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Lace-up Apron in Denim: Dritz Eyelets & More

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This hardworking denim cook’s apron is full of clever surprises. The most striking is its cool lace-up front, featuring bold Dritz® eyelets woven through with a tough boot lace. But there’s also a hanging pocket that moves the way you move, and a bright pop of color on the lining. Our thanks to Dritz® for providing the inspiration for the lacing in the form of their new Eyelet Pliers. You’ll love the easy way we came up with for creating an opening that’s beautifully finished from all sides. 

For our casual, semi-industrial style, we chose a mid-weight denim for the front in two different styles: solid indigo and classic railroad stripe. Our denims are 6oz, which is considered mid-weight. You need substance, but you definitely don’t want anything too stiff. 

The apron’s front pocket hangs free from the seam. It’s fully finished and has a full size compartment, perfect for a cell phone, plus a narrow tool sleeve. You may have seen this type of pocket on the inside of a bag. We’d never seen it before on an apron, but it makes tons of sense! By hanging free, it moves with you. So when you bend over (to pull something yummy from the oven), the pocket swings forward but stays vertical, which means your phone (or whatever else) also stays vertical rather than tumbling out. 

Extra Large Dritz® Eyelets secure the waist ties, and handy Dritz® D-Rings make the neck ties fully adjustable. We went with the nickel finish to best coordinate with our denim, but Dritz also offers a Gilt finish, which would be a great option for other fabric combinations. 

Dritz® always has lot of fun new ideas and products to make your sewing easier and more creative. To find out more, we invite you to visit their website or blog; or follow them on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

There’s quite a bit of topstitching on this apron – a classic touch when working with denim, and we recommend choosing a slightly contrasting thread for all of it. We used a medium gray that blended into the railroad denim, so it didn’t become too busy, yet stood out nicely against the darker denim, especially around the facing. 

Our lacing is done with a standard polyester boot lace we found at a local outdoor store. This was a good option for both size and color, and it came in a perfect 72” length, allowing us to simply use the pre-finished ends. You could also use cording, leather, or even rope. The Dritz® Large Eyelets are ¼”, which is an easy size to accomodate. 

Dritz® notions and hardware are available at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere

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 finishes approximately 28" wide at its widest point across the center and approximately 10" at its narrowest point across the top; the total length, top to bottom, is approximately 32"; the waist ties are each approximately 30" long. The neck tie is adjustable with a double D-Ring.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out the Apron Pattern Bundle.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern set consists of THREE 8½" x 11" sheets: two for the armhole cutaway and one for the facing; these sheets have been bundled into a single PDF file to make the download easier. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page to confirm your printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out all the pattern pieces along the solid lines. Butt together the armhole cutaway pieces at the arrows as indicated. Do not overlap. Tape together to form the complete pattern.
  3. From the fabric for the top of the apron and the neck ties (the solid denim in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 15" high x 29" wide rectangle for the upper portion of the apron
    NOTE: You can also fold your fabric and cut your rectangle on the fold at 15” x 14½”.
    ONE 2” x 28” strip for the long neck tie
    ONE 2” x 3½” strip for the short neck tie
    Using the facing pattern, cut ONE
  4. Fold the cut panel in half so it is now 15” high x 14½” wide. Pin the assembled armhole cutaway pattern in the upper right corner of the folded piece, aligning the top and side edge of the pattern with the top and side edges of the folded fabric (the corner with the raw edges, not the folded corner). Cut along the inner curved line through both layers. 
  5. From the fabric for the bottom of the apron, pocket and waist ties (the railroad denim in our sample), cut the following (we ran our railroad stripes vertically on all pieces):
    ONE 19" high x 29" wide rectangle for the lower portion of the apron
    NOTE: As above, you can also fold your fabric and cut your rectangle on the fold at 19” x 14½”.
    TWO 2½” x 33” strips for the waist ties
    TWO 13” high x 7” wide rectangles for the pocket
  6. From the fabric for the lining (Fireflies in our sample), cut ONE 33” high x 29” wide panel – as with the denim above, you can also cut this piece on the fold at 33” x 14½”.
  7. As above with the top of the apron, fold the cut lining panel in half so it is now 33” high x 14½” wide. Pin the assembled armhole cutaway pattern in the upper right corner of the folded piece and cut along the inner curved line through both layers. 
  8. From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 4” x 8½” rectangle for the facing.
  9. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut TWO 2½” x 2½” squares to reinforce the waist tie eyelets.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create and place the hanging pocket 

  1. Find the two 13” x 7” pocket panels. 
  2. Place the panels right sides together so all edges are flush. Pin along both sides and across the bottom. The top edge remains open. 
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. 
  4. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance. 
  5. Turn right side out through the open top. Push out the bottom corners so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, long knitting needle or point turn works well for this. 
  6. Press flat. 
  7. If you’d like to add a label as we did, position it now. To do this, fold up the bottom seamed edge 5”. 
  8. Position your label in the upper right corner of the folded-up pocket. Our label sits ¼” down from the top of the pocket and ½” in from the right side of the pocket. Pin the label in place. 
  9. Unfold the panel so it is once again flat, and stitch the label in place. Remember to change the thread color to match your lable if need be.

    NOTE: It’s important to do this fold-pin-unfold step in insure you get your label stitched right side up!
  10. Re-fold the pocket into position (a 5” fold) and re-pin. 
  11. Mark for a vertical pocket division, 1¼” in from the left edge of the pocket. You can draw in a vertical guide line to follow or use a line of pins as we did. 
  12. Thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and bobbin. Lengthen the stitch. We switched to our Janome Edge Guide foot for the side stitching. 
  13. Edgestitch from the bottom fold of the pocket, up the side of the pocket, then continue across the unfolded section to the topmost raw edge of the panel. Repeat on the opposite site. Do not stitch across the folded bottom edge of the pocket. 
  14. Switch back to a standard presser foot and stitch the pocket division along the 1¼” guideline. This line of stitching goes from the bottom fold of the pocket to the top edge of the pocket; it does not continue onto the unfolded section of the panel. 
  15. Find the main bottom section of the apron front. Place this panel right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  16. Place the finished pocket right side up on this panel. The left edge of the pocket should sit 7½” in from the left raw edge of the panel. The top raw edge of the pocket should be flush with the top raw edge of the panel. Pin the pocket in place along the top raw edge only. 
  17. Baste the pocket in place across the top raw edge only. 

Create the waist ties and neck ties

  1. Collect the four tie strips: the two 2½” strips for the waist ties and the two 2” strips for the neck ties. 
  2. The waist ties and neck ties are made in the same manner but the waist ties end up wider than the neck ties. 
  3. Fold in one end and both long sides on each LONG strip. The short neck strip is raw on both ends; just fold in the sides.
  4. The waist ties fold in ½”…
  5. …the neck ties fold in ¼”. 
  6. Each LONG strip will now have one finished end and one raw end. The short neck strip has two raw ends.
  7. Press each strip in half so all the folded edges are flush.
     
  8. Edgestitch along the folded edges to secure, pivoting at the corner to stitch across the finished end of the long strips. We switched again to our Janome Edge Guide foot and re-set the machine for a standard lengthened stitch (apx. 3.0).
  9. Use matching thread (we used navy on the neck ties, cream on the waist ties) for the edgestitching. 
  10. Find the two ¾” Dritz® D-Rings. Slip the short strip through both the rings. Align the raw ends of the strip and pin them together.
  11. Find the main top section of the apron front. Place this panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Place the short strip, with the D-Rings, 1” in from the upper right corner of the apron front. Place the long strip 1” in the left upper corner of the apron front. The raw ends of the strips should be flush with the top raw edge of the apron front. The folded/edgestitched sides of the strips should both be facing towards the outer edge of the apron panel. Pin the strips in place.
  12. Baste the strips in place.
  13. You may also want to pin or tape the long strip to the center of the apron panel to help keep it out of the way of the stitching. 

Attach the top front to the bottom front

  1. Find the top and bottom front panels and the two 2½” squares of mid-weight interfacing. 
  2. Place the two panels right sides together, aligning the bottom raw edge of the top section with the top raw edge of the bottom section. This will also mean the pocket is sandwiched between the layers. Pin all the way across.
  3. Remove the final pin and center a square of interfacing in the corner of the top section. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  4. Repeat to place the remaining interfacing square in the opposite corner. 
  5. Re-set the stitch length to normal and re-thread with construction thread in the top and bobbin.
  6. Re-pin as necessary, and using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across through both layers. 
  7. Press the seam allowance up towards the body of the apron. 
  8. Re-press again from the front
  9. Re-thread with topstitching thread in the top and bobbin and lengthen the stitch. 
  10. Edgestitch along the seam within the top section.

Attach the lining

  1. Place the lining panel right sides together with the completed front panel. The raw edges of the two layers should be flush around the entire perimeter. Pin together the layers all around, leaving an approximate 6-7” opening along the bottom for turning. 
  2. Re-set the stitch length to normal and re-thread with construction thread in the top and bobbin. 
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance stitch all around. Remember to pivot at all corners and to lock the seam at either side of the 6-7” opening. 
  4. Clip the corners and curves and press open the seam allowance.
  5. Turn right side out through the bottom opening. Push out the corners so they are nice and sharp, and smooth all the curves. As mentioned above, a chopstick, long knitting needle or point turn works well for this. 
  6. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin this opening closed. 
  7. Re-thread with topstitching thread in the top and bobbin and lengthen the stitch.
  8. Edgestitch around the entire perimeter of the apron. This flattens the seam, helps keep the layers from shifting, and closes the opening used for turning. We’re still using our Janome Edge Guide foot for precision stitching. 

Attach the facing

  1. Find the facing and the 4” x 8½” lightweight interfacing. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the facing panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all four sides. 
  2. Flip the facing so it is right side up. Find the facing pattern and place it over the facing panel. Pin the pattern to the panel. Cut along the center cut line (the red line on the pattern) from the top to the bottom point and diagonally into the corners. 
  3. Remove the paper pattern.
  4. Fold back all the outer edges of the facing ½”, which means you are folding along the edge of interfacing. Press the folds in place. 
  5. Find the apron. Place it lining side up and and flat on your work surface. Find the exact center along the top edge of the apron. Place a pin at this point. 
  6. Place the facing right sides together with the lining. The center cut of the facing should be aligned with the center pin point on the lining. The top folded edges of the facing should be flush with the top finished edge of the apron. Pin the facing in place.

    NOTE: It is very, very important that everything is carefully aligned during this step. Your facing must be perfectly centered and straight.
  7. Re-thread the machine with construction thread in the top and bobbin and re-set the stitch length to normal. 
    NOTE: If you are worried about your stitch precision, you can draw in ⅛” stitching guidelines to follow around the center cut line of the facing. You can use the paper pattern as a template. We simply used the markings on our standard presser foot. 
  8. Stitch a ⅛” “open box” along the facing cut line. Start at the top folded edge on one side, stitch down to the corner (the first diagonal cut point), pivot and stitch across the bottom (to the second diagonal cut point)…
  9. …pivot and stitch back up to the top folded edge on the opposite side. 
  10. With the facing stitched in place, cut along the center line through the apron and lining.
  11. Don’t forget to carefully cut diagonally into the corners, but don’t cut through your stitching. 
  12. Turn the facing through the center opening to the front of the apron. The edges of the facing should still all be folded in ½”. Adjust the turn of the seam so the facing lays perfectly flat against the front of the apron. If need be, you can bring the facing back against the lining and grade the seam for a smoother turn. 
  13. When the facing sits nice and flat against the front of the apron, pin it in place. 
  14. Re-thread the machine with the topstitching thread in the top and thread to match the lining in the bobbin. Lengthen the stitch. 
  15. Edgestitch all around the facing. Go first around the outer edge.
  16. Then go around the inner seamed edge, pivoting and stitching across the bottom as you did before. 
  17. And finally, stitch across the top to either side of the center opening. Make sure your facing edgestitching is aligned with the previous edgestitching on the apron panel itself. 

Insert the eyelets for the lacing

  1. Find the facing pattern again, which has placement markings for the fourteen Dritz® Large Eyelets. Place a pin through the center of each eyelet mark.
  2. Transfer that pin mark to the fabric with a fabric pen or pencil. 
  3. You should have seven marks along each side.
  4. Use a eyelet to create a full circle mark at each point. 
  5. Cut a hole at each circle.
  6. Using the Dritz® Eyelet Pliers, insert each of the fourteen large eyelets. 
  7. These pliers make the process easy and accurate. 

    NOTE: This a newly updated tool from Dritz®. Be watching for a full step-by-step tutorial coming soon.

Insert the eyelets for the waist ties

  1. Mark for the Dritz® Extra Large Eyelets that will hold the waist ties. Each eyelet is centered in the lower corner of the upper apron section, approximately ¼” in from the finished edges. 
  2. These Dritz® Extra Large Eyelets come as a kit with a handy setting tool. If you are new to this technique, we have a great tutorial you can review on inserting metal grommets and eyelets
  3. With both side eyelets in place, find the waist ties. 
  4. Insert the raw end of the tie through the eyelet from front to back. Bring the raw end through about 2”. 
  5. Tuck under the raw end ¼” and pin in place. 
  6. Make sure the machine is threaded with thread to best match the waist ties, then stitch across the end to secure. 
  7. Thread the other waist tie through the opposite eyelet in the same manner. Make sure the folded/edgestitched side of the waist tie is facing the same direction on both ties. On our sample, the seamed edge is facing up on both ties.

Lace to finish and adjust the neck tie to fit

  1. Thread your boot lace (or similar) through the fourteen eyelets. We threaded just like lacing up a pair of sneakers. This gave us three pretty Xs at the front and long enough tails to tie a loose, loopy bow. 
  2. Thread the long neck tie through the double Dritz® D-Rings and adjust the length for your best fit. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas    
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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