It's coming up on Halloween season and costume shops have started popping up in all sorts of unusual places. Empty store fronts become haunted mansions for a few weeks and then vanish once again. It's appropriately spooky! They have all sizes and shapes of costumes for kids, and there seems to be endless options for buying and making kiddie costumes online. But... what about the grown-ups? If you don't want to be a glamourous vampire, a hot nurse, or Fred Flintstone, you're kinda out of luck. Sometimes, you don't want to get all decked out; you just want a little something fun to wear to go out trick-or-treating with the kids or to answer the door for the ghosts and ghouls. We think our Wicked Halloween Apron is the perfect choice. It's fun to make from pre-cuts, and with the faux front lacing, you'll be the most stylish wicked witch on the block.
This project isn't really difficult, but it does take some concentration to keep track of what is front, back, right and left. Kind of like learning to square dance, only without all the crinoline.
Our original Haunted Halloween Apron was made from pre-cuts. We used Haunted Mansion by Sanae for Moda Fabrics, which is an older collection that is not readily available. In the supply list below, we indicate both the pre-cuts used as well as the fabric required should you not wish to use pre-cuts. Several of the top manufacturers come out with new Halloween collections each season. From this year's offerings, our favorite for this apron is the Chillingsworth collection by Echo Park for Andover Fabrics which we found at Fat Quarter Shop. To see the full collection, click on the sample swatches below.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6600P)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- SIX Fat Quarters; if you are not using pre-cut Fat Quarters, you will need six pieces of 18" x 22" fabric or will need to purchase six ½ yard cuts (the Fat Quarters are indeed the same overal area as a quarter yard, but because of the sizing on the patterns a standard narrow quarter yard cut won't work; you need to bump up to a ½ yard to make sure you have the width and depth required)
- FOUR Layer Cake Squares; if you are not using pre-cut Layer Cake Squares, you will need four pieces of 10" x 10" fabric or will need to purchase four ⅓ yard cuts
- SIX Jelly Roll Strips; if you are not using pre-cut Jelly Rolls, you will need eight 2½" x 44" trips of fabric or scraps or a ½ yard cut, which would be enough to cut all six strips WOF (width of fabric). We used one color for the neck ties (orange) and a combination of two additional colors for the waist ties (purple and green), so two each of three colors, but you could use the same color for all six strips.
- 1½ yards of ⅝" plain grosgrain ribbon: we used black
- All-purpose thread in color to coordinate with the fabrics: we used dark gray
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- 1 skein of embroidery floss to contrast with the fabric: we used black
- Large-eye hand sewing needle
- Download and print the Wicked Apron Bib/Lining Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of FOUR 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together in order to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
- Cut out the assembled pattern along the solid line.
- From THREE of the Fat Quarters (or the 18" x 22" pieces of fabric), you need to cut four pieces for the apron bib and two pockets. We used Purple Wallpaper for the sides of the apron front and the pockets, Green Campfire for the center of the Apron front, and Green/Purple Spider Stripe for the apron bib lining.
- Fold the Lining Fat Quarter (Green/Purple Spider Stripe in our sample) in half (18" x 11"). Using the entire paper pattern piece, cut one lining piece on the fold. It will just fit across the folded piece edge to edge.
- Cut the paper pattern piece along the vertical line as directed on the pattern. We refer to these as the Larger piece (with the curve) and the Smaller piece (the rectangle).
- Fold the Side Front/Pocket Fat Quarter (Purple Wallpaper in our sample) in half (18" x 11"). Using the Larger Apron Bib paper pattern, cut two bib pieces. As shown in the diagram below, you need to mark and cut an extra ½" beyond the long straight side for the seam allowance. From the leftover fabric cut two 6" x 7" rectangles for the pockets.
- Fold the Middle Front Fat Quarter (Green Campfire in our sample) in half (18" x 11"). Using the Smaller rectangular paper pattern, cut one center piece on the fold. As shown in the diagram below, you need to mark and cut an extra ½" beyond the long side opposite the fold for the seam allowance.
- Transfer all pattern markings to your fabric.
- Cut the grosgrain ribbon into 6 9" lengths.
