simple Amish Dolls

Amish Doll Styles

The one with the scissors shows the ‘home made pattern’, which has been passed down through many generations. This shows a few of the many pieces for the 14” doll. (The pattern was cut out using a cracker box.)

Amish Doll Pattern

Amish Sewing Machine

On Kathy’s wood cook stove, you can see the iron heating to press the doll clothes.

Old Style Amish Kitchen Stove

The final 3 photos are the 2 sizes shown together, the 14” doll and then the 8” doll

Amish Girl Dolls

Large Amish Doll

Small Amish Doll

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    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      I like the picture of the doll on the sowing machine. To my imagination she is standing there saying “I want to help!”
      The machine itself is a neat antique. My mother said she learned to sow on such a machine and preferred Singers; she also loved the look of the type shown in this picture, it is just esthetically pleasing, well, the desk as much as the machine I guess.

      1. "Animated" doll

        Taking another look at that photo Shom, it does kind of look like that. Though it would scare my socks off if I were sitting at the Singer when it started walking around trying to help 😉

        These Singer machines themselves have an art about them. Have always been partial. I get the sense they are made to last a long time.

    2. Richard from Amish Stories

      Made in the USA

      Looks like a good quality product Erik and maybe you can give folks info on where they could buy them, and what the cost is. Just for kicks when I’m in a store that caters to mostly tourist visiting the Amish in my area I look at some faceless dolls that appear to be made by the Amish, only to find a little tag on one of the dolls that says “China”.

      So not only is your friends dolls Amish made, its American made as well and that’s a great combination!

      Richard from http://www.Amishstories.net

      1. Jean Junkin

        I would love to buy a set of the larger dolls. Please tell me where I can order them. Jean

        1. Kathy the Amish Doll Maker

          Please advise me how to purchase one of your dolls, and thank you

    3. LeeAnn

      I would love to know where to buy these dolls. Although I prefer the boy dolls to have the hats on. I saw some Amish dolls in Florida while there, and they were selling for $44. Hopefully I can find some a little cheaper than that.

      I would love to have the different sizes for grandchildren. Erik please let us kno how to contact this lady to order the dolls.

    4. Tom in KY

      Leeann, I do not want to step on anyone’s toes but 44 dollars for a doll is excessive. Many of the settlements I have been to have the dolls around 10-15 dollars. But I have always been told the best way to determine the value of a product is to place it on the market and let the consumer set the price by what they are willing to pay. So perhaps in Florida 44 dollars is the market value.

      1. Mrs.

        I don’t think so because we have the Pincecraft Amish/Mennonite community down here and can purchase Amish items at reasonable prices.

    5. Brenda Henry

      Order/Info for Kathy's dolls

      Thank you very much for your interest in my friends dolls. The small 8″ doll is $11.00 and the large 14″ doll is 19.00 + Postage. The small doll is $1.95 and the large doll is $2.63 for postage. You can send me an email: bjhooten@hotmail.com for more information.

      Her mailing address is:

      2070 HIGHWAY 219
      HUNTINGDON, TN 38344

      You can mail her a check or money order along with what you want, size, sex, etc. If you send me an email with what you would like, I can give her the order, and she can be working on it. I will take it to the post office as soon as she gets your payment.

      Thanks to everyone for your interest, and Kathy says “Thank You”, too.

      1. Thank you for the contact information so we can buy a doll! 🙂 I hope all is well with Kathy’s daughter.

      2. Donna Freeman

        looking for Amish furniture maker

        My name is Donna Freeman and I am interested in finding someone to make some mission style living room tables. I live here in Huntingdon. If you could recommend someone it would be greatly appreciated.

        1. GLEN K

          mission furniture

          send your request and start a conversation with:

          sand country furniture
          w 3018 kowald rd.
          cambria, wisc 53923

          % john petersheim

    6. Judith Grober


      Would love to have a pair of those dolls-I love them.

      Judith Grober

    7. Ruth Arquitt

      .I live in Hammond Ny and there are a few Amish in in the town but no one makes the dolls so when I seen Brenda’s post on facebook I ordered 3 one girl and one boy for my 5 year old daughter for Christmas and one girl for my Mom…I am hoping to get them this week. And cant wait to get them…Thank you so much to Brenda for making it possible and Thank You so much Kathy for taken her time to make the dolls…

      1. Brenda Henry

        Amish Doll's

        Thank you Ruth, for the kind words. As you know, I mailed your dolls from Kathy, on Friday. I was told at the post office that due to the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy, there has been a delay in some mail getting into various parts of NY, and adjoining states as well. Be sure and let us all know when they arrive, and how much you love them!

        Thanks to everyone who commented on the photo’s, and a ‘very special thanks’ to Eric for sharing them and my story!

        God Bless!

        1. Ruth Arquitt

          Your Welcome

    8. Anne

      "too nice"

      This reminds me of the time I tried to “gift” an American Girls doll to the dear family who hosted Ed for his first year with the Amish (when he lived in VA). The doll was actually from my daughter, as she really wanted to pass it on to these young girls and knew they’d enjoy it as she had (yes, it was quite used!). Daniel (the dad)came out, looked at it, said “WAY too nice!” and would not let his girls have it. Indeed, they never saw it. At the time I was somewhat angry about it, but have since learned to accept that this is yet another limitation these families place on their children. They may err in limiting some good things, but how about the rest of us? Do we ever err in allowing some things we KNOW are not for the best of our children?

      1. Bridget

        There is also the possibility that the American Girl doll would make the children’s regular dolls no longer seem as nice in their eyes by comparison, and also that it could cause jealousy among the children’s friends since they’d be the only ones with such a doll.

      2. Judy

        “Too nice”

        Replying to Anne’s comment by the Amish dad that the American Girl doll was “too nice: Once again, Anne, thanks for giving us a bit more insight into a topic, combined with your own honesty.

        By the way,I have but one item saved from my girlhood — my doll, Mary Christina. I have collected a few holiday outfits for my grandchildren to dress her in. And I did pick up Amish dress and her very own 8″ doll for Mary Christina when we were in Shipswanna a few years ago,(but I didn’t know the significance of the 8” doll until this topic came up). She always wears it at harvest time.

        Judy in MN

      3. Traci Banville

        Respecting others traditions and ways.

        No doubt the American Girl doll has facial features. Amish dolls do not have faces. A bit of research on your part would have saved your own ruffled feathers and provided a more practical thank you gift for the family.

        1. Anne

          The problem was that there were girls in this community who had American Girls Dolls. This was just a place this particular family drew the line. I think it was hardest on my daughter who was so happy to give it. She was thrilled to make this special gift to these young ladies (girls then) we’ve come to know rather well.

          In fact, when we were in MN last September, there they were! They asked Fiona if she wanted to take a buggy ride with them, which of course she did. It’s been great for her to have these friends through the years Ed’s known them.

      4. K. Lee

        Where to Draw the Line

        I have to respect the Amish father for saying no & not compromising his Faith. As I have gotten older I realize the importance of this in my own faith. I do not fear saying no for the sake of my own beliefs.

    9. Maggie

      Amish Dolls

      Plain and simple quilts in Ethridge, TN (931-840-5522) also has Amish made Amish dolls in traditional dark colored dresses, aprons and black bonnets.

      1. Brenda Henry

        Your choice of color...

        Mrs. Yoder can make the apron and Kapp in black, also. You would need to specify your choice of color. Thanks!

    10. Richard from Amish Stories

      Glad that contact info and some price’s was given for these dolls on this post!

      Richard from http://www.Amishstories.net

    11. Carolyn B

      Loved seeing these dolls and an explanation asto when a little girl gets one.

    12. Rachel

      cost per hour of labor

      Just a thought: at three hours of labor per doll it would be paying this woman only 6.00 and change per hour to make these dolls. That doesn’t include materials. Practically sweatshop wages.

      1. Brenda Henry

        Labor of Love

        You are so right! Kathy makes the dolls as a supplement for her family income, not to totally support them. She does it as a hobby, and at her own pace. We do not live in a ‘tourist’ area, so she doesn’t get too many orders. She makes them with so much pride and pure love; in each doll. I was hoping some of the readers here would give her an order, but I haven’t heard from anyone yet. Thanks!

        1. I’ve often thought some craftspeople and goods sellers among the Amish are underpricing. Brenda I had a couple of requests on the AA Facebook page and sounded like order had already been made. Maybe using the good old-fashioned snail mail method? 🙂

          1. Brenda Henry

            Amish Doll Requests

            Perhaps they are going to contact Kathy directly. That would be fine, too. I would just be able to tell her ahead, and she could have the dolls made faster. Her sister is getting married Nov. 22, so she is probably going to be quiet busy in helping with those preparations.
            I appreciate you posting this, and Kathy also says, “Danki”!

    13. Sharon

      I make crafts – handbags, diaper bags, quilts, gifts, etc. One never gets paid what they really deserve or at least most of us don’t. I have a friend that made a quilt and people look at you like you are crazy when you tell them it’s $175.00 and she has more than $100 just in fabrics, thread, batting etc. Time is not included in the price. A lot of Amish quilts sell for a lot more especially in Lancaster, but English quilts are rarely bought for the prices that Amish quilts are.

      1. I realize there are differences in size, quality, etc, but $175 sounds pretty low for a quilt, especially compared to Amish-made quilts sometimes costing over $1000.

    14. Sara


      Can I just buy the pattern? Because I love to sew for myself.

    15. Kaylee

      Home-made Amish Dolls

      So of course they are home-made, but I must say they look amazing. She does a really good job at making those little Amish Dolls!

    16. nancy mcafee

      amish dolls

      i just left a commemt on purchasing amish dolls it said erro wrong email address here it is same as above.

      1. Kerri

        amish dolls

        Nancy, I sent a letter to Kathy at the above address after having trouble with the email address also. She wrote back quickly and said she is still making dolls. The price for the dolls have gone up alittle and of course the postage has gone up also. Hope you find this helpful.

        1. nancy mcafee

          amish dolls

          thanks for your reply KERRi…..

          1. Kerri

            Amish Dolls

            Hello. Just wanted to let everyone know that today I received my dolls from Kathy. They are beautiful. Kathy was wonderful to work with ☺ I highly recommend buying one.

    17. Tom A Geist

      English Scary Movies

      Just a side note:

      These faceless dolls always remind me of some scary movie where voodoo is used (pins being stuck in them to inflict pain on someone) or where some demon filled girl is always holding a doll close to her, and one day reveals the doll has no face! YIKES!

      Okay, phew, I’ve got that out of me, now maybe I can imagine good things from faceless dolls. 🙂

      Tom in Lincoln

    18. Similarly, I can’t decide if they are cute or a little creepy. They are “blank” and they don’t give us any clue as to what they might be thinking or feeling 😉

    19. Bev

      Kathy the Amish Doll Maker

      Kathy is now making quilts also!! And they are beautiful!! I have pix of them if anyone is interested…

      1. Quilts and dolls

        I’d love to see her quilts and dolls if you have pictures! Id be very interested in buying a pair of dolls. Is the email and address still correct? How about the prices? Thank you! You may send them to my email if you want!

    20. Would love to purchase an 8” doll from you...Kathy the Amish doll Maker

      Dear Kathy,

      please contact me ,so I can purchase an 8” Amish girl doll, like the one pictured for a young child…is it hand washable and laid to air dry…..please do notify me and thank you….your dolls look fantastic and will be well loved

      1. Rebecca, this information was shared in 2012 by Brenda, who shared the original post on her Amish friend. I don’t know the current status of Kathy’s business, but if she is still doing the dolls, the address she had before is below. You would need to contact her as she is Amish and likely won’t be reading these comments.

        Also, the info below may not be current as to prices, but you can always send a little extra money, and ask her to return any excess $.


        Order/Info for Kathy’s dolls

        Thank you very much for your interest in my friends dolls. The small 8″ doll is $11.00 and the large 14″ doll is 19.00 + Postage. The small doll is $1.95 and the large doll is $2.63 for postage. You can send me an email: bjhooten@hotmail.com for more information.

        Her mailing address is:

        2070 HIGHWAY 219
        HUNTINGDON, TN 38344

        You can mail her a check or money order along with what you want, size, sex, etc. If you send me an email with what you would like, I can give her the order, and she can be working on it. I will take it to the post office as soon as she gets your payment.

        Thanks to everyone for your interest, and Kathy says “Thank You”, too.

        1. bk

          dolls still available

          i wanted to get a doll for my granddaughter and called the phone associated with kathy yoder’s address listed on this site. no answer but i received a call back from a person with same last name as her but told me he was not familiar with her. is this a legitimate address and are the dolls still available? thank you.?

    21. The dollmaker

      Kathy has not been making dolls but has instead started making quilts. You can contact her at the above address. Some of the quilts shown on this page are made by her. Feel free to contact me through the quilt page with any questions about them.

      1. Bev

        Kathy the quilt and doll maker

        Just visited with Kathy over the weekend. She is still making the dolls. There’s been a price increase due to increased cost of supplies. She makes beautiful quilts (I have several) and her prices usually start around $800 for a queen/king quilt. If you have any questions you can contact Brenda or myself. I will print out your message and mail to her. Or you can mail her yourself and make arrangements directly with her. Kathy now has 6 children and is very busy. Please allow time for her to complete your requested item and mail. You can contact me through my Facebook page showing some of her quilts (and others)

    22. Alberta Wells

      Hi Kathy,
      I run across all your info from applying to “Get the Amish in your inbox”..I have been looking for the Amish made dolls/quilts..Many are sold online but they are not done by the Amish..If you are still making the dolls and quilts could you email me current prices. I have seen pics of the dolls, but really would like some pics/prices of your quilts, if at all possible..Thanks so much for your time..My email is albertas@twc.com
      So glad I found your info
      Alberta Wells

    23. Lisa Marx


      Hi Kathy, are you still making your lovely dolls? if so how much are they now? And how do I order them. Thank you. Lisa Marx 31 Fairview ave. London Ohio 43140.

    24. bk

      dolls still available?

      hello. are the dolls still available? i called the phone number associated with your address but there was no answer.i received immediate return call from an amos yoder who told me he did not know you. i would love to get a doll for my granddaughter. thank you.

    25. Heather

      Any emotion

      I always think the faceless dolls are good in that you can pretend any emotion on them. Harder to pretend your baby is crying when it’s wearing a smile etc.

    26. M.D.

      Kathy the doll maker . . .

      Dear Friends,

      I wrote to Kathy to inquire about her dolls in the Summer of 2022.
      She wrote me back to say that she is NOT making dolls anymore.
      In light of this news, Erik, would you please take the post about
      Kathy off your site? I would help avoid a great deal of confusion.