Sewing Apron

  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Sewing Apron

Some people are naturally organized and have a belief that there is a place for everything. Those wonderfully blessed people can finish a project, throw away a few scraps, return a few tools to storage containers and call it done.

They've put everything else away as they've created. The rest of us also have a belief that there's a place for everything. The problem is that place happens to be right in front of them on their work surface. And that's the place for everything we pull from our stash. Long before we're finished, we're grabbing fabrics or papers from our work surface and throwing them in the air to look beneath them for missing scissors, buttons, instructions, or punches.

When I proudly showed my husband my Fiskars Sew Taxi, I said, "Now I'll never lose my seam ripper again!" He replied, "No. Now, not only will you lose your seam ripper, you'll lose all the rest of those tools at the same time." He was right. But I was determined.

I've given up on the idea that I'll ever be one who puts things away as I create. Instead, I've made an apron covered with pockets that I can slip my tools into, rather than lying them on my work surface, as I create. This apron was inspired by one you can make using a McCall's pattern M6095. I wanted a bib front and a ruffled bottom on my apron so I'll be sharing instructions for making one this way. If you feel you need a pattern, by all means, go buy the McCall's pattern! Work with what makes you feel most comfortable.

This is a simple apron that can easily be made to whatever size you need. My measurements include seam allowances and result in a finished apron that is 24 inches wide x 19 inches long. Begin by measuring your waist to determine the width you need to have the apron wrap around your waist as far as you want. If using your own measurements, be sure to add 1/2 inch to each side of each piece for seam allowances.

Backstitch all seams unless otherwise noted. All seam allowances are 1/2 inch.

Cut the following panels*:
(1) 15 in. x 25 in. main panel
(1) 12 in. x 14 in. bib
(1) 5 in. x 25 in. waistband
(4) 4 in. x 31 in. ties
(2) 4 in. x 27 in. for a one-fabric ruffle or (6) 4 in. x 9 in. contrasting pieces for a patchwork ruffle
(1) 5 in. x 5 in. pocket
(1) 6 in. x 6 in. pocket
(1) 5 in. x 10 in. pocket

*remember, if you cut your apron to your own size, make sure you cut the main panel and waistband the same length, cut the ruffle pieces so the ruffle will be at least twice that length, and cut the bib to the desired size. The pockets can be any size you want to accomodate your most used supplies. You might also consider adding loops of fabric to the apron for holding scissors that are too big for a pocket.

sewing apron bib hem

Hem 3 sides of the bib by folding the edge over 1/4 inch (wrong sides together), ironing the fold, and then fold1/4 inch again. Stitch to hold the hems in place.

Sewing Apron - pocket

Create the pockets by folding the 4 edges over 1/2" and ironing the folds in place. Stitch the fold that will be the top of the pocket slightly less than 1/2 inch from the edge.

sewing apron bib with pockets

Pin the pockets to the bib as desired and stitch them in place. Stitch close to the edge of the pockets.

sewing apron divided pocket

Pockets can be made into divided pockets by stitching from the bottom of the pocket up to the top of it. Starting at the bottom makes it less likely for the pocket to buckle as you stitch. Set the bib aside.

sewing apron ruffle hem

Begin the ruffle by stitching the two 4 inch x 27 inch pieces together, right sides together, along the 4 inch side. If creating a patchwork ruffle, stitch the 9 pieces together in the same manner. Hem the bottom of the finished ruffle by folding the lower edge over 1/4 inch, wrong sides together, and ironing the fold. Fold over 1/4 inch again. Stitch this hem in place.

sewing apron ruffle pinking shears

If you don't have a serger to finish the exposed raw edges of your fabrics, using Fiskars pinking shears will prevent the fabrics from unraveling. I've used them on the seams of my ruffle.

sewing apron ruffle gathering

Change your stitch length to a very long one and baste along the top edge of the ruffle. Do not backstitch at either end. Starting 1 inch in from the end of the ruffle and stopping 1 inch from the opposite end will make hemming the ruffle later easier. Gently pulling the top basting thread, begin bunching the fabric, manipulating the fabric along the thread as it bunches, to create an even ruffle. Keep ruffling until the length of the ruffle is the same as the bottom edge of the main panel of the apron. Knot the basting thread on both ends.

sewing apron ruffle stitching

Pin the ruffle to the bottom edge of the main panel, right sides together. Stitch these together.

sewing apron side hem

Hem the sides of the apron and ruffle by folding the edge over 1/4 inch (wrong sides together), ironing the fold, and folding over 1/4 inch again. Stitch this hem in place.

sewing apron bib basting

Center the bib on the apron and baste it.

sewing apron ties

Create a tie by stitching 2 of the 4 inch x 31 inch pieces together, right sides together, along 3 sides and leaving one short end open. Trim the seams allowances down to 1/4 inch and trim the corners to reduce bulk. Turn the ties right side out.

sewing apron ties pleating

On the unstitched short side, create a pleat and stitch this in place. The pleated end should be no more than 2 inches high when you're finished.

sewing apron waistband

If your fabric is thin, you may want to add interfacing to the waistband to give it some body. Iron it along the entire length and 1/2 of the width of the waistband. You may have noticed my waistband is made of more than one fabric which is not listed in the fabric cutting instructions. I made a mistake when cutting it and had to add extra fabric to make it long enough.

Pin the edge of the waistband (the side with the interfacing) to the upper edge of the apron, right sides together. Stitch. Fold the opposite edge of the waistband over 1/2 inch, wrong sides together, and iron. This is not shown in the photos. If you don't want to use your seam ripper later, don't be like me and forget this step!

sewing apron waistband 2

Lay a tie along the waistband matching the edge of the pleated end of the tie with the edge of the waistband. Fold the waistband in half, right sides together.

sewing apron waistband 3

Stitch the waistband, catching the end of the tie in the seam. Trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk.

sewing apron waistband 4

Turn the waistband right side out.

sewing apron waistband 5

When you're finished, this is what it will look like.

sewing apron waistband 6

Finish the apron by either hand stitching the back of the waistband down or top stitching around the perimeter of the entire waistband. Top stitching adds a nice finished look while also taking care of stitching closed the opening on the back of the waistband.

Fill your pockets with your favorite sewing or scrapbooking supplies and you're all prepared to spend your time working instead of searching!

Supply List

1/2 yard fabric for main panel

1 yard fabric for bib, waistband and ties

1/2 yard for ruffle (or fabric scraps)

scraps for pockets