Welcome to the final 2011 installment of our Free Spirit Fabrics Artist Trio Series. These collected articles are a way for you to meet some fabulous Free Spirit designers, try out a few special projects we've created in their featured fabric collections, and enter to win some gorgeous fabrics and other goodies courtesy of Free Spirit. We round out our "trio of Trios" with one of Sew4Home's favorite designers: Joel Dewberry. Since Thanksgiving is a time of traditions, we felt it would be the perfect time to feature Joel's latest collection: Heirloom. These fabrics are a treasure chest of stunning tones and patterns. Nostalgic designs mix with contemporary motifs and all are infused with rich jewel tones: garnet, ruby, gold, amethyst and more. Our kick-off project is today's vibrant apron design with decorative stitching accents and a clever towel loop.
Our thanks to Free Spirit Fabrics for sponsoring all of our 2011 Artist Trio Series. If you are as in-love with Joel Dewberry's Heirloom as we are, stay tuned. We have an in-depth interview coming up as well as two beautiful table linen projects. And, there's an amazing Great Giveaway waiting at the end of the week.
Our beautiful apron is fully lined, and even though it is not "officially reversible," it's pretty enough on both sides to wear inside out. Take a look at the photo at the bottom of the page.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide décor weight fabric for the body of the apron, we used cotton sateen from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Collection for Free Spirit Fabrics: Ornate Floral in Gold from the Ruby palette
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide quilting weight fabric for the lining of the apron and the bottom border accent, we used quilting cotton from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Collection for Free Spirit Fabrics: Tile Flourish in Garnet from the Ruby palette
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide quilting weight fabric for the pockets, we used quilting cotton from Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Collection for Free Spirit Fabrics: Opal in Gold from the Ruby palette
- 2¾ yards of 1½" wide natural cotton twill for neck and waist ties and towel loop
- ¼ yard of 22"+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing
- THREE 1" - 1½" buttons; we used 1" wooden buttons
- All purpose thread in color to match fabric and cotton twill
- Contrasting color thread for topstitching and decorative stitching; we used Coats Dual Duty in a deep garnet red
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Straight pins
- Download and print Apron Arm Hole Cut Out Part 1 and Apron Arm Hole Cut Out Part 2.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each pattern along the solid line.
- Butt the two pieces together at the arrows to create one pattern piece; do not overlap, butt together. Tape together.
- Fold the fabric for the exterior of the apron (Joel Dewberry's Gold Ornate Floral in our sample) in half lengthwise and cut a rectangle 17" wide x 25½" tall. Do not cut the fold.
- Fold the fabric for the lining and bottom border of the apron (Joel Dewberry's Garnet Tile Flourish in our sample) in half lengthwise and cut the following (as above, don't cut the folds):
ONE rectangle 17" wide x 28" tall for the lining
ONE strip 17" wide x 3½" tall for the bottom accent strip
NOTE: This bottom border piece should be fussy cut so your accent strip has a nicely centered design motif.
- With both main apron pieces (the exterior and the lining) still folded, align the Arm Hole pattern in the upper right corner (the raw edges corner, not the folded corner) and trim out that shape to create the arm hole.
- Cut out the armhole from the exterior.
- Then, cut out the armhole from the lining.
- From the fabric for the pocket (Joel Dewberry's Gold Opal in our sample), fussy cut one 13" x 16" rectangle.
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 8" rectangle
- Cut the twill into four lengths:
TWO 28" lengths for the waist ties
ONE 30" length for the neck tie
ONE 5" length for the towel loop
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the bottom accent piece right sides together along the bottom edge of the apron exterior. Pin in place.
- Stitch together using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam open and flat.
- Thread your machine with a contrasting thread.
- Following the instruction manual, set up your machine for decorative stitching. Choose a decorative stitch that will stand out nicely against your fabric. We chose cross stitch #46 on the Janome Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition.
- If you are new to decorative stitching, we have a recent helpful article on the topic.
- Run a line of decorating topstitching along the accent border seam, using the seam itself at a center guideline.
- Find the 13" x 16" pocket piece and the 12" x 8" interfacing piece.
- Fold the pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 13" x 8". Press to leave a visible crease.
- Open the fabric back up so you can see the crease.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket fabric, aligning the top edge of the interfacing with the center crease of the fabric and centering side to side.
- Fold the fused pocket piece in half again right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2- 3" opening for turning along the bottom edge.
- Re-thread your machine with a matching thread.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, stopping and starting at either side of the 2 - 3" opening. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the opening and to pivot at each corner.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal but be careful not to cut into the seam.
- Turn the the pocket right side out through the 2 - 3" opening and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Place the exterior body of the apron right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the finished pocket on the apron front. The bottom right hand corner of the pocket should be 5" up from the bottom raw edge and 5" in from the right raw edge. Pin in place. Our pocket is designed to be slightly off center to the right.
- Mark the center point of the pocket, 6" from either edge. Use pins to mark this center line or draw a line with an erasable fabric pen.
- Re-thread your machine with a contrasting thread (the same thread you are using for your decorative stitching).
- Increase the stitch length and run a line of topstitching along the center line of the pocket. Now you have two pockets!
- Again following the instruction manual, set up your machine for decorative stitching. Use the same decorative stitch you used to embellish the border seam (we used cross stitch #46 on our Janome Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition).
- Use the decorative stitch to sew the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom (leaving the top open ... ah, yeah, it's a pocket). Use the edge of the pocket itself as the center guideline for your decorative stitch so half falls on the pocket and half falls on the body of the apron. This stitching also closes the opening used for turing right side out.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the twill.
- Find the 5" length of cotton twill.
- Turn both ends under ½" and press.
- We stitched our Sew4Home label on the center front of the twill.
- Place exterior body of the apron right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Measure 8" from the left hand raw side of the apron and 13" up from the bottom raw edge. Mark this point with a pin.
- Place the bottom left corner of the loop piece at this point. The loop should be perpendicular to the bottom of the apron.
- Stitch the top and bottom ends in place with a small rectangular box stitch.
Make ties and assemble the apron
- Find the two 28" lengths of twill. These are your waist ties.
- Finish one end of each length. To do this, fold the raw edge under ½" and press, then fold another ½" and press again. Stitch a small rectangle to hold this tiny hem in place. Similar to what you did to stitch the towel loop in place.
NOTE: The twill wasn’t too thick and it finished up nicely. If you use something thicker or don't want to go to the trouble to make a hem, you could simply zig zag ¼" from the edge of the tie as a finish.
- Pin the ties in place on both sides. Each should be positioned at the bottom of the armhole curve. The raw edge of the tie should be flush with the raw edge of the apron side, but make sure the top edge is ½" down for the arm hole curve. This way, when the apron is seamed and turned right side out, the tie will be flush with the seam.
- Find the 30" length of twill that is your neck tie.
- Do NOT finish the end as you did with the waist ties. You will do that later in order to be able to try on the almost-finished apron and adjust this tie for the best fit.
- With the apron exterior still flat and right side up on your work surface, place one raw edge of the neck tie approximately 1" in from the left side of the apron along the top edge of the bib. Pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the fabric.
- The loose ends of the ties should be gathered to the middle of the apron body so they are out of the way of the seams. You can pin them in place if necessary.
- With the apron exterior still flat and right side up on your work surface, place the lining piece right side down on top of it, sandwiching the ties in between the layers. Pin all the way around, leaving a 5 - 6" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the apron, leaving just the 5 - 6" opening along the bottom. To help reinforce the ties, double-stitch over each one. Make sure those ties stay out of the way of the seam.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal.
- If this is an apron that will be laundered often, consider finishing your seams with a sewing machine or serger.
- Turn apron right side out. Push corners out with a long, blunt-end tool, like a chopstick or large knitting needle.
- Press flat all around.
- Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread and increase the stitch length.
- Topstitch along the entire bottom border accent to reinforce the edge and close the opening used for turning.
- Hand stitch a button at the corner where each waist tie comes out from the apron.
NOTE: Be careful with your stitching so you create a pretty "X" stitch from the front and neat little "x" on the back. You will see the stitching from both sides. If you are new to this, check out our button sewing tutorial.
- Hand stitch a button approximately 1" in from the right side and 1" down from the top edge. Your distances may vary slightly. In general, you want the right loop of the tie to be the same distance from the edge as the left loop of the tie.
- To finish the final raw end of the neck strap, put on the apron and adjust it until the bib fits as you'd like (if this apron is for a gift, you'll have to guesstimate on yourself). Pull the tie down over the top of the sewn button and extend about ½" below the button. Place a pin at this point.
- The pin is what will be the finished bottom of the tie, but you need some stability behind to sew a buttonhole. Measure about 2½" inches beyond the pin point and cut away the excess.
- Fold the raw edge under ½" and press, then fold back an additional 2" and press again. Pin in place. Also, double check you are hemming to the back of the tie. It would be sad to get all done and have your hem facing out.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the twill.
- Stitch the hem in place with a small rectangle, in the same manner you finished the ends of the waist ties.
NOTE: Remember, your exact measurements are going to depend on the size of your button. We wanted to make sure, when we made our buttonhole, that we were stitching through two layers of the twill for stability and yet not hitting the ½" turned-in edge.
- Following your instruction manual, set up your machine to make a buttonhole.
- Press everything one more time.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 3230 and the Bernina 330.