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Tailor’s Apron and Oven Mitt: Dapper by Tim Holtz for Coats

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While working on this gorgeous apron, I admit to humming that old nursery rhyme under my breath, “Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Sailor….” We absolutely love the vintage tailoring motifs that run through the Dapper collection by Tim Holtz for Coats. We took the theme and ran with it, designing an apron with subtle hints of bespoke couture. Along the bottom hem is a pleated accent panel that mimics the front of a tuxedo shirt – complete with five shirt buttons. Add to that, beautiful faux suede corner patches, echoing the elbow patches on a English Earl’s day jacket. A very cool double pocket graces the front, and leather lacing ties everything altogether. There’s even a matching oven mitt.

We combined the wonderful Dapper fabrics with a classic black denim for the apron’s lining. This collection blends beautifully with traditional substrates, like the denim, as well as the real leather lacing, and the rich faux suede we used for the corner accents and the binding on the mitt.

Once again, we’re all about the fussy cut! Tim Holtz always has such amazing motifs running throughout his collections. In the case of Dapper, we centered the vintage advertising clips from Tailored down the front of the apron. Then we worked with his Numbers motif to cleverly cut the pocket front and the exterior of the oven mitt. The dotted lines printed across the Numbers fabric became built-in guidelines for the mitt's quilting.

We offer a full pattern set, including pieces for the apron bib cutaway, the corner patches, the oven mitt, and even a special pleating template. It’s all bundled into an easy PDF download. When working with our Sew4Home patterns, if something requires assembly, remember to always butt together the pieces and tape, don’t overlap, in order to create your full pattern.

The front pocket is especially unique, if we must say so ourselves. We’ve layered it to create both an enclosed front pocket as well as a top drop-in pocket. Use the zippered pocket to hold your phone or other small items you don’t want to accidentally slip out while you’re working. Behind and built-into that front pocket is another traditional open-top pocket to hold the utensils you need to grab in a hurry.

We used a substantial metal zipper from the Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements collection for Coats. These cool zippers are available in a 24” separating length, plus 14" and 9” closed-end lengths. There are lots of great coordinating colors in both styles. We also used the perfectly matched Eclectic Elements thread for both construction as well as all the topstitching. The 100% cotton thread is available in 12 colors grouped into three palettes in both a standard, all-purpose 30 weight and a heavy craft 6 weight.

To us, the rustic look of knotted leather lacing was perfect for all the ties, but you could certainly use another type of cording if leather is not your favorite.

An apron and mitt combo would make a wonderful gift. The apron itself would be great to wear if you’re planning to sell your own handmade items at any of the many holiday markets this time of year.

We hope you’ll follow along all week with our Tim Holtz series. We have five new projects plus a wonderful Great Giveaway at week’s end.

Our thanks to our friends at Coats for providing all the Tim Holtz fabric as well as his Eclectic Elements thread, zippers, and hardware. Tim’s fabric collections are available now in stores and online. Visit the Coats-FreeSpirit Store Locator Page and enter your zip code to find fabric retailer options in your local area. If your favorite retailer doesn't carry Dapper, let them know you'd like to see it. You may even be able to request a special order. Eclectic Elements thread, zippers, and hardware are also readily available at many major outlets, but if you are unable to locate it near you, contact the Coats consumer service department at 800-648-1479.

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 finishes approximately 28“ wide at its widest point across the center and the total length, top of the bib to the bottom hem, is approximately 30“. The upper bib section is about 10½” wide. The waist ties are each doubled, looped, and knotted to finish at 31”. The double neck loop can be adjusted and trimmed as needed prior to knotting on one side to insure the bib rests comfortably across the chest.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
  • Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful when working with multiple layers - if appropriate, you can also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex available on many of our Janome studio machines

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Our Dapper yardage recommendations below include extra for the specific fussy cutting shown in our sample.

Getting Started - Pattern Downloads

  1. Download and print out our SIX pattern and template sheets, which have been bundled into one Apron & Oven Mitt Pattern PDF to make the download easier. 
    IMPORTANT: Each page 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
  2. Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. The Apron Cut Away pattern and the Oven Mitt pattern are both two pieces. Using the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces. Tape together to create the full patterns.
  3. The Pleating Guide is three pieces. Cut out the three sections along the solid lines, then butt together at the arrows to create the full-length template.
  4. From the fabric for the apron front (Tailored in our sample), fold the fabric in half wrong sides together, centering a prominent motif along the upper portion of the fold (this is what will be featured across the apron’s bib), and fussy cut ONE 14½” wide x 25” high rectangle.
  5. Pin the assembled Apron Cut Away pattern in the upper right corner of the folded piece, aligning the top and side edge of the pattern with the top and side edges of the folded fabric (the corner with the raw edges, not the folded corner). Cut along the inner curved line through both layers.

  6. From the fabric for the bottom accent band (Chalk Lines in our sample), fussy cut ONE WOF (width of fabric) x 7” high rectangle – the fussy cut is to insure all the “chalk lines” motifs on the fabric are straight and true.
  7. From the fabric for the lining (black denim in our sample), as above for the front fabric, cut ONE 14½” wide x 31” high rectangle on the fold, then use the Apron Cut Away pattern to trim the upper right corner of the folded piece.
  8. From the fabric for the apron pocket and the oven mitt exterior (Numbers in our sample), fussy cut the following:
    ONE 10” wide x 7” high rectangle for the pocket back
    ONE 10” wide x 7½” high rectangle for the pocket front
    Set aside the remaining fabric; you will layer, quilt, and cut the oven mitt pieces later in the process.
  9. From the fabric for the apron pocket lining and the oven mitt lining (Ticking in our sample), fussy cut (we cut all with the ticking stripes running vertically) the following:
    ONE 10” wide x 7” high rectangle for the pocket back
    ONE 10” wide x 7½” high rectangle for the pocket front
    Set aside the remaining fabric; you will layer, quilt, and cut the oven mitt pieces later in the process.
  10. From the faux suede, fold the fabric wrong sides together and cut the following:
    TWO using the Bib Patch pattern

    TWO using the Waist Patch pattern

    ONE 2½” x 12” strip for the oven mitt binding
  11. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 9” x 6” rectangle for the pocket back
    ONE 9” x 6½” rectangle for the pocket front
  12. Set aside the insulated fleece; you will layer, quilt, and cut the oven mitt pieces later in the process.
  13. From the standard ⅜” leather lacing, cut the following
    ONE 60” length for the neck loop
    TWO 72” lengths for the waist ties
  14. From the soft ⅛” leather lacing, cut ONE 12” length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Place the corner accents on the apron front

  1. Find the four triangle accents. Press back the long diagonal edge of each piece ½”.
  2. Find the apron front and lay it right side up and flat on your work surface.
  3. Position the Bib Patch accents in the two upper corners and the Waist Patch accents at each outer corner of the waist. Pin in place, aligning the raw edges of the accent pieces with the raw edges of the fabric panel.
  4. Thread the machine with thread to best match the faux leather in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
  5. Edgestitch along the inner folded edge of each accent triangle.
  6. Lengthen the stitch all the way to a full machine basting stitch.
  7. Machine baste along the two outer raw edges of each accent triangle.
  8. Trim the excess accent fabric flush with the side of the apron.

Create the apron double pocket

  1. Find all the pocket pieces: exterior (Numbers) and lining (Ticking) for the pocket front, exterior and lining for the pocket back, the two interfacing pieces, and the zipper.
  2. Place an interfacing piece on the wrong side of each Numbers panel, centering it so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Working first with the pocket front (the slightly taller set), layer the interfaced front and the lining wrong sides together. All raw edges should be flush.
  4. Measure 2½” down from the top raw edge and slice the panel into two pieces.
  5. Press the layers forward ½” along the cut raw edge of both pieces.
  6. This means the lining, the Ticking in our sample, is showing against the front of the pocket panels.
  7. Trim back each fold to ¼”. You can insert a few pins in the folds to keep them secure.
  8. The zipper will add about ½” to the overall height of the pocket. To account for this, trim ¼” from both the top raw edge of the top pocket piece and the bottom raw edge of the bottom pocket piece.
  9. Place two pocket pieces right side up and flat on your work surface once again and spread them apart ½”.
  10. Center the zipper, right side up, bridging the two panels. The zipper tape should completely cover the folded back edges. Pin in place. 
  11.  The zipper teeth should be centered within the ½” opening between the pieces. Below is a vew from the lining side.
  12. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the zipper in the top and bobbin. Set-up the machine for a medium zig zag stitch.
  13. Stitch along either side of the zipper through all the layers, removing the pins as you go.

    NOTE: As with all zipper insertions, when you feel you are approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Raise the presser foot and twist the layers slightly so you can access the pull to move it out of the way of the presser foot. Once clear, drop the presser foot, re-position the layers, and finish the seam. 
  14. Trim any excess zipper tape flush with the side of the pocket panel.
  15. Find the remaining fused Numbers panel and the remaining Ticking panel. Place these two pieces wrong sides together. This is the pocket back.
  16. Place the zippered pocket front and plain back right sides together (Numbers to Numbers). Pin first along the sides to secure the zipper. Then open the zipper and continue pinning around the rest of the pocket.
  17. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the pocket fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch to normal.
  18. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all sides of the pocket through all the layers, pivoting at each corner.
  19. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowances.

    NOTE: The seam allowances are raw inside the pocket, but they are hidden from view. You may choose to finish the seam allowance with your favorite method.
  20. Turn right side out through the open zipper. Use a long, blunt end tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner to gently push out each corner so it is nice and sharp. Press flat.
  21. Length the stitch. Re-thread the machine for the best match to the pocket fabric in the top and bobbin, and edgestitch along the top finished edge of the pocket (only along the top).
  22. Set aside the finished pocket.

Create the bottom pleated panel

  1. Find the WOF x 7” fabric panel, the assembled Pleating Template, and the five shirt buttons. As mentioned above, this bottom panel is designed to looked similar to the tucked front of a fancy dress shirt.
  2. Fold the fabric panel in half to find the exact center.
  3. Unfold the fabric right side up, place the Template at the center line and pin it in place.
  4. Use a fabric pen or pencil to mark the three sets of the lines that make up each pleat.
    NOTE: Remember, you are working on the right side of the fabric. Make sure you use a marking tool that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
  5. In each trio of marked lines, there is one center line (the edge of the fold) and two outer lines (that come together, pinching the fabric to create the pleat).
  6. There are 13 pleats to either side of center.
  7. At each pleating point, pinch the fabric to bring together the outer lines. Then fold over that “pinch” and pin in place. The 13 pleats to the right, fold to the right. The 13 pleats to the left, fold to the left. Pin in place top to bottom.
  8. You will have some excess fabric at either end of your panel.
  9. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  10. Edgestitch each pleat in place from top to bottom. We recommend folding and stitching all 13 pleats on one side, then folding and stitching the entire opposite side.

    NOTE: If you are brand new to pleating and the above steps seem mystifying, take a look at our Knife Pleats tutorial for more information prior to starting.
  11. You will end up with a wider, flat section at the center. This is where the shirt buttons go.
  12. Mark for the five, evenly spaced buttons.
  13. It’s easiest to first find the center of the panel, top to bottom and side to side. Place the first button here. The top and bottom buttons should be 1” from the top and bottom raw edges of the panel. And the remaining two buttons are centered in between, 1¼” apart. The drawing at the top of the instructions also shows this spacing.
  14. Hand stitch each of the five buttons in place with matching thread in a traditional X pattern.
  15. From the center, measure 14½” out to each side and trim away any excess so your accent panel is 29” in width.

Attach the finished bottom panel and add the pocket

  1. Measure to find the exact center point along the bottom raw edge of the apron front. Mark this center point (14½” in from each side).
  2. Place the bottom pleated accent panel right sides together with the main upper apron panel, aligning the center point of the apron panel with the column of buttons on the accent panel. If you have a directional fabric, you are pinning the top raw edge of the accent panel to the bottom raw edge of the apron panel. Pin all the way across.
  3. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  4. Stitch across through both the layers, using a ½” seam allowance.
  5. Fold the accent panel and the seam allowance down and press well.
  6. Lengthen the stitch.
  7. Topstitch just above the the seam within the main apron panel.
  8. Lay the apron right side up and flat on your work surface.
  9. Place the pocket right side up on the apron front. It should sit 2” up from the bottom panel seam and 1” in from the right raw side edge of the apron front. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  10. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the pocket fabric in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch the pocket in place, through all the layers, along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. As shown in our photos, we used our AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feed system throughout this project, which makes dealing with all the layers a snap. If you do not have this option, you may want to hand walk the presser foot across the outer edges of the zipper – or at least go slowly and carefully.

Stitch front to back

  1. Place the apron front and back right sides together and pin all the way around, leaving a 7-8” opening for turning along the left side (the non-pocket side) above the pleating.
  2. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all they way around. Pivot at all the corners and go slowly along the sides to maintain a smooth and even curve. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 7-8” opening.
  4. Generously clip the corners – especially the upper corners with the extra triangle accents.
  5. Turn right side out through the opening. Gently push out all the corners with a long, blunt end tool, like a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner so they are nice and sharp.
  6. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  7. Pin the opening closed.
  8. Re-thread the machine with the thread you used to stitch the corner accents in place (we used a rusty tan to match our faux suede) in the top, and thread to best match the lining in the bobbin (we used black). Lengthen the stitch.
  9. Edgestitch around the entire perimeter of the apron.
  10. Go slowly and carefully to keep an even seam. Because the thread is contrasting, it will be clearly visible around the outer edge.

Add the eyelets and lacing to finish

  1. Find the original corner patterns (waist and bib). Trim along the seam line of the two outer edges, then cut out the hole of the eyelet position.
  2. Place the waist template against the front of the apron at the base of each curved side.
  3. Set the eyelet into the hole to mark the opening.
  4. Cut the opening. We like to add seam sealant to the cut opening.
  5. Set the two waist eyelets.
  6. Repeat to mark and place the two bib eyelets.

    NOTE: If you are brand new to setting metal eyelets (grommets), it’s easy! Check out our full step-by-step tutorial.
  7. Find the 60” length of lacing. Double it and slip the looped end through the left bib grommet.
  8. Feed the tails through the opposite right grommet then tie the tails together into a large knot to secure. This is a great time to try on the apron to get the best fit for the neck loop.
  9. Find the two 72” lengths of lacing. Double each length. As above, slip the looped end through a waist grommet.
  10. Tie the tails of the lacing together with a simple knot. The ties are long enough to simply tie at the back or to loop around and tie in the front as shown on our model above.

Oven Mitt

NOTE: We have done quite a few oven mitts in this style, so our steps here are condensed. If you feel you need additional instructions, check out our full Quilted Oven Mitts tutorial.

  1. From the remaining fabric, cut ONE 15” high x 18” wide rectangle from the Numbers, the Ticking, and the insulted fleece.
  2. Make a sandwich with the fabric panels wrong sides together and the insulated fleece between the layers.
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bobbin. Lengthen the stitch.
  4. Attach a Walking foot if possible or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system.
  5. Draw in quilting guidelines to follow or use lines within the motif as we did. Our quilting runs horizontally along the motif lines that separate the rows of numbers.
  6. Stitch along the lines across the entire panel.
  7. Using the assembled oven mitt pattern, cut ONE with the pattern facing right side up and ONE with the pattern facing right side down. In other words, you need the thumb facing in opposite directions so that when you place the layers right sides together, the thumbs will align. 
  8. Find the leather lacing. Fold it in half. Place the loop on the thumb side of one mitt layer, flush with the raw edge. The lacing should sit 3” down from the top raw edge of the mitt. Pin the loop in place. You may also want to pin the tails in place at the center of the mitt so they stay out of the way of the perimeter stitching.
  9. Place the front and back layers right sides together. Pin all the way around the sides and the curved end. The top straight edge remains open and raw.
  10. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the pinned edge. Go slowly around all the curves. Clip the curves generously to allow for a smooth turn.
  11. Turn the mitt right side out through the open end.
  12. Find the 2½” x 12” faux leather strip. Place the 2½” ends right sides together and stitch together with a ½” seam allowance to create a loop. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
  13. Press up one side of the loop ½”.
  14. Slip the loop over the top raw edges of the oven mitt so the binding and the mitt are right sides together. Align the loop’s seam with one of the side seams of the mitt. Pin in place all around the top.
  15. Re-thread the machine with thread to best matching the binding loop in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  16. Using a ½” seam allowance stitch through all the layers around the top of the mitt. Start and stop your seam at one of the mitt’s side seams.
  17. Bring the binding up and over the raw edges. The folded edge of the binding should now be to the inside of the mitt and should cover the previous seam line. Pin in place.
  18. Hand stitch in place.


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



Comments (4)

jleshop said:
jleshop's picture

what I enjoy about making aprons is how we can make them for the individuals likes.  Like my mom and I being left handed we like a bigger pocket on the left side for our larger items like cell phones or maybe it's for a crafter we can add loops for special tools

DebS said:
DebS's picture

While I'd love one for myself, I can see this as a great Christmas gift. Very nice.

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

@Deb - This set would make an excellent gift. Here’s an idea: Make two, one to give and one to keep!