Heart and Ruffle Apron
A heart-shaped bib, pretty ruffles rimming the edges, darts and pleats, all in the yummy combo of candy pink and orange sherbet. This, my friends, is one fun, flirty apron. And we make no apologies for the all-out “girly-girlness” of it. We originally used fabric from the Tangier Ikat collection is by Dena Fishbein of Dena Designs for FreeSpirit Fabrics. This ornate, wallpaper type motif was a perfect palette for fussy-cutting.
We then re-made the pattern in an equally gorgeous fabric from Recollection by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics. With both options, taking the time for this type of precise pattern layout allows the apron’s bib to be a perfect match to the skirt right through the waistband, and the pocket blends into the skirt with only a ruffled top to give it away.
If you’re new to fussy cutting, take a look at our full step-by-step tutorial as well as our tutorial on exact pocket matching.
The apron includes pretty diamond quilting on the bib. Remember to pick a closely matching thread and lengthen your stitch for the best look.
With a heart-shaped bib and ruffles rimming all the edges, it would make a wonderful Valentines apron to whip up a few decadent desserts for your sweetie.
Although not an “officially” reversible apron, it is so beautifully finished front to back that it really could be worn either way. Just a tiny bit of the back of the darts is visible at the base of the bib lining when worn “wrong side out.”
As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to make yours smaller or larger. The drawing below is shown as a reference. The waistband panel is approximately 20″, the waist ties are each approximately 29″ long, the neck ties are also each approximately 29″ long, the skirt length is about 17″ (from the bottom of the waistband) and the width is about 27″ – both measurements include the ruffles, the bodice is about 11″ wide (through the center) and 9¼” high (from the top of the waistband to the top point of the heart’s curve).
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Yardage shown allows for fussy cutting.
- 1½ yards of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the apron ties (waist and neck) and all ruffles
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the main apron bib, skirt and pocket
- ½ – 1 yard of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the apron lining (½ yard is the minimum, but if you are fussy cutting the lining and have a large motif, you may want to get 1 yard)
- ⅓ yard 20″+ wide low loft batting for the bib – or a scrap; you need an approximate 12″ high x 15″ wide piece
- ⅛ yard of 20″+ wide crisp fusible interfacing – or a scrap; you need just one 1½” x 20″ strip; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil; we used a Frixion pen by Pilot, which disappears with an eraser or when heat is applied
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Dinner plate or similar to create the skirt corner curves
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the THREE pattern pieces Apron Bib 1, Apron Bib 2, and Apron Pocket that have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern page is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern along the solid line.
- Butt together (do not overlap) the two bib pattern pieces, aligning the arrows printed on the patterns. Tape together to create one full pattern piece that will be cut on the fold.
NOTE: All pieces for the apron front should be carefully fussy cut. Check out our fussy cutting tutorial if you are new to this technique.
- Place the apron front fabric right side up and flat on your work surface.
- In one quadrant of the fabric, find the dominant motif. You want this motif centered across the 23″ cut width of the skirt. Find the exact center of the motif; measure and mark 11½” to the right and 11½” to the left.
- Now center the motif vertically within the 15″ cut height of the skirt to determine the top and bottom marked points.
- When you’re done “fussing around,” connect your marked points to draw a complete 23″ wide x 15″ high rectangle.
- Using a dinner plate or similar, round the two bottom corners.
- Find the pocket pattern, place it 3″ in and 3″ down from the upper left corner of the apron. Mark the upper corner of the pocket while it is in place.
- Remove the pocket and place the window of the pattern over the skirt rectangle instead. Position the window using the upper corner marks you made.
- Check out the position of the motif within the window. Sometimes, it helps to trace a bit of the surrounding motif onto the frame to give you an additional guide. To see more on this process, take a look at our Toile Bag project, our French Country Apron project, or our general tutorial on pocket matching.
- On the remaining fabric, find another area that matches the “view through the window.” Place the pocket pattern in position and carefully cut out TWO pocket pieces.
NOTE: Only the FRONT pocket piece has to be a perfect match.
- Find the assembled apron bib pattern. On the remaining flat fabric, find another clean motif area. Center the bib’s fold line along the main motif.
- Mark the bottom corner.
- Fold the fabric along the marked line and cut out the apron bib. Transfer the dart markings from the pattern to the fabric.
NOTE: If you are new to fussy cutting, you may want to print TWO copies of both of the apron bib patterns. Assemble both pairs then flip over one pair and butt together along the center line to create a full bib pattern. You can then center this full pattern over your motif and cut as one flat piece.
