Reversible Summer Apron
I think more things in life should be reversible. Having a string of bad luck? Flip it over, and win the lottery. Say something stupid to your best friend? Turn it inside out, and it never happened. Wake up to gray and rainy day for your family picnic? Reverse it to blue skies and sunshine. Sounds good, don’t you think? Although I can’t promise these awesome life swaps, I can guarantee you’ll love this reversible apron.
Our design calls for three bright, bold prints. Cotton canvas, cotton duck or even outdoor fabric would all be good choices for construction. From cooking at the barbecue to gardening in the flower boxes, this apron is both hardworking and good-looking. One side boasts deep horizontal pockets across the front. We used flat felled seams for a pretty finish front to back.
The other side is one continuous print with the ties adding pops of extra color at the neck and waist.
Because it’s from S4H, you know it’s fast and easy. Make one for yourself, and one (or more) as gifts. There’s a free downloadable template for the armhole cutouts.
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 is approximately 32″ high x 31″ wide with 36″ waist ties and an 18″ neck tie that is adjustable with a pair of D-rings.
The original fabrics used for our samples are from older collections that are no longer readily available, but pretty new options come out every season. Choose your favorites!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful for precise topstitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: The yardages shown below allow a bit extra in order to allow for some precise fussy cutting. If you feel super-duper confident with your cutting, take a look at the Getting Started section below for the actual cut sizes and reduce the fabric amounts to the minimums you feel you can work with. In addition: take a look at images of the finished samples above to understand the perspective of each panel. We cut along the width of fabric (WOF) for the most efficient use of our yardage. If you have a very strong vertical motif, you may need additional fabric.
- 1½ yard of 44″+ wide cotton canvas, cotton duck or similar for the center front accent panel and all the ties; the dot in our sample
- 1½ yard of 44″+ wide cotton canvas, cotton duck or similar for the front side panels and pocket: the stripe in our sample
- 1½ yard of 44″+ wide cotton canvas or cotton duck fabric for the back: the hexagon in our sample
- TWO 2″ D rings
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- One additional all-purpose thread in an accent color for topstitching; we used a dark purple
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
- Download and print out the Apron Cut Out Part 1 and Apron Cut Out Part 2 templates. These two templates have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each template prints as 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.
- Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Butt the pieces together at the arrows as indicated on the templates. Do not overlap. Tape together to form the complete template.
- From the fabric for the apron front center section and ties (the dot in our sample), fussy cut the following:
ONE 11¼” x 32″ rectangle
TWO 4″ x 37″ strips for the waist ties
ONE 4″ x 22″ strip for the neck tie
ONE 4″ x 2″ rectangle for the D ring loop
NOTE: For the very best look, all your pieces should be carefully fussy cut. The drawing below shows you how we measured our cuts to get the perfectly centered dots.
- From the fabric for the apron front sides and pocket (the stripe in our sample), fussy cut the following:
TWO 11″ x 32″ rectangles
ONE 32″ x 17″ rectangle
NOTE: The extra yardage listed above allowed us to cut the 11″ wide x 32″ high rectangles to feature a vertical stripe for the side panels, and the 32″ wide x 17″ high rectangle to feature a horizontal stripe for the pocket. As mentioned above, map out your cuts first to make the best use of your yardage and to best match your motif.
- From the fabric for the apron back (the hexagon in our sample), fussy cut ONE 32″ x 32″ square.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the apron center panel and the two apron side panels.
- Pin an apron side panel right sides together on either side of the center panel.
- Stitch together, using a ⅝” seam allowance.
- Finish both seams with an inside flat felled seam technique. We used our purple accent thread for the topstitching on our flat felled seams.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Make Flat Felled Seams.
- Place the sewn apron front right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Use the armhole pattern to cut the armhole curve from both sides. You’ll cut one side with the pattern facing right side up and the other side with the pattern facing right side down. There are markings on the pattern to follow as well.
Make and place the apron pocket
- Find the 32″ x 17″ pocket rectangle. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 32 x 8½”.
- Pin in place across the bottom raw edges.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the bottom only. Both sides remain open.
- Turn right side out through one of the side openings and press flat.
- The apron front should still be laying flat and right side up on your work surface.
- Find the center of the pocket. It should be 16″ from each side. Measure, or simply fold the pocket in half and place a pin at the center point.
- Place the pocket on the apron front. The top edge of the pocket should sit 3” down from the bottom corner of each armhole cut-out. The center point mark of the pocket should be at the exact middle of the apron’s center panel. Pin in place.
- Mark and draw a vertical line at the center point with a fabric pen or pencil. Measure 8″ to the left of this center line and draw another vertical line. Measure 8″ to the right of the center line and draw a third vertical line.
- Using the drawn lines as guides, topstitch along each through all the layers. For the neatest look, lock your stitch at the beginning and end rather than using a back tack. However, if you are super careful to stitch directly over your seam line, a back tack would work equally well and could be stronger at these pocket stress points.
NOTE: You are working on the front of your apron; make sure our fabric pen/pencil is easy to wipe away or designed to vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- If possible, attach a Quarter Inch Seam foot. Using a ¼” seam allowance, topstitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
NOTE: For all the apron topstitching, we used the same purple accent thread as we did for our flat felled seams.
Make and place all the ties
- Find the two 4″ x 37″ strips for the waist ties and the one 4″ x 22″ strip for the neck tie.
- Fold all the strips in half right sides together so they are now 2″ by the appropriate length.
- On each of these three ties, using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch one end and the long side. Leave the opposite end open for turning. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn these three skinny tubes right side out. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. A long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well. Press flat.
- Find the 4″ x 2″ loop piece. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 2″ x 2″.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew along the side only; leave both ends open.
- Turn right side out and press flat.
- Place the apron front flat and right side up on your work surface.
- Place the ties on the apron front. One waist tie should be pinned at each raw side edge of the apron front, ½” below the bottom of the arm hole curve.
- The neck tie should be pinned at the top upper left (left – looking down at the apron on your work surface) of the apron bib, ½” in from the left side.
- The D-rings’ loop should be pinned at the top upper right, ½” in from the right side. Thread both D-rings onto the loop. Fold the loop in half. Pin the raw edges of the loop in place so they are flush with the top raw edge of the apron.
- All ends of the ties should be flush with the raw edges of the apron front. Lightly pin the tails of the ties to the middle of the apron to keep them out of the way of the final seam.
Cut the back and layer front to back
- As you did with the apron front, use the armhole pattern to cut armhole curves from both upper corners of the 32″ x 32″ apron back piece.
- Place the apron back right sides together with the apron front, sandwiching the ties between the layers.
- Pin well, making sure your ties don’t shift position. If you are unsure of your pinning accuracy, you could baste the ties in place prior to layering the back with the front.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around the apron, leaving a 5-6″ opening along the bottom edge for turning. Make sure you lock your stitch at either side of the opening. Backstitch over each of the ties for extra stability. Go slowly to keep your arm hole curve nice and even.
- When done, clip all the corners and the curves.
- Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Gently push out and square all the corners. Press flat, pressing in the seam allowance at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam.
- If desired, re-thread your machine with contrasting thread for the final stitching. We again used our purple thread.
- Edgestitch around the entire apron. We used our Quarter Inch Seam foot again for a consistent line. This also closes the opening used for turning and helps hold the front to the back so the apron layers stay flat against one another.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild
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What a great apron. This Sunday, April 30, 2023 the KCRW Pie Fest is returning to UCLA. There are six categories of pies and many entries. They are having something new, an Apron Contest. Wish I could be there. This apron looks like a winner. I hope to sew it in advance.
Thanks, Jane — this apron AND pie both sound like excellent ideas!