Tutorial - The Sarah Apron

>> Tuesday, May 6, 2008

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Now back to the original post. . .
I've been making lots of aprons lately and I finally got the patterns listed. If you want to make your own, you can find my patterns here.

I love the three I designed for the pattern, but I decided to make a girl-sized one to match the apron I made for Kit. I wanted to design something a little simpler than the Madeline apron - something that would be easier to make. It's so easy that it's the perfect beginner's project - here's how. . .

Start out by cutting out all the pieces. Cut one rectangle 22" wide by 12" high. That's the skirt part of the apron. For the pockets, cut two 5" x 5" squares. For the waistband cut enough pieces to make a strip 3" wide and 66" long. I'll show you how to join the strips together later.

First we'll start with prepping the pockets. Turn in the sides and press them down. It doesn't really matter what your seam allowance is - just do whatever feels easy for you. My eyeball seams always seem to measure 3/8". It should look like this.
Now turn the bottom edge up the same way and press. It should look like this.

You'll want a more clean edge for the top, so turn that top edge in and press, then turn it in again and press. It should look like this.

Stitch down the top edge pretty close to the folded edge.

Repeat for the second pocket. Now you need to hem the sides and bottom of the apron. Use the same method that you used on the top of the pocket, turn the hem under, press, turn it under again and press again. Stitch down both sides, and then repeat the turning, pressing and stitching for the bottom hem. I didn't take pictures of this part, but it's pretty straightforward.

Now you're going to place the pockets on the skirt of the apron. Line things up so that the top right corner of the finished pocket is 5" down from the top edge of the skirt, and 2 1/2" in from the right edge of the skirt. See the picture below - the gridlines on the cutting mat and the ruler are all 1 inch.
Pin the pocket in place and repeat for the other side. Stitch each pocket down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side of the pocket.

Now it's time to gather the top of the apron. In my pattern I show how to gather using basting stitches, but I recently acquired a gathering foot and it has changed my life. Seriously. This thing cost about $20 and I can't believe how long I've been sewing without one. You snap the foot on, adjust the stitch length and the tension, and run the fabric through. It comes out all gathered and nice - and in no time flat. This foot should come standard with every machine. I can't believe I made this without one. Look how pretty!

Gather the top of the skirt until it's about 12" across. That's an approximation - this isn't rocket science so don't go ripping out stitches (or your hair) if you end up an inch shorter or longer.

Now you need to make the waistband. I like to use a double-fold waistband - it has a little extra body without having to add interfacing or anything like that. First you need to join your strips together into one long strip. Do this on the diagonal so that you don't get annoying lumps where all your seam allowances pile up. Lay out two strips so that they make a corner. Stitch across on the diagonal.

Cut away the extra fabric.

And press the seam allowance open.

Repeat, joining as many pieces as you need to get a strip roughly 66" long. Again - close to 66" is good. Now fold the strip in half the long way, right sides out, and press.

Open it back up and fold one side in to the crease in the middle. Press.

Now fold the other side in to the crease in the middle and press.

Now attach the waistband to the apron by folding the two sides around the top (gathered) part of the skirt. It's easiest if you fold the waistband in half to mark the center, line that center mark up with the center of the apron and then work your way out from the middle.

Pin the waistband strip in place.

You're almost done. Time to stitch the waistband on. To get a nice clean finish on the end of the tie, open it back up and fold in a bit at the top.

Refold the strip along the crease and stitch it down. Sew down the short end first.

When you get to the corner - stop, turn your needle down so it's in the fabric, raise the presser foot and turn the fabric 1/4 turn so that you can sew down the long way. Don't forget to lower the presser foot before you start sewing again or you'll get a nasty mess of thread under your project.

Keep sewing down the whole length of the waistband. Don't sew too close to the edge - if you do that you may not catch the folded edge on the back side. I like to sew about 1/8" from the folded edge - that's the point on my presser foot where it goes from clear to metal so it's a good, easy mark to follow.

Pivot again at the end of the waistband and sew up the last short edge. Don't forget to fold down the short edge like you did at the start of the waistband.

You could stop at this point and you'd have a finished apron, but I like to add an extra feature when I make aprons for children. I know mine's not the only kid out there who likes to do things herself. Even after they learn how to tie a bow things that tie in the back can be really frustrating - so I add a bit of velcro at one hip. Nifty! Here's how. First you have to cut your new, nicely finished waistband. Make the cut about 1/2" from the edge of the apron.

Cut a piece of velcro about 1 1/2" long. Fold that little 1/2" tab you left to the FRONT of the apron.

Lay the soft side of the velcro right over the tab (it will cover the raw edge) and stitch it down all the way around the edges.

Fold back a little bit on the cut end of the waistband and stitch the prickly side of the velcro over that.
Put them back together and NOW you have a finished apron. Tie it on to fit and after that your girl can put it on and take it off all by herself.

Perfect for keeping little friends close by.


SwinginMartinisDesigns June 2, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

I really love this apron. I can't wait to try it. I have several apron patterns that are too cumbersome. And you explain it well too! Thanks!

Bistro March 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM  

Thanks for the apron making tutorial.

Unknown January 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM  

I made this out of white tuxedo striped fabric for my daughter's Alice in Wonderland costume. This is a wonderful tutorial, I learned some techniques that I had never tried before.

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