Bold blocks of color define this classic cook's apron. It's a great project to take advantage of a fabric collection with larger motifs. If you're planning a dining extravaganza anytime soon, you should know it's a proven fact that a festive apron will make the day go more smoothly (we are not obligated to tell you who proved this). Our vibrant apron design has decorative stitching accents plus a clever towel loop, making it easier to dash from appetizers to main dish to dessert looking cool, calm, and collected.
Soft cotton webbing provides a striking neutral and an interesting texture to the neck loop and waist ties.
Wooden buttons are decorative accents at the points where the waist ties join the sides of the apron, but the neck loop uses a real button and button hole to fasten against the top of the bib.
An apron is always a lovely gift, especially when bundled with a simple kitchen accessory, cookbook or even a couple of your own famous recipes.
We do recommed a sateen weight or light home décor weight for the front fabric; we used a sateen. This slightly heavier weight, in combination with the regular quilting weight of the lining and the pocket panel, gives the finished apron more body and a smooth, sleek fit.
This apron was originally created in Joel Dewberry's lovely Heirloom fabric collection. The dynamic designs and rich jewel tones were a perfect combo. Although Heirloom is no longer available, below are some new collections that could be just as wonderful.
Selections from Chipper by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit
Selections from Eternal Sunshine by Amy Butler for FreeSpirit
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. As a reference, the widest mid point of the apron is approximately 32". In addition, the ties are each approximately 27" long. The apron length is 27", from the top of the bib to the hem, and the bib is about 12" along the top.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot; optional but helpful for decorative stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide sateen weight fabric for the body of the apron; as mentioned above, we do recommend the slightly heavier sateen weight for the best finish
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight fabric for the lining of the apron and the bottom border accent
- ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight fabric for the pocket panel
- 2¾ yards of 1½" wide soft cotton webbing for neck and waist ties and towel loop
- ¼ yard of 22"+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing for the pocket; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- THREE 1" - 1½" buttons; we used 1" wooden buttons
- All purpose thread in color to match fabric and cotton webbing
- Contrasting color thread for topstitching and decorative stitching
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Straight pins
- Download and print the Armhole Cut Out Pattern. This pattern is two pieces, which has been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page in this PDF is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. This is a guide rule on the pages to insure your printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern along the solid line.
- Butt together the two pieces at the arrows to create one pattern piece; do not overlap. Tape together.
- Fold the fabric for the exterior of the apron in half lengthwise and cut a rectangle 17" wide x 25½" tall. Do not cut the fold.
- Fold the fabric for the lining and bottom border of the apron in half lengthwise and cut the following:
ONE rectangle 17" wide x 28" tall for the lining
ONE strip 17" wide x 3½" tall for the bottom accent strip
NOTE: This bottom border piece should be fussy cut so it has a nicely centered horizontal design motif.
- With both main apron pieces (the exterior and the lining) still folded, align the assembled Arm Hole pattern in the upper right corner (the raw edges corner, not the folded corner) and trim out that shape to create the arm hole.
- Cut out the armhole from the exterior.
- Then, cut out a matching armhole from the lining.
- From the fabric for the pocket, fussy cut one 13" wide x 16" high rectangle.
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 8" rectangle
- Cut the webbing into four lengths:
TWO 28" lengths for the waist ties
ONE 30" length for the neck tie
ONE 5" length for the towel loop
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the bottom accent panel right sides together along the bottom edge of the apron exterior. If you are using directional prints, make sure you are aligning the bottom raw edge of the main panel with the top raw edge of the accent panel. Pin in place.
- Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open and flat.
- Thread the machine with a contrasting thread in the top and bobbin.
- Following the instruction manual, set up your machine for decorative stitching. Choose a decorative stitch that will stand out nicely against your fabric.
- If you are new to decorative stitching, we have a helpful article on the topic.
- Run a line of decorating topstitching along the accent border seam, using the seam itself as a center guideline.
- Find the 13" x 16" pocket piece and the 12" x 8" interfacing piece.
- Fold the pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 13" x 8". Press to leave a visible crease.
- Open the fabric back up so you can see the crease.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket fabric, aligning the top edge of the interfacing with the center crease of the fabric and centering side to side.
- Fold the fused pocket piece in half again, this time right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2- 3" opening for turning along the bottom edge.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobin.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, locking your seam at either side of the 2 - 3" opening. Remember to pivot at each corner.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal but be careful not to cut into the seam.
- Turn the the pocket right side out through the 2 - 3" opening and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Place the exterior body of the apron right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the finished pocket on the apron front. Remember, the top of the pocket is the folded edge. The bottom right hand corner of the pocket should be 5" up from the bottom raw edge of the apron panel and 5" in from the right raw edge. Pin in place. Our pocket is designed to be slightly off center to the right.
