Handmade Aprons

I’m veering slightly away from baking today and into the world of crafting. But it’s a kitchen related craft, so I think you’ll still like it!

If you didn’t already know, by now I’m sure that everyone has picked up on the fact that I’m a pretty girly-girl. I love frills and curls, ribbons and swirls.

My new favorite girly things are retro style aprons. HRH Beermeister got me my first one for Christmas about 6 years ago. It’s pink gingham with pink rose trim. It doesn’t get much girlier than that, huh? Then last year, Bakerella featured the most adorable cupcake apron by Jessie Steele. I was instantly in love!! And the hubster surprised me with it for my birthday (isn’t he the best?)! It has been my go-to apron for  almost a year, but for Christmas I got an amazon gift card and decided to use it on another apron. Jessie Steele has so many other adorable patterns, I knew I’d be getting another of hers. This time I went with something bright with polka dots. If possible, I may love this one slightly more than the first. And so, an obsession was born.

As usual, I looked at my aprons and I thought, “I think I can do that.” I decided to use the aprons I have as patterns, measured, and bought some fabric. In fact, I went a little crazy in the fabric store. I had at least 6 different styles of fabric. It was time for an editing eye. I narrowed it down to three fabrics. I couldn’t do less. I couldn’t. What was I going to sacrifice?? Surely not the purple…I wanted a purple apron the most. And the cherry print had to stay. I mean, come on!! A retro apron with cherries on it! It’s meant to be! And the last one I kept…it inspires me! So I got them all. Of course.

I’m going to walk you through the process of making the apron, but I don’t have a pattern to offer. I traced my aprons for patterns. If you have an apron of your own, or you buy one, you can follow these steps to make aprons of your own.

This is my purple fabric, and the one that I’ll be going through step-by-step. The smaller bit of contrasting fabric will be used for pockets.

To get started, I just spread my fabric out flat on the floor, laid my apron on top, and traced it. You can trace right up to the edge of the original apron because we don’t need to worry about hems. Once it’s traced, just cut along the lines. (I will update this shortly with some rough measurements to give you an idea of the apron size).

Rather than worrying about hemming (which I despise), we’re going to use bias tape around the edges. I prefer the extra wide double fold. It’s a little thicker (heavier duty), and the width allows me more room for error. After all, I’m no seamstress.

Place the edge of your apron into the fold of the bias tape and pin it all the way around, Use a smaller separate piece along the top and pin it on top of the other tape. This will eliminate the need to hem the ends of your tape. You may need to start a new piece of bias tape before you’re done. If so, make sure you fold the ends under to prevent fraying. Do not sew the tape on yet, as you’ll be attaching your apron strings to it.

For the pockets, I laid my contrasting fabric over the original apron’s pockets and traced one. I cut it out, then repeated with the other pocket. Before sewing the pocket to the apron, line the edges of each pocket with bias tape and sew it on. When sewing the bias tape in place, make sure that you keep your seam on the inside edge of the the tape. If you get too close to the outside edge, you might miss the fabric inside and have to restitch. Now pin the pocket in place on the apron. Sew around the outside edge of the bias tape to attach the pocket to the apron.

For the apron strings, I cut four strips of fabric to be hemmed and sewn on. You could probably use bias tape on the inside edge of these if you like, but it will make them bulkier. The measurements for the two neck strings is 20″ long by 4″ wide, each. I like to have a little extra length for adjusting at the neck. The two for around the waist are 25″ by 4″ each. Remember that this is for each string, so that totals about 50″ of string to tie around the waist. You can vary this if you think you will need more or less fabric.

Fold the fabric in one half inch on each side and iron in place to hem. Then fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron the fold. Sew down the open side to hem the strings.

After sewing the string, fold one end in and hem it (I accidentally hemmed the end on this one before sewing it closed). This will be the end of the apron string. The unhemmed end will be sewn under the bias tape.

Pin the unhemmed end of you string under the bias tape. Sew the bias tape all the way around the apron (remember to keep your seam on the inside edge of the tape). When pinning the two neck strings, leave a half inch or so of tape sticking out on each end. You’ll notice here that I did a little contrast detail work on the bib of the apron. You don’t have to do this, but it’s very simple if you want to try. You just use the same steps as above, but on a smaller scale.

For the strings at the neck, fold them up behind the sewn on tape and bring that extra half inch of bias tape around the back of the apron and on top of the string; pin in place. Sew the string and bit of tape in place at the top edge of the apron. By sewing it up like this, you keep the strings from pulling the top edge inside out.

I like to put a little bow at the top center of the bib. To do this, I cut a section (about 3″) of bias tape and iron it flat. Then I fold it in half in the opposite direction and iron the fold. Finally, I sew along the open edge to close the piece.

Turn the piece right side out (take your time and be patient, it’s very small). Fold the ends in a small amount and hem them.

Now just pinch the bow in the center and wrap another small piece of bias tape around the pinched area. Pin the bow in place where you want it, and sew it on with a straight seam right down the center.

Now all you have to do is go back through and cut all of your excess strings!

The finished product (obviously, I’ve already been using it!)! That pocket isn’t crooked, BTW. Really. It isn’t. Ah, well…if it is, it’s mine! It has more character this way (I would never sell these for fear of proof of my poor sewing skills!).

I hope you give this a try. It’s a lot easier than you would think!!

The following images are of the cherry apron I made using my polka dot apron as a pattern.

The fabric…adorable, right??

All cut out and waiting for tape.

This one has an adorable skirt at the bottom. It’s a lot harder to make, but absolutely worth it!!

Just needs pockets and a bow!

How cute is this??

TA-DA!

Terrible picture, I know, but I really wanted you to see it on! It’s the best (and straight pockets too)!

I have one more to make. The fabric is so, so cute! And, like I said, it inspires me:

I mean, it has all of these great words on it!

Believe. Play. Sing. Wish. Imagine. Create.

What can I say? It spoke to me.

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Comments

  1. bttrflybabydoll says

    Ok your blog is now making me feel inadequate! ;) My mom loves to sew so I learned how to sew at a young age. I'm pretty sure I could do that, but I don't think it would look as pretty as yours without a pattern! LOL

    Great job! I love the cherry one. It's adorable!

  2. says

    Came across your blog post when looking for an ispiration for an apron on the web. Really nice aprons and great work and tutorial for some one who claims not to be a seamstress :-) will be making an apron for my tree year old in the next few days. And got some nice tips from the tutorial, thanks!

    • says

      Hi Jess, I’m not sure exactly what you need, but I’ll give you some tips that help me out. First, take your time. Sounds obvious, but it really does help. :) Second, when I pin the skirt to the bodice, I use lots of pins because technically, the two cuts go in opposite directions. The skirt os cut in a sort of spiral shape, and you have to line the inner side of the spiral up with the bottom of the bodice.To keep those two seam where they should be, I use lots of pins.

      If you need a better idea of what the skirt should look like before it’s attached, email me through my contact tab above, and I can send you a photo. :)

  3. Madeline says

    I am SOOOO glad I found this, I have sewn dresses, etc., and used bias tape, however I began to work on aprons with square bib and has a time finding good instructions on what to do with the corners. I used a burda pattern which called for side contrast,on curve, to be sewn first then the top bib part, but no instructions on how to close the ends of bias contrast. I folded over, sewed but wasn’t happy how it turned out, bulky and stitching uneven. Wasn’t a way to meter the corner, anyhow I see how you left a quarter lapping at ends of bib, then fold over the sewn in strap. very nice, now I know what to do with those ends at corner of bib. None of my sewing books covered this either, nor other apron patterns, not that one couldn’t just stitch the ends but it doesn’t give that neat trailered look, so thank you for posting this.

  4. says

    Hi! I’ve been browsing for hours and couldn’t find a really helpful tutorial ’till I got to your website!!! :-) I’m definitely going to try it!!! I do have a question about the skirt part, if you don’t mind me asking: before you ruffle it, was it like a long rectangle or did you previously cut it roughly like a biiig semi-doughnut kind of shape?

Trackbacks

  1. […] That’s when I came up with my “uniform” design. I decided to design the apron around the Hogwarts school uniforms – gray on top and black on the bottom. The gray would represent the sweaters worn by the students, while the black represented the pants/skirts they wear. While he was in the States, my amazing hubs did a fantastic job finding the perfect fabrics for my apron. To make this apron, I followed the same steps that I used when making these aprons. […]