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April Make-a-Long with Béa

April Make-a-Long with Béa

A hand-sewn project for the French “April Fish”!

It is always such a pleasure to discover your spool projects on the Simply Vintage facebook group and with the hashtag #QUILTMANIA2021! Béa prepared for you a lovely project to add to this year-long make-a-long — a hand-sewn “April Fish” with the colors that inspire you. The April Fish is a French custom to draw a fish and stick in on the back of our friends on April 1st — kids love it!

Here is fourth part of our series, which includes embroideries, appliqué and laces.

Find the first three parts on our blog.


Hello everyone,

April, we are ready for you, and I obviously think about the “April Fish”!


Here is the example of the version I made on my sheet above the March part, with a height of approximately 10cm (4″):


  • A old sheet : oval A
  • A printed fabric: 1 rectangle of 7 x 1Ocm (2 3/4” x 4″ ) width according to your strip
  • Scraps of fabrics for the fish (here blue, orange, white)
  • A scrap of laces (width of your strip)
  • 3 small buttons
  • Cotton embroidery thread
  • 1 organza ribbon
  • Thermocollant double face
  • Repositionable glue (optional)
  • Mini clothes pin (optional)


1. On the paper of the “voile thermocollant double-face”, copy the 4 parts of the fish (B,C,D,E) by downloading the templates (find the PDF here) and tracing the shapes and the small square “1”. Re cut following the outline.

2. Take off the protective paper on the back of the veil. On the oval A, assemble the fish following the alphabetic order of the pieces. Iron these parts.

3. With the repositionable glue, glue the oval on the printed rectangle, ad the square “1” by helping yourself with the pitcure.

On the left side of the glued square’s inferior peak, embroider the snail with back stitches (1 or 2 threads). Make some French knots on the flowery square with an embroidery cotton thread of your choice. Appliqué the umbrella, embroider its ribs (back stitch and French knot, 1 thread) and its stick (satin stitch, 3 threads). Embroider the swallows with black satin stitches (1 thread).

4. Sew the rims of the oval and the little square permanently with long random stitches.

5. On the fish body, embroider a few white long stitches. On the square, embroider the “1” for the first day of the month.

6. Make a big black French knot on the center of the fish’s eye.


7. Glue the ensemble on the old sheet strip above the March part.

8. Make some broken ribs a bit everywhere.

9. Let your inspiration guide you and continue the March branches (French knots, featherstitches).

10. Sew the laces above the ensemble with the 3 buttons simulating the bubbles and the knot on the fish.

11. My Chloé is an “April girl” so the butterfly is for her!

The origin if the “April Fish” dates back to the French king Charles IX. In 1564, he decided to apply a calendar reform: While the year in France was starting at Christmas, Easter or even in some regions on March 25th with festivities through April 1st, the Roussillon Edict chose to start the year on January 1st. The date was spread to all Christians by the pope Grégoire XIII.

But for many people it was hard to get used to this new date and some didn’t even know about it! They continued to offer gifts on April 1st. To make fun of them, some little jokers had the idea to offer funny or fake gifts. And from that day on, the tradition stuck, and kids and grown-ups still make funny jokes today!

My fish… it is well beribboned because it could also be made of chocolate for Easter celebrations!

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