- From the remaining THREE Fat Quarters (or the 18" x 22" pieces of fabric), leave the piece you want for the center panel uncut. We used Purple Forest, running the trees horizontally for a 22" high x 18" wide panel. We figured it was a spooky forest that had fallen down. Cut the other two Fat Quarters in half to create 22" high x 9" wide rectangles. We used Green Wallpaper and Orange Campfire. Both of these are running horizontally as well to create the panel shape we need for a proper skirt length.
- The SIX Jelly Roll strips (or 2½" x 44" strips of fabric) remain uncut.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- We used four Haunted Mansion Layer Cake Squares: Purple Campfire, Orange Spider Web, Green Dots and Black/Purple Dots.
- Pick two pairs and place them right sides together. We paired Purple Campfire with Black/Purple Dots and Orange Spider Web with Green Dots.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides of both pairs.
- Using your ruler, and a rotary cutter if possible, cut diagonally across each sewn square. Clip the two opposite corners.
- You now have four triangles. Turn them right side out. Use a blunt edged tool, like a knitting needle or chopstick, to push out the the bottom point. You want it to be nice and sharp. Press flat. Don't trim off those little 'ears' in the open corners yet.
NOTE: Yes... you did cut through your seam. Not to worry, we'll secure it again when we attach the flounce.
- Overlap the four triangles, matching up the little 'ears' so the raw edges of the triangles are flush, and pin in place.
- Create two lines of gathering stitches along the top of the overlapped flounce. To do this, stitch two lines of machine basting along the entire top edges, through all the layers. Do not back-tack at either end. One line should be approximately 1/8" from the upper edge. The second line should be approximately 3/8" from the upper edge.
NOTE: If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial on Gathering by Machine.
- Set the flounce aside.
Neck and waist ties
- Find your SIX Jelly Roll strips (or your 2½" x 44" strips of fabric). We used TWO strips of Orange Campfire for the neck ties, plus TWO strips of Purple Campfire and TWO strips of Green Campfire for the waist ties.
- Mix and match the strips for the waist ties so you have different colors on the front and back of the ties. We used green for the back and purple for the front.
- Pin the waist tie pairs right sides together, matching all the edges. Place the pairs horizontally on your work surface.
- Make two marks: one 1" in from the top left corner and the other 8" in from the bottom left corner. These are the starting and stopping points for your stitch line. Using a ½" seam allowance, start stitching 1" in, go along the top, pivot and stitch down the short end, pivot again and stitch along the bottom, stopping at the 8" mark.
- Turn right side out and press flat. Remember to gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp.
- Fold in and press the raw edges ½" so they are flush with the sewn seam. The opening along the bottom of the ties will be used to insert the apron's skirt.
- Repeat to create the second tie, but remember... it needs to be a mirror image of the first tie. Mark the dots 1" in from the top right corner and 8" in from the bottom right corner.
- For the neck ties, fold each of the two orange jelly roll strips in half (2½" x 22"), right sides together, and sew across one end and along the long side with a ½"seam. We finished our seams with a serger but you could use a machine sewn finish or leave them raw.
- Turn each strip right side out through the open end and press flat.
NOTE: For fast turning of narrow tube, check out our tutorial: Quick Tip: Tiny Tube Turning With A Hemostat.
- Set all your ties aside.
Apron front with faux lacing
- Find your six lengths of ribbon.
- Find the three fabric pieces you cut for the front of the apron: two side pieces and the middle rectangle.
- Press the middle rectangle so it's nice and flat.
- On this middle rectangle, lightly draw a line ½" in from all sides to indicate the seam allowance.
- Arrange the six ribbon lengths in a criss-cross pattern as shown in the photo below. Play with the spacing until you are satisfied with the balance of your look. Remember, you won't see anything beyond the seam allowance line.
- Stitch down both sides, following your drawn lines, to secure the ribbons. Trim off the excess ribbon close to the seam (but don't trim any of the fabric).
- Pin one apron front side piece to each side of the middle piece, matching the long, straight raw edges.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the layers together with the middle panel on top. That way you can easily see and follow along on top of your previous stitching line (the stitching line you made to secure the ribbons).
- Place the finished apron front and the lining, right sides together.
