This lovely apron can get you started on your holiday sewing. We originally selected a pair of quilting cottons with lovely gold metallic accents from the Rhapsody in Blue collection from Kanvas Fabrics. It’s a festive combination that’s perfect for a holiday gathering. But who couldn’t use a bit of sparkle to glamorize an everyday occasion?! Metallic cottons are now turning up year ’round in fabric collections.
This fast and fun project would be great for someone brand new to sewing. The waistband and ties are surprisingly easy to make, but give the apron a very professional look.
We purchased a bit of extra fabric and carefully fussy cut all our pieces to make sure the dramatic motifs were properly showcased. It takes a bit more time, but centering the designs and measuring once, twice, three times to make sure everything is straight makes the difference between a “just-okay” finish and a “dang-that-is-one-crazy-cool-apron” finish.
The three extra large pockets across the front are a generous 8” deep to hold utensils, recipes cards, or just your hands as you stand fashionably next to the stove.
It’s a very lightweight design. Both the skirt panel as well as the pocket panel are just one layer. We do recommend a bit of lightweight interfacing for the waistband and ties.
Clever hemming and seaming makes the whole thing go together in a snap. You could whip up several for yourself and your friends in a single afternoon.
Bundle an apron with a homemade dish or a special cookbook as a wonderful shower or housewarming gift. Or continue the holiday theme and package up the apron with a batch of goodies in a festive tin or cookie jar.
Our apron finishes at approximately 18″ across the waistband x 17½ long (including the waistband height) with 30″ waist ties – long enough for a pretty back bow.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Our yardage recommendations allow some extra for fussy cutting.
- ¾ yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the main apron skirt; we originally used Fanfare in Blue from the Rhapsody in Blue collection by Maria Malinowski for Kanvas Fabrics
- ⅝ yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the pocket panel; we originally used Feather Medallion in Mint from the Rhapsody in Blue collection by Maria Malinowski for Kanvas Fabrics
- 1 yard of 20″ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
NOTE: Getting a full yard allows you to cut the interfacing for the ties vertically at 31” as full strips. If you cut horizontally in sections to butt together, you could get away with ⅝ yard.
- ⅝ yard of wide rick rack; we used 1” gold metallic rick rack purchased locally – you actually need a ½ yard cut (18”) but we recommend getting ⅝ yard to insure you can center the waves of the rick rack evenly across the front of the waistband
NOTE: The rick rack is optional but does add a nice bit of sparkle.
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the main skirt panel and waistband, fussy cut the following:
ONE 4” x 19” strip, centering along the horizontal
ONE 17″ high x 31″ wide rectangle, centering the fabric’s motif top to bottom and side to side
- From the fabric for the pocket panel and waist ties, fussy cut the following:
TWO 4” x 31” strips for the waist ties, centering along the horizontal
ONE 10½” high x 31″ wide rectangle to best feature the pattern. You want the fabric’s motif to be centered nicely both side to side as well as top to bottom within the pocket panel for a pretty reveal.
NOTE: The pocket panel will finish 8″ deep with each of the three pockets 10″ wide; there will be a ½” bottom seam and a 1″ double-turn hem along the top (accounting for the other 2″ of the original 10½” cut). This means your “centered design” should focus on the motif 2″ down from the top raw edge and ½” up from the bottom raw edge.
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 4″ x 19″ strip
TWO 4″ x 31″ strips
NOTE: As mentioned above, you can cut shorter strips from the fusible interfacing and butt them together to create a full strip, trimming off the excess as described below within the instructions.
- Cut the rick rack into ONE 18” length, centering the waves.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Hem the panels
- Find the 17″ x 31″ main panel. Make a ¼” double turn hem along both 17″ sides. To do this, fold under the raw edge ¼” and press. Then, fold an additional ¼” and press again.
- Pin in place. Do not stitch the side hems at this time.
- After you create the pressed ¼” double turn hems along both sides of the main panel. Repeat to create the same hems along each 10½” side of the 10½” x 31″ pocket panel. As above, just press in place, don’t stitch in place yet.
- Along the top of the pocket panel, use the same technique to create a 1″ double turn hem. Instead of ¼”, simply fold and press 1”.
- Fold an additional 1” and press again. Then, pin in place.
- This top hem you DO edgestitch in place now, staying close to the inside fold.
NOTE: If you are new to making simple hems, you can read our hemming tutorial.
Assemble the panels and stitch the pockets
- Place the pocket panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the main skirt panel, also right side up, on top of the pocket panel, aligning the pressed sides and the bottom raw edges.
NOTE: Yes, the two panels are right side to wrong side – a little different than the traditional right sides together. It’s okay, the pocket will fold up into place so it finishes in the correct manner.
- Pin the two layers together along the bottom raw edge.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the layers together.
- Press the seam allowance open.
- Fold the pocket panel up into position on the right side of the main panel. This means the seam you just made now becomes the bottom edge of the apron.
- Press the pocket panel in place, making sure the bottom seam line is straight and flat. Align the pressed side hems of the pocket and the skirt, and pin the pocket panel in place along both sides.
- Working from the back of the apron, so you can best see your hem, edgestitch both side hems in place with one seam. In other words, stitch from the bottom of the apron, along the side of the pocket, finishing at the top of the main panel. You’ve secured your side hems and secured the pocket panel in place with just one neat seam along each side.
NOTE: Working from the back means your bobbin thread stitch is what shows on the front; make sure you have thread to match your fabric in both the top and bobbin. And, insure your tension and stitch length look good. Do a few test stitches on scraps to confirm everything works well. We recommend a slightly lengthened stitch for these seams. Stitching with our Janome studio machines looks great from both sides, but it’s always good to test.
- Place the sewn apron/pocket panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Using a see-through ruler and fabric pen or pencil, measure 10″ in from the right side hem, mark and draw a vertical line through the pocket. Then, measure 10″ in from the left side hem, and mark and draw a second vertical line. These lines are the pocket divisions.
NOTE: You are working on the right side of the fabric, so make sure you choose a marking pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- Stitch along each drawn line from the top of the pocket panel to the bottom of the apron through both layers.
NOTE: If possible, use a lock stitch at the beginning and end of your seam for a neat finish. If you do not have this function on your machine, you can leave your thread tails long and hand knot to lock the seams or simply be very careful and precise with your backstitching to lock the seams.
- Along the top raw edge of the apron panel, stitch two rows of gathering stitches. These are simply two lines of machine basting within the ½” seam allowance. Do not lock either seam at the beginning or the end, and leave the thread tails long. If you are brand new to gathering, we have a Machine Gathering Tutorial you can review.
- Pull the stitches to gather the top of the apron from 31″ down to 18″.
Waistband, ties and finishing
- Find the waistband strip, the two tie strips, and the three strips of matching interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse an interfacing strip to the back of each fabric strip.
NOTE: If you are butting together shorter strips, place the “joint” of the two strips at the center of a tie, trim away the excess interfacing from either end, then fuse in place.
- If adding rick rack, position it across the bottom raw edge of the waistband strip (the bottom if you are working with a directional print as we did). Center the rick rack so the first “wave” at either end sits about 1” in from the raw edge of the fabric, which means it will start about ½” in from the waistband seam when stitched. Trim away the excess rick rack if need be.
- Pin the rick rack so there will be one “wave” extending beyond the ½” seam allowance when stitched. We used the right edge of our presser foot as a guide to machine baste in place.
- Here’s another view of the proper rick rack reveal.
NOTE: In the waistband and tie construction photos below, we are showing the waistband without the optional rick rack.
- Place one 31″ tie strip on either end of the 19″ waist band strip, matching the 4″ ends. The strips are right sides together. Pin in place. If using a directional fabric as we did, make sure the motifs on the ties and the waistband are both going in the correct direction. You want the seam of the tie to be along its bottom edge.
- Stitch both short seams, using a ½” seam allowance. Press the seams open. You now have one continuous strip 4″ x 79”.
- Fold this strip in half, right sides together (so it is now 2″ x 79″). Pin in place from each vertical waistband seam out to the end of each tie. The middle 18″ waistband section should be left un-pinned.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each tie. To do this, you will start at the waistband/tie seam, stitch towards the end of the tie, pivot at corner, and stitch across the end to finish. Remember, this leaves the center 18″ waistband section open. Clip the corners. Again, notice that our seam runs along the bottom of our directional print on the ties. If you added rick rack, this seam would be in line with the rick rack along the bottom edge of the open waistband section.
- Turn the ties right side out through the open waistband section. Gently push out the corners with a long, blunt tool, like a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. Press both ties flat.
- Match the gathered top edge of the apron panel right sides together with the bottom 18″ raw edge of the waistband opening. If you added rick rack, this is the edge with the rick rack basted in place. The seams of the ties should then be facing up. Pin the layers together across the 18″ opening. The gathered edge should be a perfect fit within the 18″ opening of the waistband. If it isn’t, loosen or tighten the gathers until it fits exactly.
- Using a ½” seam allowance stitch the gathered apron panel to just that one layer of the waistband. It’s easiest to work with the gathers on top so you can make sure they stay in position.
- Press the seam allowance up toward the inside of the waistband.
- Press back the remaining raw edge of the waistband ½”.
- Bring this folded waistband edge down into place to cover the gathered seam at the back of the apron. Make sure the folded edge at the back is below the original seam line; your final stitching will be done from the right side (which is why the photo below shows the pins along the front), but you want to be sure you catch the back edge all the way across.
- Edgestitch the waistband in place, stitching on the right side so your seam line is nice and straight from the front….
- … and also nice and straight across the back, sealing the waistband opening.
NOTE: If you are brand new to edgestitching and worried about your accuracy, you could eliminate the front topstitching and instead hand stitch the folded edge in place across the back.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand