The original inspiration for this project came from our official Sew4Home You Asked 4 It list. When you send us a request or comment online about something you'd like to see, we add it to this list. Then, we refer to the list when we're creating new ideas. You wanted more aprons for guys, and your wish was fulfilled by our Pro Chef Half Apron accented with stunning ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons.
The style of this half apron is similar to the aprons you'd see at your favorite bistro. Longer, with a slim fit, and thin wraparound ties secured in the front with a half hitch knot. We added a monogram on the pocket because pro chefs do love their notoriety.
We picked a sturdy cotton-poly for the body of the apron. You want a fabric with a bit of heft and something that will stand up well to repeated washing. As a further nod to its intended high-frequency use, you'll notice below that the majority of our seams are doubled.
Although we made our sample for guys, it would work equally well for the fairer chefs in your midst. Simply pick out ribbon accents to match the wearer's favorite colors and patterns.
One of the great features on this apron is its handy towel loop. Not only does the horizontal band give us an excuse to add two additional ribbon accents, it's a super functional detail designed to hold a standard kitchen towel. We know pro-chefs are the messiest chefs!
We recommend a ⅝" ribbon, and there are many, many to choose from at Renaissance Ribbons. For ideas, check out all the popular designers whose creativity is executed in vibrant, intricate detail by Renaissance Ribbons. Although the exact Anna Maria Horner ribbon we original used is no longer available, below are a couple of our current favorites: Turquoise/Lime Misguided Gingham and Diamond Mine Blue.
The apron is fast and easy to make for the pro chefs on your gift list.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot, you'll need an embroidery model if you wish to do the embroidery on the pocket
- Satin Stitch foot; optional - but helpful for ribbon stitching; it's what we used
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but also helpful for precise seams
- Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set; optional - another choice to keep your ribbon stitching neat
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 5 yards of ⅝" wide ribbon for all the accents; we used ⅝" Ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons
NOTE: The amount of ribbon is based on the sizing for our chef, you may need slightly more or less should you decide to adjust the length of the apron or ties.
- 1¼ yard of 45"+ wide medium-weight, cotton-poly (or similar) fabric for the apron body, pockets and ties; we used 60" Poly/Cotton Twill in White
- Stabilizer for the optional embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine
- All-purpose thread to match fabric; we used white
- All purpose thread to match ribbon and/or Invisible Thread in Clear; we used invisible thread
- Embroidery thread to coordinate with the ribbon for the optional monogram; we used teal rayon thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Our apron model is 6' tall; his pant size is 34" waist x 32" length. The design is based on standard bistro style aprons which meet in the back with ties that wrap around to the front and tie with a half hitch. Should your chef be larger or smaller, adjust the cuts as necessary. As we often recommend, cutting a prototype from an inexpensive muslin to test fit is a great way to insure sizing before diving in to cut your final fabric and ribbon. In general, the math is as follows:
Measured width + 1½" (for two ¾" side hems) = cut width
Measured height + 3½" (2" top hem and 1½" bottom hem) = cut height
- From the apron fabric, cut the following:
If monogramming, cut ONE pocket rectangle big enough to hoop; it will be cut down after embroidery to 8" wide x 13" high
If not monogramming, cut ONE 8" wide x 13" high rectangle
ONE 37½" wide x 24½" high rectangle for the main body of the apron
ONE 8" wide x 5" high rectangle for the towel loop
TWO 1½" x 43" strips for the ties
- Cut the ribbon into the following lengths:
TWO 22" lengths for the vertical stripes on the apron front
TWO 8" lengths for the towel loop stripes
TWO 43" lengths for the ties
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Select a script font.
- Hoop the pocket fabric and stabilizer, and monogram your chef's name.
- The name should be positioned in the upper left of the rectangle. The tallest letter should be approximately 2¾" from the top raw edge. The left section of the pocket is approximately 4" wide when finished, so your lettering should be centered towards the left, at least 1" in from the raw edge, depending on the length of the name. For our short name, our first letter was approximately 2" in from the left raw edge.
- Trim the monogrammed pocket to 8" wide x 13" high, keeping the upper left position of the name intact.
- The photo below shows all our small pieces ready to go.
- All the hems are made in the same manner, they are simply different widths.
- For all our construction we used a standard straight stitch. For all the top and edgestitching, we used a slightly lengthened stitch.
- For each side hem, fold back the raw edge ¾" and press well to form a crease. Fold the raw edge into the crease, concealing the raw edges within the fold. Press again and pin in place.
- Starting approximately 4" down from the top raw edge, stitch both side hems in place, staying close in the inside fold. The upper portion of each hem will be secured later when the ties are sewn in place.
- For the top hem, fold back the raw edge 2" and press well to form a crease.
- Fold the raw edge into the crease...
- ... concealing the raw edges within the fold.
- Press again and pin in place.
- Stitch all the way across, staying close to the inside fold. There will be openings at each side, which is where you will later insert the ties.
NOTE: Remember, the side hems are indeed folded into place; they are simply not yet stitched in place. Your top hem will "tack" them in place.
- Finally, for the bottom hem, fold up the raw edge 1½" and press well to form a crease. Fold the raw edge into the crease, concealing the raw edges within the fold. Press again and pin in place.
- Stitch all the way across, staying close to the inside fold.
- Find the 8" x 5" rectangle for the towel loop and the two 8" lengths of ribbon.
- Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, so it is now 8" x 2½". Pin together along the 8" raw edges to form a tube.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance flat and turn the tube right side out. Roll the seam to the back.
- Press flat. Place the two ribbon lengths horizontally across the front surface. The outer side edge of each ribbon should be ¼" in from the folded edge of the fabric, and there should be ¼" between the two ribbons. Pin in place.
NOTE: You'll notice we used pins to hold our ribbons in place. Another option would be to apply a little basting glue or a strip of lightweight fusible web, such as Stitch Witchery by Dritz, to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through.
- Re-thread the machine with invisible thread (or thread to match the ribbon) in the top and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin. To secure, stitch along both sides of each ribbon.
- Turn back the raw side edges ½" and pin in place.
- Find the hemmed apron panel. Fold the panel in half to find the exact center point. Mark with a pin.
- Place the inner side edge of the towel loop 2" to the right from the panel's center line.
- And, 6" down the top hemmed edge.
- Rethread the machine with thread to match the apron fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch each end of the towel loop in place with two short seams. The first seam should be approximately ⅛" from the folded edge.
- The second seam should be approximately ⅜" from the first.
NOTE: You are stitching through several layers at this point. This was no problem for our Janome studio machines. If you are unsure of your machine's power, test first on a stack of scraps. We also recommend a lock stitch, rather than backstitching, to secure the beginning and end of your seams. If you do not have this option, you can leave the thread tails long and hand knot them at the back to secure.
- Find the pocket panel with the optional monogram in place.
- Fold back the top edge ½" and press.
- Fold back an additional 2". Check the hem from the front; the highest point of the lettering should be approximately ¼" from the fold. Adjust the hem as needed.
- Topstitch the hem in place. This seam should run approximately ¼" from the bottom of the lettering.
- Fold back the remaining three raw sides of the pocket ½". Press and pin in place.
- Find the apron panel. Place the pocket right side up on the right side of the apron panel so the pocket's right edge is aligned with the center line of the panel (you figured that out above when placing the towel loop). The top of the pocket should be 6" down from the top hemmed edge, parallel with the top of the towel loop.
- Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ¼" seam, stitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. As with the towel loop, we recommend using a lock stitch to secure the beginning and end of the seam for a neater look. Or, leave the thread tails long and knot at the back to secure.
- When this seam is complete, run a second seam, parallel with the first, as close to the pocket edge as possible.
- To divide the pocket into two sections, measure 2" from the right side and draw a vertical line with your fabric pen/pencil or mark with a line of pins. If using a monogram, this line should be to the right of the end of the chef's name.
- Following the drawn line (we used our quilting guide bar as an additional help, running it along the pocket's seam), stitch one vertical dividing line. As above, use a lock stitch to secure if possible at the beginning and end.
- When complete, stitch a second line ⅛" from the first.
Add the accent ribbon stripes
- Find the two 22" lengths of ribbon.
- Place one ribbon 1" to the left of the pocket's left edge.
- Place the second ribbon ¼" from the first. Pin both ribbons in place.
- At the top and bottom of each ribbon, turn back the raw edge ½". The folded ends of the ribbon should be flush with the top and bottom hems.
- Adjust the fold of the ribbon as needed so the ribbon and fabric are perfectly flush.
- Re-thread the machine with invisible thread (or thread to match the ribbon) in the top and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin.
- To secure, stitch along both sides of each ribbon.
- Find the 43" lengths of fabric and ribbon.
- On each strip, fold in each long side to meet in the middle. Press flat.
- Center a length of ribbon on each strip, concealing the fabric's raw edges beneath the ribbon. Pin or fuse in place.
- On one end of each tie, you need a clean finish. An easy way to do this is to miter that end of the fabric (fold it like a triangle) so the edges are neat.
- Fold back the raw edge of the ribbon and the point of the fabric so the two layers are flush. Heavily pin the ends together like a little porcupine. The opposite end of each tie remains raw.
- To secure, stitch along both sides of each ribbon on each tie. The machine should still be threaded with invisible or matching thread in the top and thread to match the fabric in the bobbin.
- Insert the raw end of each tie into the side opening of the apron's top hem. Slid the raw end in about ¾" - 1". Pin in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to match the apron fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch from the top of the apron down to the original starting point of the side hem. Be careful to precisely match the seam widths. If possible use a lock stitch to secure the beginning and end of the seam or leave the thread tails long and hand knot at the back. This will make the two seams look like one.
- As with the towel loop seam, and to best secure each tie, we recommend edgestitching an additional short seam just within the width of the top hem.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild