We first became aware of Jane Sassaman from her gorgeous ribbons for Renaissance Ribbons. They were like tiny versions of her amazing art quilts, which are appliquéd fabric collages. Since we were already fans, were thrilled to get some samples of Jane’s fabric collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Now we could go big with her unique colors and intricate motifs. In order to cover the largest space, we designed a reversible apron with a flattering crossover bib. Front and back – both in beautiful designs from Nouveau, giving you two unique personalties for your cooking and baking escapades.
Our reversible apron features two of the most vivid fabrics within the collection: Love in the Mist and Wild Orchid, both in the Autumn colorway. These are framed with a lovely repeating wave fabric, Favrile Flow for the ties and binding. As always, you can choose a different favorite fabric to create this apron, and perhaps Nouveau will spark your creativity as perfect for a quilt or garment project you’ve been dreaming of.
We offer a full pattern download below for both the bib and the pocket. If you print the pattern on a slightly see-through paper (or trace it from paper to tissue) it can help you get the same lovely fussy-cut segments that we did, including matching each pocket to its background panel. There are detailed steps below as well as links to our full tutorials on fussy cutting and pattern matching.
The diagonal edges of each bib panel as well as each pocket are bound with an accent fabric, the same fabric used for the ties and waistband. You’ll notice the interesting angles created at the top of the bib where the neck tie, bib, and binding come together. It echoes the classic geometric angles often used in Art Nouveau design.
A single layer of lightweight interfacing is all that’s needed for stabilization thanks for the high quality FreeSpirit quilting cotton. It keeps the shape crisp while still allowing the apron to hug your curves.
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 reversible apron is approximately 17″ wide across the bottom of the bodice, the waist ties are each approximately 33″ long and are attached to either side of the 22” waistband section, the neck ties are each approximately 27″ long, the main skirt length is about 16″, and the bodice is about 9″ high at the highest point at each strap and about 5” high at the center crossover.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Edge Guide foot; optional but helpful as there is quite a bit of edgestitching in this project
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: The yardage listed below for the two main fabrics is enough to create pretty fussy cuts for all the elements: bodice panels, skirt, and matching pocket. If you use a different fabric with a smaller and/or more random motif, you may be able to get away with a yard. As always, we recommend first printing all the pattern pieces and reviewing the Getting Started section to plot out your cuts and insure you’ll have enough.
- 1½ yards of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the bodice side 1, skirt side 1, and pocket side 1; we used the pale blue Love in the Mist in Autumn from the Nouveau collection by Jane Sassaman for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1½ yards of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the bodice side 2, skirt side 2, and pocket side 2; we used the pale green Wild Orchid in Autumn from the Nouveau collection by Jane Sassaman for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the neck ties, waist band and waist ties, and all the binding; we used Favrile Flow in Autumn from the Nouveau collection by Jane Sassaman for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 2 yards of 20”+ lightweight fusible interfacing for the bodice and ties; we used 20” Pellon Shape-Flex
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: our four apron pattern pieces: Apron Bib Part A, Apron Bib Part B, Apron Bib Part C, and Apron Pocket. These have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each of the three pages in this PDF download is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page to confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
- Using the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, butt together (do no overlap) Apron Bib Part A , Part B, and Part C. Tape together to create the full-size Apron Bib pattern. The Apron Pocket is a single pattern piece.
- From EACH OF THE MAIN FABRICS for the bodice, skirt, and pocket, carefully fussy cut the following:
ONE 35” wide x 17″ high rectangle for the skirt
Using the Pocket pattern, cut TWO
We first laid the Pocket pattern in its final position on the cut skirt panel and traced the outer edges of the design onto the paper pattern.
Then, we used this traced pattern to find and align the same area on our remaining fabric to cut a perfectly matching panel. If you’re brand new to this technique, check out our step-by-step tutorial on Matching a Pocket to a Background Panel.
Using the assembled Bib pattern, cut TWO
We picked a dominant motif to center within the Bib pattern. First cutting one side…
… then flipping over the pattern with that first cut to precisely align a matching second cut. Remember, the two sides of the bib are mirror images of one another so you must cut one side with the pattern facing up and one side with the pattern facing down (for each front and back pair).
- From the fabric for the ties and binding, fussy cut the following:
TWO 4” x 28” strips for the neck ties
TWO 2½” x 23” strips for the waistband section
FOUR 2½” x 34½” strips for the waist ties
TWO 2” x 8” strips for the pocket bindings
TWO 2” x 13” strips for the bib bindings
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 1½” x 27” strips for the neck ties
ONE 1½” x 22” strip for the waistband section
TWO 1½“ x 33½” strips for the waist ties
Trim the Pocket pattern along the dotted seam allowance line (three sides only), then use this trimmed pattern to cut TWO
Trim the Bib pattern along the dotted seam allowance line (three sides only), then use this trimmed pattern to cut TWO
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make the neck ties
- Find the two 4” x 28” fabric strips and the two 1½” x 27” interfacing strips. Fold each tie strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press to set a center crease line. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place an interfacing strip on one half of each tie strip. One long side of the interfacing should align with the center crease and there should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on the other three sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Refold along the center crease, but this time fold right sides together. Pin along the long side and one end.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the one end and down the side, pivoting at the corner.
- Clip the corners at the sewn end and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn each tie right side out through the open end. Gently push out the corners they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. Press flat.
NOTE: If you struggle with turning ties right side out, take a look at our tutorial: Turning and Pressing Skinny Straps and Ties.
Make the waistband/waist ties
- Find the six pieces that make up the waistband/waist ties: two 2½” x 23” strips for the waistband section and four 2½” x 34½” strips for the waist ties, as well as the coordinating lengths of interfacing. Break the fabric strips into two sets of three: one waistband strip and two tie strips.
- Center an interfacing strip on the wrong side of each fabric strip on one set so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
NOTE: You could choose to interface both sets of three. The FreeSpirit Nouveau fabric is very high quality and so we opted to use just one layer of interfacing.
- Pin a tie strip to either side of each waistband strip.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each of these four short seams. Press the seam allowances open and flat. You now have two continuous strips, each one 90” in finished length, one interfaced, one plain.
- Place the two lengths rights sides together. The seams should align and all edges should be flush. Find the exact center of the waistband section and mark this point at the top and bottom.
- You will leave a 17” opening along the upper edge of the waistband/tie section for the bib and a 22” opening along the lower edge for the skirt. From your marked center point at the top, measure 8½” to the right and mark that point with two pins, then repeat to measure 8½” to the left and mark that point with two pins. This is the 17” upper opening that will remain unstitched. Repeat to measure 11” to the right and left of center along the lower edge. This is the 22” lower opening that will remain unstitched.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, start at the bottom opening, stitch along one side, pivot at the corner, stitch across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the top opening. Lock your stitch.
- Remove the project from machine. Move to the other end of the top opening. Start stitching again, along the side, pivot at the corner, stitch across the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side to the bottom opening. Lock your stitch.
- Clip the corners at each end and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the center opening. Reach through the opening into the corner points with a blunt-end tool to help smooth out the seam and make a nice point at all corners.
- Press flat, pressing in the raw edges along both the top and bottom openings so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch length. Edgestitch along your finished seams, pivoting at all corners, but still leaving the top and bottom openings free and clear. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot for a precise and even seam.
Make the binding strips
- Find the four binding strips, two at 8” for the pockets and two at 13” for the bib.
- Fold each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease line. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in and press each long side to meet in the middle at the crease.
- Fold in half again along the original crease line and press well to complete your binding.
Create the apron bib
- Find the four apron bib panels and the two coordinating panels of interfacing. Make sure you’ve transferred the marking dots along the top edge of all four panels. These dots will be needed to correctly position the neck ties.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of one set of panels so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along the top edge, the armhole curve, and the bottom — the three sides that will have seams. Along the inner diagonal edge that will be bound, the interfacing is flush with the fabric. It doesn’t matter which pair of panels have the interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place one set of bib panels right side up and flat on your work surface. As with the interfacing, it doesn’t matter which pair you choose to work with.
- Find the two finished neck ties. Align the raw end of one tie along the top short raw edge of each panel. The raw end of the tie is centered between the two dots and the tie is slightly angled as shown in the drawing below. This is what allows the finished ties to angle in towards your neck when worn. Remember that the two halves of the bib are mirror images of each other, which means the angles of the ties should also mirror one another.
- Pin and then machine baste both ties in place.
- Layer the two sets of bib panels right sides together, sandwiching the ties between the layers. Pin across the top and along the armhole curve. The bottom edge and the inner diagonal edge remain un-pinned and un-sewn. Remember to pull the tie out of the way of the seam.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top and along the armhole curve. Remember to pivot at the upper corner.
- Clip the outer corner at the top (don’t clip the inner corner where the binding will go), and generously clip the armhole curve.
- Turn each side of the bib right side out through the open inner edge/bottom. As above, use a long, blunt tool to smooth the curve and push out the upper corner. Press flat.
- Find the two 13” lengths of binding. Slip a binding length over the raw edges of the inner diagonal for each side of the bib.
- The binding should be flush with the bib at the bottom, but at the top there will be about ½” extending beyond the top. At this top end, fold back the raw edge ½” and then cut in the corners at a diagonal as shown in the photo below. This allows a cleaner finish at the end.
- Slip the end of the binding into position. It should intersect with the tie, making a little “V” as shown in the photo below. Adjust the fold of the binding as needed to insure the end of the binding is tight against the bib.
- The bib is reversible so check from both sides.
- With both lengths of binding folded and pinned in place. Edgestitch the binding in place from the bottom up to the top. We switched to a standard Satin Stitch foot, but the Janome Edge Guide foot would be another great option. The stitch length should be slightly lengthened to match your other edgestitching.
- Overlap the two finished bib panels.
- The overlapped width should equal 17”.
- Pin along the bottom and/or machine baste to keep the overlapped panel width secure.
Create and place the pockets
- Both pockets are made in exactly the same manner. We showing the pocket on the Wild Orchid side of our apron.
- Find the two pocket panels and the coordinating panel of interfacing. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of one pocket panel, centering it so the interfacing is flush with the fabric along the diagonal and there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on the other three sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
NOTE: The interfaced side of the pocket will be the side that faces out. Remember that the pocket’s diagonal runs towards the outer edge of the skirt (on each side), so you do have specific front and back panels for each pocket in order to be able to correctly position them.
- Place the interfaced and plain pocket panels right sides together. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. The diagonal edge remains un-pinned and un-sewn.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance. Turn the pocket right side out through the open diagonal top. Gently push out the corners with a blunt tool and press the pocket flat.
- Find one of the 8” lengths of binding. Open up one side. Place the pocket front side up (interfaced side up) and flat on your work surface. Pin the open side of the binding along the pocket’s raw diagonal edge. Center the binding as shown in the photo below so the binding extends beyond the pocket a bit on each end.
- Stitch across the diagonal top of the pocket, following along in the crease line of the unfolded edge.
- Wrap the folded edge of the binding around to the back of the pocket. At each end, wrap the raw end around the side of the pocket, tucking it under the binding to create a clean finish at each end.
- Pin in place across the pocket.
- Lengthen the stitch again to match the other edgestitching and stitch the binding in place.
- Find the appropriate skirt panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- When finished, the pockets are back-to-back on the skirt, which means when you stitch the pockets in place on their appropriate single skirt layer, they are on opposite sides of one another. One one skirt panel, place the pocket 7½” in from the left raw edge and 5½” up from the bottom raw edge. On the second skirt panel, place the pocket 7½” in from the right raw edge and 5½” up from the bottom raw edge. Pin the pocket in place along the straight sides.
- Keeping the lengthened stitch, edgestitch the pocket in place along the straight sides, pivoting at the corner. You should stitch all the way up to and over the binding at each end of the diagonal.
- Repeat to create and place the second pocket on its matching panel in the same manner.
Assemble the skirt panels
- With the pockets secured, place the two skirt panels right sides together, sandwiching the pockets between the layers. All four sides of the two panels should be flush. Pin along the sides and across the bottom.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top remains un-sewn.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open top. Push out the bottom corners with a blunt tool so they are nice and sharp. Press the skirt flat.
- Fold the apron in half to find its center point. Mark with a pin.
- Sew one or two rows of machine basting stitches along the top edge of the apron skirt, spaced approximately ¼” apart.
- Pull the threads to gather the skirt to 22″ wide. Adjust the gathers as needed so they are even from the center point out to either side.
NOTE: We have a full Machine Basting tutorial if you are new to this technique.
Insert bib and skirt into the waistband/ties
- Find the bib and the waistband/ties.
- Insert the completed apron bib into the top opening (the 17″ opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
- Insert the completed apron skirt into the bottom opening (the 22″ opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.
- Make sure your opening is even front to back and securely pinned.
- Re-set for the slightly lengthened stitch you’ve been using throughout.
- Edgestitch the apron bib in place, being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/ties piece. We switched back to our Janome Edge Guide foot.
- Edgestitch the apron skirt in place, again being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/ties.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructions: Debbie Guild