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Smock Style Reversible Apron in Meow or Never by Moda

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A full-coverage apron is a true vintage classic. The longer skirt and over-the-head bib are serious about keeping you clean top to bottom. Our version is completely reversible  even the ties are double-sided. But what makes it extra irresistible is the Meow or Never fabric, the latest from Moda designer, Erin Michael. This collection was unveiled just last month at Spring Quilt Market and will be appearing at retailers this Fall. We were thrilled to be given some preliminary cuts to come up with a bit of pre-release inspiration. 

If you’re a fan of Erin Michael (and we count ourselves in that camp), you will recognize some of your favorite motifs, such as her wonderful paint-by-number prints, which feature some areas that are shaded with color and other areas that are left blank. For Meow or Never she’s incorporated a secret kitty roaming amongst the illustrated flowers and birds.

For the opposite side of the apron we chose Furball with its playful cat faces set against pretty pastel spheres. 

The wide sash ties and deep bottom ruffle on one side are accented with another Erin Michael favorite: Painter’s Palette Dots. And on the opposite side, the tie and ruffle accent is Dottie Floral, an amazing op-art treatment. Stand back from its full 24” x 44” repeat and you’ll see the dots form a floral bouquet.

We’ve incorporated both piping accents as well as flat binding, and there’s a pretty pocket on both sides so you always have a place to keep kitty treats.

Make sure your check out the entire Meow or Never collection. It was hard to pick just four designs! We also loved the Cats Cradle metallics and the hilarious Catatude illustrations. 

Our thanks to Moda Fabrics for letting us bring you this special sneak peek at Meow or Never. You can find Moda fabrics at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere. Connect with them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube; as well as via the Moda Cutting Table Blog and Moda Bakeshop. Remember, to be watching for Meow or Never at your favorite online and in-store retail outlets this Fall. Several sites will allow you to pre-order so you can be sure to get exactly what you want before it sells out!

There is a downloadable pattern offered below for our apron bib, which is sized to create a generous over-the-head loop designed to lay flat against your neck. If you feel uncomfortable with this style, you can always cut it at the back, bind the ends, and add a button or snap.

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, this apron's bodice is approximately 22½"" wide across the bottom and 9½" high. The loop opening is about 7½” in diameter at its widest point, and the waist ties are each approximately 30" long. The skirt length from the slight drop waist is about 28", including the ruffle. 

Meow or Never has the S4H Studio Cat Stamp of Approval

Quite of number of kitties roam the Sew4Home studios, and they joined forces to give this latest collection a five-paw review. 

And we know if cherished office kitties, Chloe, Ollie and LePing were still with us, they’d also signal with a flip of their tails to emphasize this is a fabric collection that will be needed by you.

Our thanks as well to Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland, Oregon – a unique cafe and adoption center – for letting us do our photo shoot amongst some very cool cats.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Yardages shown are generous to allow for fussy cutting.

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our bundled Apron Pattern which includes: Apron Bib Part 1 & 4, Apron Bib Part 2, Apron Bib Part 3, and Apron Pocket patterns. 
    IMPORTANT: Each of these four patterns is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet, which we have bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier. You must print the PDF at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the sheets to insure your printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines. The Apron Pocket is a single piece. The Apron Bib is made up of four pieces. Butt these pieces together at the arrows as indicated on the patterns and following the diagram on the printed sheets. Do not overlap. Tape together to form the complete pattern.
  3. From the fabric for apron side A (Check Meowt in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 19" high x Width of Fabric (WOF) rectangle (19" x 44")
    Using the assembled bib pattern right side facing down, cut one bib on the fold
    Using the pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets, fussy cut a kitty face at the center if possible
  4. From the fabric for apron side B (Furball in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 19" high x Width of Fabric (WOF) rectangle (19" x 44")
    Using the assembled bib pattern right side facing up, cut one bib on the fold
    NOTE: Flipping the pattern insures the two bib pieces will match up correctly back to back
    Using the pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets
  5. From the fabric for ties and ruffle side A (Painter’s Palette in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 8" high x 31" wide strips for the ties
    TWO 11" high x WOF rectangles for the bottom ruffle
  6. From the fabric for ties and ruffle side B as well as all the piping and binding (Floral Dottie in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 8" high x 31" long strips for the ties
    TWO 11" high x WOF rectangles for the bottom ruffle
    TWO 1¾” x 9” strips for the pocket piping
    TWO 1¾” x 25” strips for the waistband piping
    Enough 2” strips on the bias to equal approximately 48” of finished bias binding
  7. From the piping cord cut TWO 25” lengths and TWO 9” lengths. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. On both bib pieces, place the upper neck ends right sides together and pin in place.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch this short seam and press the seam allowance open and flat. 
  3. Find the bib interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the sewn bib panels.
  4. Place the two seamed bibs WRONG sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place.
  5. Create the 48” length of 2” bias binding, stitching together shorter lengths end-to-end to create one continuous length. 
  6. Fold the finished strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease. Unfold so the crease line in visible. Fold in each long raw edge to meet at the center, then re-fold along the original crease line to complete the bias binding. 
    NOTE: If you are new to bias binding, take a look at our full step-by-step tutorial. 
  7. To create the smoothest look, work with the binding as one continuous length. Do not cut it first. It might seem awkward working with the long tail, but it's tough to measure a curve and easy to cut it too short!
  8. We opted to to simply slip our bias binding over the raw edge and edgestitch it in place. With just the two layers of cotton and no super-tight curves, we were confident using this method. However, don't expect to just wrap, pin and stitch. Going too quickly or assuming everything stays put and never moves is where disappointment lurks: you pull it out of the machine and there's a big chunk of fabric that's slipped out and isn't captured within the binding. Save yourself some seam ripper time and some tears. Go nice and slowly, feeding a little bit at a time. If you'd prefer to use a traditional two-step binding application technique, take a look at our Bias Binding Tutorial mentioned above. 
  9. Pin the binding in place along the outside edge of the bib from the bottom corner, up and over the loop, and down to the opposite bottom corner. Trim away the excess binding.
  10. Start and stop 1” in from the corner on each side. 
  11. Edgestitch in place, remembering to start and stop 1" from the corner on each side. The 1" left unstitched is where the ties will connect later in the tutorial; you will need the binding to be free in order to allow the bib to fold over and finish correctly. 
  12. We used our Janome Satin Stitch foot to clearly see where we were stitching; it's red guide arrow also helps keep your seam straight.
  13. The inside edge of the neck opening is a continuous circle, so you will finish the ends prior to stitching.
  14. Start by pinning the remaining length of bias binding all the way around the inner circle. Give yourself about ½" at the head and begin pinning at the top neck seam. When you come back around to where you began, overlap the head by another ½" (approximately) and trim away the excess. 
  15. Unpin a bit at the top in order to be able to pull the binding away from the fabric. Unfold and flatten both ends of the binding. Place them right sides together, aligning the crease lines of the folds. Pin in place.
  16. Place the binding back into position and make sure it will lay flat against the fabric. If it doesn't, adjust the ends of the binding as needed. When you're satisfied with the fit, stitch the ends together, using a ½” seam allowance.
  17. Re-fold the binding and re-pin it into position. Your new binding seam should align with the top neck seam. Edgestitch the binding in place all the way around the inside neck opening.
  18. Create the two 25” lengths of piping to fit the bottom edges of the bib. To do this, wrap a fabric strip around the piping cord, right sides facing out. Align the raw edges of the wrapped strip and machine baste in place. 
    NOTE: If you are brand new to piping, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial.
  19. Fold bib A out of the way and pin one length of piping to bib B. The raw edge of the piping should be flush with the raw bottom edge of bib B.
  20. Attach a Zipper foot. Baste the piping in place, running your seam as close to the piping as the foot will allow.
  21. Flip the bib to the other side and pin the remaining length of piping to bib A, folding bib B out of the way this time. Machine baste the piping in place as above.
  22. Set the apron bib aside.


  1. Find the two sets of pocket pieces and the two pocket interfacing panels. 
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse an interfacing panel to the wrong side of ONE piece from each pocket pair.
  3. As you did above for the bib piping, create the two 9” lengths of pocket piping. 
  4. Pin a length of piping along the top edge of the one interfaced pocket in each set. You are pinning the piping to the right side of the pocket. 
  5. The top of our pocket pattern has gentle points, like kitty ears. To create a smooth line at these points, it helps to clip the piping to allow it to ease along the shape. 
  6. Using a Zipper foot, machine baste the piping in place.
  7. Place the plain pocket from each pocket pair right sides together with its matching piped pocket, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Pin in place all around, leaving a 2" opening for turning along one side.
  8. Stitch together, remembering to go slowly to keep your curves straight and even. Lock your seam at either side of the opening for turning. Clip the corners and the curves.
    NOTE: Your corner pivots will happen just beyond the piping. It may help with accuracy to stop, with your needle in the down position, and hand crank up and over the piping. Then, stop and pivot, and start up again with the foot pedal once you've cleared the piping cord. 
  9. Turn right side out through the side opening.
  10. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like our fave - a chopstick, to gently push the piping into position and round out the bottom curve.
  11. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  12. Repeat to create the second pocket for the other side of the apron.
  13. Find the two main 19" x WOF skirt rectangles.
  14. Place one rectangle right side up and flat on your work surface.
  15. Position the matching pocket on the left of this panel. It should sit approximately 6" down from the top raw edge, 9" in from left raw edge, and 6⅜" up from the bottom raw edge. Pin in place along the sides and around the bottom.
  16. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and around the bottom.
  17. Backstitch at the top corners of the pocket to help secure these areas that will take the most stress. 
  18. Repeat to place the remaining pocket on the remaining main apron skirt rectangle.


  1. Find the four tie strips, match them to one another in opposite pairs. Place the pairs wrong sides together, then stack the two pairs.
  2. Using a clear ruler and rotary cutter, slice off one end at a slight angle, cutting through all four layers.
  3. Separate the pairs again. Pin each pair right sides together along both long sides and across the angled end. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along each long side and across the angled end, pivoting at the corners. Clip the corners.
  5. Turn right side out through the open end and press flat, pushing out the corner and point with a chopstick or knitting needle.
  6. Find the bib. Place it on your work surface with side B facing up.
  7. Fold three pleats into the raw end of one tie, bringing it down to the width of the tab end of the bib. You are fan-folding the tie, which means the fabrics are alternating. Tie B fabric (the Floral Dottie in our sample) should be against bib B. Adjust the folds as needed so the end of the tie fits nicely between the piping and the upper bib edge. Pin in place. The photo below shows the tie folded into position.
  8. The next photo has it un-folded to show how the opposite side of the fabric is sandwiched within the fan folds. 
  9. Wrap bib side A over the top so the two bib pieces are now right sides together and the fan-folded tie is sandwiched between the layers. That 1” bit of binding you left unstitched at the beginning allows you the flexibility to make this wrap. Pin in place through all the layers.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch in place through all the layers just across the very end — where the fan-folded tie is placed. Run a double or triple seam to secure well. 
  11. Trim back the seam allowance, especially the corners so they aren't so thick. But be careful not to cut into your seam.
  12. Turn the end of the bib right side out again and pull the tie out into position. 
  13. Edgestitch what’s left of that little bit of binding you left unstitched when first applying. 
  14. Repeat to attach the remaining tie to the opposite side of the bib.

Attach the bottom ruffle to the skirt panels

  1. Find all four ruffle pieces.
  2. Sew each pair of pieces together along one 11" end to make one very long strip from each fabric. 
  3. Place the two very long strips right sides together and pin along both ends and across the bottom. The two seams should align in the center; they are the center points of the bottom ruffle.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both ends and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Clip the corners.
  5. Turn the ruffle right side out through the top opening. Push out the corners with a blunt tool and press the very long panel flat. Pin along the top raw edge.
  6. Run a double line of gathering stitches along the top raw edges of the ruffle panel.
    NOTE: If you are new to machine gathering, check out our tutorial.
  7. Find the two main skirt rectangles to which you applied the pockets.
  8. Place them right sides together and pin along both sides. Double check that your pockets are both facing the right direction!
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides.
  10. Press the seam allowances open.
  11. Gather the ruffle panel so it matches the width of the bottom opening of the sewn skirt panels.
  12. Fold the bottom of the skirt in half it find its center and mark with a pin. You will align this center mark with the seam line of the ruffle panel, which is its center point.
  13. With the sewn skirt panels wrong side out, slip the bottom ruffle between the layers. Remember, the seams of the ruffle should align with the marked center point of the bottom skirt opening. Adjust the gathers as necessary so they fall evenly across the bottom of the skirt opening.
  14. Pin in place across the bottom of the skirt through all the layers.
  15. You have sandwiched the ruffle between the two skirt panels. 
  16. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the ruffle panel in place across the bottom of the skirt through all the layers. 
  17. Turn the skirt right side out through the top opening of the skirt panels. Press flat, pressing the bottom ruffle down into position.

Attach the skirt top to the bib

  1. Run a gathering stitch across the top raw edges of the skirt panels.
  2. Fold the skirt panel in half to find the center and mark with a pin.
  3. Find the apron bib. Fold the bib in half it find its center point along the bottom piped edge, and mark with a pin.
  4. Gather the skirt panel so it matches the width of the bottom of the bib. Matching the center pin marks, adjust the gathers as necessary so they fall evenly across the top of the skirt.
  5. Pull apart the bib. Pin side B of the skirt panel right sides together with side B of the bib (since we are pinning the B sides together that means the A side is what is facing up in the photo below). Using the center pins as your guide, pin all the way across the top of the skirt.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance and a Zipper foot, stitch all the way across, running your seam just below the piping. Remember, side A of the bib is folded up and out of the way; you are not stitching through that layer.
  7. Press the seam allowance up towards the inside of the bib.
  8. Flip the apron to side A and fold up the bottom raw edge of side A of the bib so the piping itself becomes the bottom edge of the bib. Bring this edge down into place covering the skirt seam and pin in place.
  9. Thread a hand sewing needle and hand stitch side A of the bib into place, hiding your stitches behind the piping. 


Project Concept: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild



Comments (4)

Sarah Tron said:
Sarah Tron's picture

You have cats in your studio?!? Jealous! We have dogs in our office, but it isn't quite the same.

Diane Beavers said:
Diane Beavers's picture

Love the reversible apron. I have just the "Cat lover" to stitch one for. Great tutorial!  Come to think of it I need a reversible apron too. Thank you!

Looking forward to Tuesdays post re: The Safari Duffle.

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

@ Diane - thanks - I'm sure there are a few "cat lovers" on your list that would adore this.