I really like aprons and I especially like making them for other people. They make such great gifts; bridal shower, hostess, etc. This year my sister, and her husband hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. I thought my sister, Elizabeth, needed to have a special Thanksgiving apron for the occasion.
One reason I enjoy making aprons is that no pattern is necessary. Every apron I make comes out unique with different adornments; ruffles, trims, pockets, bows, lace…you can never have too many on an apron. We’re going for kitschy after all.
The other reason I like making aprons is selecting fabrics the recipient will love. I couldn’t find any turkey, pilgrim or pumpkin fabric so I decided to go with autumn colors. It’s just as well because now the apron can be worn more than once a year. Elizabeth likes purple, so I put the emphasis on the purple fabric rather than the more autumnal orange/yellow paisley fabric.
I put together a little tutorial for making your own apron. The instructions are a bit vague. A pattern really isn’t necessary. Plus, working without a pattern will get your creativity flowing and make your apron really unique. Try adding ruffles to edges, different shaped pockets, gathers, tucks, embroidery…just have fun.
Note: As I said, these are rough instructions. You’ll want to be sure to practice good sewing habits, like pressing your seams and finishing all raw edges by either folding under, serging or zig-zag stitching.
STEP 1: FABRIC
I buy 1 yard of the main fabric, purple in this example, 1/2 yard each of three complimentary fabrics and 1 yard of trim for the hem. I usually end up with some extra, but this gives me plenty to work with. When selecting your fabric you don’t have to go with all the complimentary fabrics stacked next to each other. I like to pick one fabric, then select another that compliments the first, another that compliments the second, etc. The color story then kind of builds itself. Try something daring. If you stay within the same color tones, it’ll turn out great.
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STEP 2: PLAN
I don’t actually plan out what the apron will look like when I’m in the fabric store, aside from selecting the main fabric. Once home, I drape the fabrics on my dress form. If you don’t have a dress form, lay the fabrics on the floor in the shape of the apron. Don’t cut anything. You’re just draping right now. Don’t spend a lot of time on this, maybe 5 minutes. You don’t want to over think it.
STEP 3: CUT
1. Skirt: 24in width at top, 34in width at hem, 22in long (add more if you’re not going to trim the hem). The sides aren’t straight, they curve. Use a French curve, or eyeball it. The curve is about 10 inches from the hem.
2. Bib: Cut two triangles. Measure 16 inches. Mark the center of this line. Measure up 11 inches from the center of this line. Connect this point with the two points on the 16 inch line.
3. Waist tie: I straighten the edges of the fabric and then cut it in half from selvedge to selvedge. You’ll end up with two pieces about 8×44 inches. Cut one of these pieces in half. You should have one 8×44 piece and two 8×22 pieces. This means that your tie will be about 86 inches long. If you need it longer, make the width smaller so you can get another long piece out of the fabric, or add another fabric onto the length.
4. Neck ties: Cut two strips 4×44 inches. Forty-four inches is an arbitrary number, it’s just whatever the width of the fabric is.
5. Pocket: 5.5in wide x 6in tall. Fold the bottom corners up and press. Unfold and cut along fold lines. Cut an accent fabric 3.5×5.5in.
STEP 4: SKIRT
Fold sides of skirt over 1/4in, wrong sides together. Fold over 1/4in again, press, top-stitch. Sew trim to hem (you could leave this step to the end if you want to adjust the length).
STEP 5: BIB
Fold neckline sides of triangles over 1/4in, wrong sides together. Fold over 1/4in again, press, top-stitch.
STEP 6: NECK TIES
Fold neck ties in half, wrong sides together. Fold edges into center (see pic), press. Place armhole edge of bib triangle in between neck tie. Top-stitch. When you get to the end of the tie, fold the end corners into the center (like you did for the pocket) and top-stitch. Repeat for other bib triangle.
STEP 7: ATTACH BIB TO SKIRT
With wrong sides together, sew bib triangles to skirt. Place the points of the triangles at the sides of the skirt as shown in picture. Top-stitch along the neck edge of the triangle that is on top so that the two triangles stay together.
STEP 8: WAIST TIE
Sew the 8×22 pieces onto each end of the 8×44 piece. Your tie is now around 8×87 inches. Fold the tie in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Cut the ends at an angle. Sew from one end to the other, leaving a hole about 3 inches wide somewhere in the around the center. Pull the tie rightside-out through the hole. Hand sew the hole closed. Find the centers of the tie and apron. Top-stitch the tie to the apron where the bib attaches to the skirt. To gather the center of the waist tie, just hand baste a thread through the tie, pull it tight and secure.
STEP 9: POCKET
Fold 3.5×5.5 piece in half, long sides together, wrong sides together. Sew along 5.5 inch edge. Turn right-side out. Serge all edges of pocket. Place 1.75×5.5in piece on top of pocket. Top-stitch along top edge. Turn all sides of pocket under .25in. Top-stitch onto apron.