Our beginner-friendly Rosalie Apron is named after S4H Studio Kitty, Rosalie Madeline – a nod to the cute Here Kitty Kitty fabric by Cori Dantini for FreeSpirit Fabrics. The apron is as soft and light as a cat’s whiskers with no added interfacing, allowing it to wrap and tie for a super comfy fit. When you work with quality fabric, you notice the difference not only in the way it feels, but also in the way it cuts and sews, as well as how it wears when finished.
You’ll find this construction process fast and easy for all skill levels. If you are just starting out, an apron is a great introduction to a number of techniques that translate well to future garment sewing projects, like clipping curves, gathering, Piping, and hemming.
Although a basic project, we opted to use the top-of-the-line Janome Continental M17. We may not have taken advantage of all the amazing embroidery, stitching, and quilting features; but we still enjoyed its precise fabric handling and being able to spread out across the seamless, uninterrupted, all-metal flatbed with 13½” to the right of the Needle – excellent for working with the apron’s skirt panel. If you haven’t had a chance to see or sew with the CM17, it’s worth a trip to your local Janome Dealer. Or, check out some of the videos online to get an overview of all it can do.
One of the unique touches on this apron is how both the neck ties and waistband/waist ties do double duty. They are, of course, ties to hold the apron in place, but they are also Binding for the apron bib as well as the Seam that attaches the bib to the skirt. This distinctive front-facing Seam allowance connecting the two pieces allows for a clean Finish at the back of the apron, and because the center Binding is one, long strip, it creates a continuous line from end to end. The extra long ties are meant to wrap around and secure in front.
You’ll create your own custom Binding rather than using commercial Bias Binding. By doing this, you can get a perfect color match and the Binding can be wider than traditional packaged Binding. We also show you a quick folding tip to make sure the ends of all the ties are sharp and clean.
When selecting the solid fabric you’ll use for the ties, bib Lining, and pocket Lining; look for a color within your fabric’s motif that is strong accent. Don’t necessarily choose the most dominate color; instead, look for one that highlights the motifs, perhaps as an outline or connecting flourish. If our motif, we picked out the black elements surrounding each of the drawings. This should also be the color you use for the pocket Piping. The thin ties and narrow Piping echo the delicate black drawings within our fabric’s design.
A free pattern download is offered below for the apron bib and for two different pocket options: a Cat Pocket and a Plain Pocket. Upon Rosalie’s request, we naturally went with the Cat Pocket, which she determined was the purrrrrrrfect choice!
There is both edgestitching and topstitching throughout the construction, and we encourage you to break out your favorite specialty presser feet to give you the best control. Our choice was one a simple one: the Janome Satin stitch foot. The width of the foot gave us several edges to choose from as guides, and because the foot is see-though, it was easy to keep our seams straight and true. Other Janome presser foot options to consider include: the Edge Guide foot, Bi-Level foot, Sliding Guide foot, Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set, and the Ditch Quilting foot. Changing your presser foot is one of the fastest, easiest ways to insure a professional Finish.
Our thanks to Janome America for their support of this project and many of the other most popular projects across the S4H site. To understand first-Hand why we are a Janome Exclusive studio, we invite you to visit a local Janome dealer for an in-person test stitch on the machines we consider to be the best in the industry. To find out more, visit the Janome website and follow them on social media.
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, the waistband of this apron is approximately 19″ across the top of the skirt, the waist ties are each approximately 41″ long and meant to wraparound, the skirt length is 17″, the bottom of the skirt flares out to approximately 38”, and the bib is about 10″ wide across the top, widening out to 16” across the bottom and is approximately 10″ high through the center.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot; to attach Piping
- Satin stitch foot; our choice for the precise topstitching – other options include the Edge Guide foot and the Bi-Level foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 – 1½ yards* of 44”+ quilting weight cotton for the apron bib front, pocket fronts, and skirt; we used Large Cat Mom in Aqua from the Here Kitty Kitty collection by Cori Dantini for FreeSpirit Fabrics
NOTE: The recommended amount is shown as a range; it will be dependent on the size of your fabric’s motif and your decision whether or not to Fussy cut your pieces. One yard is the minimum required. If your fabric has a larger motif you plan to Fussy cut (as we did) plan on getting a 1½ yards.
- 1 yard of 44” + quilting weight cotton in a coordinating solid for the bib Lining, both pocket linings, and all the ties; we used a Black Kona cotton; as mentioned above, choosing a solid that picks up one of the subtle colors in your fabric’s motif is a good way to go – we chose the the black that is used throughout the Cat Mom illustrations
NOTE: In this case, the minimum required is ¾ yard, but that would require very precise cutting of all your ties. By getting a full yard, you have a bit extra in case a do-over is needed.
- 2 yards of standard packaged Piping; we used black
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- 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 Download
- Download and print the THREE pattern pieces: Apron Bib, Cat Pocket, and Alt Plain Pocket, which have been bundled into ONE 6-page PDF to make the download easier. Note that the Apron Bib is designed to be cut on the fold. Of course, you only need one pocket option, so you can certainly choose to skip printing the two pages of the option you do not want.
IMPORTANT: You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There are guide rules on each of the six pages to confirm your print out is to size.
- Cut out each of the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
- Find the two pieces that make up the Apron Bib. Using the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, butt them together (do no overlap) and tape together to create the full-size pattern that is designed to be cut on the fold.
- Repeat to assemble the two pieces that make up each pocket pattern. As mentioned, you need only print and assemble the pocket shape you wish to use. We used the Cat Pocket.
- From the fabric for the apron bib front, pocket fronts, and skirt (Large Cat Mom in our sample), Fussy cut the following:
ONE 40” wide x 20” high panel for the skirt
From the assembled bib pattern, cut ONE on the fold
From the assembled pocket pattern, cut TWO – we recommend fussy cutting all the pieces, but centering a cute motif on each pocket is especially cute
- From the fabric for the bib Lining, both pocket linings, and all the ties (black cotton in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 3” x 33” strips for the neck ties
TWO 3” x 42 strips for the outer waist ties
ONE 3” x 20” strip for the center waistband section
From the assembled bib pattern, cut ONE on the fold
From the assembled pocket pattern, cut TWO
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the ties
- Find the three strips that make up the waistband and waist ties. Pin a 42” waist tie to either end of the 20” waistband section.
- Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch each of the two short seams to join the strips.
- Press each Seam allowance open and flat.
- Fold the entire long strip in half, wrong sides together. Press well to set a center crease line.
- Open the strip Wrong side up so the center crease line is visible and Press in each long Raw edge to align with that center crease.
- Repeat these steps with the two 33” strips for the neck ties.
Create the bib with the bound sides/ties
- Find the two bib panels: the front and the Lining. Place the two panels right sides together. All the raw edges should be flush. Pin just along the top curved edge.
- Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch just along the top curved edge.
- Clip the curve and Press open the Seam allowance.
- Turn the layers so they are now wrong sides together. The raw edges should still be flush along the sides and bottom and the top Seam should be straight – you don’t want to see any of the Lining rolling forward. Press flat.
- Find the two neck tie Binding strips you created above. Open up one Binding strip so the center crease line is visible. Slip the raw side edge of the bib into the Binding so those raw edges sit right up against the center crease line.
- Fold along the center crease line to wrap the Binding around the Raw edge. The bottom Raw edge of the Binding should be flush with the bottom Raw edge of the bib; the top of the Binding extends up beyond the bib, becoming the neck tie. Make sure the Binding is even at both the front and back, which means that center crease line should run right along the side of the bib.
- Pin in place along the bib, continuing pinning all the way to the end of the tie.
- For an extra clean Finish at the end of the tie, open up the Binding and fold in each side at a diagonal, creating a little point.
- Fold down the point so it aligns with the center line of the Binding.
- Then, re-fold along the original center crease line to create the sharp, square Finish to the end.
- Repeat to pin the remaining Binding strip along the opposite side of the bib.
- Make sure the machine is threaded with Thread to best match the Binding fabric in the top and Bobbin. We switched to our Janome Satin stitch foot for the best view of the Binding through the presser foot. We moved the Needle all the way to the left for a precise line of edgestitching and slightly lengthened our stitch to 3.5.
- Along each side, stitch from the bottom of the bib, up the side, and continue all the way to the end of the tie. Stop and pivot at the top cover to stitch across the end of the tie. Lock your stitch. Go slowly and carefully to make sure you are catching both the front and back edge of the Binding in the Seam.
- Repeat to stitch the opposite Binding in place.
Hem the skirt panel
- Find the main skirt panel.
- Along each side, make a ½” double turn Hem. To do this, fold back each raw side edge ½” and Press. Then, fold back again another ½”, enclosing the Raw edge in this double fold. Press well and pin.
- Along the bottom make a 2” double turn Hem. To do this, fold back the raw bottom edge ½” and Press. Then, fold back again another 2”, enclosing the Raw edge in the double fold. Press well and pin.
- The hems should meet at a right angle at each bottom corner.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the main skirt fabric in the top and Bobbin. Re-set for a standard Stitch length. We continued using our Janome Satin stitch foot.
- Stitch the hems in place along each side and across the bottom. For all these seams, your stitching should be close to the inner fold of each Hem.
Create the pockets
- Find the two sets of pocket panels (front and Lining panels for each pocket) and the Piping.
- Cut the Piping into two 1 yard lengths. This is a bit more than is absolutely necessary, but it is always easier to work with a little extra length.
- Pin the Piping to the perimeter of each pocket front.
- We recommend your start/end point be just above the bottom of the pocket along one side. This keeps the finishing joint away from any of the important points of the pocket that give the pocket its unique shape.
NOTE: The width of your Piping’s insertion tape (the part of the Piping the extends from the Piping cord) may vary, but it is likely you will need to place the Piping a bit in from the Raw edge of the pocket. Ours sat in about ⅛ “. When figuring your placement, the main thing to keep in mind is that the Seam allowance attaching the pocket front to the pocket Lining should be at least ⅜” – ½” so you need at least that much room from the Raw edge of the fabric to the Piping cord.
- Start with approximately 1” free at the head and continue pinning around the entire perimeter of the pocket. If necessary, you can clip into the piping’s raw edges a little bit to help it ease around the curves and the points of the “ears” if you’ve chosen the kitty pocket.
- When you get back to your starting point, the ends of the piping should overlap about 1”. Trim away any excess over that amount.
- With a seam ripper, open up the piping fabric on the tail end. Pull back the fabric to expose the cording inside. Cut the cording only, not the fabric, so the tail of the cording is even with the head of the cording.
- Pull the fabric portion of the tail back into place over the Cording and fold under the raw edge ½” to create a clean edge.
- Wrap the folded fabric of the tail around the head, enclosing the matched ends of the cording. Pin in place.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the Piping in the top and Bobbin. Re-set for a basting Stitch length. Switch to a Zipper foot.
- Baste the Piping in place around the entire perimeter, running this Seam close to the Piping cord.
- Repeat to attach the Piping to the second pocket front.
NOTE: If you are new to Piping, we have a full tutorial you can review prior to starting the project.
- Layer each pocket front with a pocket Lining panel, sandwiching the Piping between the layers. All raw edges should be flush. Pin all around, leaving an approximate 2” opening along one outside straight edge.
- Re-set for a standard Stitch length. Continue using the Zipper foot.
- Stitch around the perimeter. Your Seam allowance should be approximately ⅜” – ½” – the goal is to run this Seam right along, but not on, the Piping cord, just as you did above when basting the Piping in place. Remember to lock your Seam on either side of the 2” opening.
- Clip the curves and Press open the Seam allowance, similarly to how you did above with the top of the apron bib.
- Turn each pocket Right side out through its opening.
- Place each pocket on the hemmed skirt panel. The top of each pocket should sit 5½” down from the upper Raw edge of the skirt panel and 8” in from the hemmed side edge. Lightly pin in place.
