Holiday get togethers and family celebrations are the perfect excuse to “get your girlie on!” These happy half aprons in two sizes are made in pretty quilting weight cottons with trendy metallic accents. But the secret to their perfect-partyness are the layers of colorful tulle under each skirt. We have one size for big girls and one for their little helpers. The construction is the same, but we show you how easy it is to re-size and offer pocket pattern downloads for each size. Measurements for our aprons are shown below in the Fabric and Other Supplies Section.
We went medium-fluffy with our tulle, using four layers in two different colors. You could certainly add more for a full-on crinoline pouf! There are so many different tulles from which to choose; even glitter and flocked options show up around this time of year. We found a nice selection of tulle at Fabric.com.
Although washable (delicate wash, drip dry), these aprons do not fall in the mess-and-spill-defender category. They are all about froth and fun – just like the parties to which they should be worn.
The cotton we chose for both aprons comes from the creative folks at Michael Miller Fabrics. They were one of the first to the metallic-cotton party and still carry some of the loveliest options. There are links below for the options we used as well as to alternatives for the Flight cotton we originally used for the larger apron. This particular fabric is no longer available from most retail outlets, although you may be able to still find some cuts on Etsy.
The soft color palette and light metallic touches are a delightful combination for our sweet apron set.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to adjust your measurements smaller or larger. Use the illustrations below, which show finished dimensions, as a reference for sizing up or down.
FABRIC FOR THE BIG GIRL APRON
- 1½ yards of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the skirt’s top layer, ties and pocket; we used 44″ Flight in Metallic Cameo from the Brambleberry Ridge collection by Violet Craft for Michael Miller Fabrics – no longer readily available; as an option, we suggest (click to see a swatch and more options at Fabric.com):
- 1½ yards of 54″+ wide tulle for three layers of the dominant color; we used 60” Sparkle Tulle in Gold
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide tulle for one layer of the secondary color; we used 54″ Shiny Tulle in Pink
FABRIC FOR THE LITTLE GIRL APRON
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide cotton fabric for the skirt’s top layer, ties and pocket; we used 44″ Shimmer Reflection in Peach from the Brambleberry Ridge collection by Violet Craft for Michael Miller Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 54″+ wide tulle for two layers of the dominant color; we used 54″ Shiny Tulle in Pink
- ¾ yard of 54″+ wide tulle for two layers of the secondary color; we used 60” Sparkle Tulle in Gold
FOR BOTH APRONS
- ½ yard of 20″+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing for the waistband and pocket; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- One package of jumbo rick rack; we used Wrights Metallic Gold for both aprons
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Download and print the appropriate Pocket Pattern: Daughter Apron Pocket and/or Mom Apron Pocket.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern piece(s) along the solid line.
BIG GIRL APRON
- From the fabric for the skirt’s top layer, the ties, and the pockets (Flight in Metallic Cameo in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 44″ wide (Width of Fabric or WOF) x 14″ high rectangle for the top skirt layer
TWO 7″ x 31″ strips for the ties
ONE 5″ x 22″ strip for the waistband
Using the larger pocket pattern, cut TWO pocket pieces.
- From the dominant color of tulle (Gold in our sample), cut THREE 17½” x WOF panels.
- From the secondary color of tulle (Pink in our sample), cut ONE 17½” x WOF panels
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 2″ x 20″ strip
Using the larger pocket pattern, cut ONE pocket piece
LITTLE GIRL APRON
- From the fabric for the skirt’s top layer, the ties, and the pockets (Shimmer Reflection in Peach in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 36″ wide x 10″ high rectangle for the top skirt layer
TWO 5½” x 19″ strips for the ties
ONE 4″ x 15″ strip for the waistband
Using the smaller pocket pattern, cut TWO pocket pieces.
- From the dominant color of tulle (Pink in our sample), cut TWO 12½” x 36″ panels.
- From the secondary color of tulle (Gold in our sample), cut ONE 12½” x 36″ panels.
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 1½” x 13 strip
Using the smaller pocket pattern, cut ONE pocket piece
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE: Both aprons are constructed in the same manner. To keep it interesting, we switch back and forth between the two in the photography below.
Top skirt layer
- Find the top skirt panel.
- Finish the sides and bottom edge of the skirt panel with a narrow ¼” double-turn hem. To do this, fold in the raw edge ¼” and press, then turn under an additional ¼” and press again. Create a crisp point at each corner.
- Stitch in place, staying close to the inside folded edge.
NOTE: For more information on this type of narrow hem and the steps to create a pretty corner, see our tutorial: ¼” Double-Turn Clean Finished Corners.
Gather the skirt panel and the tulle layers
NOTE: You can either put the pocket on now before you gather or after gathering and attaching the waistband. We chose to put the pocket on after we attached the skirt to the waistband so we could be a bit fussier about its angled placement. If you want to put the pocket on before gathering, jump down the page and create the pocket now. Here are the measurements: looking at the skirt, the pocket sits at a slight angle (as shown in the drawings above) at the left side of the skirt panel. BIG GIRL: the pocket sits 5½” in from the left side and 4½” up from the bottom. LITTLE GIRL: the pocket sits 4″ in from the left side and 3″ up from the bottom. Pin the pocket in place, starting and stopping at the “dots” shown on the pattern piece. The pocket is pinned and sewn just to the top skirt layer – do not sew through the tulle layers.
- First gather the top skirt layer across the top.
- Stack the layers of tulle in color order. On the Big Girl apron, we used three layers of gold and then one layer of pink at the bottom. On the Little Girl apron, we used two layers of pink on top of two layers of gold.
- To gather the top edge of the panel as well as the stack of tulle layers, run one or two lines of basting stitches across the panels, keeping the the basting within the ½” seam allowance. Remember, don’t lock either end of your seam.
- Pull the basting to gather the panels to approximately 21″.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, take a look at our article: How to Make Gathers by Machine.
- Adjust the gathers as needed so the tulle layers sit just inside the hems of the top skirt layer. Run one additional line of basting across the top through all the layers to secure them together as one piece.
- Set the gathered skirt panel aside.
- Find the two strips for the ties.
- Fold each tie in half lengthwise, right sides together
- With a see-through ruler and rotary cutter, trim one end of each folded tie at a slight angle.
- Pin along the long side and across the angled end of each tie. The opposite straight end remains open and raw.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the side and across the angled end, pivoting at the corner. Remember to leave opposite straight end open for turning.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn both ties right side out and press flat. Use a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick to gently push out the point of each tie so it is nice and sharp.
- Set the ties aside.
- Find the waistband strip and the waistband interfacing strip.
- Fold the waistband strip in half wrong sides together and press to set a horizontal center crease.
- Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
- Place the interfacing strip on the bottom half of the waistband strip (on the wrong side), aligning one edge of the interfacing along the center crease and centering the strip end-to-end. This will leave ½” of fabric visible on both ends of the interfacing and along its bottom edge. Following manufacturer’s directions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Along the the top, non-interfaced half, fold back the long raw fabric edge ½” and press.
- Flip over the waistband so it is right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the waist ties.
- Place the raw end of one tie right sides together with one raw side of the waistband. You on centering the tie on the interfaced half of the waistband. The tie will need to be pleated slightly to narrow the end to fit the waistband
- Align one edge of the tie against the waistband’s center crease. Place the opposite edge ½” up from the waistband’s raw edge. Pleating as necessary, pin in place on the waistband.
- Fold the pleat down towards the waistband’s raw edge.
- Repeat to pin the other tie in place at the opposite end of the waistband.
- Fold the waistband right sides together along the original center crease line, encasing the ties between the layers. The folded edge of the waistband should now be aligned with the bottom folded edge of the tie. The ½” raw edge of the waistband extends below the folded edge. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance stitch each side of the waistband, securing the ties.
- Turn the waistband right side out. Pull the ties out into position on either side. There should still be a ½” free raw edge along the waistband.
- Find the gathered skirt panels. Remember, the top panel should be basted to the tulle panels.
- Place the waistband right sides together against the skirt panels, aligning that remaining free raw edge of the waistband with the gathered top raw edges of the skirt panel. Adjust the gathers as needed to fit within the waistband. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top of the skirt through all the layers.
- Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband.
- Bring the folded edge of the waistband down into place, covering the seam you just made. Pin in place.
- Hand stitch the folded edge of the waistband into place.
- Find the two pocket pieces and the pocket interfacing piece.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the pocket pieces.
- Cut a length of rick rack to go around the perimeter of the pocket and overlap about ½”.
- Pin the rick rack to the right side of interfaced pocket piece. The outer “wave” of the rick rack should be flush with the raw edge of the pocket. Overlap the ends to finish.
- You can simply keep the rick rack pinned in place as we did, or you can machine or hand baste it in place for added security against it slipping out of position between the layers.
- Place the two pocket pieces right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2″ opening along one side for turning.
- Stitch the layers together around the outer perimeter of the pocket. Use a ⅜” seam allowance to insure the rick rack is properly revealed. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the 2″ opening left for turning.
- Clip the curves.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the 2″ opening. Use a long, blunt tool to gently round out the seam from the inside so the rick rack stands out evenly all around.
- Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with sewn seam.
- Hand stitch the opening closed, concealing your stitches next to the rick rack.
- Lay the finished pocket on top of the original paper pattern. There are dots and a fold line indicating where you will stop and start when sewing the pocket to the skirt. Fold the pocket at the fold line.
- Place a pin at the dots on the pocket.
Attaching the pockets to the skirt
NOTE: If you’ve been reading along, you know we chose to put on our pocket at this point in order to precisely center and angle it against the gathered skirt panel.
- The measurements are the same as noted above: looking at the skirt, the pocket sits at a slight angle at the left side of the skirt panel. BIG GIRL: the pocket sits 5½” in from the left hemmed edge of the top skirt layer and 4½” up from the bottom hem of the top skirt layer. LITTLE GIRL: the pocket sits 4″ in from the left and 3″ up from the bottom. By placing the pockets in position at this point, you can adjust them to look their very best against the finished gathers.
- The pockets are pinned and sewn just to the top skirt layer – do not sew through the tulle layers. Move the tulle layers out of the way so you are just working with the top skirt layer. Pin the pocket in place, starting and stopping at the “dots” shown on the pattern piece.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place, running your seam as close as possible to the fabric edge of the pocket, but do not stitch off the pocket onto the rick rick. Remember to start and stop at the pin points.
- Fold the loose top of the pocket back down into position. Press in place. You can also hand stitch the folded top into postion if you feel it is not staying put as you’d like it to; hide your stitches at the outer edges of the folded-down flap.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructions: Leah Wand