- Mark the center point of the pocket, 6" from either edge. Use pins to mark this center line or draw a line with an erasable fabric pen.
- Re-thread your machine with the contrasting thread (the same thread you are using for your decorative stitching).
- Increase the stitch length and run a line of topstitching along the center line of the pocket. Now you have two pockets!
- Again following the instruction manual, set up your machine for decorative stitching. Select the same decorative stitch you used to embellish the border seam.
- Use this decorative stitch to sew the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom. The edge of the pocket acts as the center guideline for your decorative stitch so half falls on the pocket and half falls on the body of the apron. This stitching also closes the opening used for turing right side out.
NOTE: We have a good article on how to handle corners with decorative stitches.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the webbing.
- Find the 5" length of cotton webbing.
- Turn both ends under ½" and press.
- We stitched our Sew4Home label on the center front of the twill.
- Place exterior body of the apron right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Measure 8" from the left hand raw edge of the apron and 13" up from the bottom raw edge. Mark this point with a pin.
- Place the bottom left corner of the towel loop at this point. The loop should be perpendicular to the bottom of the apron (see the photos above).
- Stitch the top and bottom ends in place with a small rectangular box stitch. The center of the loop remains open to slip in a towel.
Make ties and assemble the apron
- Find the two 28" lengths of webbing. These are your waist ties.
- Finish one end of each length. To do this, fold the raw edge under ½" and press, then fold another ½" and press again. Stitch a small rectangular box to hold this tiny hem in place. Similar to what you did to stitch the towel loop in place.
NOTE: The webbing wasn’t too thick and it finished up nicely. If you use something thicker or don't want to go to the trouble to make a hem, you could simply zig zag ¼" from the edge of the tie as a finish.
- Pin the ties in place against the right side of the exterior apron panel. Each tie should be positioned at the bottom of the armhole curve. The raw edge of the tie should be flush with the raw edge of the apron side, but make sure the top edge is just over ½" down for the arm hole curve. This way, when the apron is seamed and turned right side out, the tie will be flush with the seam but not caught up in the seam.
- Find the 30" length of webbing that is your neck tie.
- Do NOT finish the end as you did with the waist ties. You will do that later in order to be able to try on the almost-finished apron and adjust this tie for the best fit.
- With the apron exterior still flat and right side up on your work surface, place one raw edge of the neck tie approximately 1" in from the left side of the apron along the top edge of the bib. Pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the fabric.
- The loose ends of the ties should be gathered to the middle of the apron body so they are out of the way of the seams. You can pin them in place if necessary.
- With the apron exterior still flat and right side up on your work surface, place the lining piece right side down on top of it, sandwiching the ties in between the layers. Pin all the way around, leaving a 5 - 6" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the apron, leaving just the 5 - 6" opening along the bottom. To help reinforce the ends of the ties, double-stitch over each one.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal.
- If this is an apron that will be laundered often, consider finishing your seam with a sewing machine or serger.
- Turn the apron right side out. Push corners out with a long, blunt-end tool, like a chopstick or large knitting needle, so they are nice and sharp.
- Press flat all around.
- Re-thread your machine with the contrasting thread and increase the stitch length.
- Topstitch along the bottom edge of the border accent to reinforce the edge and close the opening used for turning.
- Hand stitch a button at the corner where each waist tie comes out from the apron.
NOTE: Be careful with your stitching so you create a pretty "X" stitch from the front and neat little "x" on the back. You will see the stitching from both sides. If you are new to this, check out our button sewing tutorial.
- Hand stitch the third button on the front of the bib approximately 1" in from the right side and 1" down from the top edge. Your distances may vary slightly. In general, you want the right loop of the tie to be the same distance from the edge as the stitched-in-place left loop of the tie.
- To finish the final raw end of the neck strap, put on the apron and adjust it until the bib fits as you'd like (if this apron is for a gift, you'll have to guesstimate on yourself). Pull the tie down over the top of the sewn button and extend about ½" below the button. Place a pin at this point.
- The pin represents what will be the finished bottom of the tie, but you want some stability behind to sew a buttonhole. Measure about 2½" inches beyond the pin point then cut away any excess.
- Fold the raw edge under ½" and press, then fold back an additional 2" and press again. Pin in place. Also, double check you are hemming to the back of the tie. It would be sad to get all done and have your hem facing out.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the webbing.
- Stitch the hem in place with a small rectangle, in the same manner you finished the ends of the waist ties and the towel loop.
NOTE: Remember, your exact measurements are going to depend on the size of your button. We wanted to make sure, when we made our buttonhole, that we were stitching through two layers of the webbing for stability and yet not hitting the ½" turned-in edge.
- Following your instruction manual, set up your machine to make a buttonhole.
- Press everything one more time.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild