Today’s the day we begin our ramp up to the 2012 holiday season! We welcome you to our latest series: Happy Holidays with Westminster Fibers Lifestyle Fabrics, the amazing folks who bring you FreeSpirit and Rowan collections. Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll bring you a new collection from four different Westminster designers. This week, you’ll meet Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics. Coming up throughout November are: Ty Pennington, Verna Mosquera and Amy Butler. Here at Sew4Home, we love to take non-traditional fabrics and show you how beautiful they can be when incorporated into holiday projects. Today’s charming apron is a great example. The warm red accents add a pop of holiday color that makes it a perfect choice for Christmas morning brunch, yet the entire combination works wonderfully throughout the year. Even with all its special accents: bound slash pockets, two gathered tiers and a pretty bodice tie… this is a very easy project. 

In fact, starting with today’s apron, we’ve created an entire slate of fast and easy, “do-it-in-a-day” projects for this busy time of year. Simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, with a beauty that will last year ’round.

Our thanks again to the great folks at FreeSpirit and Rowan Fabrics for sponsoring these four weeks of holiday happiness! Melissa White was a new designer to us, and we were immediately struck by the simple charm of Amelie’s Attic. It spoke to us of a fresh, country Christmas. Rich reds, like cheeks flushed by a crisp fall afternoon. Pure pinks, like little dollops of sweet divinity. Crackled vintage florals, like etchings on a frosted window pane. 

Melissa’s designs are based on her fifteen years of research into rare Elizabethan wall paintings in Tudor houses across Britain. The result is a series of fabric collections with a modern style softened by patina of history. Rowan Fabrics is an industry leader in bringing these kind of magically historical prints into the modern marketplace. With Rowan, you’re guaranteed to find something unique – fabric with a story to tell.

Amelie’s Attic will begin appearing this month, November 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers.

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Yardage shown allows a bit extra for fussy cutting – especially for the “hidden” pockets on the top skirt tier.

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Apron Tie Shape Template.
    IMPORTANT: This template download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
  3. From the fabric for the apron ties (waist, neck and bib) plus the bottom skirt tier (Meadow in Tea-stained in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 36″ wide x 20″ high rectangle for the skirt panel 
    FOUR 2½” x 36″ strips for the waist ties
    TWO 2½” x 21″ strips for the waist band
    FOUR 2½” x 33″ strips for the neck ties
    FOUR 2½” x 15″ strips for the bib ties
    TWO 2″ x 8″ strips for the pocket bands, cut on the bias
  4. From the fabric for the top skirt tier (Edgar’s Bouquet in Tea-stained in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 36″ wide x 16″ high rectangle for the skirt panel
    TWO 6″ x 7″ rectangles for the pockets 
    NOTE: These pocket rectangles should be fussy cut to exactly match the upper left and upper right corners of the 36″ x 16″ skirt panel. 
  5. From the fabric for the apron bib (Daisy Mesh in Tea-stained in our sample), fussy cut TWO 10″ x 10″ squares.
  6. From the batting, cut one 10″ x 10″ square

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Pockets

  1. Find the 36″ x 16″ top tier of the skirt (Edgar’s Bouquet in our sample)
  2. Fold the panel in half, wrong sides together so it is now 18″ x 16″. Place the folded panel right side up on your work surface. If you have a directional motif, make sure the panel is positioned so the upper corner is indeed, the upper corner.
  3. Using three rulers, measure and mark the pocket slash. Lay one ruler across the top and one down the side. The two rulers should come together at a 90˚ angle at the fabric’s corner. You are working along the raw edges, not the folded edge.
  4. Measure 6″ in from the corner along the top and 4″ down from the corner along the side. Use your third ruler to create a diagonal line connecting the 6″ and 4″ marks. Draw a diagonal line, using the third ruler.
  5. Cut along the drawn line through both layers. 
    NOTE: If you don’t have three rulers, you can make your own paper pattern of an isosceles triangle: a 6″ side and a 4″ side coming together at a 90˚ angle connected by a diagonal line. 
  6. Open the panel back up. It should still be right side up. 
  7. Collect the other pocket pieces: the two 2″ x 8″ bias strips and the two 6″ x 7″ fussy cut pockets.
  8. Press a binding strip in half, wrong sides together, to create a center crease. Open up the strip, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Press in each long raw edge to meet the crease line. Re-fold the strip along the original crease line, aligning the folded edges. Press again. You have created your own double fold bias strip. Repeat with the second bias binding strip.  
  9. Slip a binding over each pocket slash. Pin in place.
  10. Topstitch the binding in place through all the layers. Stay as close the outer fold as possible, but make sure you catch both the front and back of the binding.
  11. Find the two 6″ x 7″ pocket pieces. You should have fussy cut these pieces so they are a match with the upper corners of the skirt panel, therefore, you should have a definite left and right pocket. Make sure you keep track of which is which and that you are working with each pocket in the correct perspective: the “top” should be at the top, the “right” should be to the right, etc.
  12. Place the pockets right side up on your work surface. Fold up the bottom and inner edge of each pocket ¼”. Press in place. The top and the outer edge will remain unfolded.
  13. Flip over the skirt panel. Place an appropriate square over each bound pocket slash corner, aligning the upper and outer raw edges. Pin in place along the folded side and bottom.
  14. Edgestitch each pocket to the skirt along the folded side and bottom, pivoting at the corner. 

Hem and assemble the skirt tiers

  1. On EACH of two skirt tiers (Edgar’s Bouquet and Meadow in our sample), make a narrow, double turn hem along both sides and across the bottom. To do this, turn under the raw edge ¼” and press. Turn under an additional ¼” and press again. At each corner make a ¼” clean mitered corner. On the top tier you are folding and pressing the raw edges of the pocket into the hem.
  2. Pin in place and stitch close to the folded edge along both sides and across the bottom of each panel.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial on narrow hems with clever corners
  3. Lay the hemmed skirt tiers, right side up, on top of one another. The bottom tier goes down first (Meadow), then the top tier (Edgar’s Bouquet).
     
  4. Make sure the hemmed sides and top raw edges are perfectly aligned. Pin the layers together along the top edge. 

    NOTE: If your chosen fabric that has a tendency to ravel, you can use a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or a serger to stitch the top layers together and finish the raw edges. 
  5. Run a gathering stitch along the top of the skirt through all thye layers. To do this, stitch two lines of machine basting approximately ⅜” from the top edge. As above, do not lock the beginning or end of the seam. 
     
    NOTE: If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy. And, we have an updated gathering tutorial posting tomorrow. 
  6. Pull the row(s) of machine basting to gather the skirt to approximately 20″. Adjust the gathers so they fall evenly.

Bib, accent ties and neck ties

  1. Find the two 10″ x 10″ fabric squares and the 10″ x 10″ batting square. 
  2. Place the two fabric squares right sides together, making sure your carefully fussy cuts motifs are running in the same direction on each piece.
  3. Place the batting square on top of the two fabric pieces. Pin in place across the top edge only.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the top edge only. Trim away the batting from the seam allowance.  
  5. Open the bib right side out so the batting is now sandwiched between the two fabric layers. Press flat.
  6. Machine baste around the remaining three raw edges, using a ¼” seam allowance.
  7. Find the Apron Tie Shape template.  
  8. Find the four 2½” x 15 tie strips. Layer all four strips together into one neat stack; all edges should be flush. Place the template on ONE end. Trace around the curved end with a fabric pen or pencil. Cut along the drawn line through all four layers.  
  9. Separate the strips into two pairs. Place each pair right sides together, aligning all raw edges. Pin together along both sides and around the curve, leaving the opposite end (the straight end) open for turning. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ties together along both sides and around the curve. Trim the seam and clip the curve. Turn right side out and press flat.
  10. Place the ties along the top edge of the bib, matching the raw ends of the ties to the raw outer edges of the bib. Pin the ties in place along the top edge only. Measure in 3½” from each raw tie end. Mark with a pin, left and right, these are your stitching stop points.
  11. Starting from each raw edge, edgestitch the ties in place, stopping at each pin point. This leaves the curved ends loose along the bottom and in the middle so they can be tied into an neat accent knot. 
  12. Find the four 2½” x 33″ strips. Layer all four strips together into one neat stack; all edges should be flush. Place the template on ONE end. Trace around the curved end with a fabric pen or pencil. Cut along the drawn line through all four layers.
  13. Separate the strips into two pairs. Place each pair right sides together, aligning all raw edges. Pin together along both sides and around the curve, leaving the opposite end (the straight end) open for turning. measure 10″ in from the straight end of each pair and mark with a pin along one side. This will be the stopping point for your seam.
  14. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the ties. Start at the straight cut end (remember you leave the end itself open), stitch along the first long side, continue around the curve, then head back down the opposite long side, stopping and locking your seam at the 10″ pin mark. Repeat to stitch together the remaining pair of tie strips. 
  15. Clip the curves, turn the ties right side out and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the open ends so they are flush with the sewn seam.  
  16. Find the apron bib. Slip the open end of a tie over the side edge of the bib, encasing the raw edge of the accent tie between the layers. Pin in place from the top of the bib to the bottom. 
  17. Edgestitch all the way around the tie, through all the layers, from the bottom inside edge, up to the top, around the curve, and back down to the bottom outside edge.
  18. Repeat to attach the remaining tie to the opposite raw edge of the bib.
  19. Knot the loose ends of the accent ties. We used a simple square knot.

Waistband and waist ties

  1. Find the FOUR 2½” x 36″ tie pieces. Layer all four strips together into one neat stack; all edges should be flush. Place the template on ONE end. Trace around the curved end with a fabric pen or pencil. Cut along the drawn line through all four layers.  
  2. Find the TWO 2½” x 21″ waistband pieces. On the RIGHT side, find the center point of each piece along what will be the BOTTOM 21″ edge of your waistband. Mark this point with a pin. Measure 5″ to the right and 5″ to the left of center and mark these two points with 1″ long vertical lines (be sure to use a fabric pen or pencil that will wipe away or evaporate with exposure to the air). These marks are where the bib will in interested in the finishing steps. The marking lines need to be long because the top edge of the waistband will be pressed down by ½” and you want to still be able to see your marking. 
  3. Place one tie strip, right sides together, with either end of one waistband strip. Pin in place. Stitch in place, using a ½” seam allowance, to create one long tie-waistband-tie strip. Repeat to create the second tie-waistband-tie strip. 
  4. Pin these two long strips right sides together all around both ties, but do not pin the waistband strips together. 
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around one waist tie, starting and ending at the seam where it attaches to the waist band. Do not stitch the waist band. Repeat to stitch around the other waist tie.
  6. Clip the curves and turn the ties right side out, but do not attempt to turn the center waistband. Pull out each tie, but leave about 2″ unturned as shown below. 
  7. Press the turned ties (the amount you’ve pulled out) flat.

Attach the bib and the skirt to the waistband

  1. Insert the completed apron skirt into the waistband. If necessary, adjust the gathers to tighten or loosen to fight. Bring up the skirt behind and in between the waistband layers until the top gathered edge of the skirt is flush with the top raw edges of the waistband. Pin in place from seam to seam. 
  2. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch from seam to seam (the seams that originally attached the waistband strips to the tie strips) through all the layers. Make sure the tie ends are pulled out of the way of the seam. 
  3. Turn the waistband right side out, at the same time, pull the ties all the way right side out. Press the seam allowance up toward the waistband and press both the front and back waistband layers up as well. 
  4. Press in the top raw edges of the waistband opening ½” so they are flush with the sewn tie seams. 
  5. Insert the completed apron bib into this top opening, aligning the center and sides of the bib with the drawn marking lines you made above. Make sure you are inserting the bib with the front of the bib facing the front waistband. The bottom of the bib should rest against the skirt seam inside the waistband. Pin in place. 
  6. Topstitch around the entire waistband, making a large rectangle of stitching. Start just to the outside of one waistband/tie seam – in line with the side hems of the skirt. Stitch vertically up across the tie, pivot, stitch horizontally across the top of entire waistband (this closes the opening left for inserting the bib), pivot just to the outside of the waistband/tie seam, stitch vertically down across the tie, pivot, stitch horizontally across the bottom of the entire waistband, ending up right where you started. The ends of the ties themselves are not topstitched.  

Contributors


Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews of What Sew Ever

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