This apron is a Sew4Home design original, complete with a downloadable pattern that allows you to cut the main front and back of the apron as a single piece, which is what makes it reversible. You’ll love the sweetheart neckline and matching mini-sweet pockets. And its kicky bottom flounce will have you skipping around your kitchen, just like when you used to twirl in your big-girl-fancy-party-dress… oh, don’t even try to tell me you didn’t do that! Did you know most scholars show “apron” as coming from the French word “naperon,” meaning a small tablecloth? That seems a little undignified, but it’s your bit of interesting garment history for the week!
To give the apron the perfect vintage feel, we recommend staying with smaller motifs in simple colors, adding just one modern zing with the flouce front and the ties. The original fabric trio we used is no longer readily available, but below are two combinations we spotted from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop that offer a similar retro look. The first combo (front: flouce, body; reverse: flounce and body) is from Flower Sugar by Lecien Fabrics, the second is from Janey by Tanya Whelan for Clothworks Fabrics. Click on a swatch below for more information.
This project is a bit more advanced than many we offer here at Sew4Home, mainly because the entire perimeter of the apron is edged with mitered bias tape binding. It’s not particularly difficult, but it is detailed work that requires a bit of patience. We link to our full bias binding tutorial within the instructions below in case you’d like to brush up on general practices and/or if you’d like to make your own bias binding rather than using the packaged option we list within the supplies.
Although there are only pockets on one side, the beautifully bound edge all around allows the apron to be reversible. Simply knot the ties through to the opposite side.
And, speaking of those clever knotted ties, how cute is this as a way to attach them?! It allows a lot of adjustability at both the neck and waist. Yes, you do have to make a buttonhole to thread the tapered end through and fashion a knot. If you’re new to buttonholes, crack open your machine’s manual to find the correct steps for your model. And, for an overview, take a look at our machine buttonholes tutorial.
We are particular fans of the flounce. This slightly gathered accent at the bottom of the apron is a great compliment to the curving shape of the body of the apron.
Looking for a great gift idea? Bundle this apron with a couple “vintage” recipes from your own, your mother’s or your grandmother’s collection.
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 width of the bodice is 10½”. The width at the waist is 20½”. The apron length is 29″, measured from the center dip at the top of the sweetheart bodice to the bottom of the flounce. In addition, each tie is 35″ long, which is adjustable via the securing knots.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 44″+ quilting weight cotton fabric for apron front and pocket fronts
- 1 yard of 44″+ quilting weight cotton for apron back, pocket backs, and apron flounce back
- ¾ yard of 44″+ quilting weight cotton for apron flounce front, waist ties and neck loop
- 6 yards of extra wide double fold bias tape in a coordinating bold accent color: we used two 3-yard packages of bias binding by Wrights
- All purpose thread to match fabric and bias binding
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the Vintage Apron Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern has been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier. It consists of EIGHT 8½” x 11″ sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Pages 1-5 are the Apron Body pattern pieces. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid line. Butt together, matching the arrows. Do NOT overlap. Tape together to create the full pattern.
- Page 6-7 are the Flounce pattern pieces. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid line. Butt together, matching the arrows. Do NOT overlap. Tape together to create the full pattern.
- Page 8 is the Pocket pattern. Cut it out along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the apron front, use the pattern pieces to cut ONE Apron Body and TWO Pockets.
- Following the placement dots on the pattern piece, use your fabric pen or pencil to mark the placement for the pockets on the Apron Body panel.
- From the fabric for the apron back, use the pattern pieces to cut ONE Apron Body, ONE Apron Flounce, and TWO Pockets.
- From the accent fabric, cut THREE strips 4½” by the width of the fabric, and ONE Apron Flounce.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Match the two pocket fronts with the two pocket backs. Place each pair right sides together. Pin in place, leaving the curved top edge open.
- Sew the pocket front and back together, using a ½” seam allowance. Start from the top corner point of the pocket and stitch around to the opposite corner point, pivoting at the bottom point. Leave the top curved edge open.
- Trim seam allowance to ¼” and turn the pocket right side out. Press flat.
- Repeat to create the second pocket.
- The upper edge of the pocket is finished with bias tape. Open the top fold of the bias tape so it lays flat. Sew the bias tape to the upper edge of the pocket, running the seam along the tape’s upper fold line. The raw edge of the bias tape should be flush with the top raw-edge layers of the pocket. Leave an extra ½” at the start.
- Stop at the center point of the pocket. Turn the hand wheel of the machine to make sure the needle is down in the fabric at the exact point of the curve.
- Pivot the pocket and gently pull up the bias tape so it still matches the edge of the fabric. Continue sewing along the fold line of the bias tape.
NOTE: If you’re new to working with bias tape, the number one rule is “slow and steady wins the race.” You’re sewing along a curve, which is trickier than a straight line. For more hints (including how to make your own bias binding should you not wish to go with packaged binding), check out our full tutorial on bias binding.
- Lock the stitch at the end of the bias tape seam, then trim the tape to leave a ½” tail (to match the ½” at the head).
- Wrap the extra ½” ends around to the pocket lining and pin in place, creating a clean finish at each side.
- Re-fold the bias tape and wrap it to the back over the stitching line. Pin in place.
- Place a pin at the pivot point. Then, continue pinning in place along the stitching line. The bias tape will create a natural tuck at the pivot point. Adjust this tuck as needed to create a uniform fold on both sides of the pocket.
- Flip over the pocket, and working from the right side, edgestitch the bias tape in place. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching the entire back of the binding in this one seam. Press flat.
- Repeat to create the second pocket.
- Pin the pockets in place on the Apron Front, matching the guide marks you transferred earlier onto the front panel to the corners of the pockets. You can shift position slightly as needed to match the pattern on the pockets with the pattern on the apron front.
- Edgestitch both pockets in place with matching thread. Remember, just stitch from pocket corner point to corner point. Leave the top bound edge open… that’s where your hand goes.
NOTE: If you want to be super fancy and really hide your stitching, start from just below the binding and sew around the pocket, stopping just below the binding on the opposite side. Change your thread to a color that matches your binding, then edgestitch just the top of each side of the pocket along the binding, matching your original seam.
- Match the Apron Front Flounce and the Apron Back Flounce WRONG sides together. Pin along the upper edge.
- Sew along the upper edge, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Clip along the curve of the stitched edge, making your cuts about 1″ apart. Be careful not to cut into the seam. These clips will allow the curve of the flounce to ease to fit the apron.
- Pin the clipped upper edge of the flounce to the lower edge of the Apron Body Front. Match the front of the Flounce against the right side of the Apron Body Front.
- Place the Apron Body Back over the flounce, right sides together (right sides of the two Body pieces), The Flounce is now sandwiched between the two Apron Body layers. Align all raw edges and pin in place just along just this bottom edge.
- Sew through all the layers together across the bottom edge, using a ½” seam allowance. Fold the Flounce down and press the seam allowance up toward the Apron Body.
Bias tape binding
- Bring the Apron Body Back up behind the Apron Body Front and match ALL the outside edges. The Front and Back of the Apron Body are now wrong sides together and all edges raw. This is correct as all the raw edges will be bound.
- Set your machine for a long stitch length and machine baste along ALL outside edges, staying about ¼” from the raw edge. This helps insure the layers don’t shift during the binding process.
- Finish the entire edge of the apron with bias tape, using the same technique as above for the pockets. Start at a curved edge (we recommend along one side of the bodice) and stop and miter at each corner. Fold the bias tape to the wrong side, pin in place, and edgestitch in place from the front side.
- This is a lot of binding, but the finished look is fabulous. Again, take a look at our binding tutorial if you need a refresher on attaching bias binding and/or mitering the corners.
Waist ties and neck loop
- Find your three 4½” wide strips of tie fabric.
- Cut each strip to a length of 36″.
NOTE: This measurement is for a standard-size adult apron as listed above. It can be adjusted according to the finished size you need… longer for larger, shorter for smaller.
- Fold the strips in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin. At each end, draw a point.
- Sew along the straight edges, using a ¼” seam, and along your drawn points at each end. Leave a 3″ opening along each long, straight edge for turning.
- Trim the excess fabric around the point seams to ¼”.
- Turn right side out, gently pushing out the points. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
- Press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Slip stitch all the openings closed with matching thread. Press again.
- Following the manufacturer’s directions for your machine, make four ¾” button holes.
- Place a vertical buttonhole at each top corner point of the bib with the top of the buttonhole just below the bias tape and the side approximately ½” in from the bias tape.
- Place a horizontal buttonhole at each waist corner with the side just below the bias tape and the end approximately ¼” in from the bias tape at the corner point.
- Thread one tie through the two bib buttonholes to make the neck loop. Holding the ties in place, slip the loop over your head and adjust the tie ends until the bib hits comfortably against your chest but is still loose enough that it can be pulled off over your head.
- When you have it just the way you want it, tie a knot in each end to secure.
- Thread one tie through each waist buttonhole. Leave about a 7-8″ tail and tie this into a knot to secure each tie in place.
- There are no pockets, but you can reverse the apron to the lining side for a second cute look.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler