We’ve always been partial to half aprons. Their smaller size tends to make them inherently more adorable. But this little fella, with its pockets a’plenty, is as hardworking as it is cute. Tie it on, load it up with your favorite notions, and get ready to whip up your next project.
People are often hesitant to use a half apron in the kitchen, feeling they’re left too uncovered – an open target for the next splash or spill. But, when it comes to working on your sewing and craft projects, a half apron is a great option.
We give you all the steps to create our sample apron’s ten pockets, but you can also customize the layout to fit the tools you need closest at hand.
There’s even a handy button-on-and-off pincushion. Use it buttoned at the waist when standing up at your ironing board or a dress form. Take it off to keep within easy reach at your machine or cutting table.
We originally used a bright, bold collection called Half Moon Modern from Moda, an older fabric that is no longer readily available. The sewing-themed accents are a fun addition, but certainly not mandatory. Pick your favorite quilting cotton combo!
With this project, you are sewing through some thick layers, keeping very close to the edge. Our Janome studio machines are both precise and powerful – even when stitching right along the edge! Make sure your machine is up to the task. Practice first on some scrap layers at the same thickness to insure you get the best look.
The main skirt section of the apron finishes at approximately 20” wide x 12” high. The ties extend an additional 29” beyond the edge of the skirt on each side. Since the body of the apron is a simple rectangle, it’s easy to size up or down for your best fit.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the apron base (Novelty Writing in Aqua in our sample)
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the large pocket panel (Butterfly in Red in our sample)
- ¼ yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the small pocket panel (Leaves Aqua in our sample)
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide fabric for the waistband and ties (Scissors Red in our sample)
NOTE: All our recommended cuts are generous enough to fussy cut as needed, and are all based on cutting horizontally (across the 44-45″ width of the fabric) to get the right directional patterns. Take a look at the Getting Started section below for the exact cut sizes. If any of the motifs you choose happen to run vertically on your fabric rather than horizontally, you will need additional fabric. Remember the rule: read first, measure twice, then cut!
- 1 yard of 44″+ wide décor weight fabric for the apron lining: we used a bright white 7oz cotton duck
- ⅓ yard of 44-45″ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
NOTE: If you are unable to find wide interfacing, you can piece two smaller strips together instead.
- 1½ yards or ONE package of ½” piping; we used Wrights Maxi Piping in Scarlett
- Scrap or ¼ yard of coordinating ½” grosgrain ribbon; we used red solid grosgrain
- ¾-1″ key hook: we used a swivel hook in a satin nickel finish
For the detachable pincushion:
- Scrap of print fabric at 4″ x 6½” (Dots Spots in Yellow in our sample)
- Scrap of solid fabric at 3″ x 6″; we used a scrap of muslin
- Scrap of lightweight fusible interfacing at 1½” x 6″; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- ONE decorative button, apx 1 to 1½”; we used a plain white 1″ button
- Handful of polyester fiberfil
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Tissue or wax paper for drawing and stitching pocket divisions; optional
- From the fabric for the main apron panel (Novelty Writing in Aqua in our sample), fussy cut ONE 13″ high x 21″ wide rectangle.
- From the fabric for the large pocket panel (Butterfly in Red in our sample), fussy cut ONE 8″ high x 21″ wide rectangle.
- From the fabric for the small pocket panel (Leaves in Aqua in our sample), fussy cut ONE 5½” high x 21″ wide rectangle.
- From the fabric for the waistband and ties (Scissors in Red in our sample), fussy cut TWO 4″ high x 40″ wide strips.
NOTE: This 4″ width worked perfectly for the cute scissors motif we used, finishing at approximately 1½”. Your strip may need to be slightly wider or thinner with a different motif.
- From the fabric for the apron panel lining (white cotton duck in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 13″ high x 21″ wide rectangle
ONE 8″ high x 21″ wide rectangle
ONE 5½” high x 21″ wide rectangle
- From the fusible interfacing, cut TWO 1½” high x 40″ wide strips
NOTE: As above with the waistband strips, this interfacing width is based on our scissors motif. Your strip may need to be slightly wider or thinner for your chosen motif. Also as noted above in the Supplies section, if you are unable to find wide interfacing, you can cut FOUR strips at 20″ wide and butt them together end to end.
- Cut TWO 21″ lengths from the piping.
- Cut ONE 5″ length from the ribbon.
- We gave you actual cut sizes in the Supplies list above for the optional pincushion, so if you are adding this, your cuts should already be done. If not, simply refer to the list above for the cut sizes.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find both the large and the small pocket panels, the large and small pocket lining pieces, and the two lengths of piping.
- Pin one length of piping to the top of the large pocket panel (Butterfly in Red in our sample). Use your seam gauge to insure the piping cord is ½” from the raw edge of the pocket fabric. This means the piping’s insertion tape is unlikely to be flush with the raw edge of the fabric panel.
- Machine baste the piping in place, using your Zipper foot to stay as close as possible to the edge of the piping insertion fabric (the raw edge of the piping.
- Pin the large pocket lining and the large pocket fabric right sides together, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Still using your Zipper foot, stitch a ½” seam across the top. If you measured correctly when pinning, this ½” seam should stitch right along the piping cord.
- Flip the lining to the back so that the piping stands up straight and the lining and exterior pocket pieces are now wrong sides together. The sides and bottom of the two pieces are flush but still un-sewn.
- Repeat these steps to attach the remaining piping and lining to the small pocket panel (Leaves in Aqua in our sample).
- Press both pocket panels so they are nice and flat.
- Place the 13″ x 21″ main apron panel right side up on your work surface (Novelty Writing in Aqua in our sample).
- Place the finished large pocket panel right side up on top of the main panel. The bottom edge and the sides of the pocket panel should be flush with the main apron panel.
- Place the finished small pocket panel right side up on top of the large pocket panel. The bottom edge and the sides of this pocket panel should also be flush with the main apron panel. The large pocket panel should extend approximately 2½” above the small pocket panel.
- Pin all the layers together.
Drawing the pocket divisions
- We are showing our recommended divisions based on the size of standard patterns and tools. How you divide the pockets can be personalized to your own tools.
- We put wax paper on top of the pockets, drew our sewing lines onto it, stitched through the wax paper and fabric, then simply tore away the wax paper.
- You could also use a fabric pen or pencil to draw in your divisions, but since you are working on the right side of the fabric, make sure you can easily wash or wipe away the lines or that they will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
- The following steps are for our division lines shown in the illustration below.
- There are TWO stitch lines that go from the from the top to the bottom through both panels, but all the other pocket dividing lines stop at the top of the small pocket panel. REMEMBER: you are just drawing right now, not stitching.
- First, fold the pocket panels together to find the exact center. Place a pin at this point, then unfold and draw your first vertical pocket line. This line only goes from the top to the bottom of the small pocket panel
- Next, draw the two double-pocket lines. Draw one line 7″ in from the outside right edge and other line 7″ in from the outside left edge. Both of these lines go from the top of the large pocket to the bottom of both pocket panels.
- All the following lines go only from the top to the bottom of the small pocket panel.
- From the right 7″ line, measure an additional 1½” to the right and draw a parallel line. From that drawn line, measure 1½” again to the right and draw a second parallel line. This gives you two narrow pockets for gauges and pens plus one wider pocket for other tools.
- From the left 7″ line, draw two diagonal lines. We used these for scissor and rotary cutter pockets. The angled pocket keeps the tools more secure and makes them easier to grab. The first diagonal line should be drawn so its bottom point intersects exactly with the bottom of the 7″ line. The pocket is approximately 3½” at its widest point. The second diagonal line should be parallel to the first and approximately 2½” to the left.
Stitching the pocket divisions and adding the main lining panel
- Un-pin the main apron panel (the Novelty Writing in Aqua in our sample) from the layers along the sides of the pockets and the bottom and lift it out of the way (keep it pinned along the top). Remember, as we mentioned above, only TWO of the seams go through all the layers. You need to move the main panel out of the way to stitch the other divisions.
- Thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin. We used red. We also lengthened our stitch for all topstitching.
- Using your drawn lines, topstitch the two diagonal seams, the center seam and the two right side narrow pocket seams. Do not stitch the two tall seams.
- Fold the main apron panel back down into place and re-pin.
- Find the 13″ x 21″ lining panel, the 5″ length of ribbon, and the swivel hook.
- Loop the ribbon through the swivel hook. Place the raw ends of the ribbon approximately 3½” in from the right raw edge along the top of the main apron panel. We positioned the ribbon so it was directly in line with pocket seam below. The raw edges of the ribbon should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric and the hook should be hanging down.
- Machine baste the ribbon in place.
- Place the finished apron front and the apron lining right sides together. Pin around all four sides, leaving a 3-4″ opening along the top for turning.
- Stitch around all four sides, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your stitch at either side of the 3-4″ opening. Stitch back and forth several times over the ribbon that holds the swivel hook to help secure it.
- Clip all corners, being careful to not clip through the seam.
- Turn the apron right side out through the opening. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Re-thread your machine, keeping the contrasting thread in the top (we used red), but replacing the bobbin with thread to match the lining (we used white)
- Topstitch the final two pocket divisions: the two tall seams. Stitching through ALL the layers, including the lining, helps reinforce these two tall seams and holds the front panel and lining together. Press well.
- We added our Sew4Home label to the left edge of the small pocket panel.
Waistband and ties
- Find the two 4″ x 40 waistband/tie strips and the two 1½” x 40 interfacing strips.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the two 4″ x 40″ strips together along one 4″ side. Press seam open.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse one interfacing strip from the center seam all the way to the right end of the strip and the other from the center all the way to the left end of the strip. The interfacing strip should be centered exactly behind the center motif that will be the feature strip of your waistband ties when they are finished.
- Fold the fused strip right sides together and pin together along the one long side.
- Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance. Leave both ends open.
- Turn the strip right side out.
- Roll the strip so the seam is at the back and the motif is perfectly centered on the front. Press flat.
- To finish ends of our ties, we clipped each corner slightly and pressed the raw edge to the back ¼”.
- Then, we folded the end back again to form a triangle. Finally, we edgestitched all around the triangle to secure.
- This is kind of a different finish, but it sure looks cute. You could also simply tuck in the raw edges to form a straight end, and either edgestitch the ends closed by machine or stitch closed by hand.
- To attach the finished waistband/ties to the finished apron, fold the apron in half in find the center. Place the center seam of the waistband/ties at this center point of the apron. The top of the waistband/ties should be flush with the top seam of the apron (in other words, these two finished edges are aligned).
- Make sure your machine is threaded with thread to match the waistband/ties in the top and thread to match the lining in the bobbin.
- Topstitch the waistband in place on the apron. You will stitch it in place with a giant rectangle: all along the top of the apron, in line the the sides of the apron, then across the bottom edge of the wasitband.
- Keep your stitching close to the edge of the waistband/ties along the top and bottom of the waistband and then pivot to stitch the sides staying as close to the edge of the apron as possible.
Optional button-on pincushion
- Hand sew the button to the top center front of the small pocket panel section just to the left of exact center.
- Fold the 3″ x 6″ solid fabric in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 1½” x 6″. Press lightly to form a crease.
- Open up the strip, wrong side up, so the middle crease is visible.
- Place the 1½” x 6″ strip of interfacing on the wrong side of the strip, aligning it with the center crease. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Re-fold the strip right sides together and pin in place. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top and down one side. The opposite end remains open for turning.
- Clip the corner, trim the seams, and turn right side out. Press flat.
- Place the 4″ x 6½” piece right side up on your work surface.
- Place the finished strip on top of it, centering it side to side and aligning the raw edge of the strip with the top (the 4″) raw edge of the fabric piece. Pin in place.
- Fold up the fabric piece so it is now right sides together and 4″ x 3¼”. Pin across the top and along both sides, but leave a small opening on one side for turning.
- Stitch around the three sides, pivoting at the corners. Remember to leave the opening at the center of one side and to lock your stitch on either side of the opening.
- Clip the corners and turn right side out, pulling the tab up and out into position. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Stuff through the opening with the polyester fiberfill to your desired plumpness.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Following your machine’s manual, center a buttonhole in the strip to match the size of the button on the pocket panel.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild