We're spending this week In The Kitchen. And today, we've packed a whole lot of style into one half apron. To start, why settle for a single skirt fabric when you can feature a double-layer of beauty? We then added jaunty oval pockets trimmed with piping, pretty tucks on the flounce layer, and a rick rack hem on the underskirt. You'll find our familiar detailed instructions and step-by-step photos to take you through each of these embellishment techniques. Remember, just because something looks super cool doesn't mean it's hard to do. We're here to help!
We used two fabrics from the Kissing Booth collection by BasicGrey for Moda Fabrics. This is an older collection and so can be difficult to find outside of individual sellers of random cuts on Etsy or eBay. Looking at all the great new alternative collections available, we suggest Wildflower Bouquet in Pink from the Durham anew collection by Brenda Riddle for Lecien Fabrics and Rose Scroll in Brown from the Daphne collection by Skipping Stone Studio for Clothworks Fabrics. Both of these beauties are available now from Fat Quarter Shop. Simply click on the links above or the swatches below.
Our new combination has a similar dense crush of larger florals on the overskirt paired with a more delicate motif for the underskirt and ties. The piping and rick rack accents could remain the same warm cinnamon brown we used for our sample.
As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to adjust your measurements smaller or larger. As a reference, the waistband of this apron is approximately 20½" wide, the ties are each approximately 28½" long, and the skirt length is 19" (from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the rick rack).
There are two ways to attach the pockets - before gathering or after gathering and adding the waistband. We chose the second option. We always recommend reading through the instructions a couple of times before your jump in, but in this case, it is really necessary to determine the pocket option you want to use.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional)
- Zipper foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1½ yards of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for skirt's top layer, the ties and the pockets
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for skirt's bottom layer, bottom facing and waistband
- 1 yard of 45" wide medium-weight fusible interfacing for the waistband and pockets; we used 809 Décor-Bond® by Pellon
- One 2½ yard package of jumbo rick rack
- One 2½ yard package of maxi piping
- Two 1" buttons; we used two-hole wooden buttons purchased locally
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Download and print the Pocket pattern.
IMPORTANT: The pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the skirt's top layer, the ties and the pockets (Dozen Roses in Cherry Cordial in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 36" wide x 19" high rectangle for the top skirt layer
TWO 8" x 31" strips for the ties
Using the pattern, cut FOUR pocket pieces
- From the fabric for the skirt's bottom layer, bottom facing and waistband (Sweet Nothings in Chocolate in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 36" wide x 18" high rectangle for the bottom skirt layer
ONE 36" wide x 3" high rectangle for the bottom facing
ONE 22" x 5" strip for the waistband
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 2" x 21" strip
Using the pattern, cut TWO pocket pieces
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Top skirt layer
- Find the top skirt panel.
- Finish the sides and bottom edge of the skirt panel with a narrow ¼" double turn hem. To do this, fold the raw edge in ¼" and press, then turn under an additional ¼" and press again. Stitch in place, staying close to the inside folded edge. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- Create a crisp fold at each corner.
NOTE: For more information on this type of narrow hem and the steps to create a pretty corner, see our tutorial: ¼" Double-Turn Clean Finished Corners.
Stitched down tucks
- We used pins for our marking. You can use the same method or draw in your marks with a fabric pen or pencil. If you use a marking pen or pencil, make sure it is one that will wipe away easily or vanish with exposure to the air - you are working on the right side of the fabric.
- From the bottom hemmed edge of the top skirt panel, measure up 1½" and mark. Measure ½" up from this first mark and place a second mark.
- Measure 1½" up from the second mark and place a third mark. Measure ½" up from the third mark and place a fourth mark.
- Measure 1½" up from the fourth mark and place a fifth mark. Measure ½" up from the fifth mark and place a sixth mark.
- Repeat these six marks horizontally across the apron panel, spacing the sets of marks about every 5-6".
- Starting with the markings closest to the bottom of the skirt, fold the fabric wrong sides together, aligning the two marks to create a ½" tuck. Slide out one horizontal pin and replace it vertically to hold the fold together. Press in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the tuck in place across the entire width of the skirt.
- Press the tuck down towards the bottom of the skirt.
- Repeat to create a second tuck at the second pair of pins.
- And, again at the third pair of pins.
Bottom skirt layer
- Find the bottom skirt panel. Press up the bottom raw edge ½".
- Cut a 35" length of rick rack.
- Pin the rick rack along the bottom edge so the fold runs through the center of the rick rack "waves."
- The rick rack should end ½" in from each raw side edge.
- Finish the sides of the skirt panel with a narrow ¼" double turn hem. As above, to do this, fold the raw edge in ¼" and press, then turn under an additional ¼" and press again. You will encase the raw ends of the rick rack within this double fold. Just pin the hem in place; do not stitch the sides yet.
- Find the 36" x 3" facing strip. Fold back all the raw edges ½". Press well.
- Place the bottom skirt panel wrong side up on your work surface. Place the pressed facing right side up along the bottom edge of the skirt panel, aligning the facing's folded edges with the folded bottom and sides of the skirt panel. The rick rack should still extend beyond the fabric layers. Pin in place around all four sides of the facing.
- Flip over the skirt panel.
- Topstitch along the bottom, staying ¼" from the folded edge. This seam secures the rick rack and the bottom edge of the facing.
- Stitch down each side of the skirt panel, securing the side hems as well as the side edges of the facing.
- The top edge of the facing remains lightly pinned in place.
Gather the skirt panels
NOTE: As mentioned above, You can either put pockets on now before you gather or way down the line after gathering and attaching the waistband. We chose to put the pockets on after we attached the skirt to the waistband so we could be a bit fussier about their angled placement. If you want to put them on before gathering, jump down the page and create the pockets now. Here are the measurements: the pockets sit at a slight angle with the bottom of the pocket 2" from the bottom of the first pleat. The outer edges are 6⅜" from the side hems and the inner edges are 5½" from the center of the skirt. Pin each pocket in place, starting and stopping at the "dots" shown on the pattern piece. The pockets are pinned and sewn just to the top skirt layer - do not sew through both layers. Use a zipper foot to stitch each pocket in place
- Place the bottom skirt layer right side up on your work surface.
- Place the top skirt layer, also right side up, on top of the bottom, aligning the top raw edges of both panels. Pin in place.
- To gather the top edge of the panels, run one or two lines of basting stitches across the panels, keeping the the basting within the ½" seam allowance. Remember, don't lock either end of your seam.
- Pull the basting to gather the skirt panels to approximately 21". Set the skirt panels aside.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, take a look at our article: How to Make Gathers by Machine
- Find the two 8" x 31" strips for the ties.
- Fold each tie in half, right sides together, so they are now 4" x 31".
- With a see-through ruler and rotary cutter, trim one end of each folded tie at a slight angle.
- Pin the long side and across the angled end of each tie.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the side and across the angled end, pivoting at the corner. Leave opposite straight end open for turning.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn both ties right side out and press flat.
- Set the ties aside.
- Find the 22" x 5" waistband strip and the 2" x 21" interfacing strip.
- Fold the waistband strip in half wrong sides together (2½" x 22") and press to set a center crease.
- Unfold, wrong side up, so the crease line is visible.
- Place the interfacing strip on the bottom half of the fabric tie (on the wrong side), aligning one edge of the interfacing along the center crease. This will leave ½" of fabric visible on both sides of the interfacing and along its bottom edge. Following manufacturer's directions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Along the the top half, fold back the 22" raw fabric edge ½" and press.
- Flip over the waistband so it is right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the waist ties.
- Place the raw end of one tie right sides together with the raw sides of the waistband. The ties will need to be pleated slightly to narrow their ends to fit the waistband.
- Align one edge of the tie against the waistband's center crease. Place the opposite edge ½" up from the waistband's raw edge. Pin in place on the waistband.
- Pinch the excess tie fabric and fold it down towards the waistband's raw edge.
- Fold the waistband right sides together along the original center crease line, encasing the ties between the layers. The folded edge of the waistband should now be aligned with the bottom folded edge of the tie. The ½" raw edge of the waistband extends below the folded edge. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance stitch each side of the waistband, securing the ties.
- Turn the waistband right side out. Pull the ties out into position on either side. There should still be a ½" free raw edge along the waistband.
- Find the gathered skirt panels.
- Place the waistband right sides together against the skirt panels, aligning that remaining free raw edge of the waistband with the top raw edges of the skirt panels. Adjust the gathers as needed to fit the waistband. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the top of the skirt through all the layers.
- Press the seam allowance up towards the waistband.
- Bring the folded edge of the waistband down into place, covering the seam you just made. Pin in place.
- Hand stitch the folded edge of the waistband into place. We used a whip stitch.
- Find the four pocket pieces and the two pocket interfacing pieces.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of two of the pocket pieces.
- Cut two 30" lengths of piping.
- Pin a length of piping to the right side of the two remaining, non-interfaced pocket pieces.
- To connect the piping ends, use a seam ripper to open up the piping fabric on one end.
- Trim back this revealed piping end so it butts together perfectly with the opposite end.
- Trim away the excess piping fabric, leaving about 1". Fold back the piping fabric to created a finished edge and overlap the ends.
- Pin in place.
- Using a Zipper foot, baste the piping in place.
- Place a interfaced pocket piece and a piped pocket piece right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2" opening along one side. Repeat with the two remaining pocket pieces.
- Again using a Zipper foot, stitch the layers together, staying as close to the piping as possible. Lock your seam on either side of the 2" opening left for turning.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the 2" opening.
- Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with sewn seam.
- Hand stitch the opening closed, concealing your stitches next to the piping.
- Repeat to complete the second pocket.
- Lay the pattern on top of each pocket. There are dots indicating where you will stop and start when sewing the pocket to the skirt. Place a pin at these dots on each pocket.
Attaching the pockets to the skirt
NOTE: If you've been reading along, you know we chose to put on our pockets at this point in order to very precisely center and angle each against the gathered skirt panels. The pre-gathering measurements are given above should you chose the alternate method.
- The measurements are essentially the same as noted above: the pockets sit at a slight angle with the bottom of the pocket 2" from the bottom of the first pleat. The outer edges are 6⅜" from the side hems and the inner edges are 5½" from the center of the skirt. However, by placing the pockets in position at this point, you can adjust them to look their very best against the finished gathers.
- Pin each pocket in place, starting and stopping at the "dots" shown on the pattern piece. The pockets are pinned and sewn just to the top skirt layer - do not sew through both layers.
- Use a Zipper foot to stitch each pocket in place, running your seam right along the piping. Remember to start and stop at the pin points.
- Fold the loose top of the pocket down into position. Place the pattern piece over the folded edge and mark the position of the button.
- Transfer the mark to the pocket.
- Hand stitch the button in place through all the layers of the pocket. This stitched button is what holds the folded top of the pocket in place.
- Thread your hand sewing needle with thread to match the bottom layer of the skirt and hand stitch the top edge of the facing in place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructions: Debbie Guild