The hostess apron is a nod to the more elegant entertaining of days gone by, when a beautiful apron was a critical part of your party ensemble. We’ve brought back this vintage accessory, but with a bright new spin to match the playful palette of our Citrus Holiday projects. We combined five different Heather Bailey fabrics, then added a deep wine red for the waistband and all the ties. Flouncy skirt tiers and a bold bow we tied jauntily at the shoulder are the finishing touches that make this apron a stand out.
Our Citrus Holiday projects were made using Heather Bailey’s delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection. To learn more about how we created this non-traditional holiday palette, read our article: Citrus Holiday: Christmas Dining Room.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 5200)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Fabric for apron bib: ½ yard of 45″ wide fabric: we used Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden & Bijoux Rose Bouquet in Cream
- Fabric for skirt tier (four total tiers): ½ yard of 45″ wide fabric will yield one tier: we used ½ yard each of Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden & Bijoux: Sway in Cream, Peonies in Red, Tiled Primrose in Canary, and Wallpaper Roses in Green
- Fabric for apron top lining and apron skirt lining: 1¼ yards of 45″ wide fabric: we used a cream cotton sateen
The apron’s top lining can also be self-lined with the fabric you are using for the apron top panel. You should NOT need to buy more than the ½ yard indicated above – both the apron top panel and the apron top lining pieces will fit on this ½ yard x 45″ wide piece.
- Fabric for neck ties, waistband, and waist ties: ¾ yard of 45″ wide fabric: we used a red cotton sateen
- ½ yard of jumbo ric rac trim for top apron edge: we used a deep red
- All purpose thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- From the fabric you’re using for the apron bib (Rose Bouquet in Cream in our sample) cut one rectangle 13″ wide x 11″ high.
- From the fabric you’re using for the waist and neck ties (red cotton sateen in our sample) cut eight strips 3″ x 44″.
- From the fabric your using for the lining (cream sateen in our sample) cut one rectangle 13″ wide x 11″ high for the bib and one rectangle 27″ wide x 22″ high for the skirt.
- From the four fabrics you’re using for the skirt tiers, cut as follows:
1 st tier (sway in Cream in our sample): one rectangle 27″ wide and 7″ high.
2 nd tier (Peonies in Red in our sample): one rectangle 45″ wide and 7″ high.
3 rd tier (Tiled Primrose in canary): one rectangle 45″ wide and 10″ high.
4 th tier (Wallpaper Roses in green): one rectangle 45″ wide and 10″ high.
- Trim ric rac to 13″.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make the ties
- Pair up your eight 3″ x 44″ tie strips, matching right sides together.
- Take one pair, and using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around both long sides and one end, leaving the opposite end open. Start at the open end, stitch down one long side, pivot at the corner, stitch at an angle across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side. Leave the raw edge open.
- Clip off the fabric along the sewn edge, following the angle, and leaving an approximate ½” seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open end. Press. You might need to reach in to the corner point with a blunt-edged tool, like a large knitting needle, to help push out the seam and make a nice point.
- Edgestitch around three sewn sides. Raw end remains open.
- This is one of the neck ties. Repeat steps 2 – 5 to make the second neck tie.
- Take another pair, and using a ½” seam allowance, stitch, right sides together, along one 3″ side. Repeat with the final pair. This will give you two strips that are 3″ x 87″.
- Match these two strips right sides together, lining up all raw edges. This will become your waistband/ties.
- Using your see-through ruler and fabric pencil, measure and mark the openings needed in the waistband to insert the apron bib and the apron skirt. You can use the center seam to insure the openings are centered. You need a 12″ opening along the top of the waistband and a 26″ opening along the bottom of the waist band.
- Stitch the two waistband/tie pieces together, using a ½” seam allowance. Start at the bottom opening, stitch down one side, pivot at the corner, stitch at an angle across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the top opening.
- Remove from machine. Move to the other end of the top opening. Start stitching again, down one side, pivot at the corner, stitch at an angle across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the bottom opening.
- Turn right side out through the middle opening. Press. Make sure you press the opening seam allowances in ½” so the opening edges are flush with the sewn edges. As you did above with the neck ties, you might need to reach in to the corner points with a blunt-edged tool, like a large knitting needle, to help push out the seam and make a nice point.
- Edgestitch along your finished seams, pivoting at all corners, and leaving the top and bottom openings free and clear.
- Set all ties aside.
Make the apron bib
- Pin your ric rac to the right side of the apron bib front panel. Position the ric rac so it extends approximately 7/8″ – 1″ from the raw edge of the apron panel to the highest point in the bottom “wave.”
- Stitch ric rac in place, staying close to the raw edge with your stitching, and being careful to keep it nice and straight, so the wavy edge of the ric rac that will be showing is even all along the top of the bib panel. You want to keep your stitching inside the standard ½” seam allowance so it doesn’t show once your final seam is made.
- Pin the bib lining to your bib front, right sides together, covering the ric rac and matching the raw edges. You will need to leave the entire bottom open as well as two 2″ openings on each side of the top to insert your two neck ties.
- Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Turn right side out, revealing approximately 3/8″ – ½” of your ric rac; it will be standing straight up along the top of the apron bib. Press.
- Find your two neck ties and insert one raw-edged end into each 2″ opening along the top edge of the apron bib. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch along both sides and across the top of the apron bib, securing the ties in place.
Attach top to waistband
- Find your waistband/ties piece.
- Insert your completed apron bib into the top opening (the 12″ opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch apron bib in place, being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/ties piece.
- Set aside.
Make the skirt tiers
- On the skirt lining panel, the 2 nd tier panel, the 3 rd tier panel, and the 4 th tier panel: make a ¼” double-turn hem along the sides and the bottom edge. To do this, fold in your raw edge ¼” and press. Then, fold an additional ¼” and press. Stitch in place close to the fold, making sure to encase the ¼” hem as you sew. For more information about hemming, read our tutorial: How to Make a Simple Hem.
- The skirt lining panel will now be 26″ wide x 21½” high. The 2 nd tier panel will now be 44″ wide x 6½” high. The 3 rd and 4 th tier panels will now each be 44″ wide x 9½” high.
- On the 1 st tier panel: make a ¼” double-turn hem along the side edges ONLY. This panel will now be 26″ wide x 7″ high.
- Gather the top RAW edge of the 2 nd tier equally across until it is 26″ wide.
- Pin the gathered raw edge of the 2 nd tier to one of the raw edges of the 1 st tier, with right sides of the fabrics together and the hemmed side edges lined up.
- Sew a ½” seam.
- Flip over to the backside, and press the seam allowances up towards the top raw edge of the 1 st tier.
- Turn under ½” all along the top raw edge of the 3 rd tier. Press to make a nice folded edge. Topstitch approximately ¼” from the folded edge to secure the fold. Then gather equally across this FINISHED edge until it is 24″ wide.
- Repeat step 8 with the 4 th tier.
- Pin the gathered edge of the 4 th tier to the skirt lining panel so the top of the gathered panel is 15½” below the top raw edge of the lining. The edges of the tier should be centered and SET IN 1″ from each hemmed edge of the lining panel.
- Sew this gathered tier to the skirt lining panel with a ¼” topstitch.
- Pin the gathered edge of the 3 rd tier to the skirt lining panel so the gathered edge is 9½” below the top raw edge of the skirt lining panel. As above, the edges of the tier should be centered and SET IN 1″ from each hemmed edge of the lining panel.
- Sew this gathered tire to the muslin underskirt panel with a ¼” topstitch. The bottom edge of the 3 rd tier should hide the top sewn edge of the 4 th tier by about 3″.
- Pin the WRONG side of the 1 st / 2 nd tier combo piece to the RIGHT side of the skirt lining panel (with its two tiers in place), lining up the top raw edges.
- Sew together along the top with a ¼” topstitch.
- Line up and pin the hemmed side edges of the 1 st tier to the hemmed side edges of the lining, and sew together with a ¼” topstitch, following the existing hemmed-edge stitching.
- Insert the top of the skirt panel into the opening in the bottom of your waistband.
- Edgestitch skirt panel in place, being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/ties piece.
Project Desgin: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Heather Tucker
Instructions: Liz Johnson, Gregory Dickson