Friday, June 11, 2010

Pioneer Apron Tips

Like the Workwoman said, there's a lot of variation to aprons. As I've made a few lately, here are some things I've learned.
  • Do as much of your ironing as you can at the same time: Press your pockets, your straps, the sides of your apron before you start sewing.
  • Do as much of your stitching at the same time as you can. Stitch the sides of your apron, the straps, the pockets, and run your gathering stitches across the top at the same time.

This is a front apron (and, yes, is a little long for this dress). When I saw this fabric, I hoped there would be enough for an apron! I had only a 45" square (1 1/4 yd.). Usually when you sew, you cut out your pattern so the grain runs up and down; however, I thought since this print didn't need to be torn out that way, I'd try letting the grain run side to side (raw edges at the sides rather than the top and bottom).

The apron body is 35" x 45". The pockets are 8" x 10". The straps are 29" x 2". The waistband is 22" x 3" (could have been 20").

I made this apron to go about all the way around, in which typically I'd need 2 widths of fabric torn to my desired length for the body. However, since the print didn't need to go a certain direction, I thought I'd save myself 2 seams and tear it opposite the grain (raw edges at the sides rather than the top and bottom).

The apron body is 40" x 72" (35" would have been better because I had to take some off later). The pockets are 8" x 10", and the waistband is 4" x 80". This apron needed 2 1/4 yards, but there is a bit of fabric waste when you do it this way.


With a 2" strip, I tried double-folding over the top of my strap, and folding up the bottom of the strap to slide under the top folds and then stitch down (see the picture). I don't really like how it turned out, I'll just sew my strap right sides together next time and turn and press like normal.


I like cutting (tearing) out my pockets 8" x 10". This allows me to turn under my sides 1/4" - 1/2" and the top 1" - 1 1/4".

You can either press your sides, your bottom, then your top to the back, then just stitch the top down (you'll stitch the sides down when you attach your pocket to the apron), or

you can press the top of your pocket to the front (right sides together) 1" - 1 1/4" and stitch your sides (just the 1" - 1 1/4").

Then, flip it the correct way and press your sides in as well as the bottom 1/4" - 1/2".

To place your pockets, if you have one of those big clear plastic things (sorry, I don't even know what it's called), just mark your center at the top of the apron with a pin, then place the plastic thing matched up with the top and however far you want your pocket out from the center. I placed these pockets 9" down and 5" out from my center. Seemed to be good placement. 8" down would have been fine, too. This was so much easier than using my tape measure and measuring down from the top and out from the center!


Since this was for a front-only apron (not all the way around), I made my waistband strip 22" long x 3". Next time I might make it just 20" (or even less) long. I ran my gathering stitches at 1/4" & 1/2".

In the past I've put the waistband and the apron right sides together, stitched them, then flipped the waistband to the back, folded it under 1/4" - 1/2", then hand stitched the inside of the waistband down.

A faster way to do this is to put your waistband right side up with your apron on top, right side up also (scruntching the apron 1/2" smaller than your waistband), and stitch the two pieces together at 3/4".

Flip the waistband up and press it all flat. Press each short end in 1/2" (to match up with the width of your apron).  Then press the top edge of the waistband down so it meets the top of the apron.

Then fold the waistband over again so the raw edges are all to the inside, the top of the apron is sandwiched in the waistband, touching the top of the waistband.

Insert your straps, pin everything down, and securely top-stitch your straps in and the bottom of your waistband.

I like this method of folding the waistband into 4 equal parts with the center fold touching the top of the apron because it provides a uniformly thick waistband -- meaning the bottom of your waistband is not thicker than the to of your waistband.  It always bugs me when my waistband gets perma-creases in in it from bending over.

If you're in the mood for wasting fabric, you can also just tear a really long strip (mine was 4" x 80") that will become both you waistband and your straps together. I really liked the 4" wide band. If I were to run gathering stitches on my apron at 6/8" and 7/8", then I could sew the waistband and apron together at 1".

To place your waistband and apron together, just mark the center of your waistband, figure out how big you want the apron to be around and measure from your center out.

Again, flip the waistband up after the two pieces are stitched together, press, fold the top edge down to the top of the apron, then fold over and press again to sandwich the top of the apron. Press what has become your straps to match how you've pressed your apron. Top stitch the short ends of your strap, along the bottom of your strap, which turns into the bottom of your waistband, all the way to the other end.

I made this apron mostly using Elizabeth Stewart Clark's free apron pattern.


Greg said...

Em-Thank you so much for the clothes!! There is a picture up on our blog that you are welcome to use for this blog & I will get you more pictures when I have them accessible. Everyone RAVED over their outfits & none of them got sunburned!

Unknown said...

Thank you for taking the time to post your directions for the apron. It really helped me out and it is a great functional apron.

Tarina said...

I would love to know which pattern is used to make the dress you are wearing beneath the apron in the top image. I’ve been wanting to make a dress like this for years.

Emily said...

Tarina, that is from Elizabeth Stewart Clark's Girls dresses pattern, She provides excellent support, too.


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