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Retro Fun: Vintage Style Apron

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This apron is another Sew4Home design original, complete with a free downloadable pattern. Love, love, love the sweetheart neckline and matching mini-sweet pockets. And the happy bottom flounce will have you skipping around your kitchen, just like when you used to twirl in your big-girl-fancy-party-dress... oh, don't even try to tell me you didn't do that! The Simply Sweet floral fabric has the perfect vintage feel, while the big polka dot accents add a modern zing. Clever knotted ties allow infinite adjustability for the neck and waist so you can make a Retro Fun: Vintage Style Apron for every shape and size of family member and friend.

This project is a bit more advanced than many we offer here at Sew4Home, mainly because the whole darn thing is edged with mitered bias tape binding. But, you can do it. I know you can. Practice makes perfect, right?

A BIG thanks to our new friend, Barbara Jones, the designer of the beautiful Simply Sweet fabric collection for Henry Glass & Company. She very generously provided all the fabric for our retro kitchen projects, and has it all in-stock and available for order on her site, QuiltSoup. We looked at a lot of fabrics for this series, but Barbara's designs are the ones that jumped right off the page as the perfect vintage kitchen combo. There are additional colorways and designs within the collection. Check it out.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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All Simply Sweet fabric is available at QuiltSoup.

  • ¾ yard of 44-45" fabric for apron front and pockets front: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5116-8 Floral Diamonds for Henry Glass & Co Fabric
  • 1 yard of 44-45" fabric for apron back, pockets back and apron flounce back: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5122-8 Tiny Red Dot for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" fabric for apron flounce front, waist ties and neck loop: we used Barbara Jones' Simply Sweet in #5120-82 Jumbo Pink Dot on Red for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
  • Two 3-yard packages of extra wide double fold bias tape: we used bright red
  • All purpose thread to match bias tape
  • All purpose thread to match all fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Retro Fun Apron Body And Pocket Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of SIX 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. The first page is the pocket pattern. Cut it out along the solid line.
  3. Pages 2-5 are the Apron Body pattern pieces (page 2 is row one all by itself, pages 3 and 4 are row two, and pages 5 and 6 are row three). Butt the pages together, matching the lines, to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
  4. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  5. Download and print the Retro Fun Apron Flounce Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of TWO 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  6. Butt the pages together to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
  7. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  8. From the fabric for the apron front (Simply Sweet Floral Diamonds in our sample), use the pattern pieces to cut one Apron Body and two Pockets.
  9. Following the guides on the pattern piece, use your fabric pen or pencil to mark the placement for the pockets on the Apron Body fabric piece.
  10. From the fabric for the apron back (Simply Sweet Tiny Red Dot in our sample), use the pattern pieces to cut one Apron Body, one Apron Flounce and two Pockets.
  11. From the accent fabric (Simply Sweet Jumbo Pink Dot on Red in our sample), cut three strips 4½" by the width of the fabric, and one Apron Flounce.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Pockets

  1. Match the two pocket fronts with the two pocket backs, right sides together. Pin in place.
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  2. Sew the pocket front and back together, using a ½" seam allowance. Start from the top corner point of the pocket and stitch around to the opposite corner point. Leave the top edge open.
  3. Trim seam allowance to ¼" and turn the pocket right side out. Press.
  4. Repeat to create the second pocket.
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  5. The upper edge of the pocket is finished with bias tape. Open the end of the bias tape so it lays flat. Sew the bias tape to the upper edge of the pocket along the tape's fold line, lining up the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edged layers of the pocket. Leave an extra ½" at the start.
  6. Stop at the center point of the pocket. Turn the hand wheel of the machine to make sure the needle is down in the fabric.
  7. Pivot the pocket and gently pull up the bias tape so it matches the edge of the fabric. Continue sewing along the fold line of the bias tape.
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    NOTE: If you're new to working with bias tape, the number one rule is 'slow and steady wins the race.' You're sewing along a curve, which is trickier than a straight line. For more hints, check out our tutorial: Bias Tape: How To Make It & Attach It.
  8. Back tack at the end of the bias tape seam and trim the tape to leave an extra ½" tail (to match the ½" ‘head' you started with).
  9. Turn the extra ½" ends toward the pocket lining at each side and pin in place.
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  10. Fold the bias tape and wrap it to the back over the stitching line. Pin in place.
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  11. Place a pin at the pivot point. Then, continue pinning in place along the stitching line. The bias tape will create a natural tuck at the pivot point. Adjust this tuck to create a uniform miter on both sides of the pocket.
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  12. Flip the pocket over, and from the right side, edgestitch the bias tape in place. Press.
  13. Repeat steps 2- 12 to create the second pocket.
  14. Pin the pockets in place on the Apron Front, matching the guide marks you made earlier to the corners of the pockets. You can shift position slightly as needed to match the pattern on the pockets with the pattern on the apron front.
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  15. Edgestitch both pockets in place with matching thread. Remember, just stitch from pocket corner point to corner point. Leave the top bound edge open... that's where your hand goes.
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    NOTE: If you want to be super fancy and really hide your stitching, start from just below the binding and sew around the pocket, stopping just below the binding on the opposite side. Change your thread to a color that matches your binding, then edgestitch just the top of each side of the pocket along the binding, matching your original seam .

Apron flounce

  1. Match the Apron Front Flounce and the Apron Back Flounce WRONG sides together. Pin along the upper edge.
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  2. Sew along the upper edge, using a ½" seam allowance.
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  3. Clip along the stitched edge, making your cuts about 1" apart. Be careful not to cut into the seam.
  4. Pin the clipped upper edge of the flounce to the lower edge of the Apron Body Front. Match the front of the Flounce against the right side of the Apron Body Front.
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  5. Place the Apron Body Back over the flounce, right sides together (right sides of the two Body pieces) and with the Flounce sandwiched in between. Align all raw edges and pin in place just along the bottom.
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  6. Sew all the layers together, using a ½" seam allowance. Fold the Flounce down and press the seam toward the Apron Body.
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Bias tape binding

  1. Bring the Apron Body Back up behind the Apron Body Front and match ALL the outside edges. Front and Back should be wrong sides together and all edges raw. This is correct as all the edges will be bound.
  2. Set your machine for a long stitch length and machine baste along ALL outside edges.
  3. Finish the entire edge of the apron with bias tape, using the same technique used for the pockets. Start at a curved edge (along the upper side) and stop and miter at each corner. Fold the bias tape to the wrong side, pin in place. and edge stitch in place on the front side.
  4. This is a lot of binding, but the finished look is fabulous. Again, take a look at our binding tutorial if you need a refresher on attaching bias binding and/or mitering the corners.
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Waist ties and neck loop

  1. Find your three 4½" wide strips of tie fabric.
  2. Cut each strip to a length of 36".
    NOTE: This measurement is for a standard-size adult apron. It can be adjusted according to the finished size you need... longer for larger, shorter for smaller.
  3. Fold the strips in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the edges. Pin. At each end, draw a point.
  4. Sew along the edges, using a ¼" seam, and along your drawn points at each end. Leave a 3" opening for turning.
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  5. Trim the excess fabric around the point seams to ¼".
  6. Turn right side out, pushing out the points. Press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening ¼" so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  7. Slip stitch all the openings closed with matching thread. Press again.
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  8. Following the manufacturer's directions for your machine, make four ¾" button holes.
  9. Place a vertical buttonhole at each top corner point of the bib with the top just below the bias tape and the side approximately ½" in from the bias tape.
  10. Place a horizontal buttonhole at each waist corner with the side just below the bias tape and the top approximately ¼" in from the bias tape.
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  11. Thread one tie through the two bib buttonholes to make the neck loop. Holding the ties in place, slip the loop over your head and adjust the tie ends until the bib hits comfortably against your chest but is still loose enough that it can be pulled off over your head.
  12. When you have it just the way you want it, tie a knot in each end to secure.
  13. Thread one tie through each waist buttonhole. Leave about a 7-8" tail and tie this into a knot to secure each tie in place.
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No pockets, but you can turn the apron lining side out for another cute look:
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Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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Comments (127)

mzundercover said:
mzundercover's picture

A coworker recently gave me 3 bags of fabrics that belonged to her mother -- we are talking vintage/retro, here, folks!  I'm using one of those fabrics to make an apron for her.  The fabric I picked will be the body of the front and the flounce on the back.  I'm supplementing with a cute red/white polka dot fabric.  I hope she loves it.

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

@ mzundercover - sounds terrific ; I'm sure she will love it!

Michelle Carey said:
Michelle Carey's picture

I would love to post a picture of my finished product. I love this pattern. Thank you!!

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

@ Michelle Carey - Glad you enjoyed the project. Please send us a picture via the Contact Us link above; we'd love to see it. We don't currently have a user photo album area, but are planning to add one - hopefully soon.

Nina Stokes said:
Nina Stokes's picture

I'm not able to connect to hyperlinks to learn more about working with bias tape.  Is this info still available on your site and I'm just missing it? Thanks for the great apron patterns.  --Nina

The requested page "/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/344-bias-tape-how-to-make-it-a-attach-it" could not be found.
Sharon Lockhart said:
Sharon Lockhart's picture

I love this pattern and have been looking for this kind of a pattern to make me a new apron for a long time.

Thanks for offering it and I will let you know how it comes out, but from the looks of it, I won't have any problems making it. Thanks again.

Maggy said:
Maggy's picture

Merci pour ce modèle ,de bonnes explications simples et efficaces !

Une lectrice de l'ile de la Réunion 

Marie Lismore said:
Marie Lismore's picture

Thank you so much for offering this pattern!  I have made it and just love it!  It is an excellent pattern!  The instruction and diagram are clear and well written.  Thank you for sharing.  Marie

heidi said:
heidi 's picture

Thank you I've been looking and looking for this pattern. The files wont fown load. Would you please send thrm via email to me. hvonottloff@gmail.com thank you

heidi Lynn 1031 said:
heidi Lynn 1031's picture

Thank you. I think it was my phone.  I've printed it and started cutting this am. I am a little confused though.  Do I cut two apron bodies different material and sew the bodies together? Thank you again

Heidi

Beth F said:
Beth F's picture

Found your beautiful apron pattern through a blog site listing free apron patterns.  Your apron is the Prettiest I've seen in a very long time and I'm thrilled to have found it!  

Thank you for sharing your beautiful design!!

Beth

JS said:
JS's picture

Thanks for the cute apron pattern. I have just printed it out, and can't wait to find material in my stash to get started making it. I may even use some mens shirts for it! Wish me luck! TY AGAIN!!!

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

@JS: GOOD LUCK! This apron has been made so many times with beautiful results that I'm certain you will have great success!!

Reese said:
Reese's picture

Thanks so much for sharing this pattern. It's such a cute design and I can't wait to make one for my daughter today.

EntropyAccelorator said:
EntropyAccelorator 's picture

Has anyone trying to make this pattern outside of the U.S. had trouble with the page size?  I measured our A4 paper and it's not quite 8 1/2 inches wide.  The bottom can be cut off, but I can't very well add to the width of the paper.  I want to make this for a friend and just realized two pieces of material I bought at the market are not the right width and now I have a paper size problem.  I am all excited about making this and now I'm stuck.  :(

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

@ EntropyAccelorator - your best bet is probably to download the file and take it to a copy shop to have them print it at the correct size. Here in the US, we are able to print our standard files as A4 at a copy shop such as Kinkos. It seems they should be able to go the other direction. Yes, it will cost a bit, but the pattern is free :-)... quite a savings over packaged patterns these days!

EntropyAccelorator said:
EntropyAccelorator's picture

Thanks!  I went to a copy shop and had them cut 15 sheets of paper to size.  It cost me 2.35 euros, brought it home and printed it out myself.  That beats the heck out of paying 9 euros for a Burda pattern, when this is the one I really want!  I also went to the local sewing shop and bought some material that is the right size.  As soon as the material is washed and  dried (luckily it's not raining right now!) I'm going to start sewing.  I can hardly wait!  I'm quite sure the person I'm making this for will love it!!!!! 

elisabeth said:
elisabeth's picture

So I am new to sewing and probably have a dumb question, however, here it is: When I print out the pattern it looks like it is only one side of the apron. I am suppose to double the fabric when i cut out the pattern? I love the pattern and am looking forward to making it! 

Thanks! 

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

@ elisabeth - when you tape together the apron pattern, you will see a "place on fold" indication on the pattern. So, yes, it is half and yes, you fold the fabric and place the pattern on the fold.

Jacquie mills said:
Jacquie mills's picture

looking forward to making this Apron (Pinny)Thank you 

Michaela Hofer said:
Michaela Hofer's picture

crying all day long...can`t download the pattern...is it possible to send the pattern via email??

want to bring out your retro apron to Austria!!!

thanks for answering soon...

michaela

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

That's great! Have fun with it. 

shirley tener said:
shirley tener's picture

What a fun apron to make, I made it with western print for my daughter n law, she is gonna love it.. 

Chelsey said:
Chelsey's picture

Hi! I am in LOVE with this pattern. I am currently cutting out fabric to try to make one for myself! I am unsure of myself with bias tape so I love, love, love that you link to help with that too! You are GREAT! Thank you!!!

shirley tener said:
shirley tener's picture

xmas time apron for xmas cookie party. For a daughter n law

Emily said:
Emily 's picture

Thanks for the beautiful and free apron pattern.  Great instructions.  Made it for my sis.  I love it and will be making it again.  Thanks so much!

Merry said:
Merry's picture

I am a newly retired Family and Consumer Science teacher. Last winter one of my creative fabrics students made this adorable project!  She did a great job.  I made one as well-it won't be the last!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ newsew11 - I believe it's always a good idea to pre-wash your trims in the same manner as you plan to launder the main fabric and the finished project. That said, most pre-packaged tapes have been pre-treated to not shrink or bleed, and I know a lot of people who never bother pre-washing packaged trims. It's up to you -- chances are it's not completely necessary and yet, I'm in the if-it-won't-hurt-why-not-do-it-anyway school of thought. Have fun -- this is an awesome apron!
newsew11 said:
newsew11's picture
I have a newbie question: should you wash pre-packaged bias tape before use? I went ahead and did that, to account for any shrinkage, but was wondering if it's necessary. Thanks!
Krizty said:
Krizty's picture
I have just downloaded the file and cut and taped my pieces together. It's 10pm and I do NOT want to go to bed, I want to cut my fabric and sew it together, but know if I started I'd be up all night trying to finish. This is going to be a Mother's Day gift -- my mom has been telling me she wants an apron -- now she'll have it. Thanks for the beautiful pattern
Auntie M said:
Auntie M's picture
thanks for this great pattern! here's my version (with a matching reusable shopping bag).


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ CynthiaR -We have tested the files on our end, on a number of computers, and everything is fine. Unfortunately, that means the problem is on your end. Based on your error message, it sounds like a problem with Acrobat Reader. Here are some ideas: make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader - it is free; make sure your browser settings allow you to open up another window/and or accept downloads from a site; and make sure you have the connection capacity to handle the download - there are a number of pages to this particular download (especially the body of the apron), so it might take awhile to load, depending on your connection). Hope that helps. Troubleshooting long distance is always a challenge with the huge number of variables in computer systems and set-ups.
CynthiaR said:
CynthiaR's picture
I can not print the pattern. It comes up with a message saying there was an error in processing a page. There was a problem reading this document. Do you have any suggestions?
Tonya said:
Tonya's picture

If you are unable to load the pattern, right click on the link and save the .pdf to your documents on your computer.  Then just open the .pdf from the folder you saved it in.  That's what I had to do. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ LisaPate - Everything is working fine on this end with the files. S4H Tech Support has sent you a separate email with some suggestions to try.
LisaPate said:
I have tried several times to download the patterns and each time it comes up with an error. Do you have any way I can get the pattern downloaded?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Sweet Crafty Lady -- VERY cute combo. Thanks for sharing it with us. We always love to see the finished projects from our friends and fans. smilies/cheesy.gif
Dogpackmomms said:
Dogpackmomms's picture
Thank you so much for making this pattern available in PDF! Happy Trails
pianolady said:
Thank you for your answer and such a prompt reply!
pianolady said:
HELP! I am at the point of cutting my three strips 4 1/2" wide. How long will they be after I cut them. I don't understand what "Cut three strip 4 1/2" wide by the width of the fabric" means! Thank you!

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