This cute little number is based on the "Kitschy Kitchen Apron" pattern in One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, on page 56. The original was designed by Mother's Apron Strings, as noted in the book. One-Yard Wonders is a great title to have in your craft library - great little projects, complete patterns and diagrams. Each project has room to be personalized in some way to suit your tastes.
For this project, Rebecca and Patricia used one piece of a bordered fabric. This would be a great way to repurpose a bordered tablecloth that may have too many stains in certain areas to make it practical to use anymore. I'm using up some of my stash. Make it from your stash, from fat quarters and jelly roll strips, in your favorite team's colors, or Christmas colors, or any color(s) that you choose. Make it from one piece of fabric or many. Make one or a dozen - these would make lovely mother/sister-in-law and prayer partner/secret sister gifts.
For our new sewists, today's two new skills are gathering stitches and attaching a set-on waistband.
So let's stop chatting and start sewing!
Here's what you need:
3/4 yard fabric A, cotton fabric, about 45" wide
1/2 yard fabric B, cotton fabric, about 45" wide
Rotary cutter and mat (or ruler and scissors) and other basic sewing supplies
Knitting needle or long, narrow pointy object for turning apron strings
If you choose to do this from one piece of fabric, it's best to follow the diagram in the book. These girls really do know how to stretch a yard of fabric and get the most out of it! If you are doing it from more than one piece, you may want to make a sketch of how your pieces are going to fit on your fabric. Here is the diagram I made for myself, based on the measurements given in the book.
These are initial diagrams, and not to scale, but you can see how the pieces will fit onto the two different fabrics. So after going through the whole process, here's what and how to cut the pieces for the apron.
1 apron base, 27" on the bottom, 22" across the top and 20" tall (trapezoid)
1 ruffle, 6" wide by 27" long (that's the other rectangle on the diagram - I changed the numbers, compared to those in the book, based on my personal preferences)
Cut 3 strips, all 5" x 31"
(also changed from numbers in book based on personal preference)
You can use extra fabric for pockets, if desired. And speaking of fabric, these two are from Joann Fabrics.
Unless otherwise stated, use a 1/2" seam allowance.
Start by making a 1/4" rolled hem on your trapezoid, on both sides and the bottom. You'll remember how to do this from the Little Shorts.
You can miter the corners, like we did for the pocket on the Little Boy Shorts if desired. I did because I think it gave the hem a nicer finish.
This is what it will look like when you are done pressing.
If you are adding pockets to the front, now is the time to do it. Measure where you'd like them to be, and stitch them on. Not sure how to do a pocket? Read here.
Press one short end of each apron string piece in 1/2".
Fold these pieces in half LENGTHWISE with right sides together. Start sewing on the non-folded end, turn the corner and sew the long edge. Clip the corner and trim the extra fabric on the sewn short end to 1/4" away from the seam.
Using a knitting needle, turn the strings so that right sides are facing. If you've never done this before, here is how to do it. Press well, and topstitch all the way around. Again, whatever stitch and thread you choose.
Now, it's on to the ruffle. Start by making a 1/4" rolled hem on one long side and both short sides, press and topstitch.
Back to your ruffle piece. If you have a ruffle attachment, use that and stitch between the pins. If you don't (or if you're like me and have one but have no clue how to use it), set the stitch length on your machine to its highest number of stitches per inch. Pull out a looooong tail (mine was a good 6-8") of thread behind the needle and bobbin, then stitch at 1/4" between the topstitching on one end and the first pin. STOP! Repeat between each pin. Only stitch between the pins. When you are all the way across, pull out another looooong tail, then cut the thread from the machine. Clip threads between the pins, leaving really long tails for each side. These tails are what you will pull to make the gathers that make the ruffle ruffly. You need to have enough thread so you can hang on to it.
Match the center of your ruffle to the center of the apron front. Pin raw edges together at centers and quarters, matching the pins.
Pull thread gently in each section to gather. You may have to try different thread tails to find which one works best. Mine was the ending top thread. I've done projects where it was the bobbin thread. I think it probably depends on your machine. Your goal here is to try to get roughly equal gathers between each set of pins. Once you've done that, pin the top edge into place. Use as many pins as you think you need. Change the stitch length on your machine back to the number appropriate for your fabric. Stitch the now-ruffly ruffle to the apron base, using a 1/4" seam.
For the waistband, press one long edge under 1/2". You had to remove the pins from your apron base/ruffle while sewing, so find the center and quarters again, and mark. Match the unpressed (raw) edge of the right side of the waistband to the right side of the apron/ruffle at the center and quarters. Pin as necessary to keep the ruffles from getting attached in the seam.
Now this is the only really tricky part. Stitch the waistband to the apron, 1/2" seam allowance. I go VERRRRRRY VERRRRRRY SLOW, and I keep my left hand between the ruffle and the waistband. I sew pin to pin. It seems like it takes forever! But! I learned a long time ago, that it is a huge pain in the neck to have to go back and rip out sections to re-sew when you catch the gathers in your seam. I'm trying to save you the pain. Think of me as Human Aspirin. Once you are all the way across, press the seam toward the waistband. Be sure that you press the entire lower edge
Fold waistband in half, right sides together, and stitch short ends with a 1/2" seam allowance. Clip corners, trim excess fabric, and turn right side out. Press. Match lower edges of waistband and pin. Topstitch waistband on front side of apron.
Pin one apron string to each end of the waistband, overlapping about 1" - 1 1/2". Stitch in place. I used the same decorative stitch because it is also a good reinforcing stitch. I also stitched one row to overlap the topstitching of the waistband, and the other row to overlap the topstitching of the apron tie.
And now you're done! Enjoy your new apron!