You're a stylish one, Mr. Grinch. If I were a Who down in Whoville, this would be just what I'd wear to whip up my holiday feast. The fourth in our series of retro hostess apron tutorials is the all-out-fun of Be A Grinch! Created with three of Robert Kaufman's whimsical Suess® prints, the bib and skirt of this apron are actually two separate pieces that button together along the waistband.
Today's project is sponsored in part by our friends and Shopping Directory featured member, CityCraft Modern Fabric Boutique & Sewing Lounge. Long known around North Texas as the hip place to shop and sew, they also ship their extraordinary fabric selections, like the Suess® Holiday Collection, worldwide from their online store.
For this project, Callie and her crew not only have a great selection of Robert Kaufman Fabrics' Suess® prints in stock, they've also put together a special Be A Grinch! Kit with the exact Suess® cuts you need as well as a coordinating red cotton for the waistband. Order the CityCraft Be A Grinch! Kit, and all you'll need to pick up on your own is the organza for the ties, some funky buttons, interfacing and thread.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the apron overlay skirt, bottom binding and bib piping; we used Celebrate Suess! in Crimson & White Stripe from Robert Kaufman Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the apron underlay skirt; we used Celebrate Suess! in Chartreuse Oval Dots from Robert Kaufman Fabrics
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the apron bib; we used How The Grinch Stole Christmas in Holiday Grinch on Green from Robert Kaufman Fabrics
- ¼ yard of 44-45" wide cotton fabric for the apron waistband; we used a crimson quilting cotton
OPTION: Order the CityCraft Be A Grinch Kit
- 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide organza for the neck and waist ties: we used red
- ½ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing
- 1 yard of ¼" piping cord
- 3 chunky 1" buttons; we used big white plastic buttons
- Fray Check or similar seam sealant
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Fabric marker, pen, or tailor's chalk for marking fabric
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Download and print our TWO 8½" x 11" pattern sheets: Be A Grinch 1 and Be A Grinch 2.
IMPORTANT: You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
- Following the arrows on the patterns, and the diagrams on the printed sheets, butt the two pieces together and tape in place. Do NOT overlap. You now have one complete bib pattern
- From the fabric for the skirt underlay (Chartreuse Oval Dots in our sample), cut ONE 18½" x 37" rectangle.
- From the fabric for the skirt overlay, binding accent and piping (Crimson & White Stripe in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 13½" x 37" rectangle for the skirt
ONE 3" x 37" strip for the bottom skirt binding
ONE 1" strip, ON THE BIAS for the piping, it should be about 32" in length
NOTE: Try to cut it all in just one strip, but you can also cut multiple strips and seam them together end-to-end to equal 32" in finished length.
- From the fabric for the waistband (Crimson Cotton in our sample), cut ONE 4" x 21" strip
- From the fabric for the skirt bib (Holiday Grinch on Green in our sample), use the pattern to cut TWO pieces on the fold - one for the front and one for the back
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 1½" x 20" strip for the waistband
Use the pattern to cut ONE bib piece on the fold, as you did above with the fabric
- From the organza, cut EIGHT 31" x 5" strips for the ties, then layer the pieces and cut one end of all eight ties at a slight angle. I call this the "sash slash". If you are worried about the organza sliding, you can cut each tie individually.
NOTE: If you are new to working with sheer fabric, like organza, check out our tutorial for some tips and tricks. For example, when cutting the organza, it is best cut as a single layer and once you get it straight on your mat, tape it is place so it doesn't shift. You could also use push pins or fabric weights, depending on your cutting surface.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Organza neck and waist ties
- If you have been following our Hostess Apron series, you know each one has beautiful organza ties. The method to create the ties is the same for each apron: stitch the tie strips right sides together along both sides and across the angled ends.
- Turn right side out, topstitch, turn wrong side out, trim back the seam and apply seam sealant, turn right side out again, topstitch and press flat.
- If that went by too fast, check our It's A Graveyard Smash apron tutorial for more detailed step-by-step instructions and photos.
- The final step of the ties is to make two pleats in each raw end, bringing the sides in to the center so the organza tie will now be 1½", the correct width to insert into the waistband.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing piece to the wrong side of one of the two bib pieces (Holiday Grinch on Green in our sample).
- We had you cut the fabric for the piping on the bias. Not only will this allow you to more easily curve it around the bib, if you used a cool stripe like we did, you'll get a fun candy cane effect with the stripes running on the diagonal.
- Wrap the piping fabric, right sides out, around the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
- Use a zipper foot to stitch in place. When stitching, keep your seam line as close to the cord as possible so the seam allowance stays consistent.
- Pin piping to the right side of the bib piece you interfaced. It goes along both sides and across the top curve, but does not go across the bottom. Measure with your seam gauge to make sure your piping is ½" from the raw edge of the bib to the inside of the piping. At the bottom corners, trim the piping flush with the bib.
- Pin the piping place, then edgestitch the piping to hold it in position during the remainder of the steps.
- This is a very brief summary of piping attachment and finishing. If you are new to the technique, check our our step-by-step tutorial: How To Make And Attach Your Own Piping.
- Find the bib pattern and place it on top of the piping/interfaced bib piece (this piece will become the back of the bib).
- Using the guides on the pattern, mark with pins where the ties go. Pin the ties in place on top of the piping. The bib/piping piece should be right side up and the tie should be pleat down with the raw edges of both aligned.
- Pin in place then stitch the ties in place, running the seam in line with the edge of the piping.
- Gather the ends of the ties and pin them to the center of the bib so they don't get caught in the seam.
Assemble the bib
- Find the second bib piece (the non-interfaced piece). Place it right sides together with the bib/piping piece, sandwiching the ties in between.
- Using a ½" seam allowance and your Zipper foot, stitch around the entire bib (leave an approximate 4" opening along the bottom to turn), staying as close to the piping as you can. Pivot at the bottom corners and go slowly across the top to keep your curve nice and smooth.
- Remember to leave that approximate 4" opening along the bottom to turn.
- Press seams open. If you feel your apron will be laundered often, consider finishing your seams with a serger or with a zig zag or overcast stitch on your sewing machine.
- Trim corners, clip the curve (in both cases being very careful to not clip through your seam), turn right side out and press. Turn in the raw edges along the bottom opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and press this as well.
- Un-pin the ties and edge stitch around entire bib piece close to the piping. This stabilizes the entire edge of the bib and closes the opening along the bottom.
- Find that pattern piece again and lay it on top of your finished bib to find where the three buttons go. Mark the three positions with a pin.
- Hand sew the buttons in place with contrasting thread. We used bright green. Stitch the buttons in an "X" pattern with careful stitches. Stitch through at least three times with a doubled length of thread. You want the stitches to show as an accent.
- If you are new to hand sewing buttons, you can check out our button sewing tutorial.
- Set the completed bib aside.
- Find the 3" x 37" binding strip (Crimson & White Stripe in our sample).
- Fold the string in half lengthwise (so it is now 1½" x 37"), wrong sides together and press to form a center crease.
- Open up your strip wrong side towards you so you can see the center crease.
- Fold each side towards the center crease and press.
- Fold again along your first crease, right sides together, so your two folded edges meet. Press.
- Slip the binding over the raw bottom edge of the 18½" x 37" skirt underlay piece (Chartreuse Oval Dots in our sample). Make sure the raw edge of the skirt is in the exact middle of the binding.
- Edgestitch in place, close to the fold, across the entire width of the skirt. Make sure you catch both sides of the binding
- Make a narrow, double turn hem on each 18½" side of the skirt underlay. To do this, turn under the raw edge ¼" (including the bottom bound edge) and press. Turn under an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place and stitch close to the folded edge.
- Set the skirt underlay aside and find the 13½" x 37" skirt overlay piece (Crimson & White Stripe in our sample).
- Make a narrow, double turn ¼" hem on both 13½" sides and across the bottom of the skirt with clean, mitered corners.
- If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial on these narrow hems and clever corners.
- Stitch in place and press well.
- Place the hemmed skirt underlay right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the hemmed skirt overlay on top of the underlay, also right side up. Align the top raw edges of both pieces. Pin the two layers together.
- Using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or using a serger, stitch the two layers together and finish the raw edges in one pass. We used a serger.
- Run a gathering stitch along the top of the skirt through both layers. To do this, stitch one line of machine basting approximately 3/8" from the top raw edge.
NOTE: If you are new to gathering, take a look at our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy
- Pull the row of machine basting to gather the skirt to approximately 20". Adjust the gathers so they fall evenly.
- Find the 4" x 21" waistband strip and the 1½" x 20" interfacing strip.
- Press the fabric strip in half lengthwise (2" x 21"). Unfold so the middle crease line is visible.
- Along the bottom half of the waistband strip, turn up the 21" side ½" and press well.
- Along the top half of the waistband strip, align the interfacing strip with the center crease and, following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place
- Pin the 21" raw edge of the waistband, right sides together, to the gathered top raw edge of the skirts.
- Center the waistband so there is an extra ½” at each end.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew across the width of the skirt through both layers. Start and stop at the exact hemmed edges of skirt. Sew with the gathered skirt layers on top so you can see the gathers and make sure they stay even and don't fold over on themselves.
- Finish the edges of this seam. Press the finished seam up towards the waistband.
Attaching the ties to the waistband
- Working from the right side of the skirt, and with the right side of the waistband still open, there should be two free "tabs" sticking out ½" at each end.
- On one of these ends, measure ½" down from the waistband's center crease and mark this point with a pin.
- Place the pleated raw edge of one tie against this tab. The pleats should be facing down and the raw edges of both pieces aligned. Pin in place, using the pin to center the tie.
- Repeat on the opposite side of the apron. The finished ends of the ties should be facing one another towards the middle of the apron.
- Fold the waistband down so it is right sides together and the ends are flush - the tie is sandwiched in between. Pin in place through all the layers (the two layers of the waistband and the pleated end of the tie).
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the tab. This seam should flush with the hemmed edges of the skirts.
- Trim the seam allowance back and put Fray Check or a similar seam sealant on the trimmed edges.
- Turn the waistband right side out. The folded edge of the waistband should cover the gathered seam along the back of the skirt and each seamed end should align with the hemmed edges of the skirts..
- Thread a hand sewing needle and whip stitch the waistband in place across the entire back edge.
- Lay the finished skirt on top of the finished bib, aligning the bottom of the bib with the bottom edge of the waistband. The skirt should be centered on the bib so there is 4" of waistband extending to either side of the bib
- Place pins along the waistband at the center of each of the three buttons.
- Following the directions in your sewing machine's manual, make three horizontal buttonholes to fit your buttons.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 3230 and the Bernina 330.