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Bold, Panel Pocket Apron

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This cute panel-style apron (with a bonus matching hot pad) is a wonderful project to play with a bold print and improve your fussy cutting skills. The wraparound pocket is a perfect match against the skirt. The solid color that frames the bib and the skirt gives the apron its clean lines and creates the panel-style of the name. Pay attention to your edgestitching for the best results on these accents. Our main fabric is a cotton duck, and we recommend this heavier weight for the body of the apron. The solid is a standard quilting cotton, and with the huge variety of colors available in quilting cottons, you're sure to find the perfect accent for your favorite fabric. The panel pocket is lined with quilting cotton to keep any thickness to a manageable level.

The clean, modern design of this apron depends on a precise fussy cut, not only to center the wonderfully large motif on the fabric, but also to create the perfect match of the panel pocket against the apron skirt. We have a good general tutorial on How To Fussy Cut. If you are brand new to the technique, you may also want to take a look at our French Country Apron tutorial as well as our Toile Tote tutorial. Both of these projects also used specific pattern matching techniques for pockets, and the tutorials include additional helpful information and step-by-step photos. 

Pretty grommets hold the waist ties in place, and are echoed in the matching hot pad. As a pair, they'd make a great gift for any cook on your list. 

As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to make yours smaller or larger. As a reference, the waistband panel is approximately 24", the waist ties are each approximately 36" long (longer than traditional as they are meant to wrap around and tie in the front), the neck ties are each approximately 35" long, the skirt length is about 15½", and the bodice is about 12" wide (along the base at the waistband) and 9" high from the top of the waistband to the lowest point of the neckline curve.   

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The fabric yardage recommended below allows extra for the precise fussy cutting of a very large motif. There will also be enough leftover from the apron cuts to construct at least one hot pad.

  • 1 yard of 54"+ medium-weight décor fabric or similar for the main body of the apron, waist ties, and the matching panel pocket; we used 55" Top Floral in Charcoal from the 100% Cotton Duck Collection by Robert Allen
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting-weight cotton for the accent bands, neck ties, and bib lining; we used 44" Kona Cotton in Zucchini
  • ¼ yard of 44"+ wide quilting-weight cotton for the panel pocket lining; we used 44" Kona Cotton in Steel
    NOTE: We used TWO solid fabrics, the Zucchini for the accent bands, neck ties and bib lining; and the Steel for the pocket lining. We have specified one full yard of the main solid (the Zucchini in our sample) and one quarter yard of the secondary solid (the Steel in our sample) to insure enough to cut all the apron elements as well as to have enough to cut all the bias binding strips for the matching hot pad. If you are only constructing the apron, you could simply get ONE yard of ONE solid and use it for both the bands and the pocket lining.
  • 1 yard of 20" wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon ShirTailor
  • ¼ yard of 45"+ wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
    NOTE: As an option, you could use TWO layers of the ShirTailor (get an extra ¼ yard) for the waistband and omit the ¼ yard of the heavier Décor Bond.
  • TWO 7/16" metal grommets (THREE if making a matching hot pad); we used Unique Brand Grommets in a Copper color, purchased locally - you could also use the more common Dritz Extra Large grommets, which often come with a handy insertion kit.
  • For the matching hot pad you would also need ¼ yard of insulated fleece; we used two layers of Insul-Bright
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the TWO pattern pieces for the apron bib: Bib Pattern-Part 1 and Bib-Pattern-Part 2
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the patterns along the solid line. 
  3. Match up the two parts of the pattern, using the printed arrows as your guide. Butt together and tape; do not overlap.
  4. See our links in the intro above if you are new to fussy cutting.
  5. From the fabric for the main body of the apron, waist ties and the matching panel pocket (Top Floral in our sample), fussy cut the following:
    ONE 25½" wide x 13½" high rectangle for the skirt
    ONE matched 25" wide x 7" high rectangle for the panel pocket
    TWO 2" x 39" strips for the waist ties
    Using the pattern, and cutting on the fold, cut one bib
  6. From the fabric for the accent bands, neck ties, and bib lining (Zucchini in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 4" x 36" strips for the neck ties
    TWO 3½" x 25" strips for the waistband
    ONE 4" x 25" strip for the skirt bottom accent panel
    Using the pattern, and cutting on the fold, cut one bib
  7. From the fabric for the panel pocket lining (Steel in our sample), cut ONE 25" wide x 7" high rectangle.
    NOTE: Remember, as mentioned above, if not making a matching hot pad, you could cut this lining from main solid instead.
  8. From the lightweight fusible, cut the following:
    TWO 1½" x 35" strips for the neck ties
    ONE 25" x 7" rectangle for the pocket panel
    Using the pattern, and cutting on the fold, cut one bib
  9. From the medium weight fusible interfacing, cut ONE 3½" x 25" strip for the waistband. 
    NOTE: As mentioned above, you can cut two strips from the lighter-weight fusible rather than use a second type of interfacing. 

Optional Matching Hot Pad

  1. We made a matching hot pad as a bonus project to go with our pretty apron, blending two of our classic hot pad projects to create a new look.
  2. As with the apron, we precisely fussy cut our pieces so the hot pad pocket is a perfect match to its backing panel. 
  3. To make your own hot pad(s), refer to the project links below (both of which offer pattern downloads). The first details the main body of the hot pad, and the second is also the same basic pattern but also shows steps for the cute, grommeted hanging tab.
    Kitchen Confections Vintage Modern Patchwork Oven Mitts
    Combo Hot Pad-Oven Mitt Vintage Style

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create bib and attach neck ties

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the bib interfacing to the wrong side of bib lining. 
  2. Place the interfaced lining right sides together with the main bib piece, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place along the top curve only. 
  3. Stitch the layers together, using a ½" seam allowance. Clip the top curve.
  4. Turn right side out and press flat.
  5. Find the two 4" x 36" neck tie strips and the two 1½" x 35" interfacing strips. 
  6. Fold a fabric strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease.
  7. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. 
  8. Place an interfacing strip on the wrong side of the fabric, aligning one long side of the interfacing with the center crease line of the fabric. Center the strip end to end so there is ½" of fabric showing beyond the interfacing at each end of the tie strip. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  9. Along both long sides of the strip, press in the edge ½". Along the side with interfacing, this means it will fold right along the edge of the interfacing. Also press back one end of the strip ¼".
  10. Re-fold the strip along the original center crease line, aligning the outer folded edges (along the sides and the one end). Press well.
  11. Repeat to fuse and press the remaining strip.
  12. Find the apron bib.
  13. Slip one tie over one side, encasing the raw edge of the apron bib within the fold of the tie. Slide the bib all the way into the tie so its raw edge butts up against the center crease of the tie.
  14. The interfaced side of the tie should be against the back of the bib, the plain side against the front. The bottom raw edge of the tie
    should be flush with the bottom raw edge of the bib. The bib is slightly angled, which means the ties will not run straight up and down but will angle in towards one another. 
  15. Pin in place from the bottom of the bib to the top of the tie. 
  16. Repeat to wrap and pin the remaining tie on the opposite side of the bib. 
  17. If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to best match the tie fabric in the top and the bobbin. 
  18. Edgestitch both ties in place through all the layers. Go slowly to insure your seam is straight and the tie doesn't shift; you want to make sure you catch both the front and back of the tie. Start at the bottom, stitch all the way up to the top, pivot at the top corner and stitch across the end to seal the seam. 

Waistband

  1. Find the two TWO 3½" x 25" strips for the waistband and matching strip of medium weight interfacing. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the fabric strips. 
    NOTE: If you are using lightweight interfacing, fuse one strip to each waistband piece.
  2. Place the two fabric strips right sides together. Measure to find the exact center of the waistband layers. Place a marking pin at this point.
  3. Find the apron bib. Fold it in half to find the exact center along the bottom raw edge. Place a marking pin at this point.
  4. Slip the bottom raw edge of the bib between the two fabric strips, aligning the two center point marking pins. The fused fabric strip should be against the front of the bib, the plain strip against the back of the bib and the raw edges of all the layers should be flush. Pin in place across the length of the waistband and along both ends.
  5. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both ends of the waistband and along the one long side, pivoting at the corners. The opposite long raw side remains un-sewn.
  6. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼" and clip the corners
  7. Turn the waistband right side out. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp, a knitting needle or chopstick works well for this. Press the waistband, along with the seam allowance, down – away from the bib.
  8. The bottom of the waistband is open and raw. Fold up this raw edge ½" along both the front and back. Press well. 
  9. Set the bib/waistband unit aside.

Skirt and panel pocket

  1. Find the skirt panel. Along both sides (the 13½" raw edges), make a ¾" double turn hem. To do this, fold back the raw edge ⅜" and press. Fold back an additional ⅜" and press again. Pin in place, but DO NOT stitch in place quite yet.
  2. Find the panel pocket exterior and the panel pocket lining with its matching interfacing panel. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining.
  3. Place the two pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place along all four sides, leaving an approximate 4" - 5" opening along the bottom edge for turning. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the 4" - 5" opening. Clip all four corners
  5. Turn right side out through the opening. As you did above with the waistband, gently push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  6. With a fabric pen or pencil, draw in guide lines for the panel pocket divisions. 
  7. Fold the panel in half or measure to find the exact center of the pocket. Draw one vertical line at this center point. 
  8. Measure 6" to the left and draw a parallel line. Measure 6" to the right and draw another parallel line. You now have three parallel guide lines. As shown in the illustration at the top of the page, when the pocket is completely stitched in place, there will be four pockets.
  9. Place the skirt panel (with the side hems pinned in place) right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  10. Place the pocket panel right side up on top of the skirt panel. Because you did such an amazing job of fussy cutting your fabric, you can easily line up the pocket across the skirt panel. 
  11. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior fabric in the top and bobbin. The bottom finished edge of the pocket should sit 4½" up from the bottom raw edge of the skirt panel. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. Also place a few pins across each of the three drawn pocket division guidelines. 
  12. Edgestitch across the bottom of the pocket through all the layers. DO NOT stitch the sides of the pocket. 
  13. Stitch along each of the drawn guidelines.
    NOTE: We lengthened our stitch for all topstitching and edgestitching.

Bottom accent panel

  1. Find the 4" x 25" bottom accent strip.
  2. Fold the fabric strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease.
  3. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. 
  4. Along both long sides of the strip, press back the edge ½". Along both ends of the strip, also press back the raw edge ½". 
  5. Slip the accent panel binding over the bottom edge of the skirt, encasing the raw edge of the skirt panel within the fold of the accent panel. Slide the skirt all the way in so its raw edge butts up against the center crease of the binding.
  6. Adjust the folds of the binding as well as the folds of the skirt’s side hems as needed so the binding is perfectly flush with skirt. 
  7. Pin the binding in place.
  8. Edgestitch across the binding, catching both the front and back. DO NOT stitch the ends of the binding. Press well.

Attach skirt to waistband, add ties and grommets

  1. Find the bib unit. 
  2. Slip the top raw edge of the skirt panel into the bottom opening of the waistband. 
  3. As above with the skirt bottom binding, Adjust the folds of the waistband as well as the folds of the skirt’s side hems as needed so the ends of the waistband are perfectly flush with skirt. Also make sure the bottom folded edge of the front of the waistband is straight and parallel with the waistband. There should be 2½" between the bottom of the waistband and the top of the pocket. Pin the waistband in place.
  4. Edgestitch across the bottom of the waistband, catching both the front and back. DO NOT pivot to stitch the ends of the waistband. Press well.
  5. With both the waistband and bottom binding in place, you can now stitch the final side seams. 
  6. Along both sides, edgestitch from the very bottom folded edge of the skirt binding to the very top folded edge of the waistband. This seals the ends of the binding and waistband and secures the side hems.
    NOTE: Why did we make you wait until now for this stitching? So there would only be ONE pretty seam along each side!
  7. Measure ¾" in from each end of the waistband. Make a mark for the grommet centered top to bottom within the waistband. 
  8. Insert a grommet at this point at each end. If you are new to this technique, we have a full step-by-step tutorial: How To Install Metal Grommets
  9. Find the two 2" x 39" waist tie strips. Fold in half, so each is now 1" x 39".
  10. Pin along the long edge and across one tiny end. The tie is so narrow, if pressed well, pins may not be necessary.
  11. Using a ¼" seam, stitch along the long edge and across one end. 
  12. Turn each tie right side out through the open end. Use your favorite method, or check out our tutorial on turning narrow tubes with a hemostat.
  13. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the open end so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  14. Edgestitch along the long seamed edge and across both ends.
  15. Slip one end of one tie through one waistband grommet, feeding the end through from front to back. Pull the end through about 2" and pin against the back of the tie.
  16. Stitch a tiny vertical seam across the tie end to secure.
  17. Repeat to attach the remaining tie through the opposite grommet. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand

Section: 

Comments (11)

Theresa Turner said:
Theresa Turner's picture

I cut the pocket interfacing but I didn't see any instruction to fuse the pocket interfacing before putting the the lining and main fabric right sides together.  Like the bib am I to fuse  the interfacing to lining? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Theresa - Yes, fuse the interfacing to the pocket panel lining. That is rather "assumed" above - we will add an extra note into the steps. Thanks for your question.

writeap said:
writeap's picture

I notice this fabric's is specified as Dry Clean. As this is an apron and would be expected to be laundered regularly, can it be machine laundered? Just wondering. Thanks for the great projects. This site is my go to morning read.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@writeap -- We addressed this topic in our Empire Waist Apron, but it applies here too:

The recommendation to "dry clean only" is often listed because consumers don't/won't follow instructions carefully. Manufacturers fall back on this professional cleaning warning in an attempt to avoid problems attributed to improper care. Although dry cleaning is certainly an option, it isn't your only choice. You can machine wash the fabric if you are careful and take the following steps:

  1. Set your washing machine to a Hand Wash, Delicate, or Gentle setting.
  2. Select Cold Wash/Cold Rinse.
  3. Use a very mild detergent designed to keep dark colors from running, such as Woolite®.
  4. After the fabric is washed, hang it out to drip dry. Do not dry in the dryer!
  5. If you need to iron, use a cool setting with steam. Iron from the back side and use a pressing cloth. 
LindaSonia said:
LindaSonia's picture

Is there any way I can get a pattern for this apron somewhere.  I can't figure out how to print it to actual size.  Mine pieces are far too small.  Thanks for any help.

baddabinda@yahoo.com

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Linda - Most of the pieces for this particular apron cut from rectangles for which the dimensions are given above. You need only print the pieces for the bib. When printing, make sue your print window is set to print actual size. Make sure the boxes for "shrink to fit" or similar are UNchecked. 

LindaSonia said:
LindaSonia's picture

I just left the comment about this apron being the SAME FABRIC I recovered my dining room chairs with.  Is it available for purchase anywhere???  baddabinda@yahoo.com

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Linda - The links to the fabric are included in the instructions above. It is still available at Fabric.com

LindaSonia said:
LindaSonia's picture

No, you misunderstood me.  I don't need to know where to get the fabric because I HAVE the fabric.  I would like to know if I can purchase the completed apron??

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Linda - Sorry for the confusion. No, we do no sell our samples. But... the fabric is still available so you can certainly make one of your very own 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Good gosh, I can't believe it but that apron fabric is the SAME FABRIC I recovered my dining room chairs with!!!!!  LOL!!

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