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The "Everything" Apron: Embroidery, Decorative Stitching, and Quilting

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This lovely apron pulls together three different techniques into one, fun project: our Everything Apron. It features embroidery, decorative stitching, and quilting. The base design of the apron comes from the Vintage Modern Pleated Apron from our Kitchen Confections Series. We added pretty new embellishments to give it an updated look with a little bit of everything for everyone.

We originally used the Janome Memory Craft 9900 sewing and embroidery model to create our sample, selecting one of its exclusive built-in designs by Jane Spolar. As an alternative, we looked at the custom Anna Maria Horner embroidery designs that come with the new Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery model. Below are a few options we loved. 

In addition to the new embroidery alternatives, we also looked for some current fabrics to blend nicely with the new designs, and found these cute options at Fat Quarter Shop. 

      

As always, the final combination is up to you, but we do recommend staying with a solid, lighter color fabric for the bib, ties, and skirt border in order to really show off the stitching. 

Adding to the embroidery and decorative stitching, there is pretty straight line quilting on the upper bib and pockets plus rick rack accents along the skirt accent panel and pockets. 

We also added form-flattering pleats underneath the waistband and darts in the lower bodice. New to these techniques? We link to our full, step-by-step tutorials within the instructions below.

The neck ties are long enough to either tie into a bow or simply knot. The waist ties can be tied into a bow at the back or (at 33" each) can wrapped from back to front for a snug fit.

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 waistband of this apron is approximately 30" wide, the ties are each approximately 33" long, the skirt length is 19", and the bib is about 10½" at its widest point (along the bottom) and 10" high. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1½ yards of 44"+ wide cotton fabric in a solid color for the apron bib, ties, skirt border and pocket borders; we used Bella Solids by Moda in Porcelain
  • 1½ yards of 44"+ wide cotton fabric in a petite print for the apron upper bib, main skirt and main pockets; we used Hello Daisy in Blue by Riley Blake Designs
  • ONE package of medium rick rack; we used Wrights ½" medium polyester rick rack in white
  • Tearaway stabilizer or similar – as recommended by your machine
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
  • Embroidery thread colors to match your design
  • Bobbin thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the TWO pattern pieces: Apron Bib 1 and Apron Bib 2, which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
    IMPORTANT: Each page in the PDF is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guilde rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out each pattern along the solid line. 
  3. From the fabric for the lower bib, ties, and borders (Porcelain in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 8" x Width of Fabric (WOF) strip for the bottom border
    ONE 9" x 16" rectangle for the lower bib
    TWO 9" x 8" rectangles for the pocket cuffs
    NOTE: The above three pieces are cut oversize to allow for embroidery hooping.
    SIX 2½ x 31" strips for the waistband and waist ties
    FOUR 2½" x 24" strips for the neck ties
    ONE 18" x 37" panel for the skirt lining
    Using Apron Bib Part 2, cut ONE on the fold for the bib lining
  4. From the fabric for the upper bib, skirt, and pockets (Hello Sunshine in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 15" x 37" panel for the skirt
    FOUR 6" x 7" rectangles for the pockets
    Using Apron Bib Part 1, cut THREE on the fold

At Your Sewing/Embroidery Machine & Ironing Board

Embroider all appropriate pieces

  1. Find the 9" by 16" rectangle of Porcelain.
  2. Select the appropriate hoop for your design. We used the MC9900 RE20 hoop.
  3. Hoop the fabric (oriented horizontally) with two layers of tearaway stabilizer. 
    NOTE: Our selected embroidery design was quite dense, which required multiple layers of stabilizer for the best results.
  4. Attach the hoop to the machine and select built-in Design 3 for the RE20 hoop. This is one of the exclusive Jane Spolar Designs on the Janome MC9900
    NOTE: If you wish to substitute an alternate design, it should measure approximately 5" x 4¾" or smaller. See our suggestions above for the custom Anna Maria Horner designs built-in to the Janome Skyline S9.
  5. Press the Edit icon. 
  6. Reduce the size to 80%. Press OK.
  7. Press OK again to take the design to the main screen.
  8. Embroider the design following the suggested colors. 
  9. When the embroidery is complete, remove the hoop from the machine.
  10. Remove the fabric from the hoop and carefully remove the excess stabilizer from the embroidery design.
  11. Using the cut bib lining as your pattern (cut using Apron Bib Part 2), trim the embroidered panel to the same shape, centering the embroidered design. 
  12. You will be able to see the embroidered design through the lining fabric, which will allow you to keep the design centered.
  13. Find the 8" strip for the embroidered border. Mark the strip for SIX embroidery designs, spaced 6" apart and 4" in from one long side.
  14. Select your design and the hoop appropriate for that design. We used built-in Design 18, another Jane Spolar design, for the SQ14 hoop. Again, see our Skyline S9 alternative designs above. 
  15. Hoop the fabric with two layers of tearaway stabilizer, centering the first marking at the right hand end of the strip.
  16. Attach the hoop to the machine.
  17. On the screen, select built-in Design 18 for the SQ14 hoop. Press the Edit icon. 
  18. Reduce the size to 85%. Press OK.
  19. Press OK again to take the design to the main screen. Adjust the needle position if necessary.
  20. Embroider the design, matching the thread color of the scroll to the thread color of the scrolls in the embroidery design used for the bib. Match the color of the leaves to the color of the leaves in the embroidery design used for the bib. 
    NOTE: See how easy it is to create coordinating designs just by coordinating the colors?!
  21. Remove the fabric strip from the hoop and carefully remove the excess stabilizer from the embroidery design.
  22. Repeat the steps for the next TWO marked positions.
  23. After the third embroidery design, press the Edit icon. Select Mirror Image and flip the design horizontally. Press OK.
  24. Press OK again to return to the main screen.
  25. Embroider the remaining three designs following the previous steps.
    NOTE: As you work from right to left, roll the excess fabric to help keep it out of the way.
  26. When all the embroidery is complete, press the strip from the wrong side. Trim the strip down to a width of 4" and a length of 37", carefully centering the embroidered designs.
  27. Find the remaining 9" x 8" Porcelain pieces. These should each be embroidered with a matching scroll design, following the same method described above. Flip one of the designs so the scrolls are mirror images of one another on the two pockets.
  28. When the embroidery is complete, cut down each panel to 3" x 7", creating the finished pocket cuff pieces.

Quilting the pockets and upper bib 

  1. Find the four 6" x 7" pocket rectangles. Layer the pockets as pairs, with both pieces facing right side up. 
  2. Fold (3" x 7") and finger press each pair to find and mark the center.
  3. We did our lines of evenly-spaced parallel quilting with the Janome Border Guide foot. You could also use a Walking foot with a quilt guide bar or simply draw in lines and follow along the drawn lines with your regular presser foot – just make sure those lines are drawn with a fabric pen/pencil that easily wipes away or vanishes with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. 
  4. Attach the Border Guide foot to the machine. Thread the machine with thread to best match the print fabric in the top and bobbin. Select Straight Stitch 1. Slightly lengthen the stitch. 
  5. Sew the first line of stitching along the center crease.
  6. Sew the second line of stitching using the marked line to the left side of the foot as the guide. 
  7. Continue spacing the lines, using the previous line of stitching to guide the foot. This will complete the quilting to the right of the center line.
  8. Turn the pocket 180°. Continue in the same manner with the same spacing to stitch the quilting lines on the opposide half of the pocket. 
  9. Quilt the second pocket in the same manner.
  10. Quilt the fabric for Apron Bib Part 1 in the same manner as well, using two of the three cut upper bib pieces (the third piece will be the lining).

Construct the pockets

  1. Cut TWO 7" lengths of rick rack.
  2. Center a length of rick rack ½" in from the the top raw edge of one quilted pocket panel. Baste in place down the center of the rick rack, which should be a ½" seam allowance. 
  3. Repeat for the second pocket.
  4. Place one embroidered cuff right sides together with one pocket, sandwiching the rick rack between the layers. 
  5. Stitch the layers together, sewing with the quilted pocket panel facing up so you can follow along in the rick rack basting seam.  
  6. Press the cuff and the seam allowance up. 
  7. Repeat for the second pocket.
  8. Find the two 7" x 8" pocket lining pieces. Place a finished pocket front right sides together with a lining piece and pin in place, leaving a 3" opening along the bottom for turning.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides of each pocket, remembering to pivot at each corner and to lock the seam on either side of the 3" opening.  
  10. Trim the corners and turn each pocket right side out through the opening at the pocket bottom. Gently poke out the corners so they are nice and square. A long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  11. Set the pockets aside.
    NOTE: The remaining steps follow the original apron instructions, therefore photos have been kept at a minimum. You can always refer to the original instructions for additional step-by-step images if need be.

Darts in the lower bib

  1. Find the embroidered lower bib and the lower bib in the lining fabric.
  2. Following the marked lines from the pattern, mark and sew the two darts along the bottom of each piece. 
  3. Press the darts toward the bib center.
  4. If you are new to making darts, see our easy, step-by-step tutorial.

Assemble the bib

  1. Place the quilted upper bib right sides together with the embroidered lower bib , aligning the bottom edge of the upper bib with the upper edge of the lower bib. Pin in place
  2. Stitch the two pieces together, using a ½" seam allowance. 
  3. Press the seam allowance towards the upper bib.
  4. Find the upper bib lining (Hello Sunshine in our sample) and the lower bib lining (Bella Solids Porcelain-with the two darts sewn in place).
  5. Place the two bib sections right sides together as above. Pin in place. 
  6. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open.

Prepare the ties with decorative stitching

  1. Find THREE of the 2½ x 31" waistband/waist tie strips and TWO of the 2½" x 24" neck tie strips.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the three 31" strips together end to end to create one long length. 
  3. Set up the machine with embroidery thread and bobbin thread.
  4. Cut strips of tearaway stabilizer to match the length of the fabric strips. The stabilizer doesn't have to be continuous; you can butt together shorter strips. You simply want to have stabilizer in place along the entire length of your stitching. 
  5. Place a fabric strip over the corresponding strip(s) of stabilizer
  6. We used our Janome Border Guide foot again to center the lines of decorative stitching. You could also use a drawn line. 
  7. We selected Decorative Stitch #11 on the Janome MC9900. 
  8. Sew a continuous line of decorative stitching on each of the two neck tie strips and the one waistband/ties strip.
  9. Gently tear away the excess stabilizer. 
  10. Find the remaining three 2½ x 31" waistband/waist tie strips and stitch them together end to end to create a matching lining strip for your decorative-stitched strip. 

Make and attach the neck ties and finish the bib

  1. Find the remaining 2½" x 24" neck tie strips. These are the neck tie lining pieces.
  2. Place a lining strip right sides together with each decorative-stitched strip. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across one end. Leave the opposite end open for turning. Remember to pivot at the corners.
  4. Trim the corners
  5. Turn right sides out, and press flat, gently pushing out the corners so they are nice right angles.
    NOTE: Even though these aren't super tiny ties, you might want to check out our tutorial for an easy way to Turn and Press Skinny Ties.
  6. Place the exterior apron bib right side up on your work surface. Pin the raw open end of each tie to the upper edge of the apron bib, placing the ties ½" in from each side edge.
  7. Layer the front bib and lining bib right sides together, sandwiching the ties in between the layers. Pin along both sides and across the top; leave the bottom open for turning. 
  8. Stitch the front and lining layers together, using a ½" seam allowance. Remember to pivot at the corners. 
  9. Trim the corners
  10. Turn right side out, push out the top corners and pull up the ties. 
  11. Press well.

Skirt

  1. Find the 15" x 37" skirt panel and the embroidered skirt border.
  2. Place the border right sides together with the bottom of the skirt panel. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the border to the skirt panel
  4. Press flat, pressing the seam allowance down towards the border panel.
  5. Cut a 37" length of rick rack. 
  6. Pin the rick rack to the bottom raw edge of the embroidered skirt panel. Center the rick rack on the ½" seam line (in other words, the center of the rick rack should be ½" from the bottom raw edge of the skirt panel). Pin in place. 
  7. Fold over the starting end of the rick rack so it sits ½" in from the side edge of the fabric.
    NOTE: You fold the rick rack over rather than under because the trim is designed to drop down to become the bottom edge of the apron. When this happens your "fold over" changes position and the raw edge will be secured and facing to the back. 
  8. Baste the rick rack in place, using a ½" seam allowance.
  9. When you come to the opposite end of the apron skirt, the rick rack may have shifted slightly. If necessary, unpin the end of the rick rack and fold over the end so it is ½" from this opposite raw edge. Trim the rick rack if needed.
  10. Find the finished pockets. Fold the apron skirt in half and finger press to mark the panel's center point. 
  11. Position the pockets on the apron skirt. The pockets are 4" down from the upper raw edge of the skirt. The inside edge of each pocket is 5" from the center line of the skirt (in other words, 10" apart). Pin the pockets in place along the sides and bottom.
  12. Edgestitch the pockets in place. We used the off white thread to edgestitch our entire pocket. You could also take the time to switch your thread colors to make sure the upper thread is an exact match to the pocket cuff and then to the pocket bottom.
  13. Stitch along the sides and across the bottom. Leave the upper edge of the pocket open (it is a pocket after all). The stitching closes the opening left for turning in the bottom of each pocket.
  14. Find the 18" x 37" skirt lining.
  15. Place the skirt lining and skirt exterior right sides together, sandwiching the pockets between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. 
  16. Sew the apron skirt to the matching lining with a ½" seam along the sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners. Sew with the exterior fabric facing up so you can use the previous rick rack basting seam as your guide along the bottom edge.
  17. Trim the corners and turn the skirt right side out. Press.
  18. Create a group of three knife pleats at each side of center along the upper edge (both layers) of the apron skirt. The pleats are spaced 1" apart and each set starts 3" from the center line. Pin in place.

    NOTE: If you are new to creating pleats, take a look at our tutorial: How to Make Knife Pleats.

Attach waistband and waist ties

  1. Find the two long waistband/tie strips: the one embroidered length and the one plain length.
  2. Place these two long strips right sides together, lining up all raw edges and the center seams. 
  3. Using your see-through ruler and fabric pencil, measure and mark the openings needed in the waistband to insert the apron bib and the apron skirt. Measure and mark carefully to insure the openings are centered. You need a 10½" opening along the top of the waistband and a 30" opening along the bottom of the waist band. 
  4. Stitch the two waistband/tie pieces together, using a ½" seam allowance. Start at the bottom opening, stitch down one side, pivot at the corner, stitch across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the top opening.
  5. Remove from machine. Move to the other end of the top opening. Start stitching again, down one side, pivot at the corner, stitch across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the bottom opening. 
  6. Turn right side out through the middle openings. Press. You might need to reach in to the corner points with a blunt-edged tool, like a large knitting needle, to help push out the seam and make a nice point at all the corners.
  7. Make sure you press in the raw edges of the openings so these edges (top and bottom) are flush with the sewn seams. 
  8. Edgestitch along your finished seams, pivoting at all corners, but still leaving the top and bottom openings free and clear.

Attach skirt and bib to waistband

  1. Find the completed skirt.
  2. Insert the skirt into the bottom opening (the 30" opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
  3. Find the completed bib.
  4. Insert the bib into the top opening (the 10½" opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
  5. Edgestitch along both openings, catching all the layers and securing the bib and skirt in place. Be careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/ties piece.
  6. Press well. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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Comments (2)

Suzy Marshall said:
Suzy Marshall's picture

So Sweet.   And I appreciate the detailed instructions!  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Suzy - Thank you! Let us know how yours turns out.