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Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Easy Apron - Fun to Make!


I enjoy making aprons.  They're fun and easy to whip up in just a few hours.  For this project I wanted to make an apron for the July 4th holiday, so naturally it would have to be red, white, and blue.  Also, I was in need of an apron to wear in my art studio as the old one I've been wearing for years was looking pretty bad, all covered in paint and shredding at the edges.  It was an old cotton apron, probably from the 1960s or something.  It had seen it's last day, so this project of making a new apron would be a good idea.


I have a great pattern - Butterick Waverly B5263 - so run out and get this pattern and make this apron right along with me!  I'm going to show you every step of the way right here.  I decided to make Apron "C"  - it is wrap around with a tie at the waist and 2 buttons in the back.  It has 3 pockets in front.  Easy.  Comfortable.


Since the sizes were Sm-Med-Lg and I was making the "Lg" I decided that it was no big deal to just use the original pattern to make this apron.  Usually, in preparing my pattern pieces, I transfer the size I need onto pattern paper to preserve the original pattern and all the sizes.  I will be doing a post on how to transfer pattern pieces so that they fit "your" measurements.  In the meantime, you can go HERE to read more about preparing your pattern before you sew.


You do NOT need to cut the pattern pieces from the tissue paper perfectly.  Just use your rotary cutter and skim around the perimeter of each piece, leaving a 1/4" or so around the pattern piece so you can see the edges.  Then, when you pin the pattern to your fabric (or use weights to hold it down) and cut it out, you will be more precise in your cutting.


Then, with a small rotary cutter, cut out your pieces from the fabric.  I use a small rotary cutter because it is more precise and is easier to cut around curves.


TIP: Use little scissors to cut out the notches "before" you cut out the pattern with your rotary cutter, that way you won't accidentally cut off a notch.


Your ready to start sewing your apron!  I used a blue and white checked cotton fabric for the apron itself, red and white patterned cotton fabric for the tie, and off-white bias binding for the edging.  Perfect for the July 4th holiday!


Make sure you mark your fabric with all the dots and markings before you remove the tissue pattern from the fabric.  Use a fabric marker that will disappear when you spritz it with water.


Begin by folding your tie in half with RST (right sides together), matching edges and dots.


Leave the straight short end open (for turning) and with a 3/8" seam sew the tie together.


It will be tough to turn this right-side-out unless you have a handy-dandy turner like you see here.  The end grabs the fabric and pulls it right through - easily.  Once you have turned your tie, press and set aside.


On the front of the apron pattern, you will see markings for a dart.  With red fabric tracing paper, a tracing roller, and my water-soluable fabric marker, I transfer the dark to my fabric.


Always be sure you have made all the markings on the right side of the fabric when placing your tracing paper between the tissue pattern and the fabric.


I know it is tough to see in this picture, but your dart and dot markings should look like this.


You will want to match the dots on the tie to the dots on the dart.  Just like a puzzle and easy.  Go ahead and pin the ties to the apron front panel where indicated.


Now I have a little trick for you. TIP: After you have marked the front of the fabric with the dart using tracing paper, it can sometimes be difficult to sew a perfect dart without the markings on the wrong side of the fabric as well, so with a long basting stitch, sew over top of the dart marking.  And, in this pattern, you will also be sewing the waist ties in place as well so that you can remove the pins.


Pin your dart together, matching the basting stitches.  Stitch (with a regular stitch length) knotting the ends with your sewing machine (usually I just sew back and forth a few times).  Simply remove the basting stitches by pulling out the thread on one end.  You'll be left with a perfect dart!


The back of the apron has a facing.  You will want to press on some lightweight interfacing to each piece, and if you have a serger, go ahead and serge (finish) the curved edge after you have pressed on the interfacing.  If you don't have a serger, simply use a zig-zag stitch close to the edge.  This will prevent unraveling of the fabric facing.


Pin the facing WST (wrong sides together) to each of the apron's back panels.


Baste the facing to the back panels.  The facing adds stability where you will be putting a couple buttons and using your sewing machine to put in button holes.


With RST, stitch the 2 back apron panels to the front panel at shoulders and sides. Press open the seam allowance on the inside of the apron.  I always press after each step in the pattern.  It keeps my work looking great throughout the creative process.


Baste the raw edges around the neckline, arm holes, and all of the remaining raw edges.


I used Wright's Wide Single Fold Bias Tape to finish the edges.  I also pressed the bias tape before I sewed it in place on the apron.


Start sewing on the bias tape to the top raw edge of the long pocket panel.   


Fold over the bias tape and press. Then, stitch from the front side close to the inside edge of the bias tape so clean stitching can be seen from the front and the bias tape on the inside is stitched in place at the same time.


Fold the edges short side edges to the inside about 1/2" or so and press. 


Pin your pocket panel to the front and sides of the apron and baste in place.   Then, stitch across the pocket panel where you want your pockets.


Now you are going to finish all the edges of the apron around the neck and arms and edges.


TIP: with RST, pin the beginning of the bias tape in place along the raw edge of your apron.  FOLD over about 1/2" on the short end of the tape so that you will have a folded edge when you are finished sewing it in place.  If you fold the short end, then when you arrive back where you started and fold over the tape to the wrong side, it will be a clean finishing edge.


Corners are not as difficult as you may think.  When you get close to a corner like this, stop stitching at the point where the stitching will begin going in the other direction.  In this case, I stitched to about 3/8" then folded the remaining tape up like you see above.  See the angle of the tape at the corner?  That's important!  Make your angle perfect.  Fold the tape down ...


See how I folded down the tape?  And, I pinned it in place for several inches.


When you are finished sewing the tape to the front of your apron, you will have crisp corners.


Press the bias tape away from the apron like you see above.  This gives the bias tape a clean pressed edge against the right side of the apron and makes it easier to fold it to the wrong side and stitch it in place to finish.


For curved edges that need pressing open, I use a ham that my mother made about 60+ years ago.  It makes pressing curved areas like armholes and necklines so much easier.


On the wrong side, you will see the stitching where you sewed the bias tape to the front of the apron.  TIP: When you fold over the bias tape, press the tape just past the stitching and pin in place.  That way, when you stitch close to the edge of the tape on the right side of the fabric to finish, you will also be stitching the tape that is folded to the wrong side.


All done!  I'm ready to throw it on and go paint.  I love it!


It is roomy and comfortable and it has just the right amount of pocket space.


The back buttons at the top-back and ties around the waist.


Of course Matthew walks into my sewing room being silly.


Wearing his hat over his face.  He obviously has too much time on his hands.

Hope you like the pattern and my tutorial and tips!  Please send me your pictures if you make this apron and I'll post them here!



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