- You now have a set of beautifully fussy cut pieces for your apron front.
- Use the completed front bib as a pattern to cut matching pieces from the batting and the lining. Flip over the bib front as shown in the photo below.
- From the remaining lining fabric, fussy cut a 23″ wide x 15″ high rectangle for the skirt.
- From the accent fabric, cut the following:
FOUR 4″ x 30″ strips for the waist and neck ties
TWO 2½” x 21″ strips for the waistband
ONE 2½” x 14″ strip for the pocket ruffle
TWO 2½” x 30″ strips for the bib ruffle
THREE 7″ x 36″ strips for the skirt ruffle
- From the interfacing, cut ONE 1½” x 20″ strip
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Waist and neck ties
- Find the four 4″ x 30″ strips.
- Fold each strip in half so it is now 2″ x 30″.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the length of each tie. Both ends are open.
- Turn right side out. Roll the seam to the back. Press flat.
- Tuck in one end of each tie ½”. With the folded edges flush, edgestitch across the end to secure.
- Find all the gathering strips.
- The 2½” x 14″ strip is for the pocket. Fold in each 2½” end ¾” and press in place. Then, fold the entire strip in half, wrong sides together. The folded ends should align. Run two lines of gathering stitches along the raw edges.
- Pull up the stitches to gather the strip from 12½” to approximately 6″. If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial.
- The two 2½” x 30″ strips are for the bib. Place the two strips right sides together, and stitch together along one 2½” end, using a ½” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Fold the entire strip in half, wrong sides together. Run two lines gathering stitches along the raw edges.
NOTE: The ends of this strip remain raw because they will be sealed within the waistband seams.
- Pull up the stitches to gather the strip from 59″ to approximately 29″.
- The three 7″ x 36″ strips are for the skirt. Place two of the strips right sides together, and stitch together along one 7″ end, using a ½” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open and flat. Repeat to add the third strip to sewn pair.
- Fold in each 7″ raw end ¾” and press in place. Then, fold the entire strip in half, wrong sides together. As above, the folded ends should align. Run two lines gathering stitches along the long raw edges.
- Pull up the stitches to gather the strip from 104½” to approximately 50″.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial. In addition, when gathering, it can be easier if you use a heavier thread in the bobbin, such as a buttonhole thread.
- Find the two pocket pieces and the pocket ruffle.
- Place the ruffle on the right side of the front pocket piece. The raw edges of the ruffle should be flush with the top raw edge of the pocket. Adjust the gathers as necessary to insure the ruffle starts and stops ½” in from the raw side edges of the pocket. Machine baste the ruffle to the pocket, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
- Place the pocket back right sides together with the pocket front, aligning all the raw edges and sandwiching the ruffle between the layers. Pin together leaving a 3″ opening along one straight side for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the entire pocket. Remember to pivot at the top corners and to lock your seam on either side of the 3″ side opening. Go slowly around the curve to keep a smooth and even seam allowance.
- When the seam is complete, cut the corners and clip the curve.
- Turn right side out through the opening and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Using a blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner gently push out the upper corners and smooth the bottom curve.
- Place the pocket onto the apron’s skirt front, matching up the motif on the two pieces. Pin in place.
- Increase your stitch length slightly. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and around the curved bottom. This stitching also closes the opening used for turning.
- Remember to use a generous (but neat!) backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it’s smart to secure the seam well.
Bib layering and quilting
- Find the three bib layers: front, batting, and lining.
- Place the batting flat on your work surface.
- Place the bib front right side up on the batting.
- Using a fabric pen that is easily removable (we used a Frixion pen that is erasable and also disappears when heat is applies – ie. when pressed), draw in the diamond quilting pattern.
- Start at the center point of your motif and draw one diagonal line. Draw parallel lines, 1″ apart, from the center out toward the top and the bottom.
- Draw in lines at a 45˚ angle opposite to the first set of lines to create the diamond pattern. As above, work from the center out at 1″ intervals.
- Re-thread your machine if necessary. We used a pale orange.
- Increase the stitch length slightly. Stitch along each of the drawn lines – first one direction, then the opposite direction.
- Remove any traces of the drawn lines.
- Find the bib ruffle.
- Pin the ruffle in place around the entire outer perimeter of the bib, pulling up the ruffles as necessary to create a perfect fit. Pin in place.
NOTE: You’ll notice in the photo below that we used a serger to finish the edges of our ruffle. This is optional.
