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Kid-Size Lil' Chef Apron

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If you hang out with us here at Sew4Home on a regular basis, you know we love aprons! We've done retro aprons, hostess aprons, mom and daughter matching aprons, BBQ aprons, and more, but when we received an email from a S4H fan, we realized we'd left someone out! You Asked 4 It, and we responded with this great kid-sized apron for the little chefs in your kitchen – boys and girls. It's modeled on the classic long French Chef's apron, and we used a trio of sock monkey fabric to make it fun to wear.

Our apron is designed for a five to seven year old, finishing at 17" wide x 20" from bib to hem. Chef Caden who models it above, was just turning five; it fit him just fine with room to grow.

The main body of the apron is a simple rectangle, so it's super simple to enlarge or reduce the design to fit your own Lil' Chef. You can also easily lengthen or shorten the waist and neck ties for a custom fit.

Encouraging culinary kids gives them both self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. Start them young with simple recipes, and before you know it, you may have a Chopped Junior contestant on your hands!

This apron is an excellent fast and easy gift – perfect for the holidays up ahead. Bundle an apron with some kid-friendly recipes and tools as well as a certificate for a cooking lesson. Don't forget the step stool!

It would also make a great beginner's project if you're teaching a youngster to sew!

We used three fun fabrics from 5 Funky Monkeys by Erin Michaels for Moda Fabrics. The yellow on white banana print we selected for the pocket is no longer readily available, but there is a yellow on brown banana print that is just as cool. Of course, this is just one of the huge number of kid prints available in today's quilting cotton collections. Go fun or go fancy; it's easy to personalize the color and motif to best match each cook's favorites. 

This fabric is really as cute as can be for all ages... in fact, you may want to adapt our Happy Heart Apron to create your very own sock monkey apron.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Sewing Machine and standard presser foot

Fabric and Other Supplies

Click to Enlarge

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the Bib Cutout Pattern
    IMPORTANT: This template is ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page to confirm your print-out is to scale. 
  2. Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
  3. Fold the apron lining (Brown Sock Texture) and the apron front fabric (Red Sock Monkey) in half (so they are now 22" x 36" and 22" x 27" respectively). Using the folded edge as one long side, from each fabric cut: ONE rectangle 21" wide x 9" tall. Do not cut the fold.
  4. While the fabric piece is still folded, align the Arm Hole Template in the upper right corner (the raw edges corner, not the folded corner) and trim out that shape to create the arm hole.
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Do this for both the front fabric folded piece and the lining fabric folded piece.
  6. You now have two finished main body pieces that, when unfolded, should measure 21" high x 18" with two armhole curves.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. From the remaining lining fabric (Brown Sock Texture in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 4" x 20" strips
    ONE 4" x 24 strip
    ONE 2" x 13" strip
  8. From the pocket accent fabric (Bananas in our sample), cut ONE 13" wide x 14" high rectangle.
  9. From the fusible interfacing, cut ONE 12" x 7" rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Make the pocket

  1. Find the 2" x 13" pocket accent strip.
  2. Fold it in half lengthwise and press lightly to create a center crease.
  3. Unfold so the center crease is visible.
  4. Fold in each end ½".
  5. Fold each long raw side in to meet at the center crease.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Fold in half again along the original crease, encasing the raw edges. You have created your own binding.
    NOTE: On projects like this one, where the finished edge of the binding will be visible, it's good to clip the ends at a "V" to reduce the bulk and smooth out the fold.
    Click to Enlarge
  7. Put in a few pins to hold the binding in place and set it aside.
  8. Find the 13" x 14" pocket piece and the 12" x 7" interfacing piece. Center the interfacing side to side so there is ½" of fabric showing along both sides. The top edge of the interfacing should align with the center crease and the bottom edge should be flush with the fabric. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place on one half. 
    Click to Enlarge
  9. Fold the fused pocket in half right sides together so it is now 13" x 7".
  10. Pin along both sides. The folded edge will become the pocket's bottom. Leave the top raw edges open for turning.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides. Trim to ¼" and clip corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.
    Click to Enlarge
  12. Turn right side out through the top opening.
  13. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like my fave - a chopstick, gently push out the corners to square them up.
  14. Press well.
  15. Slip the accent binding over the top raw edges and pin in place.
    Click to Enlarge
  16. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin. We used red to match our apron front. Lengthen the stitch. 
  17. Topstitch the binding in place, staying close to the folded edge but making sure you are catching both sides of the binding in the one seam.
    Click to Enlarge

Attach the pocket to the apron front

  1. Place the finished pocket on the right side of the apron front, centering the pocket side to side (3" in from both sides) and with the bottom edge of the pocket 3" up from the bottom raw edge of the apron.
  2. Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom.
  3. Using your fabric pencil, draw a vertical line through the exact center of the pocket panel.
    Click to Enlarge
  4. Still using the contrasting thread and the lengthened stitch, edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
  5. Using the drawn line as your guide, stitch through the center of the pocket panel to create two pockets of equal size.
  6. Backstitch at the all points along the top of the pocket to help secure these areas that will take the most stress.
    Click to Enlarge
    NOTE: To get your stitching nice and close to the edge, check to see if your machine has a "needle left" straight stitching option. Our Janome machines have this feature and it makes it very easy to use the exact center of the pressure foot as your fabric guide and achieve a straight line of edgestitching ⅛" from the edge. We used this technique for all the edgestitching on this project.
  7. Additional step for lighter weight fabrics: We used a regular quilt weight fabric for our project, which was our choice because kids tend to like the softer feel of these fabrics and because the choice of fun prints is more prevalent. Because of the lighter weight, we added a piece of fusible interfacing to the top right corner on the wrong side of the apron front. This helps reinforce this area for the future application of the Velcro®.
    Click to Enlarge

Make and place the ties, sew together and add Velcro®

  1. Find the two 4" x 20" waist ties and the one 4" x 24" neck tie. All three ties are created in the exact same manner.
  2. Fold the strip in half right sides together so it is now 2" by the appropriate length.
  3. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch one end and the long side. Leave the opposite end open for turning. Remember to pivot at the corners.
  5. Clip the corners. Turn the tube right side out. Square up the corners with a long, blunt-end tool, and press well.
    Click to Enlarge
  6. Place the ties on the apron front. One waist tie should be pinned at each side, ½" below the bottom of the arm hole curve. The neck tie should be pinned at the top upper left of the apron bib ½" in from the left side.
  7. All raw ends of the ties should be flush with the raw edge of the apron front. Pin the tails of the ties to the middle of the apron to keep them out of the way of the final seam.
    Click to Enlarge
  8. Place the apron lining right sides together with the apron front, sandwiching the ties between the layers.
  9. Pin well, making sure your ties don't shift position. If you are unsure of your pinning accuracy, you could baste the ties in place prior to layering the lining with the front. Leave a 3-4" opening along the bottom edge for turning
    Click to Enlarge
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the apron, locking your seam at either side of the 3" - 4" opening. Make sure you back tack at either side of the opening, and backstitch over each of the ties for extra stability. Go slowly to keep your arm hole curve nice and smooth.
  11. When done, clip all the corners and the curves
    Click to Enlarge
  12. Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Use a long, blunt-end tool to gently push out and square all the corners. Press well, pressing in the seam allowance at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam.
  13. Edgestitch around the entire apron. This closes the opening used for turning and helps hold the front to the lining so the apron stays flat.
  14. Loop the neck tie around so the free end lays against the right side of the apron on the top right corner.
  15. The end of the tie should overlap approximately 2-3". If possible, test the fit on the child who will be wearing the apron.
  16. Mark the position of the overlap with pins or a fabric pen, marking both the apron and the tie. Double check at this time that your neck loop is not twisted.
    Click to Enlarge
  17. Fold the tie directly back on itself.
  18. Find the Velcro®. Place one half of the Velcro® so it is centered within the marks on the apron front. Then, place the opposite half so it is centered within the marks on the BACK of the tie.
    Click to Enlarge
  19. Secure the Velcro® in place with pins, fabric adhesive or fusible seam tape. We like to use fusible seam tape.
  20. Stitch the Velcro® in place on each piece with a box stitch.
    NOTE: We stayed with our contrasting red thread to stitch the Velcro® in place. This meant you would see the stitching on the tie, which we thought would be a cute accent. However, if you are worried about keeping your box stitching even, switch to a thread, in the top and bobbin, that best matches the tie.
    Click to Enlarge

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson

Section: 

Comments (2)

Sweg said:
Sweg's picture

Lovely stuff as always, and this one is meant for my nephew!

Can you tell me why you chose to put the velcro fastening on the front of the the bib?

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

@Sweg - Velcro® provides some easy adjustability. 

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