Mary-Ellen's Marlo Cardigan

Mary-Ellen's Marlo Cardigan

A Marlo Sweater for all Seasons

French Terry is a perfect fabric for sewing with all year round. I enjoy sewing with French Terry as it is easy to work with, which makes it a perfect fabric choice for beginners. It is smooth on one side and looped on the other and comes in different weights and compositions.  This Fledglings French Terry I’ve chosen for this project is quite lightweight (240gsm) and made up of 95% cotton / 5% elastane. Cotton French Terry holds its shape well. French Terry is often used to make loungewear and activewear (due to it being highly absorbent), but it can be used for a variety of garments, such as cardigans.

Tips for sewing with French Terry

  1. Prewashing – don’t feel tempted to skip on the prewashing, particularly with a French Terry such as this one, as cotton tends to shrink.
  1. Needle – I always use a ballpoint needle when sewing with French Terry to ensure it does not cause any snagging as the reverse side is looped and could easily be caught.
  1. Stitch – ordinarily, I would recommend using a zig zag or lightning stitch, but I have sewn my Marlo sweater with Gutermann’s Maraflex thread which stretches and allows you to sew stretch fabrics with a straight stitch – this serves to speed up the sewing process significantly and a straight stitch is much neater, especially if you have to do some top stitching.
  1. Finishing – the best way to finish French Terry is by using your overlocker but you can also use a regular sewing machine and an overcast foot.

Note: The one drawback to sewing with French Terry fabric is that it is difficult to seam rip. It is hard to see your stitches so you can tear the loops easily. I tend to take extra care to avoid making mistakes with French Terry.

The Marlo Sweater

­­­­When it comes to cropped cardigans, my go to pattern is usually the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Juniper Cardigan, which is more of a vintage-inspired style than the oversized Marlo Cardigan from True Bias. But I’ve been curious about how the pattern would look on me since it was released last year; it just takes me a while to get around to making patterns that aren’t my usual style which tends to be more fitted.

The pattern comes in two size options: sizes 0 – 18 (C cup) and sizes 14 -30 (D cup, which is the one I bought). As I fall into both size ranges, I opted for the D cup in the hopes that, being very oversized, I could get away without doing an FBA. If this was a more closely fitted garment, I would have had to do an FBA of another 2 inches. It’s a relaxed fit, but not too sloppy. It took me a while to decide what size to make, whether to stick with the size that coincides with my measurements based on the charts, or to size down. I didn’t want the cardigan to be too oversized, so I made mine a size smaller.

There are two styles to choose from: View A is cropped, hitting around the waist. View B hits around mid-thigh and also features patch pockets. I opted to make the cropped version as I feel drowned in longer cardigans and cropped cardigans suit my wardrobe much better as I mostly wear fit and flare dresses.

To be honest, you could sew this cardigan up instinctively without any instruction, but the instructions are easy to follow and beginner friendly, particularly when it comes to sewing the neckband. True Bias offers a beginner method and an intermediate one; I opted for the latter feeling that being a simple sew already, I might as well take a little extra time on finishing the neckband. 

It is also worth noting that there are two different pieces for the neckband, depending on the amount of stretch that is in the fabric; up to 20% (which is what my fabric falls into) and 20-40%.

The stretch factor of fabrics is important. The stretch percentage is simply the width of your fabric when it is stretched divided by the width of your fabric when unstretched -1.

(stretched width) + (normal width) – 1 = stretch percentage

You may also want to test the recovery of your fabric. Do this by releasing the stretched end and note if it has returned to its original size. For this pattern you want a fabric with god recovery rather than one that goes out of shape.

The only annoyance I had with sewing this pattern came with the buttonholes. Not that sewing the buttonholes themselves were difficult; French Terry is pretty stable, and the neckline pieces are interfaced to avoid any issues. There is even a guide pattern piece to help with the placement of the buttons and buttonholes. My problem lay with the size of the buttons. I went for the recommended size, only to discover that the size was too big for the buttonhole foot of my Singer Quantum Stylist which has an automatic buttonhole feature. Thankfully I still have my little starter machine, a Singer Fashionmate which has a manual 4-step buttonhole feature, so I just created the buttonholes manually. ­­­Otherwise, this pattern is a very straightforward sew. One tip that I would add for this pattern is that, when it comes to stabilising your shoulder seams, I recommend using Framilastic T6 by Vlieseline which I frequently pop into my shopping bag when ordering from Jenny.

Summer isn’t be optimum sewing season, but I know, for sure, that this pattern will be brought out again for the autumn and winter months – I can’t wait to sew up a couple of neutral true knits.

[As an aside, this French Terry works beautifully with the purple cotton jersey in Jenny’s store which I’ve sewn up as a Colette Patterns Colette Dress.]

Jenny Says:

"What a perfect cardigan for the upcoming cooler weather! I love Mary-Ellen's helpful sewing tips and the finished cardigan looks fantastic paired with the purple cotton jersey."

Inspired to make your own version? Here's what you'll need:
Fabric : Fledglings Digital French Terry Pattern : True Bias Marlo
Available in sizes 0-18 and sizes 14-30 



Mary-Ellen was provided with the materials for her project free of charge and received a gift voucher in recognition of the time spent on her project.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.