- Find the original paper pocket pattern and Trim it along the dotted Seam allowance line. Place the paper pattern on top of the pinned-in-place pocket. Using Pins and a fabric pen or pencil, mark each of the large dots near the top corners of the pocket. These marks will be the start and stop points for your final edgestitching.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the pocket front/skirt fabric in the top and Bobbin. Re-set for a slightly lengthened stitch. We continued to use our Zipper foot, switching the Needle position to the Right side of the foot to allow us to trace the edge of the pocket just inside the Piping. Remember to start and stop at the marked points near the upper corners.
Stitch the skirt to the bib, adding the waistband/waist ties
- Keep the machine threaded with Thread to best match the skirt fabric, but switch to a standard presser foot or, our choice, the Janome Satin stitch foot.
- With both pockets stitched in place, run a gathering stitch across the top Raw edge of the skirt panel.
NOTE: If you are new to machine gathering, we have a full tutorial you can review, but in general, simply set for your longest Stitch length and – without locking at either end – run one or two lines of stitching across the top of the panel, keeping this stitching within the ½” Seam allowance.
- Fold the skirt in half to find its exact center point and mark this point with a pin.
- Find a matching exact center point along the bottom Raw edge of your completed bib.
- Gently pull the machine basting stitching along the top of the apron skirt to Gather it up to about 19”.
- Align the center points on the skirt and the apron bib. These two layers should be WRONG sides together.
- Pin the layers together. Remember the Wrong side of the skirt and the Lining side of the bib are facing one another.
- Adjust the gathers as necessary to insure they are even all the way across the top of the skirt panel and that the 1½” to either side matches left and right.
- Re-set for a standard Stitch length.
- Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch all the way across through all the layers. This means you are starting at the single layer of the skirt panel (the side Hem) beyond the bib on either side; this insures the gathers are locked in place for the final construction steps. We chose to stitch with the gathers facing up to insure they stayed even and did not bunch along the way.
- Remove the project from the machine and bring the bib up into position so now the bib is facing Right side out as is the skirt and you have a visible, front-facing Seam allowance through the middle.
- Fold the bib down so it is once again wrong sides together with the skirt and you are just working with the Seam allowance.
- Find the center point along the skirt/bib Seam and mark this point with a pin.
- Find the remaining long strip of Binding – the waistband and waist ties strip. Open up the Binding along its original center crease line, just as you did above when working with the neck tie strips. Find the Binding’s center point (the center of the waistband section) and mark this point with a pin.
- Slip the exposed, front-facing Seam allowance into the open Binding, aligning the two center point Pins. In addition, the waist tie seams of the Binding strip should align with the side hems of the skirt panel. The raw edges of the Seam allowance should sit right up against the center crease line of the Binding. Pin in place.
- With the Binding still open, continue pinning from the center out to both sides.
- Bring the bottom folded edge of the Binding up, wrapping the Seam allowance completely. Pin in place. Remember, you are just wrapping the Seam allowance; do not pin through the skirt. Pin across the front and all the way out to each end of the ties.
- As you did above with the neck ties, create a clean Finish at the end of each waist tie.
- Re-Thread the machine with Thread to best match the Binding in the top and Bobbin and re-set for a slightly lengthened stitch. We continued to use our Janome Satin stitch foot.
- The apron should be positioned with the Right side of the bib facing up as it lays down against the Wrong side of the skirt panel.
- Start at the end of one of the waist ties. Stitch across the end, pivot, and continue along the folded edge, keeping your Seam nice and close to that edge.
- Continue stitching across the the apron…
- … and out to the end of the opposite waist tie.
- Remove the project from the machine. Bring the bib up into position. Fold and then Press the Binding down so it is laying flat against the front of the skirt. Pin the Binding into this “down position.”
- Pin all the Binding in place all the way across the front of the skirt.
- Flip over the apron and Press the gathers along the back to flatten them.
- Flip back so everything is Right side up. You should still have Thread to best match the Binding in the top and Bobbin and still have a slightly lengthened stitch.
- Stitch across just the front of the skirt panel – from side Hem to side Hem. Do not stitch out onto either waist tie.
- Your new Seam should follow right on top of the previous line of edgestitching.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild