Monday, October 18, 2010

Perfect Apron : : : A Tutorial

There are a LOT of amazing bloggers out there. So many, in fact, that I could (and have!) easily lose myself for hours at a time out there in bloggity-land. The ones that really suck me in though are the crafting blogs. I love Dana's creativity over at MADE, and the fun projects at Noodleheads, and the endless link-ups at Tatertots and Jello and Blue Cricket, and, and, and...well, the list could go on forever.

At any rate, the point is that I am certainly not filled with the creative power of some better known mommy bloggers, but I still enjoy creating, and as a little thank you to the few of you who do come by here, and to the awesome crafty inspiration out there, I thought I'd share some of my little crafts too.

So, without further ado, here is my tutorial for pretty much the best apron ever.

I have a few of these I made for myself (I was inspired by a photo from The Mayfly), but I made this (along with the little oven mitt) one as one of the surprise handmade items for the giveaway that I held, oh...fifty years ago. (The pattern for the mitts can be found here--LOVE THEM!)

When I cook and clean, I am not really a fan of big, frilly aprons. Rather, I like something that can get the job done, and that I don't have to worry about getting dirty. I also like something I can dry my hands on, because an apron just isn't functional if you can't actually USE it. As I thought about the best material for an apron, I realized that flour sack tea towels are just about the best place to start.

For each apron, you will want two flour sack towels (you can find these pretty inexpensively at Target or WalMart, though I've heard they even show up at the dollar store sometimes).

Wash the towels on HOT first, because they will shrink quite a bit the first time they are washed. Then line up two of the towels and iron them, because they will also wrinkle quite a bit the first time they are washed.

After the tea towels have been pressed, fold them in half and cut the open corner off into a rounded shape. You may need to cut all edges but the fold, because the tea towels often shrink to wonky sizes. I try to use as much of the tea towel as possible though.
{Here's a terrible diagram of how to cut. Make sure your fold is on the opposite side from where you are cutting the curve!}
Go ahead and set this part aside. We'll work on the waist band next. 

I prefer a thicker waistband--about 2.5 to 3 inches wide. You want to cut the fabric of your waistband half an inch wider than DOUBLE the width. So for a 2.5 inch waist band, you need to cut 5.5 inches wide. For a 3 inch waistband, cut 6.5 inches wide. 

If you are working with 45 inch wide fabric, you probably want to cut three strips of your waistband fabric so that you have plenty of excess to tie into when putting this on. 

{You can see my totally classy sewing notions box in the background here...but that's called recycling!}

{Line it up...and slice it!}

Once you have your three strips of fabric (that are half an inch wider than DOUBLE your desired waistband width....), it is time to sew the strips together. You will want to sew them on the bias to make the seams less obvious. Don't worry--it isn't as tricky as it sounds, and if you're like me you will only mess up twice won't mess up at all.

Lay out one strip of the waist band fabric. Lay another piece, right sides together, at a right angle. Then sew at a diagonal across the plane where the two overlap.

{Hopefully you can sew in a straighter line than I can draw...} 


Once you finish that seam, trim off the excess to a quarter inch from the stitches. Repeat this with the third strip of waistband fabric, and press the seams to the right. 

Next, fold the waist band in half and mark the center point. 

Lay it above your apron piece (still folded in half) 

Then mark the waistband (on both sides) where the apron piece ends. The end marks will tell you what to leave open as you sew the waistband so that you can slide in the apron. 

Next, fold the waistband in half "hot dog" style, making one loooong strip. Make sure your right sides are together and sew the strip from end to end, but make sure to leave an opening where you put your marks in the previous step. 

At the ends of your strip, sew at a diagonal, to make the waistband ties tapered, then trim to 1/4 inch. 

 Turn the waistband right-side-out and press it. We'll come back to this in a bit.
{Here's the opening I left--this is where we'll slide the apron in so that we can actually wear it.}

Next, we'll work on that cute little pocket. I cut two pieces of fabric, about 6 inches by six inches.

Then, I folded it in half, and very similar to the apron itself, rounded out the bottom corners. With right sides together, sew around the sides and bottom. You can leave the top, flat side open. Turn it back right-side-out, and press.

Then, I used biased tape (you can make it yourself, or be lazy like me and get some at the store. Because in all honesty, making bias tape binding is my LEAST favorite sewing-related activity. For the record, I DID make the binding for the oven mitt because I wanted it to be 100% cotton so it didn't melt. But I'm not worried about melting aprons, so polyester is my friend in this case.) Cut it about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than the top of the pocket.

Apply one side as shown, sewing close to the crease. 

Then roll the binding over, tuck the excess ends in, and sew near the edge (making sure to also run over the rolled over binding on the other side).

Voila! A pocket. 

While you're at it, use that same binding to trim the outer edges of the apron as shown below. Then you can sew on the pocket with just a top-stitch around the three sides. (I guess you could sew the top too...but then you'd have a patch, NOT a pocket...)

Now, grab that waistband and slide the apron up into the open center space you left. 

Sew all the way across the bottom of the waist band, which will top-stitch the previous seam, and close the apron into the waist band. 

And look! You have a finished apron (which clashes madly with you your hippie-esque tie-dyed shirt that your sister is probably laughing in her head about as she reads this)! It's perfect for getting dirty, drying your hands, or just prancing around in while you fancy yourself domestic. 

Jenny, I hope you enjoy your apron and mitt! 



  1. I DO love it! I am going to try and make homemade applesauce tomorrow. I will wear it and post a picture on my blog!

  2. I totally was making fun of you :) Adorable apron though!


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