Basic Half Apron

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.image

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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.  image

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.

 

imagePocket:  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.image.jpg

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. image.jpgThis 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. image

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.

Enclose ties:  image

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.image

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,  imagetime to make another one? image

Gardening under cover

Staring at the end of January, wondering when spring will ever arrive, I got the itch to plant some seeds.

Planting by the Moon always conjured images of the witch in Rapunzel and her magic garden.  However I am looking at Farmers Almanac Gardening, and found that the last couple days of January this year are good for starting seedbeds!  So, on a sunny Saturday, with visions of a magnificent harvest like this,

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Gathering Apron pattern designed for picking produce.  Holds up to 4 pounds easy, with five pockets to separate different varieties. Pattern is sold at Hip Stitch

I pulled the remains of last summer’s garden from a 4×4 raised bed.

The soil seemed to be low, so in one corner, I dug a hole about 18 inches deep, and placed tree limb cuttings my friend and I scavenged from what a neighbor was giving away last October.  Why plant wood in your garden?  In the spirit of hugelkultur (making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood) I covered that area with the soil from the next hole, added a couple logs and move around the circle till it was complete.  The wood behaves like an underground sponge, absorbing excess moisture and then releasing it back to a soil that is somewhat drier. The wood eventually bio degrades completely. Until then, I believe the roots of the plants will figure a way to wind around them.  I had two half empty bags of garden soil that topped off the ensemble nicely.

Mr. Mischievous Odin couldn’t stop  himself and helped to put holes in the soil.  He makes great company in the garden!

The basket in the middle collects compost that feeds the soil below, keyhole style.

Did a quick inventory on my seed stash, and found several varieties that do well in cooler temperatures. Mostly some form of brassica and mache, sometimes known as corn salad.  Some will germinate, some will not, but in a week or two some little green thing will poke it’s head out of the soil and make me happy.  All of these greens can go in a nice salad, and give me something to do while waiting to plant melons and squash in April.

After these were scattered in the bed, I looked for the sugar snap peas I wanted to plant around the edges, so they could climb up the barrier I installed to keep my furry friend from getting in again!  I like to buy them by the pound, so that they can be planted several times in a season.

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The PVC idea came from a too-short hose.  Holes drilled every 6-8 inches allow for more even water distribution. One of the corners is a 3 way elbow that my hose end fits in snugly.  Turn on the faucet and tend to something else for a bit.

The garden trellis keeps my friend from planting his toys in the soft soil, and does double duty to hold up the reemay and  plastic layers that cloche the little plants from the elements.  It is a hopeful gamble.  More sewing in the garden.  I cut squares of reemay off the corners of the big fleece blanket and sewed them together like four darts so it fits snugly over this garden bed like a loosely fitted sheet.  Sew reemay before it goes outside, just take my word on this!

Last fall I planted cabbage, lettuce and peas under cover, and they are doing nicely!  The uncovered peas produced a few pods then succummed to the first frosts.  No peas yet from the covered plants below, but I am hopeful they will jump into action once the weather warms, and give me something to munch on when I am putting out tomatoes in March. They are covered in plastic and get water when I remember it about every three weeks.

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Eliot Coleman, I hope you are right with your four season gardening advice and the double cover method of growing in winter.