S4H_Shannon_2018_leaderboard
Janome General-Leaderboard right

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram

Sew4Home

Pleated Kitchen Confections Apron

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

If you're a regular Sew4Home visitor, you know we love aprons. And, we know you love aprons. This Kitchen Confections classic is a special favorite of ours that combines two pretty prints and two coordinating solids. It has a very vintage feel – especially with the sweet florals and pretty rick rack edging. Other fabulous details include form-flattering waist pleats and a quilted accent along the top of the bodice. Even the pockets have box pleat details, and by tilting them at an angle, they give the skirt a pretty pop of color.

We originally chose fabrics from Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics, a collection that is no longer readily available. Below are some new fabrics we spotted that will give you the same retro feel – or, as always, feel free to create your own unique combinations. Click a swatch group to see more of the pretty Bonnie & Camille prints at Fat Quarter Shop.

  

We specify a coordinating wide rick rack to rim the pockets, the upper bib, and to accent the bottom of the skirt. Wider, non-packaged rick rack can be a bit harder to find. We recommend checking out the selection from our friends at The Ribbon Retreat and/or considering dyeing white rick rick for a perfect match. 

As mentioned above, the pleating detail on this apron not only adds to the fit, it's also just a lovely way to embellish a flat surface. The instructions below take you through the steps, but if you're brand new to pleating, you can read through our full box pleating tutorial as well as our full knife pleating tutorial prior to starting. 

There are darts in either side of the lower bib section which further add to the flattering fit. And, you guessed it, if you are brand new to this technique, we also have a full tutorial you can check out prior to starting on marking and stitching darts.

This apron would make a great gift. Wrap it up with some matching utensils as well as some of your own special Kitchen Confections recipes. We have a free printable recipe card you can download. It's designed with the same pretty "vintage modern" graphics. 

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 skirt of the apron finishes approximately 30" wide x 17” high – to the bottom of the waistband. The bib is approximately 9” wide at its narrowest point across the top x 10” high from the top of the waistband. The total length of the apron, top to bottom, is approximately 28”. The neck ties finish at about 24" long, the waist ties at about 30" long.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

 

  • ¼ yard or one Fat Quarter of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a print (fabric #1) for the lower bib front and the pocket fronts
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a print (fabric #2) for the skirt front
  • ⅝ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a solid (fabric #3) for the upper bib and the skirt lining
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton in a solid (fabric #4) for the lower bib lining, the pocket linings, and the neck and waist ties
  • ⅛ yard of lightweight flannel; we used white
  • 3 yards of jumbo rick rack
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Machine quilting thread, 50 wt, to match upper bib fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started & Pattern Download

  1. Download and print the THREE pattern pieces (Apron Bib 1, Apron Bib 2, and Apron Pocket), which have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier. 
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern piece is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
    NOTEThe bib patterns are drawn to be cut on the fold to create each fabric piece. This is one option and will work just fine. An alternate method, which we think is a little easier for beginners, is to print TWO copies of each of the patterns and cut them out along the solid lines. Flip over one copy in each set of two and butt them together along the center FOLD line. You now have a FULL pattern piece and don't have to cut on the fold. The arrows drawn on the bib pattern pieces show you how/where these two bib sections come together. 
  2. Cut out each pattern along the solid line and choose your option for cutting on the fold or cutting flat.
  3. From fabric #1 – the large floral print in our sample, cut the following:
    Using the completed Apron Bib 2 pattern, cut ONE lower bib. Transfer the pattern markings for the darts to the fabric.
    Using the Pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets. Transfer the pattern markings for the box pleats to the fabric.
  4. From fabric #2 – the small floral print in our sample, cut ONE 18" high x 37" wide rectangle.
  5. From fabric #3 – the aqua solid in our sample, cut the following: 
    ONE 18" high x 37" wide rectangle.
    Using the completed Apron Bib 1 pattern, cut TWO upper bibs. Transfer the pattern markings for the quilt lines to the fabric on ONE of the two bibs.
  6. From fabric #4 - the white solid in our sample, cut the following:
    FOUR 2½" x 25" strips
    SIX 2½" x 31" strips
    Using the completed Apron Bib 2 pattern, cut ONE lower bib. Transfer the pattern markings for the darts to the fabric.
    Using the Pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets. Transfer the pattern markings for the box pleats to the fabric.
    NOTE: For all markings, and for any time you are working on the right side of your fabric, make sure your marking tool is one that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. 
  7. From the flannel, using the completed Apron Bib 1 pattern, cut ONE upper bib.
  8. The rick rack will be cut to length during construction.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Prepare the upper bib

  1. Find the upper bib fabric panel on which you marked the quilting lines and the upper bib panel in the flannel. Set aside the remaining upper bib panel; it will be used as the lining.
  2. Place the marked upper bib and the flannel together, aligning all the raw edges and making sure the marked guide lines are facing up.
  3. If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot to your machine or engage your built-in feeding system. We used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex system on our Janome machine. Slightly lengthen the stitch. 
  4. Thread the top and bobbin with the 50wt machine quilting thread, in a color to match the upper bib fabric.
  5. Stitch through all the layers, following the guide lines.
  6. Cut a length of rick rack to match the bottom edge of the bib.
  7. Position the rick rack along the bottom edge of the bib so the center of the rick rack is exactly ½" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric. In other words, it will be centered on what will be the seam line when you stitch the upper bib to the lower bib.
  8. Pin in place and then baste the rick rack in place.
  9. Set the partially completed upper bib aside.

Prepare the lower bib

  1. Find the lower bib panel in the print fabric and the lower bib panel in the solid 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 lower exterior bib, aligning the bottom edge of the upper bib with the upper edge of the lower bib. The rick rack will be sandwiched between the layers. Pin in place
  2. Stitch the two pieces together, using a ½" seam allowance. If you sew with the upper bib facing up, you can simply follow along the line of stitching that originally secured the rick rack.
  3. Press the seam allowance up towards the upper bib. You should have a pretty half line of rick rack revealed below the seam line.
  4. Find the upper bib lining panel and the lower bib lining panel (which should have its 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.

Make and attach the neck ties and finish the bib

  1. Find the four 2½" x 25" strips. These will be the neck ties.
  2. Place two strips right sides together. 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 both ties right sides out, and press.
    NOTE: Even though these aren't super tiny, check out our tutorial for an easy way to turn tubes right side out.
  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. Pin the ties in place.
  7. Layer the front bib and lining bib right sides together, sandwiching the ties between the layers. Pin along both sides and across the top; leave the bottom open for turning.
  8. Stitch the front to the lining, using a ½" seam allowance. Remember to pivot at the corners.
  9. Trim the corners.
  10. Turn right side out, pull up the ties and push out the top corners so they are nice and sharp – a long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for the corners.
  11. Press well.

Create the box pleated pockets

  1. Find the two exterior pocket panels and the two lining pocket panels. 
  2. Following the guide lines you made on each, create a box pleat on all four fabric pieces. Press well.

    NOTE: If you are new to creating box pleats, take a look at our tutorial: How to Make A Box Pleat Or Inverted Box Pleat.
  3. Measure around the perimeter of the exterior pleated pocket panels. Add 1" for an overlap. Cut two lengths of rick rack to this measurement.
  4. Place one length of rick rack around each exterior pocket, starting and stopping at the pleat, and centering the rick rack on the ½" seam line as you did above with the bib (in other words, the center of the rick rack should be ½" from the raw edge of the pocket). Pin in place. Baste in place, using a ½" seam allowance.
  5. Find the pocket lining panels and make a matching box pleat in each. 
  6. Place each pocket exterior and lining set right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2" opening along one end for turning.
  7. Sew with the exterior facing up so you can see the rick rack basting line. Stitch the two layers together, using a ½" seam allowance, which means you can simply follow along in the rick rack basting line. Remember to leave the 2" opening for turning, lock the seam at either side of the opening. 
  8. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼", carefully trimming the fabric only and not the rick rack. Leaving the rick rack untrimmed makes is stronger; you don't want it pull through the seam. That seam is a stress point because hands press against it when reaching into the pocket.
  9. Turn each pocket right sides out and press, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.

Skirt

  1. Cut one final length of rick rack. This one should be the width of the skirt panel or 37".
  2. Pin the rick rack to the bottom edge of the 18" x 37" exterior skirt panel. Center the rick rack on the ½" seam line, just as you did above for the bib and the pockets – the center of the rick rack should be ½" from the bottom raw edge of the skirt panel. Pin in place. Fold over the starting end of the rick rack so it sits ½" in from the 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.  
  3. Baste the rick rack in place, using a ½" seam allowance. 
     
  4. 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 folded end is still ½" from this opposite raw edge. Trim the rick rack if needed. 
  5. Position the pockets on the apron skirt. The pockets are 4½" down from the upper raw edge of the skirt panel. They are designed to be set at a diagonal, so there is 10" between the upper corners and 8" between the lower corners. Pin the pockets in place along the sides and bottom.
     
  6. Edgestitch the pockets in place, making sure you have thread to match the pocket in the top; the bobbin can be matching or can match the skirt. Stitch along the sides and across the bottom, going slowly around the curved bottom corners to keep the seam line smooth. Leave the upper edge of the pocket open. This stitches closes the opening on each pocket that was used for turning.
     
  7. Find the 18" x 37" skirt lining. 
  8. Place the skirt lining and skirt exterior right sides together, sandwiching the pockets and the rick rack in between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. The top remains open and raw.
  9. Sew the apron skirt to the lining with a ½" seam along the sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners. Once again, as you did agove, we recommend you sew with the exterior fabric facing up so you can carefully follow the previous rick rack basting line as your guide along the bottom edge. 
  10. Trim the corners and turn the skirt right sides out. Press. 
  11. Create a group of three, ¾" knife pleats, which means you are pinching 1½" of fabric to each side of the center along the upper edge of the apron skirt. The pleats are spaced 1" apart and each set starts 3" from the center front. Pin in place. Press each set towards the outer edge of the skirt and stitch down each pleat 3" from the top raw edge.
    NOTE: If you are new to creating this type of pleat, take a look at our tutorial: How to Make Knife Pleats.

Waistband and waist ties

  1. Find the six 2½" x 31" strips.
  2. Make sure the machine is threaded with thread to best match the tie fabric in the top and bobbin.
  3. Separate the strips into two sets of three. Take one set of three, and using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the strips end to end, right sides together, along the 2½" ends. Repeat with the other pair. This will give you two strips that are 2½" x 91".
  4. Match these two 91" strips right sides together, lining up all raw edges and the seams. This will become your waistband/ties.
  5. 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 correctly centered. You need a 10½" opening centered along the top of the waistband and a 30" opening centered along the bottom of the waist band.
  6. Stitch the two waistband/tie pieces together, using a ½" seam allowance. Start at the bottom opening, stitch along 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. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the openings.
  7. Remove from machine. Move to the other end of the top opening. Start stitching again along one side, pivot at the corner, stitch across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the opposite side of the bottom opening. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the openings.
  8. Trim your corners and turn right side out through the middle opening. Press. You might need to reach into the corner points with a blunt-edged tool, like a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, to help push out the seam and make a nice point at all corners.
  9. Make sure you press in the raw edges along both openings (top and bottom) so they are flush with the sewn seams. 
  10. Slightly length the stitch. 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 top raw (and pleated) edge of the skirt into the bottom opening (the 30" opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
  3. Find the completed bib.
  4. Insert the bottom of the bib into the top opening (the 10½" opening) of the waistband. The bib should drop down into the opening about ½" - ¾". You need just enough to get a good "bite" into the bib as you stitch across, but not so far in that you cover up too much of the darts. 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

Section: 

Comments (4)

mssewsavvy said:
mssewsavvy's picture

WHAT?! Fabric Depot is closing? I just ordered something from their online store. Must have missed the memo. Yup, the online store is bare :-(

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Wow your aprons are legendary. I have noticed that quilting touches are appearing in clothes more often. Like the pink bowl, a nod to Breast Cancer Awareness month. In November there is Tie One on Day which celebrates aprons and cooking. I see that Fabric Depot is closing. I never made it there as I sprained my ankle at Powells Books. I was looking forward to seeing your projects.

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

@Jane - Thank you so much. This is one of my favorite S4H aprons. And yes, we are very sad out here in the PNW to lose Fabric Depot.