One of the best beginner projects is a cute apron. Make one for yourself; make one for a friend... make enough for everyone! It's a fast, fun project that takes just a couple yards of fabric. Our design uses a combination of three coordinating fabrics, which allows you to be creative with color and design. The waistband and ties are surprisingly easy to make but give the apron a "professionally finished" look. And the three jumbo pockets can hold utensils, recipe cards, or just your hands as you spin around the kitchen in your brand new apron.
We originally used fabric from the Bella collection by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics. This is an older collection and so can be difficult to find currently. As an option, we combined three prints from the Glimma collection, also by Lotta Jansdotter, which we spotted at Fat Quarter Shop. The motif and feel is similar to our original trio, but on a smaller scale and in a pretty pink and gray palette.
We recommend Glimma Drake in Slate to replace the original skirt stripe, Glimma Tove in Rosey Cheeks to replace the original pocket floral, and Olavi in Rosey Cheeks to replace the original waistband dot. Click on the links above or the swatches below to see more and shop.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Hello Kitty 15822 - adorable and functional!)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Our yardage recommendations allow some extra for fussy cutting.
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the main apron skirt; we used Bella Stripe Citron
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the pocket panel; we used Bella Pods Citron
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the waistband and ties; we used Bella Bead Stripe Ash
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the main skirt panel (Stripe Citron in our sample) fussy cut ONE 17" high x 31" wide rectangle to best center the fabric's motif.
- From the fabric for the pocket panel (Pods Citron in our sample) fussy cut ONE 10½" high x 31" wide rectangle to best feature the pattern. You want the fabric's motif to be centered nicely both side to side as well as top to bottom within the pocket panel.
NOTE: The pocket panel will finish 8" deep with each of the three pockets 10" wide; there will be a ½" bottom seam and a 1" double-turn hem along the top (accounting for the other 2" of the original 10½" cut). So, your "centered design" should focus on the motif 2" down from the top raw edge and ½" up from the bottom raw edge.
- From the fabric for the waistbands and ties (Bead Stripe Ash in our sample) fussy cut THREE 4" x width of fabric (WOF) strips to best center the pattern. We cut so a dominant "bead stripe" fell ½" from one raw WOF edge.
- Cut TWO of the THREE strips down to 31"; cut the remaining strip down to 19".
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Hem the panels
- Find the 17" x 31" main panel. Make a ¼" double turn hem along both 17" sides. To do this, fold under the raw edge ¼" and press. Then, fold under an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place. Do not stitch the side hems at this time.
- After you create the ¼" double turn hems along both sides of the main panel. Repeat to create the same hems along each 10½" side of the 10½" x 31" pocket panel. As above, just press in place, don't stitch in place yet.
- Along the top of the pocket panel, use the same technique to create a 1" double turn hem. Instead of ¼", simply fold and press 1" and then an additional 1".
- This hem you DO edgestitch in place close to the inside fold.
NOTE: If you are new to making simple hems, you can read our tutorial.
Assemble the panels and stitch the pockets
- Place the pocket panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the main skirt panel, also right side up, on top of the pocket panel, aligning the folded sides and the bottom raw edges.
NOTE: Yes, the two panels are right side to wrong side - a little different than the traditional right sides together. It's okay, the pocket will fold up into place and all will be right with the world.
- Pin the two layers together along the bottom raw edge.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the layers together.
- Press the seam open.
- Fold the pocket panel up into position on the right side of the main panel. this means the seam you just made now becomes the bottom of the apron. Press the pocket panel in place, making sure the bottom seam line is straight and flat. Align the pressed side hems of the pocket and the skirt, and pin the pocket panel in place.
- Working from the back of the apron, so you can best see your hem, edgestitch all the side hems in place with one seam. In other words, stitch from the bottom of the apron, across the pocket, finishing at the top of the main panel. You've secured your side hems and secured the pocket panel in place with just one neat seam along each side.
NOTE: Working from the back means your bobbin thread stitch is what shows on the front, so make sure you have thread to match your fabric is both the top and bobbin.
- Place the sewn apron/pocket panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Using a see-through ruler and fabric pen or pencil, measure 10" in from the right side hem, mark and draw a vertical line through the pocket. Then, measure 10" in from the left side hem, and mark and draw a second vertical line. These lines are the pocket divisions.
- Stitch along each drawn line from the top of the pocket panel to the bottom of the apron.
NOTE: If possible, use a lock stitch at the beginning and end of your seam for a neat finish. If you do not have this function on your machine, you can leave your thread tails lock and hand knot to lock the seams or simply be very careful and precise with your backstitching to lock the seams.
- Along the top raw edge of the apron panel, stitch two rows of gathering stitches. These are simply two lines of machine basting within the ½" seam allowance. Do not lock either seam at the beginning or the end, and leave the thread tails long. If you are brand new to gathering, we have a Gathering Tutorial you can review.
- Pull the stitches to gather the top of the apron from 31" down to 18".
Waistband, ties and finishing
- Find the waistband and tie strips. Place one 31" strip on either end of the 19" strip, matching the 4" ends. The strips are right sides together. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seams open. You now have one continuous strip 4" x 79".
- Fold this strip in half, right sides together (so it is now 2" x 79"). Pin in place from each vertical seam out to the end of each tie. The middle 18" waistband section should be left un-pinned.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch each tie. To do this, you will start at the waistband/tie seam, stitch towards the end of the tie, pivot at corner, and stitch across the end to finish. Remember, this leaves the center 18" waistband section open. Clip the corners.
- Turn the ties right side out through the open waistband section. Press both ties flat.
- Match the gathered top edge of the apron panel right sides together with the front layer of the waistband opening. Pin together. The gathered edge should be a perfect fit within the 18" opening of the waistband. If it isn't, loosen or tighten the gathers until it fits exactly.
- Using a ½" seam allowance stitch the gathered apron panel to just that one layer of the waistband. It's easiest to work with the gathers on top so you can make sure they stay in position.
- Press the seam up toward the inside of the waistband.
- Press back the remaining raw edge of the waistband ½".
- Bring this folded waistband edge down into place to cover the gathered seam.
- Pin in place. Make sure the folded edge is below the original seam line; your final stitching will be done from the right side, and you want to be sure you catch the back edge all the way across.
- Edgestitch the waistband in place, stitching on the right side so your seam line is nice and straight from the front.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler