Sean Rippers / How to make a creepy penny doll

We present this project, designed by Gaile Addison, to introduce the upcoming Seamripper’s Doll Show. The wine and cheese is Saturday April 2nd from 7-11 pm and will not be followed by a dance party; the dance party will happen on the closing date, April 23rd.
The penny doll is a simple sewing project that forces you to learn to make a button hole. It is also functional, as it puts that cache of forgotten pennies to work as a kind of macabre piggy bank where you can pluck the pennies from the eyes though the buttonholes. Gaile is secretly grim, very grim actually.

1. If you are going to use a sewing machine to make the eyeholes, use the pattern provided to cut out two of each of the head and body shapes. If you are going to make the eyeholes by hand, don’t cut yet.

2. Take one of the head pieces and mark where the eyeholes should be, about ¾ inch long. You have several options for making the buttonholes. The most obvious is to use the buttonhole setting on your sewing machine, I suggest practicing on a scrap of your fabric if you’ve never used it before. The setting looks like a rectangular box and should be on the stitch width lever/dial as well as the needle position lever/dial. On this dial you will see three versions of the buttonhole box. These will be labeled 1,2,3,4, and will indicate the different sides of your buttonhole. Start on number 1 and sew along the lines marked on the face of your doll. Always lift your needle between position changes. Switch the dial to 2 and sew about four to five stitches. Lift your needle, turn to 3 and sew. This will take you forwards on a line parallel to the first line you sewed. End your hole with the 4th setting, passing the needle though the fabric four to five times. Insert your seam-ripper inside your buttonhole to open it up and then cut the slit with sharp scissors to make your buttonhole. It’s easy, just practice. Now make another one along the other marking. If you don’t have a buttonhole setting on your machine, you can fake it with a tight zigzag stitch.
If you want to, you can make the buttonhole eyes by hand. If you are going to do it this way, don’t cut out the doll’s head out until after this step. Instead, draw the outline of the head on your fabric and put in an embroidery hoop, then sew tight stitches around the eyes and slit the insides.

3. Now that you have the penny extracting eyes you can assemble the rest of the doll. Embellish at will, we opted for the plain white bald variety with an expressionless face. Cut four of each of the arms and legs by placing the pattern on a fold and cutting 2 at a time. Put them front-to-front and sew along the edges and then turn them inside out. Stuff with stuffing (cut up nylons make good filler too) making sure to leave a seam allowance for attaching the limbs to the body.

4. When assembling the body, pin the two body pieces together front-to-front with arms and legs in the appropriate places; they have to be on the inside of the body when you do this. Sew the body together leaving a gap at the top wide enough for the neck to be attached.

5. Sew the head pieces together, minus the neckline, (for hair, sew some yarn into the seam around the head) and attach the front of the neck to the front of the body. Fill with pennies from behind the neck and stitch up by hand.

6. To make this doll creepier, you can sew the neck all the way and make an incision in the chest and fill the pennies from there. After you sew the chest up your doll has an embalmed quality to it. Also, you can sew the arms together across the chest for a lying down doll.

Your doll is complete. You can now use it as a paperweight, doorstop, or blunt instrument. You can extract the pennies from the eyes to top up your bus fare or to put over the eyes of a dearly departed for their passage across the river Styx.