- Pin from the top edge along the curved arm hole, stopping at the marked dot (this is the dot shown on the paper pattern; you should have transferred this dot from the pattern to your apron front and lining fabric pieces). Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch from the top edge to the dot, locking your seam at the start and at the dot.
- Slip the raw ends of the neck ties between the apron front and lining. Slide them up to and a little past the top raw edges and butt them right up against the stitch line on each side. Pin the ties in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew across the top edge, closing the top and securing the ties.
- Clip the top corners and the curved seam allowances.
- Fold back the lining from the bottom edge of the apron front, revealing the right sides of both the front and the lining. Pin the neck ties out of the way.
- Find the two waist ties. Open up the unsewn ends. With right sides together, match the raw edge of what will be the FRONT side of your tie (the purple side in our sample) with the 'tab' on the bottom front of the apron bodice. Pin and then stitch together with a short vertical seam, using a ½" seam allowance. Repeat to attach the front of the opposite tie to the apron front. You are just stitching the front (the purple) not the back (the green).
- Repeat to stitch the end of the BACK side (the green side in our sample) of the ties to the bottom 'tabs' of the lining. So now you are stitching just the short seam across the back (the green).
- Fold the apron front and lining back together (right sides together), and carefully continue your ½" seam from the dot on curved side to the top of the waist seam.
- When you turn everything right side out, your bodice/tie seams should come together into a nice, neat intersection.
Attach the flounce
- The final step in creating the apron top is to attach the flounce to the bottom front of the apron.
- Pull the basting threads to gather the flounce to fit the the width of the apron top - from tie seam to tie seam.
- Align the raw edges of the flounce with the raw edge of the apron front. Make sure you pull the lining out of the way; you only sew the flounce to the front, not to the lining. The flounce triangles are pointing up towards the apron's bodice and the tips will extend just behind the tie seams. Pin well, and then stitch across the entire flounce, using a ½" seam allowance.
- When you press the flounce down into position, its ½" seam allowance should line up perfectly with the the bottom of the tie.
- However, on the lining side, you'll need to fold up and press the bottom raw edge ½" so that it too is flush with the bottom of the tie.
- Set the apron top aside.
- Find the five pieces that make up the skirt: one full Fat Quarter for the middle, and two half Fat Quarters for each side. Also find the two 6" x 7" pocket pieces.
- To create a pocket, turn under the top edge ¼" and press, turn another ¾", press again, then stitch in place close to the fold. Turn in the remaining three raw edges just a single ¼" and press.
- Repeat for the second pocket. Set both pockets aside.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the skirt panels together along the 22" sides. We stitched ours in the following order: Orange Campfire half, Green Wallpaper half, Purple Forest full, Orange Campfire half, Green Wallpaper half.
- We did a nice finish on all our seam allowances because they will show on the back of the skirt.
- Make a narrow double fold hem along both sides and all along the bottom of the skirt. To do this, fold in the raw edges ¼" and press, then fold in another ¼", press again, and stitch close to the folded edge to secure.
NOTE: If you are new to hemming, we have a good step-by-step tutorial: How To Make A Simple Hem.
- Place your pockets on the front of the finished skirt at an angle across the outside seams. Rotate the pocket so the top opening of each is facing its outside edge. This will make it easy to slip your hands in the pockets. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the pockets in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Thread a large-eye hand sewing needle with embroidery floss.
- Hand-stitch large "Xs" along both sides and across the bottom so the pocket looks like a hobo patch.
- Create two lines of gathering stitches along the top of the skirt. To do this, stitch two lines of machine basting along the entire top edge. Do not back-tack at either end. One line should be approximately ⅛" from the upper edge. The second line should be approximately ⅜" from the upper edge.
- Gather the top of the skirt to approximately 28". Adjust the gathers so they fall evenly side to side. Fold the skirt in half to find the middle, and place a pin at the center point.
- Insert the skirt into the bottom of the apron front/ties unit, matching the center point pin on the skirt to the center point of the apron's faux lacing center panel. You should also be able to line up the skirt panel seams with the waist tie seams.
- Pin in place and stitch close to the fold, through all layers, across the entire apron front and the ties... from tie end to tie end. This closes the tie opening, secures the skirt in place, and attaches the lining to the front all in one seam.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever