The annual clothing sewing one

After spotting this cardigan on Ebay, and deciding I “needed” it for spring, worrying about the quality and sizing, but mostly not wanting to wait the 6 weeks to receive it from China, I went in search of materials to make it myself.

Navy striped cardigan elbow patches
I found a lovely navy and white stripe that has a really good feel to it, just a small amount of lycra for just $2.99 a yard! I also picked up 1/8th of a yard of a caramel ultra-suede to use for elbow patches. I can’t tell you which exact one I bought but I do know it is available online and the lovely women who work at Field’s Fabrics will help you find the perfect one over the phone.  I chose ultra-suede over suede, or leather, because it is so much lighter weight, machine washing is a bonus.

I couldn’t find a pattern exactly like I wanted so I went with Butterick 6328. I started out using the vest version D, then adding the sleeves from version A.

B6328 review

It went together easy enough. The pattern’s directions use a traditional sewing machine, I did use a serger which made for a neat and fast finish.

The pattern I bought was multi-sized and the smallest was an 8, this correlated to a size small, in ready to wear, no matter what the measurements on the pattern envelope says! Sleeves were still too long and the shoulders a tad wide, but nothing that couldn’t be altered.

Navy striped cardigan with elbow patches @ SewfrenchOnce I finished it, I quickly realized I had more altering to do. While I have, and love, two of these long cardigans, for winter, I decided this one was just too long for spring and summer. I decided the points had to be cut off. I cut them straight off from the side seam to the point on the front edge which allowed for a perfect drape.

Sewfrench sews
The other major change I made was to remove the inseam pockets. I like pockets, but these just added bulk to the hip area, they hung in a lump. I think because the material is lightweight the pockets just hung. If a person wanted pockets, they could probably inset them as written, but then topstitch them to the front of the cardigan, preventing them from sagging to the hips.

As for the elbow patches, I drew up a pattern, cut both out with a rotary cutter, at the same time, to keep nice crisp edges.

DIY elbow patch templateTraditional, store-bought patches are 4 3/4 ” x 6 1/4″. I cut mine slightly smaller at 4 1/4″ x 6″ which was perfect for a size small and slimmed down sleeves. I first found something round that I could trace around for a 4 1/4″ circle. I then drew a rectangle of the size I wanted, (4 1/4″ x 6″), in pencil, on the backside of the ultra suede. I used the tin and traced a circle at one end of the rectangle, scooted down to the other end and drew another circle. I then used my small rotary cutter to cut along the edges, switching to a ruler for the short straight section. It worked perfectly!

I temporarily basted the sleeve seam closed, I had altering to do though, the sleeves were wider than what I wanted for this lightweight fabric. I seamed them in 2″ almost all the way to the armpits, tapering to the pits 1″, that is total measurement, so half those numbers on both the front and back edges of the sleeve.

I then pinned the patches where I thought they belonged. Once I had it where I wanted it, I opened the sleeve, transferred the measurements to the other sleeve and sewed the patches on while the sleeve was flat, topstitching, with a topstitching thread, 1/8″ from the edges.

Knockoff striped cardigan @ Sewfrench

Instant gratification and I couldn’t be happier with this one. Now for some warmer weather so I can actually wear it!

Linking up:
Fabric Tuesday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Crazy Mom Quilts

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Setting Sun quilt

Sunset Quilt @ Sewfrench

Not a great day for taking pictures. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the vibrancy, of my Setting Sun quilt, to shine. We, in Michigan, are in the gray days of winter.

A flip-flop of a real sunset because it seemed better “weighted” that way.

DSCN1302-1024x768 (2)

This one is being shipped off to a sweet, little nephew. I have read all the horror stories, and it always makes me so nervous when shipping quilts. I hope it arrives safe and sound!

Setting Sun quilt @Sewfrench
Setting Sun
Created by Sewfrench
Peppered Cottons
Machine pieced and hand-quilted
30″ x 38″

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?

Posted in 2016 Completes, Design, fabric, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

How to Mark a Baptist Fan

With a little help from my friends, I settled in on the Baptist Fan quilting design for my Garden Party quilt, I shared last week. I do mark the entire quilt top before I start quilting and ideally I mark it before I baste it. This one was pin-basted, before I marked it, because I originally thought I was quilting it a different way. Pin-basting, before marking, means you are constantly moving pins out-of-the-way, to mark. Doable, but more time-consuming.

This is how I mark mine. I created a template out of a piece of template plastic. I used a small hole punch on the 1″ marks, and an extra punch 1/4″ away from the 10th one. I use a pin to hold it in place, on my cutting mat, as I put the blue water erasable marker in each hole and swipe it back and forth. I start out at the bottom, right corner, 1/4″ in, from both sides, in the corner. Once the first fan is completed, I move across and mark the next one starting 1/4″ up from the bottom edge, putting the pin in the blue line of the outermost previous fan. I then mark until I run into the previous lines. Make sense?

How to Mark a Baptist Fan

I am loving this look, especially when quilted on as gorgeous a wool batting as Dream Wool is! I think I am going to love this batting even more than the Hobbs Heirloom Wool I used in Blowin’ In The Wind.

Garden Party quilt @ SewfrenchHere you can see how the 10, 1″ fan quilting looks with the double line on the longest, topmost one. And yes, I use multiple needles, especially when I am quilting longer rows, it keeps me from having to move my quilt around too much. It also feels like I can quilt longer before stopping to rethread!

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend II

Linking up with:
Sew Cute Tuesday
Fabric Tuesday 
Let’s Bee Social
Be sure to visit Needle and Thread Thursday Thanks for the shout out Kelly! 🙂

Posted in Design, fabric, hand quilting, Quilting, Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Book Review @ Sewfrench


“You will have only one story… You’ll write your one story many ways. Don’t ever worry about story. You will have only one.”

My Name Is Lucy Barton, the new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

I highly recommend cocooning and reading this book from start to finish—it will only take a couple of hours. I will say, as this book evolved, I was saddened with how quickly I was able to read it, a testament to the fact that I didn’t want it to end. The story is written in clear, precise, prose and sparks an overwhelming sense of emotion in its seemingly simplicity of its storyline.

We can never fully know another human being–that is a universal truth, but, explored by Lucy Barton, it develops into a perfectly moving one.

I love Strout’s use of language, her use of words, her settings, the poetry in her descriptions of places I was familiar with. Needless to say, I loved the book.

I loved Lucy Barton. Although she has enjoyed a successful life she is also deeply wounded from her childhood. These wounds have affected her throughout her life but she has survived, and even thrived, all while wounded. I think so many of us can relate, in or own ways.

Some things are left for you to fill in the blanks. And you will. With your own story. I think this is one of the many reasons people will love this book. It will become personal.

“I have always believed that everyone will bring their own story to whatever book they are reading,” Strout said. “But this book, particularly, I was aware that this was more porous than my others and that leaves more room for people to bring their own experience.”

“I don’t want to press anybody’s face into things, either,” she said. “I just don’t want to be that kind of writer. People can do that and they do it beautifully. I am more interested in the essence of people.”

Go get this book.

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Flower Garden II

Flower Garden II @Sewfrench

The second version of the my Flower Garden quilt is completed and gifted to another sweet little niece.

This quilt is based on the classic quilt block, Drunkard’s Path, and set with sashing and borders of the same size as the finished blocks, in this case 4″. I went with my favorite white, Kona Snow, for the sashing. It would appear I need to look into resetting the white balance on my camera because neither the snow, nor quilt, look particularly white…

I opted to machine quilt, this one. I went with a serpentine, wavy zigzag between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart, same as the original “Flower Garden“. It creates such beautiful texture. I just love it!

Flower Garden II by Sewfrench

Flower Garden II
a Drunkard’s Path variation
Created by Sewfrench
Kona Snow and assorted scraps
Machine pieced and quilted
40″ x 40″

Linking up with:
Crazy Mom Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?


Posted in 2016 Completes, Design, fabric, Gifts, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Garden Party

AKA Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend II

Diamonds Are A Girl's Bets Friend II

I started this (Garden) Party back in 2011.

Then it got tucked away until I could come up with a better variety of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. It takes a 6″ square to cut each one of the 4″ 60 degree diamonds.


Ages ago, we took pottery classes to learn a little more about what goes in to our favorite collectable. Our instructor’s favorite line was “variety is the spice of life”. And it really is.

All squared up and ready to baste up into a quilt sandwich.

Garden Party

This one I plan on hand quilting so it still won’t be finished anytime soon.

Linking up with:
Patchwork Times
Fabric Tuesday
Needle and Thread Thursday
Let’s Bee Social

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


Not sure when or why this book popped up on my radar but now that I have finished it I see that there is a movie in the making. Cate Blanchett is talk of the leading role. Not sure it will be a movie worthy of theater prices but Netflix or Redox won’t be out of the question.

A satirical character study about the city of Seattle, private school moms and Microsoft’s corporate culture. This book is often billed as hilarious, maybe because the author, Maria Semple, was a writer for Arrested Development but I don’t remember more than just an occasional chuckle. The ‘comedy’ was on cruise control set at ‘amusing’. I felt it had layers of humor, and the dark underlying humor, spoke to me most effectively. This doesn’t take away from the story but I don’t want you to expect it to be one of those books that makes you think you will look like a lunatic from cackling as you read…

The author lets fly at modern parenting, Seattle, corporate culture, envy, modern life and Canadians… Bernadette is an agoraphobic architect who has lost sight of anything else in her life but her devotion to her daughter and is being driven mad by her somewhat self-enforced isolation in Seattle. As the family implodes her teenage daughter is left to put the puzzle back together and a puzzle it is. It rattles along at a fast clip, told in the form of emails, documents, police reports, letters, notes, even the transcripts of a TED presentation. The story circles around Bee Branch trying to find her mother, Bernadette Fox, who has suddenly disappeared. Kind of gimmicky but still very entertaining.

“I love you, Bee,” Mom said. “I’m trying. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.” —Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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