- Find two of the tie strips.
- Using the marks on the original paper pattern as a guide, place the raw end of each tie in place at the top curves of the bib’s “heart” shape. Pin in place on top of the ruffle with all raw edges flush. The ties will sit at a slight angle and should be right sides together (non-seam side down) with the bib.
- Machine baste the ruffle and ties in place, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
- Find the bib lining, place it right side together with the bib front, sandwiching the ruffle and ties between the layers. Pull the ties toward to the center of the bib, out of the way of the seam. Pin in place through all the layers.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the outside perimeter of the bib. The straight bottom edge remains unstitched and open. Go slowly to keep your curves smooth. Check out our tutorial for Sewing Successful Curves.
- Clip the curves and turn right side out through the open bottom. Pull out the ruffle into position. Remove any stray gathering or basting stitches. From the inside, smooth the curves with your finger or a blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner.
- Baste the bottom raw edges together, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
- Re-mark if necessary for the darts.
- Create the two darts through all three layers. They should finish approximately 5¾” apart. If you are new to darts, we have a great step-by-step tutorial.
Skirt ruffle and lining
- Place the apron front skirt right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the skirt ruffle around the side and bottom perimeter, starting and stopping ½” from the top raw edge of the skirt panel. Pin in place, adjusting the gathers as necessary to maintain the correct length and keep the gathers even.
- Machine baste the ruffle in place, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
- Find the skirt lining, place it right side together with the skirt front, sandwiching the ruffle between the layers. Pin in place through all the layers.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the side and bottom perimeter of the skirt through all the layers. The top edge remains unstitched and open. Go slowly to keep your curves smooth.
- Clip the curves and turn right side out through the open top. Pull out the ruffle into position. Remove any stray gathering or basting stitches. From the inside, smooth the curves with your finger or a blunt tool.
- Baste the top raw edges together, staying within the ½” seam allowance.
- Mark for the pleats so they are in line with the sewn darts in the apron bib. From the exact center point along the top raw edge, measure 3″ out to the right from center and make a vertical line, then measure 3″ out to the right from center and make a second vertical line.
- Create the two pleats through both layers. When finished they should be approximately 5¾” apart, just like the darts. This means you may need to “futz” just a bit with the folds of your pleats to narrow that original 6″ marked distance down to 5¾”. Press the pleats toward the center. If you are new to pleats, we have several tutorials, including one on How To Make Knife Pleats.
- Find the two 2½” x 21″ fabric strips and the 1½” x 20″ interfacing strip.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing strip to the wrong side of one fabric strip. Center the interfacing within the fabric strip so there is ½” of fabric showing all around. The strip with the interfacing will be the front of the waistband. The other strip will be the waistband lining.
- On each strip, press back one 21″ raw edge ½”.
- Find the two remaining ties.
- Place one tie right sides together on each end of the front waistband (the interfaced strip). Align the raw end of the tie with the interfacing strip so there is ½” of fabric below the tie and the ½” folded edge is above the tie. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance toward the waistband.
- Pin the long waistband/ties piece right side together with the top raw edge of the apron front panel. The waistband/tie seam should be in line with the skirt/ruffle seam on both sides. The waist ties will, of course, extend beyond the skirt.
- Flip over the skirt and pin the waistband lining in place. The top raw edge of the lining and the raw edge of the waistband should be flush. Fold in each end of the waistband so it is flush with the waistband/tie seam on the front. Pin in place through all the layers, sandwiching the skirt between the two waistband pieces.
- Using a ½” seam allowance stitch across the top of the skirt through all the layers.
- Press UP the front and back waistband pieces. The seam allowance should also be pressed up toward the waistband.
- The top folded edges of both waistband pieces should be flush front to back. Adjust the folds as necessary to make sure they are flush. The ends of the waistband lining on the back should be aligned with the waistband/tie seam on the front. Adjust the folded ends as necessary to make sure they align.
- Press well, steaming if possible.
- Slip the apron bib in between the waistband layers, aligning the center bib motif with the center apron motif and the bib darts with the skirt pleats. Pin in place across the top of the waistband through all the layers.
- Edgestitch across the top of the waistband, securing the bib in position. On both sides, pivot at the end of the waistband and stitch a short seam parallel with the waistband/tie seam. This secures the end of the waistband lining.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever
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Would like directions without fussy cutting.
Hi Judith – we included links to two tutorials above: “If you’re new to fussy cutting, take a look at our full step-by-step tutorial as well as our tutorial on exact pocket matching.”