One of the items my daughter put on her Christmas wishlist this year was an apron. That was easy for me to take care of. Aprons are practical and pretty, and I have a few myself. I found the perfect bacon-themed fabric for her at JoAnn and purchased one yard. I figured one yard would be enough for most any apron I would probably want to make up. After I got home, I found a crossed back apron design I liked and decided to make my own pattern for one. I think it took me about four or five hours to draft the pattern and make it up.
I didn’t think to start taking pictures of the process until after I had cut out the fabric and started the pockets. So to start, you will need one yard of fabric A, and one yard of fabric B. These can be the same fabric, or contrasting fabrics. I used the bacon fabric and plain muslin, which I already had on hand. If you want to decorate your apron, you can add rick rack or other trim as you desire, but I didn’t use any. You will also need:
- sewing machine
- ironing board
- measuring tape
- pencil or other marking tool
- pattern sketch (JPG image or PDF)
Copying the pattern
My pattern is simply a scale sketch, which I then copied onto my fabric. Using my yardstick and pencil, I marked out all my cutting lines using the dimensions on the sketch. This sketch is flexible in that you can make your apron longer if you want by simply buying extra yardage and adding length to the bottom. If your fabric isn’t 44″ wide, then adjust the space where the pocket is. The pocket can be made smaller if necessary, or larger if you have the width available and want to do so. I stacked my two fabrics, lining up the folds and transferred the pattern once. I then cut them out together.
We will start with the pockets, which are not shown in the photos above. I simply cut them out of the waste between the shoulder straps. Fold one half inch to the wrong side, then another one inch to create a facing/hem. Stitch close to the fold. If you are adding rick rack or other trim to the top of your pockets, now is the time to do that.
Now fold in the remaining edges 1/2″ and press. Repeat for the other three pockets.
Position the pockets on the body of the apron, wherever looks good. I chose to space them evenly on either side of the center fold about the level of the hips.
Pin the pockets in place so they won’t shift.
Set your machine to a wide, short zigzag stitch. I used maximum width and set the length to about 0.5. If your machine measures in stitches per inch, set it between 25 and 30. This will make a stronger corner for the pockets. Zigzag backwards for a few stitches to lock in place, then forward for about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Reset your stitch to a medium length and straight width and continue stitching close to the edge down one side, across the bottom and up the other side. About 1/2 to 3/4 inch before the end of the pocket, return to the short, wide zigzag for the rest of the seam. Backstitch a few stitches again to secure. Repeat this for every pocket.
You should now have two layers that match each other. Lay them face to face and pin along the neckline, sides and bottom. Stitch these layers together, leaving a 6″ gap or so at the bottom so you can turn it right side out later.
Next, clip and/or trim the curved seams so it won’t bunch up when you turn it. Just don’t trim where you left the opening to turn it.
For some reason, my layers didn’t quite line up perfectly, so if this happens to you, too, just roll with it. This is why I trimmed the bottom edge down.
Now, reach up through that gap and grab hold of the top edge of the apron and turn the whole thing right-side out. Be sure to pull the back straps through, too. Using your fingers, push the seams out so there are no inverted sections. Press.
Now it is time to finish the turning hole. Make sure the seam allowances are tucked in and press them so they look consistent with the rest of the bottom of the apron. You have two options for closing it. You can either just stitch across the gap very close to the edge, or you can hand stitch it closed. Your choice. I chose to just stitch close to the edge. This would be completely invisible if I had chosen to topstitch around all the edges (except the strap ends).
The straps are the trickiest part, in my opinion. There are two ways to do this, also. First, I will tell you how I did it, then I will tell you the alternative.
Take the front strap ends and fold the raw edges to the inside and press. Try to make sure the folded edges are even. Align your back straps so they cross in the back. this means the back strap on the left will connect to the front strap on the right and vice versa.
Insert the raw edges of the back strap into the folded edges of the front strap. Stitch close to the folded edge, making sure you go through all layers, and repeat on the other strap.
Alternately, you can fold under the raw edges on both front and back straps and then whip stitch or ladder stitch them together. I chose not to do any hand sewing on this apron simply because I had forgotten to keep an eye on our oil level in the basement and discovered we ran out of heat when the temperature dropped down to 55F. I immediately called to get on the delivery schedule, but it was too cold to do fine handwork with sharp pointy things.
Congratulations! You now have a versatile apron that you can use for cooking, painting, housecleaning, gardening, or whatever else you want. Try it on and admire your work.