If you want a truly hardworking apron, it’s hard to beat oilcloth. It’s durable, easy to clean (great when kids are involved), and the bold designs and bright colors are fun for any occasion – many with a retro feel. As we roll into Spring, you should be able to spot great selections of oilcloth at your favorite online or in-store retailer. The binding, ties, and pocket lining are made from standard quilting cotton in coordinating petite prints.
Oilcloth was originally made by treating canvas fabric with multiple coats of linseed oil. Today, oilcloth is a printed vinyl bonded to a cotton mesh base. It’s fairly thick and the back is a bit rough – almost like a canvas.
We have a full, step-by-step tutorial with lots of great tips and techniques for sewing with oilcloth, laminated cottons, and other “sticky stuff.” Take a look prior to starting this project to learn about the best needles (16 Jeans is our favorite), the best way to hold layers in place (we like using Wonder Clips), as well as stitch length suggestions, pressing tips, and more.
Our apron features a handy front pocket, and both the pocket and the entire body of the apron are bound with a coordinating cotton adding to the bright and happy feel. The pocket is also lined with the same cotton so you don’t have to worry about the surface of the apron body sticking to the pocket.
We show you how to cut, fold, and attach all the binding with your sewing machine; no hand sewing needed! It’s a very fast and easy project – perfect for gift giving.
Make an adult/child set in matching prints or mix it up. There are so many great choices, you can find just the right combination for everyone. Thanks to the wipe-clean surface, oilcloth aprons are perfect for cooking, crafting, painting, and more.
If you become an oilcloth fan, below are links for a few other Sew4Home projects that would be fun to try.
As with store-bought aprons, our designs are meant to be one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to adjust your measurements smaller or larger. In addition, since kids grow at such different rates, it’s hard to give an exact size range for our child’s pattern, but in general, this apron should fit most children aged approximately 4 – 9 years.
Use the illustrations below, which show finished dimensions, as your best reference for sizing up or down. The pattern pieces will still be applicable as you size up or down in small increments, but if you go quite a bit larger or smaller, you may need to alter these patterns as well as the positioning of the neck and waist ties for the best look and fit.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Ultra Glide foot or similar Teflon® style foot; optional but very helpful for sewing on the right side of the oilcloth; we used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on our Janome Skyline S7 – if you have this system or similar, it’s another good option as is a standard Walking or Even Feed foot
- Jeans or Denim Needle – Size 16
Fabric and Other Supplies
For the Adult Size Apron
- 1 yard of 47″+ wide oilcloth
- 1 yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the neck and waist ties and the pocket lining
For the Kid Size Apron
- ¾ yard of 47″+ wide oilcloth
- 1 yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for neck and waist ties and the pocket lining
For either apron
NOTE: As mentioned above, check out our full tutorial about sewing on laminates, oilcloth, and vinyl for all our tips and techniques.
- All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match the cotton fabric
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pencil or pen
- Straight pins or clips; we used Wonder Clips
- Iron and ironing board; with a pressing cloth, you can lightly iron from the back of the oilcloth and, of course, you can press the cotton fabric without a pressing cloth
Getting Started & Pattern Downloads
- Download and print out one or both of the apron pattern sets: Child’s Oilcloth Apron and/or Adult’s Oilcloth Apron.
IMPORTANT: The Child’s pattern consists of FIVE 8½” x 11″ sheets and the Adult’s pattern consists of THREE 8½” x 11″ sheets. Both patterns have been bundled into single PDF files to make the download easier. You must print these PDFs at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid outer lines.
- Butt the pieces together, using the printed arrows as your guide, in order to create the four-piece full Child’s pattern and the two-piece Adult’s bib pattern. Do NOT overlap the pieces. Tape together. Both pocket patterns are single pieces as is the Adult’s corner curve template.
For the Adult Size Apron
- From the oilcloth, cut ONE 26” wide x 30½” high rectangle.
- Fold this rectangle in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 13” x 30½”. Place the assembled Bib pattern in the upper right corner of the folded piece, aligning the top and side edges of the pattern with the top and side edges of the folded oilcloth (the corner with the raw edges, not the folded corner). Clip in place.
- Cut along the inner curved line through both layers.
- At the bottom right corner, place the corner curve template, aligning the bottom and side edges of the pattern with the bottom and side edges of the folded oilcloth (the corner with the raw edges, not the folded corner). Clip in place. Cut along the inner curve through both layers.
- From the remaining oilcloth, use the pocket pattern to cut ONE on the fold.
- From the cotton fabric, cut the following:
TWO 3” x 34” strips for the waist ties
TWO 3” x 29” strips for the neck ties
Enough 2½” strips on the bias to equal approximately 138” in finished length (101” for the body of the apron and 37” for the pocket)
NOTE: If you are new to cutting bias strips, check out our bias binding tutorial for more information.
Using the pocket pattern, cut ONE on the fold.
For the Child Size Apron
- Fold the full oilcloth yardage in half, wrong sides together. Place the assembled apron pattern along the fold, clip in place, and cut all around (of course, do not cut the fold).
- From the remaining oilcloth, use the pocket pattern to cut ONE.
- From the cotton fabric, cut the following:
TWO 3” x 21” strips for the waist ties
TWO 3” x 19” strips for the neck ties
Enough 2½” strips on the bias to equal approximately 105” in finished length (76” for the body of the apron and 29” for the pocket)
Using the pocket pattern, cut ONE.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE: The construction steps are the same for either size apron. We show some steps from both sizes below.
Create the binding
- Find all your bias strips. Stitch them together end-to-end to create the finished long length. To do this, overlap the ends at a right angle and pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Press the seam allowance open and flat. Repeat as necessary to stitch together all the lengths.
- Fold the finished long strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease line. Open up the strip, wrong side up and flat, so the crease line is visible.
- Fold in the sides of the finished strip so they approach but do not quite meet at the center crease line. One side should be folded all the way in so it aligns with the center crease. The opposite side should be folded just shy (about ⅛”) of the center crease. Press well.
Bind the pocket
- Find the oilcloth pocket piece and the cotton pocket lining piece. Place these two pieces wrong sides together.
- Cut a length of binding to fit the perimeter of the pocket plus about 1” – 2” for an overlap to finish. This will be an approximate 29” length for the Child’s apron and an approximately 37” length for the Adult’s apron.
- Un-fold the wider side of the bias binding (the side that you folded all the way in to align with the center crease). Leave the opposite fold in place.
- Starting at the center bottom of the pocket, align the raw, un-folded edge of the binding with the raw edge of the pocket layers. Fold back the very end of the binding about ½” to start.
- Pin or clip the binding all the way around the pocket, curving around the rounded corners. We opted to use pins for our binding since we were working with both cotton and oilcloth.
- When fully pinned in place, thread the machine with thread to best match the binding fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch the binding in place, running your seam along the binding’s crease line.
- When you are about 2” from your starting point, stop with your needle in the down position. Trim away excess so you have an approximate 1” tail. Overlap the folded starting point with this flat end as shown in the photo below. When wrapped around to the lining side, this will create a clean finish.
- Finish the seam across this overlap.
- Although the bias-cut binding curves nicely on its own, you may also want to clip around the corners for the smoothest curves.
- We’ve included some additional shots of the adult size pocket to further explain the easy process of starting at the bottom center…
- … pinning around the perimeter through both layers…
- … and stitching all around, along the crease line, to overlap the starting point.
- Wrap the folded edge of the binding around to the back, keeping the smooth curves at the bottom corners and making a pretty diagonal fold at each upper corner. The folded edge of the binding should wrap around and cover the original seam by about ⅛”. Pin or clip in place.
- Check the wrap from the front to insure you have smooth curves and sharp upper corner points.
- Stitch the binding in place from the front of the pocket, running your seam directly on top of the previous stitching line (also known as “stitching in the ditch). This seam catches the binding along the back, which is why it’s so important that your folded edge evenly covers the seam on the lining side of the pocket.
Create and place the ties
- Find the four tie strips: two for the neck and two for the waist.
- Fold each strip in half, right sides together, so each is now 1½” wide.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the side and across one end. The opposite end is open and raw.
- Clip the corners. Press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open end and press flat.
NOTE: We have a good tutorial on turning and pressing tiny strips if you are new to this technique.
- Lengthen the stitch slightly.
- Edgestitch along both sides of each strip and across the one finished end.
- Find the apron, fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. On the adult apron, measure 3½” from the center fold and place the inside edge of the tie in position at this 3½” mark. The raw end of the tie should be flush with the raw edge of the oilcloth. Pin or clip in place.
- Flip to align and place the opposite neck tie.
- On the child’s apron, measure just 3” from center for the tie placement.
- The waist ties sit ½” below the bottom curve the apron bib on either size.
- This position can also be determined by measuring 19” up from the bottom raw edge on the adult apron and 14” up from the bottom raw edge of the child apron. Pin the two waist ties in place. You can also baste the ties in place for added security.
- Pull the finished ends of the ties towards the center of the apron so they are well out of the way of the binding seam. You can even tape them in place against the oilcloth.
Bind the body of the apron
- The apron is bound in the same way as the pocket. Start at the center bottom of the apron, with the binding opened up along the wider side and with the starting end folded back ½”. Pin in place around the entire perimeter.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Stitch in place along the crease, trimming and overlapping the raw tail of the binding about 1” over the folded-back head of the binding.
- You are also securing the four ties in place with this stitching. For extra security, you can double stitch over the each tie.
- Go slowly around the bottom curves to keep your stitching smooth and even.
- As you did above with the pocket, you can clip the binding along the curves of the apron for an even smoother fit.
- Wrap the folded edge of the binding around to the back and pin or clip in place, making sure you’ve covered the original seam by about ⅛”.
- Stitch in the ditch from the front of the apron to secure the binding.
Secure the ties in position and place the pocket
- Bring each tie out into position, which means it will lay over the top of the binding.
- Stitch each tie in place with a single, short vertical seam.
- Find the pocket. Place it on the right side of the apron. It should be centered side to side and in line with the waist ties as shown.
- Lengthen the stitch slightly.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along the sides and around the bottom.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild