Penny is a soft and huggable fish. She’s fun and easy to sew and would make a great summer birthday gift for a child you know, or maybe for yourself (it’s okay to play with stuffed animals even when you’re a grown-up).
To make Penny you’ll need:
- 1/4 yard of fleece for her head, tail and fins
- scraps of two other colors of fleece for her body
- felt scraps in orange and white
- 1 pair of 8mm safety eyes
- fiberfill stuffing, 3.4 ounces
- coordinating all-purpose thread
*Note that I love fleece for toys because it’s soft, inexpensive, and machine washable. You could also sew Penny from quilting cottons or other fabrics.
Download the templates to make Penny right here: Penny the Fish Templates. Print them out. You’ll cut the fabric on the solid lines and stitch on the dotted lines. Be sure to place the templates on the fabric so that the grain arrows run parallel to the selvage.
From light pink fleece, cut:
- 2 heads (reversing 1)
- 2 tails (reversing 1)
- 2 top fins (reversing 1)
- 4 lower fins (reversing 2).
From dark pink fleece cut:
- 2 lower bodies (reversing 1)
From purple fleece cut:
- 2 upper bodies (reversing 1)
From orange felt cut:
- 1 lips
From white felt cut:
- 2 eyes
Transfer all of the markings to the fabric with chalk or a disappearing fabric marker.
To make the top fin, place the two top fin pieces right sides together. Stitch around, leaving the opening along the bottom as marked. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8 inch to reduce bulk. Clip the curves and turn the fin right side out.
Follow the same steps to make the tail and the two lower fins. Topstitch along the lines on the top fin, lower fins, and tail.
Place a lower fin on the right side of one head piece as marked. Baste. Repeat with the other lower fin and head piece.
To make the body, place one lower body on one upper body, right sides together and stitch along the central straight edge. Repeat with the other lower and upper body pieces. Here’s how they look once they’re stitched.
Baste the top fin and the tail to one of the assembled body pieces.
Place a head on top of an assembled body piece, right sides together, and stitch along the straight edge. Repeat with the other head and body pieces.
Use an awl or the tip of a pair of small scissors to poke a hole in each head piece for the eye. Poke a hole toward the top of each white felt circle, too. Push the shank of a safety eye through a felt circle and then through a head piece. Slide the washer snugly onto the shank. Repeat for the other eye. If you’re making Penny as a baby gift, embroider the eye with satin stitch instead.
To sew up the fish, place the two body pieces right sides together and pin well. Stitch all the way around, leaving the opening at the bottom of the lower body as marked. Remove the basting stitches at the fins and tail.
Once the body is sewn, cut the lip slit. Fold the felt lips in half and press to crease. Slide the lips through the lip slit so that the fold of the lips is aligned with the raw edges of the slit. Stitch the slit closed, catching the fold of the lips in the seam. Note that the stitching tapers off at each end of the lip slit for a smooth dart-like effect that helps to shape the fish’s face.
Clip the curves and turn the fish right side out. Stuff firmly, closing the opening with ladder stitch.
You did it! Hooray! Sew a whole school of fish for all of your friends.
Penny the Fish makes a great companion to Maya the Mermaid. You can get the pattern for Maya in my shop right here. Don’t you think they make a great pair? Happy sewing!