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Farm Girl Vintage Style Reversible Apron

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Sometimes our aprons are frilly, fun, and pretty enough to work as an "outfit-topper-offer." Today we have a hard-working, full-coverage apron built to get the job done. Best yet - it's still frilly, fun and pretty! We've done it up in vintage farm girl style with an over-the-head bib; a wide sash that ties low at the waist for a long, comfy look; and a deep bottom ruffle. It's completely reversible, even the ties are double-sided, so you can use lots of your favorite fabrics.

We originally used the Charleston Farmhouse collection by Felicity Miller for FreeSpirit Fabrics. This is an older collections, which is no longer readily available, so we've chosen  a couple new collections that have a modern twist with a vintage vibe.Take a look at Cultivate by Bonnie Christine from Art Gallery and Natural Wonder by Josephine Kimberling from Blend - both available online at Hawthorne Threads.

There is a downloadable pattern offered below for our apron bib, which is sized to create a generous over-the-head loop. If you feel uncomfortable with this style, you can always cut it at the back, bind the ends, and add a button or snap. And yes, that is me and our tractor. And although I appear to be channeling Eva Gabor in the old Green Acres sitcom, I do really know how to drive the thing.

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, this apron's bodice is approximately 24" wide across the bottom and 9½" high, the waist ties are each approximately 30" long, and the skirt length from the slight drop waist is about 28", including the ruffle. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Yardages shown are generous to allow for pattern matching

  • 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the apron side A
  • 1¼ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for apron side B
  • 1¼ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for ties and ruffle side A
  • 1¼ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for ties and ruffle side B
  • ONE package of piping; we used Wright's Maxi Piping 
  • ONE package of bias tape; we used Wright's Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • 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
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the Apron Bib Part 1 & 4, Apron Bib Part 2, Apron Bib Part 3, and Apron Pocket patterns. 
    IMPORTANT: Each of these four patterns is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines. The Apron Pocket is a single piece. The Apron Bib is made up of four pieces. Butt these pieces together at the arrows as indicated on the patterns and following the diagram on the printed sheets. Do not overlap. Tape together to form the complete template. If you are new to working with downloadable PDF patterns, we have a short tutorial.
  3. From the fabric for apron side A (Dahlia Leaf in Sea in our sample), cut the following: 
    Using the assembled bib pattern right side facing up, cut one bib on the fold
    Using the pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets
    ONE 19" high x Width of Fabric (WOF) rectangle (19" x 44")
  4. From the fabric for apron side B (Sampler in Parchment in our sample), cut the following: 
    Using the assembled bib pattern right side facing down, cut one bib on the fold
    NOTE: Flipping the pattern insures the two bib pieces will match up correctly back to back
    Using the pocket pattern, cut TWO pockets
    ONE 19" high x Width of Fabric (WOF) rectangle (19" x 44")
  5. From the fabric for ties and ruffle side A (Rhythm Stripe in Night in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 8" high x 31" long strips for the ties
    TWO 11" high x WOF rectangles for the bottom ruffle
  6. From the fabric for ties and ruffle side B (Dotted in Night in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 8" high x 31" long strips for the ties
    TWO 11" high x WOF rectangles for the bottom ruffle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Bib

  1. On both bib pieces, place the upper neck ends right sides together and pin in place.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch this short seam and press the seam allowance open and flat. 
  3. Place the two seamed bibs WRONG sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place.
  4. Open one package of bias binding. To create the smoothest look, work with the binding as one continuous length. Do not cut it first. It might seem awkward working with the long tail, but it's tough to measure a curve and easy to cut it too short!
    NOTE: We opted to to simply slip our bias binding over the raw edge and edgestitch it in place. This is cheating just a little, but with just the two layers of cotton and no super-tight curves, we were confident using this method. However, 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. If you'd prefer to use a traditional two-step binding application technique, take a look at our Bias Binding tutorial
  5. Pin the binding in place along the outside edge of the bib from the bottom corner, up and over the loop, to the opposite bottom corner. Trim away the excess binding.
  6. Edge stitch in place, starting and stopping 1" from the corner on each side. We used our Janome Satin Stitch foot to clearly see where we were stitching; it's red guide arrow also helps keep your seam straight.
  7. The 1" left unstitched is where the ties will connect later in the tutorial; you will need the bias tape to be free in order to finish correctly.
  8. The inside edge of the neck opening is a continuous circle, so you will finish the ends prior to stitching.
  9. Start by pinning the remaining length of bias tape all the way around the inner circle. Give yourself about ½" at the head and begin pinning at the top neck seam. When you come back around to where you began, overlap the head by another ½" (approximately) and trim away the excess. 
  10. Unpin a bit at the top and pull the binding away from the fabric. Unfold and flatten both ends of the binding. Place them right sides together. Pin in place.
  11. Place the binding back into position and make sure it lays flat against the fabric. If it doesn't, adjust the ends of the binding as needed. When you're satisfied with the fit, stitch the ends together. 
  12. Re-fold the binding and re-pin it into position. Your binding seam should align with the top neck seam. Edgestitch the binding in place all the way around the neck opening.
  13. Cut two lengths of piping to fit the bottom edge of the bib. 
  14. Fold bib B out of the way and pin one length of piping to bib A. The raw edge of the piping should be flush with the raw bottom edge of bib A.
  15. Attach a Zipper foot. Baste the piping in place, running your seam as close to the piping as the foot will allow.
  16. Flip the bib to the other side and pin the remaining length of piping to bib B, folding bib A out of the way this time.
  17. Baste in place as above.
  18. Set the apron bib aside.

Pockets

  1. Find the two sets of pocket pieces.
  2. Pin a length of piping along the top edge of one pocket in each set.
  3. Still using your Zipper foot, baste the piping in place.
  4. Place the plain pocket right sides together with the piped pocket, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Pin in place all around, leaving a 2" opening for turning along one side.
  5. Stitch together, remembering to pivot at the corners, go slowly and keep your curve straight around the bottom. Lock your seam at either side of the opening for turning. Clip the corners.

    NOTE: Your corner pivots will happen just beyond the piping. It may help with accuracy to stop, with your needle in the down position, and hand crank up and over the piping. Then, stop and pivot, and start up again with the foot pedal once you've cleared the piping cord. 
  6. Turn right side out through the side opening.
  7. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like our fave - a chopstick, to square the corners, gently push the piping into a nice straight line, and round out the bottom curve.
  8. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  9. Repeat to create the second pocket for the other side of the apron.
  10. Find the two main 19" x WOF skirt rectangles.
  11. Place one rectangle right side up and flat on your work surface.
  12. Position the matching pocket on the left of this panel. It should sit approximately 6" down from the top raw edge, 9" in from left raw edge, and 6⅜" up from the bottom raw edge. Pin in place along the sides and around the bottom.
  13. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and around the bottom.
  14. Backstitch at the top corners of the pocket to help secure these areas that will take the most stress. 
  15. Repeat to place the remaining pocket on the remaining main apron skirt rectangle.

Ties

  1. Find the four tie strips, match them to one another in opposite pairs. In our sample, that meant pairing each stripe to a dot. Place the pairs right sides together, then stack the two pairs.
  2. Using a clear ruler and rotary cutter, slice off one end at a slight angle, cutting through all four layers.
  3. Separate the pairs again. Pin each pair together along both long sides and across the angled end. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along each long side and across the angled end, pivoting at the corners. Clip the corners.
  5. Turn right side out through the open end and press flat, pushing out the corner and point with a chopstick or knitting needle.
  6. Find the bib. Place it on your work surface with side B facing up.
  7. Fold three pleats into rthe aw end of one tie, bringing it down to the width of the tab end of the bib. You are fan-folding the tie, which means the fabrics are alternating. Tie B fabric (the dots in our sample) should be against bib B. Adjust the folds as needed so the end of the tie fits nicely between the piping and the upper bib edge. Pin in place. The photo below shows us folding the tie end into position and you see it from the "dot-side" perspective.
  8. The next photo shows it folded into position from the "stripe-side" perspective.
  9. Wrap bib side A over the top so the two bib pieces are right sides together and the fan-folded tie is sandwiched in between. Pin well.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch in place through all the layers. Run a double or triple seam to secure well. 
  11. Trim back the seam allowance and especially the corners so they aren't so thick, but be careful not to cut into your seam.
  12. Turn the end of the bib right side out and pull the tie out into position. 
  13. Edgestitch that little bit of bias tape you left unstitched when first applying the binding. 
  14. Repeat to attach the remaining tie to the opposite side of the bib.

Top skirt

  1. Find the two main skirt rectangles to which you applied the pockets.
  2. Place them right sides together and pin along both sides. Double check that your pockets are both facing the right direction!
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides.
  4. Press the seam allowances open.
  5. Turn the sewn panel right side out and press flat.
  6. Run a gathering stitch across the top raw edges of the sewn panel.
    NOTE: If you are new to gathering, check out our tutorial.
  7. Fold the panel in half to find the center and mark with a pin.
  8. Find the apron bib. Fold the bib in half it find its center point along the bottom piped edge, and mark with a pin.
  9. Gather the skirt panel so it matches the width of the bottom of the bib. Matching the center pin marks, adjust the gathers as necessary so they fall evenly across the top of the skirt.
  10. Pull apart the bib. Pin side A of the skirt panel (Dahlia Leaf in our sample) right sides together with side A of the bib. Using the center pins as your guide, pin all the way across the top of the skirt.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance and a Zipper foot, stitch all the way across, running your seam just below the piping.
  12. Press the seam allowance up towards the inside of the bib.
  13. Flip the apron to side B and fold up the bottom raw edge of side B of the bib so the piping itself becomes the bottom edge of the bib. Bring this edge down into place covering the skirt seam and pin in place.
  14. Thread a hand sewing needle and stitch side B of the bib into place, hiding your stitches behind the piping. 

Bottom ruffle

  1. Find all four ruffle pieces.
  2. Sew each pair of like pieces together along one 11" end to make one very long strip in each fabric. 
  3. Place the two very long strips right sides together and pin along both ends and across the bottom,
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both ends and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Clip the corners.
  5. Turn the ruffle right side out through the top opening. Push out the corners with a blunt tool and press the very long ruffle flat. Pin along the top raw edge.
  6. Run a double line of gathering stitches along the top raw edges of the ruffle panel.

    NOTE: Again, if you are new to gathering, check out our tutorial.
  7. Find the apron. Fold the bottom of the apron A skirt (Dahlia Leaf in our sample) in half it find its center and mark with a pin. You will align this center mark with the seam line of the ruffle panel, which is its center point.
  8. Along the bottom edge of the apron B skirt, fold up the raw edge ½" and press.
  9. Gather the ruffle panel so it matches the width of the bottom opening of the skirt. 
  10. Pin side A of the ruffle panel (the Rhythm Stripe in our sample) right sides together with side A of the apron skirt (Dahlia Leaf in our sample), aligning the raw edges and  matching the center skirt pin mark and the ruffle seam. Adjust the gathers as necessary so they fall evenly across the bottom of the skirt opening.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the ruffle panel to the side A of the skirt.
  12. Press the seam allowance up towards the inside of the skirt.
  13. Flip the apron to side B and bring the folded bottom edge of the skirt down into place covering the ruffle seam. Pin in place.
  14. Thread a hand sewing needle and stitch side B of the skirt into place.

Contributors
Project Concept: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (5)

Janet Parker said:
Janet Parker's picture

I'm in love with this pattern! It's exactly the one I've been looking for. I decided that this year I am giving the ladies in my familoy aprons for gifts. I have the first two birthdays coming up in July. I am so-o excited! Then maybe I'll have a little time to make one for myself before the next birthday comes up. THANK YOU!!!

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

@ Janet Parker - So glad you love this pattern. It is a beautiful one! Have fun - I'm sure all your relatives will love it (and you will too).

Cleo said:
Cleo's picture

The apron is beautiful!  Just wondering... Does it feel heavy with two layers of fabric?

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

@ Cleo - With both layers just quilting weight cottons, it's not too heavy. 

Judy Juhl said:
Judy Juhl's picture

Thank you! I've been looking for a really nice apron pattern, and this one is perfect!

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