Cast a creative spell over all the little trick-or-treaters with this fashionable Halloween apron. We originally used fabric from the Spooktacular collection by Maude Asbury. Of course, for those of you watching the witchy fashion runways, you know there are always new and varied collections coming out each Halloween from which to choose your favorites.
With an empire waist, double layer skirt, and pretty piped pocket, our Halloween apron has a certain haunting charm; it’s what all the goblin gossip blogs are talking about.
Part of the fun are the clever appliqués at the pocket and along the bottom of the main skirt. We carefully fussy cut six bloodcurdling motifs from our selected fabric, which adds a fun pop of color (and comedy).
There’s also a friendly little appliquéd ghost flying across the bodice. Isolating individual motifs like this from within a fabric is a great way to highlight a design – especially when working with seasonal prints, which lend themselves to themed elements that can be pulled out and featured. When shopping for your fabric, look for a collection that offers larger motifs that could work for these kind of appliqués.
There’s no hocus-pocus on how the apron goes together. We’ve included lots of detail and extra photos to take you every step of the way. And, as always, we include links to full step-by-step tutorials for any specialty techniques, such as the appliqué, gathering, and finishing.
Of course, as always, fabric selections are up to you, and you could certainly choose to make this adorable apron without its seasonal theme in a classic floral or geometric print. The beauty is in the precision cutting and the interesting appliqués.
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 empire-waist apron is approximately 17″ wide across the bottom of the bodice, the waist ties are each approximately 30″ long, the neck ties are each approximately 23″ long, the main skirt length is 25″, the overlay skirt length is 17″, and the bodice is about 7″ high at the highest points of the curves.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Zipper foot
- Satin Stitch foot, optional but good for appliqué stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 45″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the bodice front, bodice lining, neck ties, and bodice ties
- 1¼ yards of 45″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the main skirt and pocket
- ⅔ yard of 45″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the overlay skirt front and the bodice appliqué
- ⅔ yard of 45″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the overlay skirt back
- ½ yard of 45″+ wide quilting weight fabric for the accent appliqués at the pocket and across the bottom of the main skirt
NOTE: This yardage is enough to cut all the bottles shown as appliqués in our sample. If you choose a different motif to appliqué, you may need a bit more or a bit less fabric.
- 1¼ yards of 20″+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor
- Scrap of ½ yard of 45″+ wide mid-weight fusible interfacing (you need a 12″ x 12″ square): we used Pellon Décor Bond
- 1 yard of 15″+ wide paper-backed fusible web for appliqué; we used Pellon Wonder Under
- 1⅛ yard of pom pom ball fringe in a coordinating color; we used orange ball fringe
- 2½ yards (one package) of ½” pre-made piping; we used Wright’s Bias Tape Maxi Piping in Black
- ONE 1″ button for the pocket
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- Heavy thread in a slightly contrasting color for the appliqué stitching; you want the appliqué stitching to show but not be too stark – we used gray against the black of our appliqué borders
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
Getting Started and Pattern Downloads
- Download and print the Pocket Part A, Pocket Part B, and Bodice patterns.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. Butt together (do not overlap) the two pocket pieces, using the arrows printed on the pattern as a guide. Tape together.
- From the fabric for the bodice front, bodice lining, neck ties, and bodice ties (Web in Black in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 4″ x 24″ strips for the neck ties
TWO 5″ x 31″ strips for the bodice ties
Using the pattern, fussy cut TWO bodice pieces on the fold
- From the fabric for the main skirt and pocket (Ikat in Black in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 37″ wide x 27″ high rectangle for the main skirt
Using the pattern, fussy cut TWO pocket pieces
- From the fabric for the overlay skirt front and the bodice appliqué (Boo in Black in our sample), cut ONE 37″ wide x 18″ high rectangle for the front overlay panel. You’ll cut the bodice appliqué from the remaining fabric in the steps below.
- From the fabric for the overlay skirt back (Gone in Ivory in our sample), cut ONE 37″ wide x 18″ high rectangle.
- As above with the bodice appliqué, the pocket and bottom hem appliqués will be cut from the accent fabric (Witches Brew in Multi in our sample) in the steps below.
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
TWO 4″ x 24″ strips for the neck ties
TWO 5″ x 31″ strips for the bodice ties
Using the pattern, cut ONE bodice
- From the mid-weight fusible interfacing, use pattern to cut ONE pocket.
- From the pom trim, cut a 37″ length. Center as best possible to leave approximately ½” – ⅝” of trim beyond the last pom at each end. This will allow you to catch the trim in the skirt’s seam and leave a well-balanced pom to dangle at each side.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make the ties
- Find the two 4″ x 24″ fabric and interfacing strips for the neck ties and the two 5″ x 31″ fabric and interfacing strips for the waist ties.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each tie strip, making sure the edges of the layers are flush on all sides.
- Fold each tie in half lengthwise, right sides together.
- With a see-through ruler and rotary cutter, trim one end of each folded tie at a 45˚ angle.
- Pin the long side and across the angled end of each tie.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the side and across the angled end, pivoting at the corner. Leave opposite end open for turning.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn each tie right side out through the open straight end and press flat.
- Set the four ties aside.
Make the bodice with its appliqué
- Find the front and back bodice pieces, the bodice interfacing, and the piping.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the bodice layers. All edges of both layers should be flush. This will be the bodice front. The front and the back are the same fabric, so you can choose either one. If you have one piece where the motif is well centered, use it as the front.
- Transfer the marking dots (for the neck ties and waist ties) from the bodice pattern to the fabric. Make sure you mark both the left and right sides of both bodice layers.
- Place the interfaced front bodice piece right side up and flat on your work surface. Cut and pin one length of piping to fit along curved top edge. Cut and pin a second length of piping to fit along the flat bottom edge. There is no piping along the sides.
- The piping should sit ½” from the raw edge of the bodice so your seam line can stitch right along, but not on, the piping cord.
- At the center front, make a small clip in the piping to ease it down into the curve of the bodice.
- Machine baste the piping in place along the top and bottom, using a standard foot, Statin Stitch foot (our choice with the needle moved to the left), or Zipper foot.
- Pick out the motif that will become the bodice appliqué. We chose a ghost.
- Cut a piece of paper-back fusible approximately 1″ larger all around than the motif.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, adhere the fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric directly behind the motif.
- Cut out the motif, leaving a border of about ⅛” all around. Your stitching will go inside this border.
- Peel away the paper backing.
- Place the front bodice, with its piping basted in place, right side up and flat on your work surface. Measure to find the exact center along the bottom edge of the bodice. Place a pin at this center point.
- The tail of the ghost should go at the center point, just above the piping. This means he will be “flying” up towards the right.
NOTE: If you choose a different motif, you placement may be slightly different. It may look best slightly off-set as ours is.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fully fuse the appliqué in place.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to slightly contrast with the border of the appliqué in the top and bobbin. You want the stitching to show but not be too stark. We used gray.
- Lengthen the stitch. We used 2.8mm. Attach a standard presser foot or a Satin Stitch foot (what we used). Edgestitch the appliqué in place.
NOTE: This is a standard raw edge, straight stitch appliqué. If you are new to appliqué, check out our tutorial: How to Appliqué like a Pro.
- Find all the ties.
- Using your marks as a guide (remember, you transferred the dots from the pattern to the fabric), place the two shorter/narrower neck ties at the left and right marks along the top curved edge. Then, place the two longer/wider waist ties at the left and right marks along both sides. Pin the ties in place, aligning the raw ends of the ties with the raw edges of the fabric.
- Gather up the ends of the ties and lightly pin them in place at the center of the bodice so they will be out of the way of the outer seam.
- Find the back bodice layer. Fold up the straight bottom edge of this panel ½” and press in place. We used our Clover Hot Hemmer for this step — love it!
- Place the back bodice layer right sides together with the front bodice layer, sandwiching the piping and all the gathered-up ties between the layers.
- Pin in place along the two sides and across the top curved edge. The bottom remains open.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin, and re-set the stitch length to normal.
- Attach a Zipper foot. Stitch across the top and along both sides, pivoting at the corners and going slowly around the top curves. Along the top, the seam should be as close as possible to the piping. Down the sides, default to a ½” seam allowance.
- Clip the corners and the curves and the “V” at the center front, being careful to not cut into your seam. Press the seam allowance open.
- Turn the bodice right side out and press flat.
Make the pocket
- Find the two pocket pieces and the pocket interfacing.
- Cut one 30″ length of piping.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one pocket piece. All edges of both layers should be flush. This will be the pocket front. As with the bodice above, if one cut is better than the other, use the best one as the pocket front.
- Pin a length of piping to the right side of the pocket front.
- To connect the piping ends, use a seam ripper to open up the piping fabric on one end.
- Trim back this end so it butts together perfectly with the opposite end.
- Fold back the piping fabric and overlap the ends.
- Pin in place, matching the rest of the piping so it is now a continuous curve.
NOTE: If you are new to working with piping, take a look at our full tutorial for finishing details.
- Still using a Zipper foot, machine baste the piping in place.
- Place the back pocket piece and the front piped pocket piece right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2″ opening along one side.
- Still using a Zipper foot, stitch the layers together, staying as close to the piping as possible. Lock your seam on either side of the 2″ opening left for turning.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the 2″ opening.
- Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with sewn seam.
- Lay the pattern on top of the pocket. There is a fold line for the pocket. Place a pin or make a mark with a fabric pen or pencil at these dots on the pocket. Then, place a pin or mark at the dot indicating button placement
- Fold the pocket along the fold line and press well.
- If necessary, place the pattern piece over the folded edge again to re-check the position of the button.
- Hand stitch the button in place through all the layers of the pocket. This stitched button is what holds the folded top of the pocket in place.
- Set the pocket aside.
Skirt overlay with its appliqué, pocket, and poms
- Place the front skirt overlay panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Mark the placement for the pocket. To do this, measure 8″ in from the right raw edge of the skirt panel and 8½” down from the top raw edge of the skirt panel.
- Place a pin at the intersection of these two measurements.
- Measure 6″ to the left of this first pin, 8½” down from the top raw edge of the skirt panel, and place a second pin.
- Find the pocket. Place the pocket between the two marked points. Make sure the pocket is sitting straight up and down on the skirt panel.
- Using the fabric pen or pencil, draw a line along the upper folded edge of the pocket onto the skirt panel. This will be your guideline for the pocket appliqué.
- Prepare the appliqué for the pocket in the same manner as above for the bodice appliqué. Apply the paper-backed fusible web behind the chosen motif.
- Cut out the motif with an approximate ⅛” border all around, and remove the paper backing.
- Set the appliqué on the front skirt overlay panel in between the the pocket marks. On our sample, the owl at the center of the bottle needed to be just above the pocket line. It will also look more interesting is the bottle is tilted slightly to the right.
- Double-check the position of the appliqué by placing the pocket in position once again.
- When the position in as you want it, follow manufacturer’s instructions to fully fuse the appliqué in place.
- Re-thread the machine with the thread to slightly contrast with the border of the appliqué in the top and bobbin. This should be the same thread you used for the bodice appliqué. Lengthen the stitch. Re-attach a standard presser foot or a Satin Stitch foot.
- Edgestitch the appliqué in place.
- Find the 37″ length of pom trim.
- Pin the pom trim in place along the bottom edge of the front skirt overlay panel. You want to catch the center of the trim strip in the skirt’s seam, which means the bottom edge of the trim should be ⅜” up from the bottom raw edge of the skirt panel.
- Using a Zipper foot, machine baste the pom trim in place.
NOTE: You can use a different foot, such as your standard presser foot. We liked the width of the Zipper foot for holding the pom strip in place.
- Find the back skirt overlay panel. Place the front and back overlay panels right sides together, sandwiching the pom trim and the pocket appliqué between the layers. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. Leave the top open.
- Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. Attach a standard presser foot.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the corners.
- Press the seam allowances open and clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the open top. Pull the poms out into position along the bottom edge. Gently press out the corners so they are nice and square, a long knitting needle or chopstick works well for this. Press flat.
- Find the pocket. Place it back into position over the appliqué and pin along the sides and around the bottom.
- If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the pocket in the top and bobbin.
- Use a Zipper foot to stitch the pocket in place, running the seam right along the piping (stitching in the ditch of the piping). Remember to start and stop at the pockets folded top edge.
NOTE: You are stitching the pocket in place through both layers of the skirt overlay. The pocket is a bit heavier and benefits from the stability of the two layers of the skirt.
Main skirt with its appliqués
- Find the main skirt panel.
- Along both sides and across the bottom create a narrow ½” double turn hem with clean corners. To do this fold in the side edges ½” and press.
- Fold and additional ½” and press again. Create a diagonal joint at the two bottom corners.
NOTE: If you are need to narrow hemming with these pretty corners, we have an easy, step-by-step tutorial you can review.
- Re-attach a standard presser foot, and re-thread with thread to best match the skirt fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at the bottom corners.
- Prepare the five appliqués for the bottom of the main skirt panel in the same manner as above.
- Measure to find the exact center point along the bottom hemmed edge of the skirt panel. Place a pin at this center point. Measure 7″ to the right of this pin and place a second pin. Measure 7″ to the right of this second pin and place a third pin. Center an appliqué at each of the three marked points, 1″ up from the bottom hemmed edge. Lightly press each appliqué in place, pressing just enough to stick it in position.
- Repeat to create pin points 7″ and 14″ to the left of the center pin point. Center the remaining two appliqués over these marked points. Make sure the bottoms of all the appliqués are flush; they should all be 1″ up from the bottom hemmed edge.
- Double check all your spacing and when everything looks perfect, follow manufacturer’s instructions to fully fuse the appliqués in place.
NOTE: If you choose different motifs for your appliqués, your spacing may vary. Simply measure and divide to get even spacing across the bottom of the skirt.
- As above, re-thread with the contrasting thread, lengthen the stitch, and edgestitch each appliqué in place.
Attach the bodice to the skirt to finish
- Place the main skirt panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the overlay panel right side up on top of the main skirt. Align the top raw edges of both skirt panels. Pin the layers together across the top.
- Measure to find the exact center along the top. Add a second marking pin at this point. Or put in the second pin from the opposite direction. You simply want to be easily able to spot the center point pin.
- Gather the top edge of the skirt panel. To do this, run one or two lines of basting across the panels, keeping the the basting within the ½” seam allowance. Remember, don’t lock either end of your seam.
NOTE: Because we were gathering three layers, we re-threaded with the heavy contrasting thread (what we’ve been using for the appliqué stitching) in the top and bobbin. This is optional, but helpful to insure the gathering stitch doesn’t snap.
- Pull the basting to gather the skirt to approximately 17″.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, take a look at our article: How to Make Gathers by Machine.
- Place the piped bottom edge of the bodice front right sides together against the top gathered edge of the skirt panel, aligning the raw edges. Pull the folded bottom edge of the bodice back up and out of the way. Adjust the gathers as needed to fit the skirt against the bodice. Pin in place.
- Stitch across the top of the skirt through all the layers (remember, you are not stitching through the back layer of the bodice, just the front).
NOTE: We are still using our Satin Stitch foot. You could also switch to a Zipper foot to make sure we are staying as close as possible to the bodice piping.
- Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband.
- Bring the folded edge of the bodice back layer down into place, covering the seam you just made. Pin in place.
- Hand stitch the folded edge of the bodice into place. We used a whip stitch.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructions: Debbie Guild