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Lil' Chef Apron

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If you hang out with us here at Sew4Home on a regular basis, you know we love aprons! We've done retro aprons, hostess aprons, mom and daughter matching aprons, BBQ aprons and more, but when we received a recent email from a S4H fan, we realized we'd left someone out! You Asked 4 It ... and today, we have a great boy's apron for the little chefs in your kitchen. Of course, you're welcome to make it for any culinary kid, but we styled it to be boy-friendly. It's modeled on the classic long French Chef's apron, and we used a trio of fun 5 Funky Monkeys fabric from Moda, courtesy of our friends at Fat Quarter Shop.

Our apron is designed for a five to seven year old, finishing at 17" wide x 20" from bib to hem. Chef Caden who models it above, is just turning five; it fit him just fine with room to grow. The main body of the apron is a simple rectangle, so it's super simple to enlarge or reduce the design to fit your own Lil' Chef. You can also easily lengthen or shorten the waist and neck ties for a custom fit.

Our thanks to Fat Quarter Shop for providing all the 5 Funky Monkeys prints. This is a wonderful collection by Erin Michaels for Moda Fabrics. There are sock monkeys dancing, hanging from letters and numbers, even pogo-sticking along with coordinating textures, dots and bananas. Cute as can be for all ages... in fact, I might have to adapt our original Happy Heart apron to create my very own sock monkey apron.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the Child Apron Arm Hole Template.
    IMPORTANT : This template is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
  3. Fold the apron lining (Brown Sock Texture) and the apron front fabric (Red Sock Monkey) in half (so they are now 22" x 36" and 22" x 27" respectively). Using the folded edge as one long side, from each fabric cut: ONE rectangle 21" wide x 9" tall. Do not cut the fold.
  4. While the fabric piece is still folded, align the Arm Hole Template in the upper right corner (the raw edges corner, not the folded corner) and trim out that shape to create the arm hole.
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  5. Do this for both the front fabric folded piece and the lining fabric folded piece.
  6. You now have two finished main body pieces that, when unfolded, should measure 21" high x 18" with two armhole curves.
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  7. From the remaining lining fabric  (Brown Sock Texture in our sample) , cut the following:
    TWO 4" x 20" strips
    ONE 4" x 24 strip
    ONE 2" x 13" strip
  8. From the pocket accent fabric (Cream Bananas in our sample) , cut ONE 13" wide x 14" high rectangle.
  9. From the fusible interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 7" rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Make the pocket

  1. Find the 2" x 13" pocket accent strip.
  2. Fold it in half lengthwise and press lightly to create a center crease.
  3. Unfold so the center crease is visible.
  4. Fold in each end ½".
  5. Fold each long raw side in to meet the center crease.
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  6. Fold in half again along the original crease, encasing the raw edges. You have created your own binding.
    NOTE: On projects like this one, where the finished edge of the binding will be visible, I like to clip the ends at a "V" to reduce the bulk and smooth out the fold.
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  7. Put in a few pins to hold the binding in place and set it aside.
  8. Find the 13" x 14" pocket piece and the 12" x 7" interfacing piece. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place on one half. Center the interfacing side to side so there is ½" of fabric showing along both sides.
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  9. Fold the fused pocket in half right sides together so it is now 13" x 7".
  10. Pin along both sides. The folded edge will become the pocket's bottom. Leave the top raw edges open for turning.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides. Trim to 1/4" and clip corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.
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  12. Turn right side out through the top opening.
  13. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like my fave - a chopstick, to square the corners.
  14. Press well.
  15. Slip the accent binding over the top raw edges and pin in place.
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  16. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin.We used red to match our apron front.
  17. Topstitch the binding in place, staying close to the folded edge and making sure you are catching both sides of the binding.
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Attach the pocket to the apron front

  1. Place the finished pocket on the right side of the apron front, centering the pocket side to side (3" from both sides) and with the bottom edge of the pocket 3" from the bottom raw edge of the apron.
  2. Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Using your fabric pencil, draw a vertical line through the center of the pocket panel.
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  4. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  5. Using the drawn line as your guide, stitch through the center of the pocket panel to create two pockets of equal size.
  6. Backstitch at the all points along the top of the pocket to help secure these areas that will take the most stress.
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    NOTE: To get your stitching nice and close to the edge, check to see if your machine has a "needle left" straight stitching option. My Janome has this feature and it makes it very easy to use the exact center of my pressure foot as my fabric guide and achieve a straight line of edgestitching ⅛" from the edge. I used this technique for all the edgestitching on this project.
  7. Additional step for lighter weight fabrics: We used a regular quilt weight fabric for our project, which was our choice because kids tend to like the softer feel of these fabrics and because the choice of fun prints is more prevalent. Because of the lighter weight, we added a piece of fusible interfacing to the top right corner on the wrong side of the apron front. This helps reinforce this area for the future application of the Velcro®.
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Make and place the ties, sew together and add Velcro®

  1. Find the two 4" x 20" waist ties and the one 4" x 24" neck tie. All three ties are created in the exact same manner.
  2. Fold the strip in half right sides together so it is now 2" by the appropriate length.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch one end and the long side. Leave the opposite end open for turning. Remember to pivot at the corners.
  4. Clip the corners. Turn the tube right side out. Square up the corners with a long. blunt-end tool, and press well.
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  5. Place the ties on the apron front. One waist tie should be pinned at each side ½" below the bottom of the arm hole curve. The neck tie should be pinned at the top upper left of the apron bib ½" in from the left side.
  6. All ends of the ties should be flush with the raw edge of the apron front. Pin the tails of the ties to the middle of the apron to keep them out of the way of the final seam.
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  7. Place the apron lining right sides together with the apron front, sandwiching the ties in between the two layers.
  8. Pin well, making sure your ties don't shift position. If you are unsure of your pinning accuracy, you could baste the ties in place prior to layering the lining and the front.
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  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the apron, leaving a 3-4" opening along the bottom edge for turning. Make sure you back tack at either side of the opening, and backstitch over each of the ties for extra stability. Go slowly to keep your arm hole curve nice and smooth.
  10. When done, clip all the corners and the curves
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  11. Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Use a long, blunt-end tool to poke out and square all the corners. Press well, pressing in the seam allowance at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam.
  12. Edgestitch around the entire apron. This closes the opening used for turning and helps hold the front to the lining so the apron stays flat.
  13. Loop the neck tie around so the free end lays against the right side of the apron on the top right corner.
  14. The end of the tie should overlap approximately 2-3". If possible, test the fit on the child who will be wearing the apron.
  15. Mark the position of the overlap with pins or a fabric pen. Double check at this time that your neck loop is not twisted.
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  16. Fold the tie directly back on itself.
  17. Place one half of the Velcro® so it is centered within the marks on the apron front. Then, place the opposite half so it is centered within the marks on the BACK of the tie.
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  18. Secure the Velcro® in place with pins, fabric adhesive or fusible seam tape. We like to use fusible seam tape.
  19. Stitch the Velcro® in place on each piece with a box stitch.
    NOTE: I stayed with my contrasting red thread to stitch my Velcro® in place. This meant you would see my stitching on the tie, which I thought would be a cute accent. However, if you are worried about keeping your box stitching even, switch to a thread, in the top and bobbin, that matches the tie.
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Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 3230 and the Baby Lock Grace.



Comments (14)

Hellergm said:
Hellergm's picture

Love this cute and practical apron! Made this in one evening, only substituting a d-ring instead of Velcro closure at the neck. My little grandson is very interested in food preparation right now, so I plan to give him this apron along with a parent/child cookbook, and his mom an apron and adult cookbook, as a gift package for them both. I’ll be the coolest grandma around 

Thanks, Sew4Home, for all the great sewing projects and excellent tutorials!

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

@Hellergm - You are definitely the coolest grandma around! Thanks for letting us know about your success with the pattern. The update to the D-ring rounds great. If you follow us on social media, we'd love to see a picture of Mom and Son in their aprons.

Mick O'G said:
Mick O'G's picture

Thank you so very much for the most detailed, step-by-step directions I have ever seen. Your method was extremely easy to follow, made complete sense, and never once left anything to chance or guess work. Kudos! I appreciate the many creations you have already taken the time to catagorize for your followers.

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

@ Mcik O'G - glad you loved the project. On to the next one, right?!?

vcaroline said:
vcaroline's picture
this will be great for one of my kids, who also loves working on paper projects, i will try to adapt it as mix tool belt/apron for scissors, pencils, crayons, etc.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ carolyn vaughn -- We're sorry, but we are unable to create revisions to our patterns or projects for size or usage variations. It's a challenge to change dimensions long-distance, especially without access to the item and/or person for whom the project is being adjusted. We would feel awful if we gave you inaccurate advice that caused your finished project to turn out less than successful. Our standard recommendation is to measure your item and/or person and compare those measurements to our original dimensions. Do the math to make adjustments and scale the original dimensions up or down. Then use these new measurements to make a prototype out of a muslin or another inexpensive fabric you have on hand. This is often the exact way we determine our own patterns and instructions. It is not only a good way to re-engineer a project, making a prototype is also a great practice run through the steps of construction.
Stephanie Publicker said:
Stephanie Publicker's picture
I made this for my granddaughter using cupcake and cookie fabrics. Too cute. From the leftover material I made the two-handed potholder to send to my niece who was just accepted into pastry school.
Kathryn Howard -- Facebook said:
Kathryn Howard -- Facebook's picture
Excellent work. What is your ruler handle called? Where can I purchase it? I want one! Thanks for sharing. -K.
dkmorrison3 said:
dkmorrison3's picture
Very cute idea, I have a grandson who loves to help me and his dad in the kitchen. he is going to love this.
gmitchel said:
gmitchel's picture
SO CUTE! With 5 granchildren (4 boys 1 girl)there are currently 2 who are old enough to get involved with mama in the kitchen. Definitely going on my TO DO list!