Laminated cotton is simply a regular cotton coated (laminated) with either vinyl or a clear polyurethane on one side, which means the back is still soft cotton. Big thanks to our friends at Fat Quarter Shop for providing Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane laminate for this project.
The fabric is really quite nice to work with, but you do need to remember a few things:
- Do NOT iron the laminated side. You can iron from the back on a lower setting, but even then, I'd recommend a pressing cloth between your iron and the back of the laminate. You can also try a hairdryer to blow out the wrinkles, and some people claim setting the fabric in the sun helps wrinkles fall out.
- Be careful with any pinning! Pins can leave visible holes behind. I used pins making this project, but I kept them within areas that wouldn't show and didn't use very many.
- If you're sewing on the cotton side or, as in this project, sewing on top of binding, your regular sewing foot will be fine. If you're sewing on the laminated side, a 'Teflon®' type foot (try Janome's Ultraglide foot) is helpful. I only had a few short seams to top stitch on this project, and my regular presser foot worked fine. Michel Miller Fabrics suggest covering your needle plate and the bottom of your presser foot with a blue painters tape. I haven't tried this, but it seems like a good idea. You could also try a walking foot (try Janome's Even Feed foot). This type of foot is designed to keep multiple layers feeding smoothly and evenly.
- Start with a new needle in your machine. This should really be a rule of thumb for every project, but is an especially good idea with this fabric. I recommend a denim needle as its point penetrates the tight surface nicely. Our project requires some hand sewing for which you'll also want a nice, sharp needle plus a good ol' thimble.
- Laminated cotton can be machine washed in cold and tumble-dried on low.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome MO200QC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 54" wide laminated cotton fabric: we used Heather Bailey's Laminated Nicey Jane in Cherry Hop Dot
- Two 3 yard packages of extra wide double fold bias tape in a coordinating color: we used bright pink
- Five 1" buttons: we used happy pink flowers
- Two ¾" sew-on Velcro dots
- All purpose thread to match the bias tape
- New sewing machine needle: we recommend a denim needle
- Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil or marking pen
- Sharp hand sewing needle
- Straight pins
- Download and print the Project Apron Pattern.
IMPORTANT : This pattern consists of FOUR 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together in a square (pages 1 and 2 on the top, 3 and 4 below) to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- Lay your fabric out flat on your work surface, right side (laminated side) facing up. The front and back of the apron will fit easily side by side across the 54" width. You'll be using the same pattern piece, with some modifications, for both the front and back.
- Lay the pattern piece on the fabric, printed side facing up. Pin in place. Cut out around the solid line. This is the BACK of the apron... almost.
- Remove the pattern piece. Use your ruler to mark a straight line across the width just under the seam allowance and side tab cut outs. Cut along this line. I simply used my ruler and rotary cutter to measure and cut in one step. Now... this is the BACK of the apron.
- This bottom piece you cut off will become your front pocket. Set it aside for now.
- Trim the 'shoulder tab' and 'side tab' extensions from the pattern piece.
- FLIP THE PATTERN PIECE OVER, and pin it to the remainder of your fabric (the laminated side should still be facing up).
- Cut out the FRONT of the apron.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Open one package of bias binding.
NOTE: To create the smoothest look, you will be working with the binding as one continuous length. Do NOT cut it until the directions say to cut it. It might seem awkward working with the long tail, but it's actually easiest to do it this way and the finished appearance is so much better.
- Find that pocket piece you set aside. Starting about ¼" from the edge, wrap the binding along the top of the pocket. Pin in place.
- Use a zig zag stitch to stitch the binding in place. The swing of your needle should be about 1/8" from the edge of the fabric. I found that aligning the edge of the foot with the edge of my fabric worked well as a guide. As you remove your pins, make sure the laminate is seated all the way into the bias tape so its raw edge is resting right against the fold.
NOTE: I used a scrap of laminate and bias tape to play around with both the width and length adjustments for my zig zag stitch until I got a look I liked. This also allowed me to test where to place my pressure foot on the bias binding to get an even stitch.
- Secure the end of your seam and remove your bound pocket from the machine. Cut the ¼" head of the binding flush with the laminate but do NOT cut the long binding tail.
- Return to your work surface and place the bound pocket, right side up, on top of the apron front, also right side up. Align the two curved raw edges. You could lightly pin, but it isn't really necessary. Just keep the raw edges together.
- Use a straight stitch to machine baste the two pieces together, using a ¼" seam allowance. Stitch from one corner of the pocket, around the bottom and back up to the opposite corner of the pocket. Do NOT stitch across the top of the pocket.
NOTE: Before you switch your machine back to a straight stitch, make a note of your zig zag width and length settings.
- Remove the apron front from the machine and return to your work surface. Make a neat 45˚ fold in your binding at the pocket corner, pin, and continue around the outside edge of the apron front, wrapping the binding and lightly pinning it in place. Go all the way around to the bottom of the arm hole.
- Re-set your machine for a matching zig zag stitch. Starting exactly on top of your 45˚ folded corner stitch all the binding in place. Secure your stitch when you get to the bottom of the arm hole.
NOTE: This laminate fabric is easy to work with, and the fabric stays in place nicely as you wrap and stitch your binding. Making neat binding is really all about practice, and going slowly and evenly, gradually feeding the fabric into the binding. Don't expect to just wrap, pin and stitch. Going too quickly or assuming everything stays put and never moves is where disappointment lurks: you pull it out of the machine and there's a big chunk of fabric that's slipped out and isn't captured within the binding. Save yourself some seam ripper time and some tears. Go nice and slow and feed a little bit at a time. Set your needle so it stops in the down position and there's no worry about your stitches getting out of line. Slow and steady, Mr. Turtle.
- Remove the apron from the machine and make a corner fold. Wrap the edge up to the shoulder.
- Stitch in place.
- Remove from the machine. Make a corner fold. Encase the top of the shoulder. Stitch across the shoulder.
- Remove from the machine. Make a corner fold. Encase the entire neckline around to the top of the opposite shoulder. Stitch in place.
- Finally... I'm going to let you cut the binding. Trim it flush with the top of the shoulder.
- Cut a piece of binding just slightly larger than the armhole still left to bind.
- Encase the armhole. Stitch in place. Trim both edges of the binding flush with the laminate.
NOTE: Two things to keep in mind: 1) The corner folds are going to be a bit tough to stitch though, which is why I recommended the new, denim needle. You also need to make sure your machine has good needle penetration power. My Janome MO200 worked like a charm. 2) Do the very, very best you can start your new zig zag line directly on top of the previous line. I used a lock stitch to secure the beginning and end for a neater look.
- Bind the back of the apron in the same manner.
NOTE: I opened a new package of binding, because I wasn't positive I could squeak it out with what was leftover from the front, and I didn't want to piece the binding. I'll use the excess for something else.
- On the back, start on the left edge of the bottom and run the binding in one continuous strand all the way around, across the top of the first shoulder, around the the neckline, stopping and cutting flush at the edge of the opposite shoulder. A final piece completes the opposite arm hole.
- Use your see-through ruler to measure across the front of the pocket and find the center point. It should be at about the 7" mark. Place a pin at this point and then use a fabric pencil to draw a very light perpendicular line.
- Re-set your machine for a long straight stitch, and stitch along the drawn line. Start and stop just beyond the binding. In other words, don't stitch on top of the binding. It won't ruin anything if you do stitch on the binding; it just looks better if you don't.
- Place the front and back of the apron right sides together and pin at the shoulder seam and the side seam.
- Stitch both seams, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Turn the apron right side out.
- Because of the stiffness of the laminate, and the fact that ironing is a challenge, your seams are not going to lay flat. Instead, for each seam, fold the seam allowance together and towards the back of the apron. Clip the seam allowances at a diagonal to make sure they hide neatly. Then, top stitch ¼" from your seam line through all layers. This creates the look of a 'flat felled seam' (like on the side of your jeans) and keeps everything nice and flat.
- Use your see-through ruler to place three buttons evenly along the center pocket seam.
- Fold over the should tab and the side tab from the back to the front and mark the placement for one button on each of these tabs.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match your buttons and stitch all five buttons in place.
- Place one side of your Velcro dots directly over the button thread knots on both tabs. Whip stitch in place.
- Place the opposite side of your Velcro dots in position on the front of the apron to line up with the dots on the tabs. Whip stitch in place.
- I switched to a white thread to whip stitch the Velcro dots in place - just thought it looked neater.
NOTE: It will take a bit of brute force to stitch through the laminate and the Velcro dots. This is why I recommended using a very sharp needle and a thimble. The thimble allows you to push the needle harder without driving it into your finger and bleeding all over your nice, new apron!
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 6200 and the Baby Lock Decorator's Choice.