I’m not generally an apron wearer, basically because I’m usually wearing my farm/garden jeans whilst cooking dinner and don’t really care what I spill or wipe on them. So, not a great collection of aprons in our kitchen, but we do seem to hoard tea towels. Sometimes it seems there are hundreds of them, kitschy Australiana ones from our travels (which I do rather love), absorbent handy ones, kinder fundraiser ones, free ones with magazines. With two drawers in the kitchen bursting with tea towels combined with thinking that perhaps I will become an apron wearer, I decided to take action and put at least one tea towel to good use. My bestie Kate gave me this linen tea towel with a black vintage spoon on it. I love the linen, love the vintage illustration, just don’t love the amount of tea towels my kitchen is breeding!
You’ll need the following to make an apron like mine…
12 x 6 inch cut-out of illustration or pretty pattern from a tea towel, you could also just use a piece of fabric which takes your fancy. This piece will become your pocket.
15 x 26 inch of plain cotton for your main apron piece
72 x 4 inch of patterned fabric for your waistband sash. (I joined two pieces of 36 inch wide fabric together if you don’t have one continuous piece of fabric this long).
26 inch piece of cotton lace.
Sewing machine armed with co-ordinating thread, scissors, a measuring tape, an iron, the usual sewing stuff. I also used my overlocker but you don’t need one, just double fold and sew your fabric instead.
With your cut-out illustration (or piece of fabric you are going to use for your pocket) fold and iron the top edge over twice. Sew along this folded edge. This will become the top opening of your pocket. Here’s the back view and the front view…
Fold over the sides and bottom of your pocket piece, iron to create a fold and then pin in place on your plain piece of cotton, making sure to catch the folded edge. Pin and then sew all three sides, leaving the top open. You’ve just made a pocket!
Fold the sides of your main apron piece over twice, iron and sew to create a nice finished edge. If you have an overlocker you can serge, then fold once and sew. I have an overlocker (and love it for creating nice neat seams) but depending on what I’m doing sometimes I’ll just go rogue old school, like these side seams I just double folded and stitched. Easy.
With the bottom of your plain piece of cotton, fold over a small hem to the wrong side. Back on the right side pin your cotton lace along the bottom. Sew in place. Then fold back the lace and iron down so that it sits flush and neat below the hemline.
If like me you didn’t have a continuous piece of your pattern fabric long enough, you may need to sew two pieces together. I cut two pieces of 36 x 4 inch fabric, placed them right sides together and sewed to then create a long 72 x 4 inch piece. This will then put the join right in the middle of my apron which is not ideal, but I wasn’t too fussed (you can see my join in the image below). With right sides together pin your long piece of patterned fabric to the top of your plain piece of fabric, making sure the middle of your waistband is in the middle of your apron piece. At this point I used my overlocker to serge all the way along the long edge of the patterned fabric, and along the pinned edge joining to the main apron piece. Doing this you are essentially using your overlocker as a sewing machine, something which I sometimes do and saves heaps of time.
Now you have attached your main apron piece to the patterned waistband piece (via an overlocked seam rather than using your sewing machine). Iron it out flat, nice and neat. My mum always told me that ironing as you go was one of the most important elements of good sewing, I tend to agree.
I then overlocked the other long side of my waistband, as well as the two 4 inch ends. Then fold them all over, iron, and sew all the way around the waistband. You will iron down the overlocked seam you created when attaching the waistband to the main apron piece, just iron it like this…
…then you will sew back over the seam, that’s ok, it is just like top stitching and will make your seam more secure and look pretty and neat too. See?
And that’s it! Your apron is done, hopefully with not too much pain or frustration. Halfway through making mine my overlocker decided to start eating the fabric and I had to re-thread the machine. Not fun. One of life’s great struggles is re-threading an overlocker, first world problem.
Your apron should hopefully resemble something like this…
And if the mood strikes you can snap a photo whilst walking past your wardrobe mirror before taking the apron off…flouncing about in my apron, ripped jeans and ugg boots. As you do…
If you have any questions or problems please ask away – I hope I explained myself well enough, everybody has different techniques of how they like to sew, I just do a combination of what I’ve been taught and what I think makes sense.