Awhile back, with no project in mind, I picked up five fat quarters from Amy Butler's Love collection while browsing at Bolt Fabric Boutique here in Portland, OR. What to do with five fat quarters? I challenged myself to create an apron where there would be virtually no wasted fabric. What remains from this pretty flower garden apron would fit in a teacup.
Sewing Tools You Need
Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 5200)
Fabric and Other Supplies
When choosing your fat quarters, determine whether the direction of the print is compatible with the apron layout. A strongly directional print may be inappropriate. All seams are ½" unless otherwise noted.
- 5 fat quarters (or cut 5 rectangles that measure 18" x 22"). We used Amy Butler's Love collection in: (1) Sandlewood/Turquoise, (2) Bliss Bouquet/Teal, (3) Tumble Roses/Pink, (4) Memento/Midnight and (5) Arabesque/Lime.
- Apron top and pocket lining: ½ yard of 44" fabric (We used a quilting weight ivory sateen.)
NOTE: You will need the full half yard.
- 3 yards of 1" lightweight cotton webbing in natural
- 2 feet of 3/8" rick rack to coordinate with fabric (optional)
- All purpose thread to go with fabric selection
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measures
- Straight pins
- Following the cutting guide below, cut up your 18" x 22" fat quarters as shown. Fat Quarter (FQ) 1 is cut into 9" x 11" quarters, FQ 2 & FQ 3 are left uncut at 18" x 22", FQs 4 & 5 are cut in half lengthwise to yield two 9" x 22" rectangles.
- Download and print out.
IMPORTANT: The Apron Top consists of four 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together to create a complete pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together and trim pattern piece along solid cutting line.
- Download and print out.
IMPORTANT: The Apron Pocket pattern is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern piece along the solid cutting line
- Cut APRON TOP from lining fabric.
- From webbing, cut one 22" strip for the neck strap and two 36" strips for the waist ties.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- With right sides together and raw edges aligned at bottom edge, sew pieces 1c and 1d to piece 2. Press towards center.
- Fold your sewn piece in half vertically so the outside raw edges of pieces 1c and 1d align.
- Place APRON TOP pattern on fold, pin and cut.
- Pin ties as shown in the image below: flush with top and sides, and 5/8" from armhole edges to avoid catching in seam. It's helpful to additionally pin down the ties as shown so they don't accidentally catch in a seam.
- Sew top and lining right sides together leaving bottom open.
- Trim seams, clip corners and snip curves taking care not to cut through seam.
- Turn right side out and press.
- Fold bottom edge of apron top (front and lining) under ½" all the way around as shown below.
- Find the center of the bottom of the apron top and mark with a fabric pencil or straight pin.
- Place pieces 1a and 1b right sides together, and pin the POCKET CUT OUT pattern piece in the upper left corner as shown in Step 1 in the diagram below. Cut. Remove the corner you just cut. What remains are your two pockets.
- Take one of the pockets you just cut, and use it as a pattern piece to cut the lining from the lining fabric as shown in Step 2 above.
- To attach rick rack to the pockets (an optional step... but isn't it cute?), pin rick rack to the right side of each pocket along the curve. The center of the rick rack should be on the ½" seam line. Machine baste in place.
- Place pocket and pocket lining right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack in between the layers. With the lining side down, sew directly on top of the basting stitch along the pocket curve. Then sew the bottom of the pocket, using a ½"seam allowance.
- Turn right-side out and press. Repeat for other pocket.
- Sew pockets to fabric piece 4a and 4b as shown below.
- Sew the five apron strips together in the order shown. Press all seams away from pocket panels.
- To make bottom hem, fold under the bottom edge of the skirt ½" and press. Fold again at 1", press and pin.
- Sew close to the fold to make a simple hem as shown below.
- To finish sides of skirt, fold the sides under ½" and press. Fold again 5/8", press and pin.
- Sew close to the fold to finish the side hem as shown above.
- You can use a ruffler attachment, or gather the traditional way with two lines of machine basting. If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy.
- Mark the center of the apron top with a fabric pencil or straight pin.
- Gather the ruffle to the length of the apron top.
NOTE: Because I didn't want the top of the pockets to be gathered, I gathered the center panel, in between the pockets, and from the outside edge of each pocket to each side of the apron.
Attach apron bib to apron skirt
- Insert gathered skirt between the top front and lining and adjust the gathers to fit. Pin. Be sure you have the lining and front flat and nicely aligned.
- From the front side of the apron, sew through all layers to attach apron bib to apron skirt.
Finish apron ties
- Try on your apron and tie in front. Trim excess length from the waist ties as needed.
- From your fat quarter scraps (there aren't a lot), cut TWO 2" x 2" squares of fabric.
- Fold each square in half, right sides together, and sew both sides using a 3/8" seam.
- Fold top edge to inside 3/8" to match the sewn seam and press.
- Slip the end caps over each end of the tie and sew down with one line of edgestitching as shown above.
- You're ready to serve tea and scones in the garden!
Hints and Tips
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5200 and the Bernina aurora 440QE.