Saturday, February 1, 2014

whipped up an apron

this afternoon, i played project leap frog - jumping from one project to the next - as i cleaned up my sewing space. everyone was supposed to clean a part of the downstairs and i picked my sewing room. that's kind of cheating, now isn't it? well, it did need to be done. so i cleaned and straightened and worked on bits and pieces of wips as i went along. and i actually completed an entire non-quilting project!

i turned 2 fat quarters and 2 yards of grosgrain ribbon into an over-due, eye-blinding apron for my 7 yr old, d3, working off a sample apron given to d4 last year. for reference, normally, she wears a size 8 or 10 girls. there was enough fabric here to make an apron for a large child, teen, or even small-ish adult. i had about half of the accent fat quarter left over after using it for the bodice and skirt trim. also, i would recommend 2.5 yards of ribbon so you could make a cute bow for the waistband like the sample apron has.

it was so completely simple that i was able to guess my way through it by looking at the sample apron. as i got started, i decided to photograph some of the process for anyone interested. however, it was late afternoon (no natural light left) and i was working with 2 different types of light in the room, with no desire to keep switching my white balance back and forth. so, i apologize in advance for the crazy photos of some ultra-bright fabrics selected by a 7 year old. (i had to put that last part in there just so no one thinks i chose the fabrics. my vanity wouldn't permit it. i will, however, claim selecting the ribbon.)

this is not a precise pattern, more of a walk-through of how i assembled the apron. you can measure the child or teen for whom you are making the apron to come up with your own measurements.

 first, i trimmed up the prewashed fat quarters to give them clean edges. then i cut a 3" strip of fabric off my accent fabric to trim the bottom of the apron skirt. to hem it, i rolled one edge about 1/4", twice, pressed it, and stitched down. then i attached the trim to the skirt with a 1/2" seam allowance. if you have a serger or overlock function, this seam allowance would be a good place to use it.

 press your seam open on the front side. the bottom of your skirt is trimmed.

finish both side edges of the skirt by turning under 1/8", twice, pressing, and stitching down. in retrospect, i would have finished the sides before hemming the skirt, but it's not that big a deal.

next, gather your skirt.

 using a large, loose basting stitch, sew across the top (opposite the trimmed edge) of the skirt, then pull the strings to gather to the desired length. i made my skirt about 10" wide, but would go wider next time.

after gathering the skirt, i attached the ribbon waistband to it.

view from back after skirt is attached to waistband
i cut about 2' off the ribbon for neck ties, leaving 4' for the waistband. i folded the ribbon in half and marked the center, doing the same with the apron. then i lined up the two center marks and attached the ribbon to the skirt, wrong side of the ribbon to the right side of the skirt, with about 3/4" seam allowance to the skirt but the seam about 1/16th" from the ribbon's edge on the front. (see photos below to view how this looks on the front.) you can now remove the basting strings, if desired.

make the apron bodice by turning and securing the edges, like above, of 3 sides of an approximately 10" x 10" square. (hello, leftover layer cake square!) then attach bodice to the skirt.

WARNING -  this is the WRONG way to place your pieces!!!

resulting in a backwards bodice. oops.
do not do like my first attempt and place the right side of the bodice to the wrong side of the skirt. oh, no. please do it like this:

correct placement of bodice to skirt
place the skirt on your work surface with the right side of skirt facing up, ribbon waistband turned down away from the skirt's top edge, and align the right side of the bodice's unfinished bottom edge to the right side of the skirt's top edge. pin together and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance, or whatever you can manage without sewing into the ribbon. since you can't see the ribbon, you can feel for it as you sew. this seam will be hidden behind the ribbon, so some wobble won't show.

these two photos illustrate where are all the pieces are while making this seam:

wrong side of bodice on top

ribbon folded back away from skirt's top edge so that right side of skirt is touching right side of bodice

when you are done sewing the bodice to the skirt, it will look like this:

press the seam open, being careful not to scorch or melt your ribbon wit the cotton setting on your iron.
 all the threads you see in my seam allowance between the bodice and the ribbon are my basting strings and the threads from my two previous attempts at attaching the skirt correctly, which i was too lazy to remove.

at this point, i meant to make another seam further securing the skirt's edge to the bodice, but i forgot to. it probably won't matter, but would have been nice.

 lay the ribbon waistband flat on the bodice and attach with the needle just inside the edge of the ribbon. if you use a matching thread, it will be hidden. i don't think i own a thread this color and didn't care to purchase any, so i have a high-contrast white stitch on my ribbon and hems. with a different ribbon and maybe a decorative stitch, this could be really cute.

use the remaining 2' of ribbon for the neck ties. i folded one straight edge of the ribbon up before attaching to the top corners of the bodice. cut the loose ends of the ribbon on the diagonal and finish with fray check. do the same for the waistband tie ends.

an alternate finish for the neck ties is to sew a long strip of Velcro to the ties, allowing it to attach easily for a child.

now your apron is complete!
you are ready to surprise your 7 year old daughter with the apron you promised to make for her months and months ago only to hear her respond, "mom! i said i wanted to make it myself, not you to make it for me!" don't worry, she will begrudgingly wear it anyway.

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