A sweet native lady came into the quilt shop where I work last week. She wanted some aprons made. They were going to be donated to some of the elders in her community for a special celebration.
I offered to teach her how to make them as she plans to continue to donate aprons in the future. She brought in a yard and a half of two prints. We found some coordinating fabrics for waistbands, and went to work.
She wanted the apron skirt to be about 18 inches long and 32 inches wide with a double pocket in the center. I would prefer an apron that is as wide as the bolt of fabric, for a fuller skirt. I cut the pockets at 9 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The waistband top pocket trim and ties were cut from three 5 inch by width of fabric (44″) strips. The top of pocket trim was trimmed to 18x 3.75 inches and the remainder of that strip was fused to a 4.5 inch wide interfacing. Disclaimer… I used both a solid turquoise and a turquoise grunge for trim for two separate aprons. Which do you prefer?
Starting from the outside in:
Ties were made by folding in half RST (right sides together). Then the end was creased at a 90 degree angle. Starting at the fold, follow the crease and turn at the spot where your 1/4 seam allowance should begin on the long side.
Trim, turn the ties right side out press and top stitch. I like to use a seam guide to make this job easier, faster and more accurate.
Apron Skirt: make a narrow hem on each side of the skirt, and a one inch hem across the bottom. Press these edges, then press the skirt in half, press a crease down the center front, then fold the skirt in half twice more. Press creases at this point about an inch from the top edge. This will mark the spot for pleats later.
Waistband: Fuse interfacing to wrong side, fold in half and press (wst). See the top band. Then press under 1/2 inch along one long side. Mark the center of the waistband on the unpressed side. I just fold and finger press a small crease.
Pocket: Fold top band in half lengthwise (wst) press. Open and fold raw edges to almost meet at center. Press again. Fold in half and press. This will look like double fold bias tape. After it has cooled, open and sew the right side of this band to the wrong side of the top of the pocket, wrap it around and top stitch to the front of the pocket on the edge of the band. The photo on the right shows one solid band opened and the lighter print band wrapped and ready for stitching. Since this strip was cut on the crosswise grain, there is some stretch in the fabric. Use Sandra Betzina’s taut sewing to eliminate puckers here and on the similar waistband application.
Place the pocket face down on your pressing surface. Press under 1/4 inch or more on each side and the bottom, then fold the pocket in half and make a good crease in the center.
Next, align the center fold of the pocket with the center fold of the apron. Make the top edge of the pocket parallel with the top edge of your apron. I used a three inch ruler as a guide.
Edge stitch starting at the top band. Down one side, across the bottom, then up the other side. Turn and make three stitches across the top then make a row of parallel stitches back down the side, back and across the bottom. This time, stop and sew up next to that center crease, across the top three stitches, then back down and around to get back to where you started.
Pay attention to the under layers of the corners that like to poke out to say hello. When you get close to them, just take a pin and push them back under before stitching that area.
Pin the wrong side of the skirt to the right side of the waistband (without the 1/2 inch fold). Leave an inch of the waistband on either side of the skirt. Pin the center creases, and make a half inch pleat where you previously creased the skirt with the iron. Adjust your pleats so that the skirt with pinned pleats lays smoothly across the waistband. Make a seam with a half inch allowance here.
Open the waistband. Place the raw edge (or selvedge) along the right side of the waistband. Fold the seam just made above up towards the waistband. Pin. Make a tiny pleat in the tie, and pin. Fold the top of the waistband back over the tie so that the folded edges of the waistband meet. Make a secure seam here that attaches the tie to the band. If your selvedge is wide, trim it first, so that it does not show when this is turned right side out.
Repeat for the other side. Flip the waistband over and top stitch to secure in place. Be sure to tuck under all those pesky raw edges. Remember Sandra Betzina and her taut sewing here, and puckers will not be a problem!
Done, time to make another one?