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 in Portland, Oregon. What to do with five very pretty 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 garden party teacup.
Sewing Tools You Need
Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3160QDC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
When choosing your fat quarters, determine whether the direction of the print is compatible with the apron layout. A strong directional print may be inappropriate.
- 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; if you are concerned about your cutting and seaming abilities, get ⅝ - ¾ yard.
- 3 yards of 1" lightweight cotton webbing in natural
- ¾ yard of ⅜" rick rack to coordinate with fabric (optional)
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Tape measure
- 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 the four pattern sheets that make up our Apron Top pattern.
IMPORTANT: The Apron Top PDF file consists of four 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together, matching the lines from one sheet to the next, to create a complete pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together, then trim the completed pattern along the solid cutting line.
- Download and print out the four pattern sheets that make up our Apron Pocket pattern.
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 pocket pattern along the solid cutting line
- From the lining fabric, use the assembled Apron Top pattern to cut ONE full lining piece. Fold the fabric and place the pattern on the fold as indicated.
- From the webbing, cut ONE 22" length for the neck strap and TWO 36" lengths for the waist ties.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- With right sides together and raw edges aligned at the bottom edge, use a ½" seam allowance to stitch piece 1c and 1d to either side of piece 2. Press the seam allowances toward the center panel.
- Fold your sewn piece in half vertically, right sides together, so the outside raw edges of pieces 1c and 1d align.
- Place the Apron Top pattern along the fold as indicated on the pattern. Pin in place and cut.
- Pin the four ties in place as shown in the image below: flush with top and sides, and ⅝" in from the armhole edges to avoid having the sides catch in the seam. It's helpful to additionally pin down the neck loop and the ends of the waist ties as shown so they don't accidentally catch in a seam when stitching the front to the lining.
- Place the apron top and the apron top lining right sides together, alinging the raw edges all around. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the two layers together along the sides and top edge, leaving the bottom straight edge open.
- Clip the corners and curves, taking care not to cut through seam.
- Turn right side out and press flat.
- Fold up and press the bottom edge of the sewn apron top (front and lining) ½" all the way around as shown below.
- Along the bottom opening of the apron, fold the top in half to find the center - both front and lining, and mark these two center points 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 along the inside curve. 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 two pocket lining pieces from the lining fabric as shown in Step 2 above.
- To attach the rick rack to the pockets (an optional step... but isn't it cute?), pin the rick rack to the right side of each pocket along the curve. The center of the rick rack should run along the ½" seam line. Using a ½" seam allowance, machine baste the rick rack in place.
- Place the pocket and pocket lining right sides together, sandwiching the rick rack in between the layers. Pin in place.
- Sew directly on top of the rick rack basting seam along the pocket curve. Then sew the bottom of the pocket, using a ½"seam allowance. If not using rick rack, your curve seam allowance is also ½". The top and sides are unsewn.
- Clip the curves.
- Turn right side out and press flat. Repeat for other pocket.
- Place fabric pieces 4a and 4b right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the pockets right side up on top of the fabric pieces, aligning the top and side raw edges as shown below. Pin in place.
- Machine or hand baste the top edge of each pocket in place.
- Edge stitch the bottom edge of each pocket. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the pocket fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Find the five apron strips. Stith them together, using a ½" seam allowance, in the order shown. Press all the seam allowances away from pocket panels.
- To make bottom hem, fold under the bottom edge of the skirt ½" and press. Fold an additional 1", press and pin.
- Stitch close to the fold to make a simple hem as shown below.
- To finish sides of skirt, fold the sides back ½" and press. Fold an additional ⅝", press and pin.
- Sew close to the fold to finish the side hems as shown above.
- The top edge of the apron skirt is lightly gathered to fit the apron top. To create the gathers, run two lines of machine basting along the entire upper raw edge of the assemble skirt panels. If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial on Machine Gathering.
- Above, you found and marked the center front of the apron top and the apron lining. Fold the skirt in half to find its center top and mark this center point with a pin or fabric pen.
- Gently pull the basting stitches to gather the skirt down to the length of the apron top.
NOTE: We didn't want the top of the pockets to be gathered, so we gathered the center panel, in between the pockets, and from the outside edge of each pocket to each hemmed side of the apron, leaving the top of the pockets flat.
Attach apron bib to apron skirt
- Insert the top edge of the gathered skirt between the top front and lining and adjust the gathers to fit. Pin. Be sure the lining and the front are flat and nicely aligned. Insert the skirt up into the top far enough to conceal the basting stitches. Pin the top and lining in place on either side of the skirt.
- From the front side of the apron, edgestitch along the bottom of the apron top through all layers, attaching the apron bib to the apron skirt.
Finish apron ties
- Try on your apron and tie it in front so it is comfortably secure. 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 stitch along both sides using a ⅜" seam.
- Fold top raw edge to inside ⅜" to match the sewn seam and press.
- Slip the end caps over each end of the tie (remember to take off the apron first!) and stitch the end cap in place with one line of edgestitching as shown above.
- You're ready to serve tea and scones in the garden!
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Alicia Thommas