This is a classic apron style, but not one we’ve done before here at S4H. The traditional smock styling means you have coverage both front and back with side ties that allow the apron to fit a wide range of body types. We used the adorable Tula Pink HomeMade fabric collection to give our sample a fabulous sewing theme. Bonus: matching HomeMade jacquard ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons to accent the yoke and pocket.
This apron is sponsored by our friends at Janome America as an example of a fun and functional project that can be sewn on any machine. One of the reasons Sew4Home is an Exclusive Janome Studio is our confidence in the quality and reliability of the Janome line from their entry level models all they way to the top-of-the-line. You can always count on power and precision to get the job done.
Right now, although most Janome dealers are closed, many are offering virtual tours of machines, curbside pickup, and home delivery. Plus, the discounts and promotions are great! If you’ve been following our Sewing is a Real Life Survival Skill series, you know we believe a sewing machine is an appliance every home needs. After all, a sewing machine can help you save money, reduce waste, tap your inner creative, and open up a fun hobby that uses both sides of your brain. Your dishwasher and toaster can’t do all that!
The three main elements that put an apron into the Cobbler category are: 1) full front and back panels, 2) full or partial openings along the sides, and 3) a large pocket.
Thanks to Janome’s sponsorship, we can offer a free download of the complete apron pattern that allows you to cut all the main components of the full front and back panels. Just the front pocket and the ties are straight cuts. You can be confident your finished apron will lay beautifully flat with a lovely soft drape. Our full panels are accented with shoulder ruffles – not necessarily traditional Cobbler style, but super cute just the same!
We opted for full side openings to give the most flexibility to your fit. Cinch them tight and tie a pretty bow or go for a looser feel and simply knot. Either way, once tied, you can leave it that way and slip the apron on and off over your head.
Finally, a full pocket… we have you covered on that one too! Ours finishes at 10” in depth and is the full width of the apron. We divided our main panel into three 7” pockets in order to center three of Tula’s gorgeous sewing machine motifs.
Speaking of Tula… don’t you just love this HomeMade fabric collection for FreeSpirit?! It is available purchase now at your favorite online retailers. Our links below take you to our friends at Fat Quarter Shop. All the designs have Tula’s signature combination of artisan skill, an eye for gorgeous color pairings, and a touch of whimsy. The quality of the quilting cotton is wonderful and is so easy to iron. Love that crisp finish!
We were thrilled to see there are also matching HomeMade ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons! You’ll find sixteen amazing designs in a variety of color palettes. Make sure you check our the special fabric and ribbon bundles and HomeMade Zipper Bag Kits from Renaissance Ribbons. We checked in with our friends there to insure that their gorgeous ribbons would stand up to the frequent laundering an apron gets. Yes! The ribbons are long lasting, with no bleeding, and no change of texture over time. The threads that make up the designs are polyester, so a gentler machine cycle is usually best and we always like to use a pressing cloth and/or lower heat when ironing ribbons.
For cooking, sewing, art projects with the kids, cleaning or sure… making your own shoes as a cobbler, this apron is a comfy way to get full coverage whatever the chore.
As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be one-size-fits-all. The design is made with a pattern and so is a bit more complex with make larger or smaller than an apron made just with straight cuts. Should you wish to try adjusting the pattern, as a reference, the front and back panels are 21” at their widest points (across the center and along the hem), the base of the yoke is the narrowest point at approximately 12”. The length from shoulder seam to hem is 33”. And, each of the four ties is 16”.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the main apron body-exterior; we used Measure Twice in Night from the HomeMade collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the main apron body-lining; we used Cut Once in Night from the HomeMade collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: As mentioned above, you need a minimum 44” in width in order to cut TWO of each of the main body fabrics (exterior and lining).
- ¾ yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the large front pocket lining, all the side ties, and the neck binding, which must be cut on the bias; we used Getting Snippy in Morning from the HomeMade collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: As always with bias binding, we recommend cutting as few strips as possible to create your full required length, reducing the number of visible seams. This is why we are recommending ¾ yard. If you are willing to have more seams within your binding, you can likely get away with ½ yard. Review all the cuts required in the Getting Started section below.
- 1 yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the apron yoke (exterior and lining) and shoulder ruffles; we used Pins and Needles in Morning from the HomeMade collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the large front pocket panel; we used Pedal to the Metal in Night from the HomeMade collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: This amount includes a bit extra to facilitate fussy cutting a large motif.
- 1 yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing for the pocket and yoke; we used Pellon Shape-Flex
- 1 yard of ⅞” ribbon for the yoke accents; we used matching Tula Pink HomeMade ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons – Cut Once in Night
- 1 yard of ⅝” wide ribbon for the pocket accent; we used matching Tula Pink HomeMade ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons – Measure Twice in Night
NOTE: We used two ribbons from the Renaissance Ribbons Night Designer Ribbon Pack, available from Fat Quarter Shop; individual ribbons are also available directly from Renaissance Ribbons.
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- All purpose thread to match ribbon, or use our favorite: invisible monofilament thread to stitch all ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern/Template Downloads
- Download and print out the SEVEN pieces that make up our Apron pattern.These pieces have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each of the SEVEN pages within this PDF is 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 each pattern piece along the solid line.
- The yoke and the shoulder ruffle are each a single pattern piece, each designed to cut on the fold. The main body is made up of FIVE pieces. Following the arrows printed on the individual pieces, butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape to create the full pattern. Once assembled, this section is also meant to be cut on the fold.
NOTE: If you are worried about getting an exact fit when cutting on the fold, you can print out two full pattern sets, assemble as needed, flip over the second element of each set so it is a mirror image, and tape together at the center (what would have been the fold line) to create a full size pattern that can be used to cut flat.
- From the fabric for the main apron body-exterior (Measure Twice in our sample), cut the following:
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO. Remember that you are cutting on the fold if using a half pattern or cutting flat if using a whole pattern.
- From the fabric for the main apron body-lining (Cut Once in our sample), cut the following:
Using the assembled pattern, cut TWO. As above, remember that you are cutting on the fold if using a half pattern or cutting flat if using a whole pattern.
- From the fabric for the large front pocket lining, all the side ties, and the neck binding (Getting Snippy in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 22” wide x 10” high rectangle for the front pocket lining
FOUR 2” x 17” strips for the side ties
Enough 2” strips on the bias to equal 32” for the neck binding
NOTE: As always with bias binding, we recommend cutting as few strips as possible to create your full required length, reducing the number of visible seams. This is why we used a full yard for our cutting. As mentioned above, if you are willing to have more seams within your binding and are working with a smaller cut, simply cut as many lengths as needed to get the 32” in finished length.
- From the fabric for the apron yoke (exterior and lining) and shoulder ruffles (Pins and Needles in our sample), cut the following:
Using the yoke pattern, cut FOUR. As above, remember that you are cutting on the fold if using a half pattern or cutting flat if using a whole pattern.
Using the shoulder ruffle pattern, cut FOUR. As above, remember that you are cutting on the fold if using a half pattern or cutting flat if using a whole pattern.
NOTE: Make sure you transfer the marking dots along the side of the yoke as well as at the ends of the ruffle. You will match up these dots to make sure the shoulder ruffle creates an even curve.
- From the fabric for the large front pocket panel (Pedal to the Metal in our sample), fussy cut ONE 22” wide x 10” high rectangle.
NOTE: As shown, we carefully fussy cut our fabric to perfectly position a large sewing machine motif in what will be the center of each of the three finished pockets.
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 21” x 9” rectangle for the pocket
Using the yoke pattern, but cutting along the seam line rather than the outside edge (but still cutting on the fold), cut TWO.
- From the ⅞” ribbon for the yoke accents (Cut Once in our sample), cut TWO 13” lengths.
- From the ⅝” ribbon for the pocket accent (Measure Twice in our sample), cut ONE 22” length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Prepare the the exterior body
- Find two exterior yoke panels and two yoke interfacing panels.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of each of the exterior yoke panels. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Pin the yoke to the main body of the apron (both the front exterior and the back exterior) right sides together. You are aligning the upper straight edge of the main body of the apron with the lower straight edge of the yoke.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the yoke to the main body of the apron. Remember, you are doing this for both the main body front and the main body back.
- Press the seam allowance up towards the yoke.
- Find the two lengths of ⅞” ribbon.
- Center one length of ribbon over each seam (front yoke/body seam and back yoke/body seam). Pin in place.
- Edgestitch along each side of each ribbon. We like to use invisible monofilament thread in the top and bobbin. You can also re-thread with all purpose thread to best match the ribbon. When stitching ribbons, always stitch in the same direction along each side to prevent wrinkling.
Prepare the lining body
- The front and back of the lining is made in the same manner as the front. The yoke fabric is the same (exterior and lining), but the main body fabric of the lining is different.
- Stitch a lining yoke to the front and the back main body lining panels.
- There is no ribbon on the lining seams. Instead, simply press the seam allowance up toward the yoke. Then on the right side, edgestitch within the yoke just above the seam line. Remember to switch out to matching thread if necessary.
- Pin the completed front and back exterior panels right sides together at the shoulders.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the two shoulder seams then press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Repeat to pin and stitch the completed front and back lining panels together in the same manner.
Make the side ties
- Find the four 2” x 17” strips.
- Fold each strip in half right sides together. Pin in place down the long side and across one end.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch down the long side and across one end.
- Clip the corner and press open the the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open end. Gentle push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
NOTE: If you have trouble turning skinny tubes, we have a good tutorial showing how to do it using a hemostat.
- Press the tie nice and flat.
- Repeat the steps to create all four side ties.
Make the shoulder ruffles
- The shoulder ruffle pattern has a curved side and a straight side. The curved side will be sewn and the straight side will be gathered.
- As mentioned above, make sure you have transferred the corner marks on both the sides of the yoke and both ends of each ruffle. These marks help insure proper placement so the ruffles can be perfectly centered and will curve over the shoulder evenly. We also marked the exact center point of the ruffle as this will align with the shoulder seam of the apron.
- Collect all four ruffle pieces.
- Place them right sides together into two sets of two.
- Pin along the curved edge of each ruffle set.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along the curved edge of each ruffle set.
- Press open the seam allowance of each sewn ruffle.
- Turn each ruffle right side out. Essentially, this means you are just folding along the seamed edge so the two pieces are now wrong sides together. Press flat making sure the straight raw edges are flush.
- Run a gathering stitch from marked point to marked point along the raw straight edges of each ruffle.
Place the ruffles
- Find the exterior apron body, which should be sewn together at the shoulders.
- Open up the body so it is flat. You are working with a lot of fabric at this point. You may want to work on a very large surface, like a table or even the clean floor.
- Confirm the marking dots along each side of the yoke. Line up the dots at either end of the ruffle.
- Then, gently pull the gathering stitch until the ruffle sits flat against the yoke. Pin in place.
- Remember to match up the dots at each end of the ruffle with the dots on the yoke and adjust the ruffles so they are evenly spaced. And, as we mentioned above, we made an additional center point mark on the ruffle that should align with the shoulder seam of the yoke.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ruffle in place along each side of the yoke.
Place the ties
- Using the original pattern, confirm the placement for the side ties on both the front and back main body exterior panels.
- Pin the raw end of each tie in place – two against the front, two against the back. The raw end of the tie should be flush with the raw edge of the main panel and the seam of the tie should be facing down.
- Machine baste each tie in place.
Create and place the front pocket
- Find the exterior pocket panel and the matching piece of interfacing. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the exterior pocket panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Find the lining pocket panel. Place the fused exterior panel and the plain lining panel right sides together. All four raw edges of both layers should be flush. Pin along the top and the bottom. The sides remain open and raw.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top and the bottom of the pocket. Again, the sides remain open and raw.
- Press open the top and bottom seam allowances.
- Turn right side out and press flat.
- Find the 22” length of ⅝” ribbon.
- Pin the ribbon across the top of the pocket panel on the right side of the exterior. The top edge of the ribbon should be flush with the top seam of the pocket. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both sides. As above with the yoke ribbons, we used invisible monofilament thread in the top and bobbin. You can also re-thread with all purpose thread to best match the ribbon. When stitching ribbons, always stitch in the same direction along each side to prevent wrinkling.
- Find the exterior apron body. Open it up flat so you are only working with the front of the apron. At this point, both the front and the back are exactly the same. So you get to pick which side is your favorite to be the front.
- Place the pocket right side up on the apron front. The bottom of the pocket should sit 4½” up from the bottom raw edge of the apron panel. The raw edges of the pocket are flush with the raw side edges of the apron panel.
- Pin the pocket in place along both side edges. You can also machine baste the pocket in place along each side edge for added security.
- The pocket divisions will be stitched through both the exterior and lining layers, so at this point, simply add a few pins through the pocket in the center to help keep it from shifting.
- Now is also a good time to gather up the ties and pin them in place towards the center of the apron so they are out of the way of the final perimeter seam.
Layer front to back and stitch all around
- Once again you’ll need a large flat surface. We simply used a clean floor space.
- Place the lining right side up and completely flat.
- Place the exterior right side down on top of the lining. The ties and the ruffles should be securely basted in place on the exterior so they are now sandwiched between the two layers. The pocket is also sandwiched between the layers.
- Smooth the layers so the perimeter raw edges are flush all around. You want all the edges flush and the layers super duper flat for the very best finish.
- Pin all around. Only the neckline remains unpinned. You’ll turn the apron right side out through the open neckline.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter. Remember to pivot at all the corners and to go slowly around the armhole openings to keep a smooth curve.
- Clip the corners and the curves and press open the seam allowance all around.
- Gently turn the apron right side out through the open neckline.
- Using a long blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, gently push out the corners so they are sharp and smooth all the curves. Press flat… very flat.
Secure the pocket and create the pocket divisions
- Our three pocket sections are each 7” wide. This was based on the cool Tula Pink sewing machine motif we wanted centered in each. You can use our same measurements or create your own pocket sizing.
- Draw in two lines to follow at your marked sections. We also like to add a few pins across the lines to help prevent shifting. Before pinning, do take the time to be extra sure the layers are very flat. Press again if necessary.
- Also pin across the bottom of the pocket.
- Rethread the machine with thread to best match the pocket front in the top and to best match the lining fabric in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch across the bottom of the pocket.
- Topstitch along each of the two drawn pocket division lines.
- For all this pocket stitching, if possible, use a lock stitch to start and end your seams. If you don’t have this feature, leave the thread tails long at the beginning and the end, pull them through to the back and hand knot to secure, trimming the tails close to the knots.
Apply the bias binding to the neckline
- Find the 2” strip(s) of bias binding. If you cut more than one strip, seam them end to end now to create the full length.
NOTE: If you are brand new to working with bias binding, take a look at our tutorial on measuring, cutting, seaming, and more.
- Fold the binding in half, wrong sides together and gently press to set a center crease line.
- Fold in one edge to meet that center crease line. Leave the opposite edge flat.
- Starting at the back of the apron yoke near the shoulder seam, begin pinning the binding along the raw edges of the neckline. Fold back this starting end to help create a clean finish.
- Continue pinning all the way around the neckline. The flat raw edge of the binding should be flush with the raw edges of the neckline and the binding and the apron yoke are right sides together.
- To help ease together the binding and the neckline, you can make some small clips into the neckline.
- When you get back around to your starting point, make sure the tail end is tucked neatly under the fold of the head end.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around the neckline. Go slowly and carefully to keep a smooth and even seam.
- Bring the folded edge of the binding up and around to the inside of the apron, where it should just over the seam line.
- Pin in place, easing and smoothing as you go to maintain the pretty curved line. Hand stitch in place with a neat ladder stitch.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild