My good friend Lindsey who blogs at Leftovers Lady recently hosted a kitchen consignment sale here in Seattle for one day only. I didn't have any quality used kitchen goods (spatula with a tiny chunk missing, anyone?) and I offered to make some aprons to contribute. Sewing an apron for myself has been on my list for quite sometime and I have also been wanting to make room in my fabric drawers for new prints, so this was a double win for me.
I started with a great Amy Butler pattern and tweaked it until it worked for me and by the end of sewing eight aprons, I had a pattern that I really liked and that's the one I want to share with you. Basically, this is a formula--you pick the size that you want everything and I'll show you how to sew it. The pattern itself is pretty simple, but will produce a nice apron that is easy to customize.
Start with two or three fabrics that you like (and that look good together). I would love to tell you what fabrics I used, but found these in my stash and have no idea when or where I got them.
Cut the following piece from the main color (get one yard):
apron body--40 inches wide x 28 inches long
I like a longer apron that wraps around more, so these measurements reflect that. Adjust according to your tastes; try holding up a large towel or pillowcase to you and measuring from that taking into account that you need to add about 6 extra inches for seam allowance and pleats.
Cut the following pieces from the first contrasting color (get 3/4 yard):
waistband--5 1/2 inches wide x length of the apron minus one inch
ties (2)--6 1/2 inches wide x 40 inches long
pocket trim (2)--2 1/2 inches wide x length is equal to width of the pocket
Cut the following piece from the second contrasting color (get 1/4 yard):
pocket (2)--5 1/2 wide x 6 1/2 tall
Make the pocket size whatever you would prefer--maybe a shorter, wider pocket works best for you, or maybe you want one large pocket divided into two or three sections. I did a rounded corner pocket here and it's a lot more difficult than a straight-sided pocket, so keep that in mind.
Now let's get started with the sewing:
1. Hem the sides of the apron body. Fold up 1/2 inch on one of the short sides of the apron and press. Fold over 1/2 inch, enclosing the raw edge, and press again. Repeat on the other short side. Sew a 1/4 inch seam down each side.
2. Sew the ties. Fold the tie piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Open up and fold up 1/2 inch and press in place and then repeat on the other side. At one end fold the end up 1/2 inch and press, then fold each corner in to the middle line and press. When you fold the tie together along the pressed line, you will have a triangle-pointed end and all raw edges enclosed. Sew the edge of the tie in place, starting at the point and continuing all the way to the other end. Repeat with the other piece and set aside.
3. Sew the pockets. Place the pocket trim right side down onto the wrong side of the pocket. Sew a seam along the top of the pocket. Press the pocket open and fold 1/2 inch of the pocket trim over onto itself, wrong side to wrong side, then fold the whole trim piece over on to front of the pocket so that you see the right side of the trim and the edge of the trim is folded over. Sew the trim in place and then fold up and press 1/2 inch on the wrong side of the pocket. The right way to fold around the curved pockets is to make 1/2 inch cuts perpendicular to the edge of the fabric and fold these up so they can overlap.
3. Attach the apron trim to the body. Following the same technique from making the pockets, place the trim right side facing the wrong side of the apron body and sew a seam across. Press the seam open and fold up 1/2 inch of the trim and press, then fold in each end of the trim to be flush with the apron body once folded over. Fold the trim in place so you see the right side of the trim and all raw edges are enclosed and then sew the three sides starting the a short side, followed by the unattached long side, then the remaining short side.
4. Attach the pockets to the apron. Fold the apron in half and lightly press in order to find the middle. Center the pockets according to the line and about 3-5 inches from the top of the apron. Pin in place, then stitch around to attach to the apron.
5. Pleat the apron. Starting from the middle line (use the crease you pressed to find the center), measure and mark at the following measurements: 5 inches, 6 inches, 7 1/2 inches and 8 1/2 inches. Repeat on the other half of the apron. If you keep the marks 1/4 inch or shorter, you can use any kind of marker as the marks will be covered by the seam.
To gather the pleats, fold the right sides of the fabric together matching the first two marks together. Fold the pleat toward the center of the apron and pin in place. Repeat with all the marks, you will end with four pleats, two on each side of the apron.
6. Attach the waistband. Place the waistband and apron body together, right sides facing and pin in place taking special care with the pleats to make sure they are correctly in place. Sew across and press open.
7. Attach the ties. Fold over 1/2 inch of the waistband, wrong side to wrong side, and press in place. Now fold the whole waistband in half to the front, right sides together, matching the folded edge to the sewn edge. Place the unfinished edge of one tie between the halves of the waistband, matching the unfinished edge of the tie with the unfinished edge of the waistband (the tie is facing the middle of the apron). The tie will be wider than the waistband, so fold a small pleat in the tie before pinning in place. There will be three layers of fabric: the front of the waistband, the tie, and the back of the waistband once folded over. Sew across even with the side edge of the apron and then repeat with the other tie.
8. Finish the waistband. Turn the waistband right side out and you will have nicely pleated ties attached in line with the side of the apron. Pin the back of the waistband to the apron and stitch and sew across from the front to secure the waistband and leave nice straight line of stitching.
Voila! You have yourself a fancy new apron!
Regardless of waist size, the ties are plenty long to wrap around and tie in the front, cafe-style. I have a photo of the ties from the back but I'll be honest, this blog could do without a this-close pic of my bum.
Do you wear aprons when you cook or just keep extra towels on hand? Do you wear a fancy apron so you still look nice or utility apron that exists only to get the job done? Full size or half size?
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