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Double Tier Half Apron with Rick Rack Details

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Double tier means double the fun. We used a killer combination of quilting cottons from the Hank & Clementine collection for Michael Miller Fabrics – courtesy of our friends at Fat Quarter Shop. The scrumptious sherbet colors give this flouncy little apron just the right blast of summer sass. There are two layers, both fully lined, with a wide waistband and generous ties. And check out that jaunty diagonal pocket!

If you need a fun apron project for yourself or as a gift, you can’t go wrong here. It’s a beginner-level project that’s easy to complete in just a few hours. But, this is Sew4Home, so you know we never skimp on the finishing details.

There’s rick rack trim along the lower tier, as well as along the fold of the upper tier’s pocket. We took the extra time to fussy cut all our pieces, even matching the front pocket to the main panel. If you’re new to this technique, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial of precise motif matching that you can refer to prior to starting.

You’ll also learn how to create the look of a continuous waistband and ties from three individual pieces. A clever pleat at each side allows the ties to flair from narrow at the waistband to wide at the tails. Tie a bow at the back or wrap around twice and knot at the front.

Both tiers are lined, which not only adds an extra blast of color, it also gives the apron more body – important when you’re working with quilting cottons. We used three coordinated fabrics, reversing two for the front and bakc of the upper and lower tiers then adding a third for the waistband and ties.

Our thanks to our great friends (and the huge selection) at Fat Quarter Shop for providing the fabric for our sample apron. As mentioned, our selections are from the Hank & Clementine collection by Susan Emory of Swirly Girl Designs for Michael Miller Fabrics. And, yes, we have been singing that old “Little Green Apples” song (… and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime…) ever since cutting out the fabric!

Our apron finishes at approximately 16” high x 30” wide at the bottom and 18” wide at the waistband with 30” waist ties – long enough for a generous back bow.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard EACH of TWO 44"+ wide coordinating cotton fabrics for the main skirt tiers and the pocket; we used Issac in Mint (the little apples) and Kelly in Coral (the plaid) both from the Hank & Clementine collection by Susan Emory of Swirly Girl Designs for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard of 44"+ wide cotton fabric for the ties; we used Issac in Coral from the Hank & Clementine collection by Susan Emory of Swirly Girl Designs for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • 1¼ yards of medium rick rack; we used pink – packaged Wrights rick rack works well
  • ¼ yard of 20”+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used 45” Pellon Décor Bond
  • 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

Getting Started and Pattern Download

  1. Download and print the ONE pattern piece required for the pocket. 
    IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the sheet to confirm your printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern piece along the solid lines.
  3. From the TWO fabrics for the main skirt tiers and the pocket, fussy cut the following:
    ONE 31” wide x 17” high rectangle FROM EACH FABRIC for the lower tier
    ONE 25” wide x 15” high rectangle FROM EACH FABRIC for the upper tier
    Using the pattern, cut ONE from EACH FABRIC
    NOTE: As mentioned above, we took the time to fussy cut all the pieces, including matching the pocket front to the main center panel. As mentioned above, if you’re brand new to this type of fussy cutting, we have a motif matching tutorial you can review prior to starting.

  4. From the fabric for the ties, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 31” wide x 7” high strips for the waist ties
    ONE 19” wide x 5” high rectangle for the waistband
    NOTE: The fussy cut on the waistband is the most visible and so the most important. The finished front reveal is 2” – so center the motif within a 2” vertical space on one half of the strip, remembering to account for your seam allowances top and bottom.

  5. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 18” x 2” strip for the waistband
    Using the pocket pattern, but cutting along the seamline, cut ONE

  6. Cut the rick rack into ONE 31” length and ONE 10” length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create and place the pocket

  1. Find the two pocket panels and the matching piece of mid-weight interfacing. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the front pocket panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing all around. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  2. Find the shorter length of rick rack. Place it along the top of the front pocket panel, on the right side, from the upper right corner to the marked dot at the left, which means you are placing along the curve of the pocket. Trim away any excess.
  3. The rick rack should be centered over the ½” seamline, eg. the center of the rick rack should run right along the seamline. You can measure to find the line or draw in a line to follow with a fabric pen or pencil. Press the rick rack to help hold the curve.
  4. Machine baste the rick rack in place along the ½” seam line.
  5. Place the front panel right sides together with the lining panel, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. Pin together, leaving a 3” opening along the bottom.
  6. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock the seam at either side of the 3” opening.
  7. Along the curve where the rick rack sits, make sure you are stitching directly on top of your previous line of basting.
  8. Clip the corners and clip the curves. 
  9. Turn right side out through the 3” opening. Gently push out all the corners so they are sharp, 90˚ angles. A long, blunt tool, like a chopstick, point turner or knitting needle works well for this.
  10. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  11. Using the paper pattern as a template, fold down the left corner of the pocket to create the flap. You are folding at a diagonal.
  12. Lightly press the flap fold. We also hand-tacked behind the flap to further hold it in place. Make sure you are just tacking through the back layer of the flap and the front layer of the pocket.
  13. Find the front panel of the upper tier. Place it right side up on your work surface.
  14. Place the pocket on the left side of the panel. It should sit approximately 2½” from the left raw edge of the panel and 3½” up from the bottom raw edge. If you fussy cut the pocket to match the motif as suggested above, use this alignment as your final positioning.
  15. Pin the pocket to the main panel along the right side of the pocket, across the bottom, and up to the fold point of the flap on the left side of the pocket.
  16. Lengthen the stitch slightly and edgestitch the pocket in place along the right side, across the bottom, and up the left side to the fold of the flap.

Waistband, ties and finishing

  1. Find the waistband strip, its interfacing panel, and the two tie strips.
  2. Fold the waistband in half and lightly press to set a horizontal center crease. Open back up, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of the fabric panel so one long edge is aligned with the center crease line and there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing at each end and along the opposite long edge. The interfacing should be against what will become the front of the waistband. The “bottom half” of the waistband panel will become the front of the waistband, the “top half” will become the back of the waistband. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Find one of the tie strips. Place it right sides together with the waistband.
  4. Align the top of the tie strip with the top of the waistband. Make sure these two layers are laying flat together from the top raw edges to the center crease line of the waistband.
  5. Align the bottom of the tie strip with the bottom of the waistband. This will cause the excess 2” of height on the tie strip to “bubble up” into a fold. This is correct and will become the tie’s pleated end.
  6. Place two pins. One pin should be ½” up from the bottom raw edge; this represents the seam allowance. The second pin is 1½” up from the bottom raw edge; this represents the center front of the finished waistband.
  7. Bring the fold down so it too is now flat and pin in place. The fold should be in between your two original pin points.
  8. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the tie to the waistband.
  9. Press the seam allowance open.
  10. Repeat to attach the remaining tie strip to the opposite site of the waistband. You now have one continuous strip, made up of the waistband and both ties, that is 5” x 79”.
  11. Fold this strip in half, right sides together (so it is now 2½“ 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.
  12. 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 of the tie to finish. Remember, this leaves the center 18" waistband section open. Clip the corners.
  13. 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, point turner or chopstick.
  14. Press both ties flat. Then, along the top raw edge of the waistband, press back the raw edge ½”, which means it should be in line with the seamed edge of the tie.

    NOTE: We summarized the steps here. If you are new to this type of combined waistband and ties, you can review our Sweet Half Aprons project tutorial for additional photos of the individual steps.

Layer the upper and lower tiers

  1. Find the front panel and lining panel for both the upper tier and the lower tier.
  2. On the upper tier, place the front and lining right sides together, sandwiching the finished pocket between the layers. All four raw edges of both panels should be flush.
  3. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top edge remains open and raw.
  5. Clip the corners.
  6. Turn the skirt right side out through the top opening and press flat, pushing out the corners so they are nice and sharp as you did above with the pocket and waist ties.
  7. For the lower tier, first find the 31” length of rick rack. Place the rick rack along the bottom edge of the front panel.
  8. Using a ½” seam allowance, machine baste the rick rack in place across the bottom of the panel. This seam should go directly through the center of the rick rack – just as above with the pocket.
  9. Place the front and lining right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. All four raw edges of both panels should be flush.
  10. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
  11. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top edge remains open and raw.
  12. Clip the corners.
  13. Turn the skirt right side out through the top opening and press flat, pushing out the corners so they are nice and sharp and pressing especially well along the bottom edge to insure the rick rack has a straight reveal.
  14. Place the upper tier right side up on top of the lower tier, which should also be right side up. The top raw edges of both layers should be flush and there should be 3” from the side seam of the upper tier to the side seam of the lower tier to either side. Pin together the layers along the top edges.
  15. Along these top raw edges, stitch two rows of gathering stitches through both layers

    NOTE: 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.
  16. Find the exact center of the layered panels along the top and mark this position with a pin. Then pull the stitches to gather the top of the apron from 31" down to 18".

Attach the waistband to finish

  1. Find the exact center of the bottom 18” raw edge of the waistband opening (the non-folded edge). Mark this point with a pin.
  2. Align the center point of the waistband with the center point pin along the apron top edge. The right side of the waistband is against the front of the apron
  3. 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. Pin across through all the layers.
  4. 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 and even.
  5. Press the seam allowance up toward the inside of the waistband.
  6. Bring the 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 and you want to be sure you catch the back edge all the way across. Pin in place.
  7. Edgestitch the waistband in place, stitching on the right side so your seam line is nice and straight. Go slowly and carefully, making sure you are catching both the back evenly in this seam as well.

    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.

Contributors

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

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