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Split Skirt Denim Garden Apron: Outdoor Living with Fabric.com

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Outdoor Living isn't all fun and games; there's work to be done while the sun shines. Whether you're planting flowers, weeding the vegetable garden, or just washing the car, our Garden Apron has a unique, split-skirt design that allows you to more easily move through all your summer chores. You can squat, bend, sit or stand without stretching, pulling or binding. We chose two tough denims from Fabric.com to make the apron a true workhouse, then added bold lines of topstitching, rivets, and adjustable ties for fashion and function.

With eight pockets, there's a place for everything in this apron. Rivets at each pocket's top corners reinforce and strengthen. If you thought rivets were an "industrial" accent beyond your expertise, our tutorial shows you just how easy they really are to install. 

There's also a link to a full tutorial on inserting metal grommets; we use one of those to anchor the apron's neck tie. 

Our thanks to Fabric.com for sponsoring our week of Outdoor Living. Their huge selection gives you endless combinations. A great way to see how everything looks together is to use the Fabric.com Design Wall function. It's easy to add and delete swatches. You'll see an "Add To Design Wall" button accompanying each product description. The first time you click on it, you create your Design Wall; additional items are then added from there.

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 30" 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 26"; the ties are each approximately 38" long. The illustration below gives you the critical measurements should you wish to adjust your apron. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some prints may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed for each fabric.

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out ONE copy of each of our TWO Apron template sheets: Apron Cut Out Part 1 and Apron Cut Out Part 2.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the two pattern pieces along the solid lines. Butt the two pieces together at the arrows (do not overlap) and tape to create one pattern piece.
  3. From the dark colored denim (Navy Bull Denim in our sample), cut ONE 20" high x 31" wide rectangle. 
  4. From the light colored denim (Khaki Brushed Bull Denim in our sample), cut the following:
    TWO 10" high x 15½" wide rectangles for the split skirt panels
    TWO 19" high x 14" wide rectangles for the split skirt pockets
    ONE 11" high x 9" rectangle for the bib pocket
    THREE 2" x 39" strips for the ties

Arm hole cut outs

  1. Place the large dark denim rectangle right side up and flat on your work surface. Find the Apron Cut Out pattern. Place it in the upper right corner, aligning the pattern with the top and side raw edges as shown in the photo below. There are markings on the pattern to follow as well. Pin in place, then cut along the inner curve.
  2. Flip over the Apron Cut Out pattern, and place it in the upper left corner with the same alignment. Cut this opposite curve.
  3. Set aside the apron top.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Bib pocket

  1. Find the 11" x 9" bib pocket rectangle. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 5½" x 9".
  2. Pin along both sides and across the bottom, leaving a 3" opening along the bottom for turning. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the 3" opening. Clip corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.
  4. Set aside.

Plain skirt pocket

  1. Find one of the 19" x 14" skirt pocket rectangles. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 9½" x 14".
  2. Pin along both sides and across the bottom, leaving a 3" opening along the bottom for turning. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the 3" opening. Clip corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.
  4. Set aside.

Angled skirt pocket

  1. Find the remaining 19" x 14" skirt pocket rectangles. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 9½" x 14". 
  2. To create the angle, measure from the LEFT side 5½" in along the top folded edge. Make a mark.
  3. Measure 4" down along the left top corner and make a second mark.
  4. Use a clear ruler to connect the two marks with a drawn diagonal line. Use
  5. Pin along both sides, including the angle, and across the bottom, leaving a 3" opening along the bottom for turning. 
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides, including the angle, and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and remembering to lock your seam at either side of the 3" opening. Clip corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.

Finish all pockets

  1. On all THREE pockets, trim back one side of the seam allowance to ¼". This grading of the seam allowance will help reduce bulk in the thicker fabric and allow the pockets to press nice and flat.
  2. Press open the seam allowance on all three pockets
  3. Turn each pocket right side out through its opening.
  4. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like our fave - a chopstick, to square the corners.
  5. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of each opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  6. Re-thread the machine with the contrasting topstitching thread in the top and bobbin. 
  7. Using a Quarter Inch Seam foot if possible, topstitch along the top folded edge of each pocket, including the angled edge of the third pocket. 

    NOTE: For this topstitching, and all other topstitching, we lengthened our stitch. 

Add split panels

  1. Find the two 10" x 15½" split skirt panels. 
  2. Along one 10" side of each panel, make a ½" hem. To do this, fold in the raw edge ¼" and press. Fold in an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place. These hemmed edges will become the inner vertical sides of the split skirt. 
  3. With the machine still threaded with contrasting topstitching thread in the top and bobbin, topstitch along this hemmed edge. Start at the top raw edge, but stop the seam 1" from the bottom.
  4. Find the apron top panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
  5. Place the hemmed panels right side down along the bottom edge of the top panel. The top horizontal edge of the split panels is aligned with the bottom raw edge of the top panel. 
  6. In addition, align the outer raw edge of each split panel with the outer raw edge of the top panel. This will create a 1" space between the inner hemmed sides. Pin in place.
  7. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the split panels in the top and thread to match the apron top panel in the bobbin (khaki in the top and navy in the bobbin in our sample)
  8. Stitch with the split panels on the top and the apron top panel on the bottom. 
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way across, securing both split panels to the apron top panel. You will stitch right across the opening between the panels. 
  10. Finish the seam allowance with an inside flat felled seam. 
  11. Edgestitch along the fold, giving you one visible seam on the right side and a nicely finished seam on the inside.
    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, we have a full tutorial on flat felled seams.
  12. Re-thread the machine with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the split panels in the bobbin. 
  13. Run a double line of topstitching across the bottom seam within the darker denim of the apron top panel. The first line of topstitching should be just about 1/16" from the seam line. The second line of topstitching can follow along the flat felled seam line. 

Hem the remaining edges of the split panels

  1. Along the two remaining raw edges of each split panel, create a narrow ½" hem. As above, to do this, fold in the raw edge ¼" and press. Fold in an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place. 
  2. Create a clean miter at each bottom corner. This is why you left the bottom 1" of the inside hemmed edges un-sewn. You can now simply unfold the corner to create a miter as easily as you can in the opposite outer corners.
    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, we have a tutorial on making these pretty corners
              
  3. The machine should still be threaded with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the split panels in the bobbin.
  4. Edgestitch the hems in place, pivoting at the corners. We used our Quarter Inch Seam foot

Hem the apron's top panel

  1. Make a narrow ½" hem along both sides, including the arm holes. As above, to do this, fold in the raw edge ¼" and press. Fold in an additional ¼" and press again. Pin in place.
  2. Make a 2" hem along top edge of the bib. To this, fold in the raw edge ½" and press. Fold in an additional 1½" and press again. Pin in place.
  3. This top hem should align with the middle of the side hems.
  4. Re-thread the machine with with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the apron top panel (navy in our sample) in the bobbin.
  5. Run two lines of topstitching horizontally across the top of the apron bib. One line should be ¼" from the top folded edge of the bib. the second line should be 1¼" from the top folded edge of the bib, giving you 1" between the lines of topstitching.
  6. Topstitch the side hems in place, mitering the corners (at the bottom of the armhole) as you did the corners of the split panels. 

Place the bottom pockets

  1. Find the three pockets. Place the angled pocket on the left split panel and the plain pocket on the right split panel. 
  2. Each pocket should be flush with the split panel along the top and bottom and centered side to side, which means the split panel will extend beyond the pocket approximately ¾" on each side. 
              
  3. Following the diagram at the very top, measure and mark the three dividing lines for the left pocket and the one dividing line for the right pocket. 
  4. On the left pocket, the first dividing line is 4" from the right. The second dividing line is 3" to the right from the first line. And the third dividing line is 1½" to the right from the second line. Pin through all the layers along the drawn lines. 
  5. On the right pocket, the dividing line is exactly in the middle: 6½" from either side.
  6. Re-thread the machine with with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the split panels in the bobbin.
  7. Topstitch ¼" from the edge of each pocket along both sides and across the bottom.
  8. Then topstitch along each drawn line. 

Place the bib pocket

  1. Find the bib pocket. Place it 4" down from the top finished edge of the bib and centered side to side. 
  2. Mark a dividing line through the middle of the pocket: 4" from either side.
  3. Re-thread the machine with with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the apron top panel in the bobbin.
  4. As above, topstitch ¼" from the edge of each pocket along both sides and across the bottom. Then topstitch along each drawn line. 

Create and place the ties

  1. Find the THREE 2" x 39" strips.
  2. Press back both 2" ends ¼".
  3. Press back one long raw edge ½".
  4. Press back the opposite long raw edge ¼".
  5. Lap the ¼" folded edge over the ½" folded edge and press flat, forming a ⅝" wide strap (with an off-set lap) that is finished on all sides. 
  6. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the strap in the top and bobbin. Topstitch down the long lapped edge and across both ends.
  7. Pin one tie in place at the bottom corner of the armhole on each side, aligning the top edge of the tie with the topstitching and with the strap end approximately 1" in from the edge.
  8. Pin the remaining tie in place at the top right corner of the apron bib. The end of the tie should be approximately ½" in from the right edge and 1¼" down from the top edge.
  9. Re-thread the machine with the contrasting thread in the top and thread to match the apron top panel in the bobbin, attach each tie to the apron, with an 1¼" "X box."

Grommet and rivets

  1. On the upper left corner of the apron bib, insert the grommet. It should be centered within the two lines of topstitching and the outer edge of the grommet is ½" in from the hemmed side of the apron. 

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How to Install Metal Grommets.
  2. The opposite strap end should be adjusted for your best fit, then knotted in place through the grommet to secure (as shown in the lovely sample photos above).
  3. There is a rivet at the top corners of each pocket: two for the bib pocket, three for the angled bottom pocket and two for the plain bottom pocket. 
  4. Following manufacturer's instructions or our own Rivet How To, insert each rivet in place. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

We received compensation from Fabric.com, and some of the materials featured here or used in this project were provided free of charge by Fabric.com. All opinions are our own.

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Comments (4)

Debbie said:
Debbie 's picture

Upon seeing this apron, I knew I have to make at least 2 for gifts and one for myself.  Thank you for an excellent project idea and pattern.

Debbie. ..(0;

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Sewandsewon said:
Sewandsewon's picture

Making a gardening apron is on my to do list.  AND you just gave me the perfect apron for the new garden.  Thank you Sew4Home.  I'm an really into this series. 

kittyklaws65 said:
kittyklaws65's picture

When I saw this outdoor workhorse of an apron I was impressed!!! What a wonderful and dramatic looking "work apron" and of course where else would we find it but on S4H!! You guys rock! Can't wait to make this and use it!!!! 

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

@ kittyflaws65 - what a nice compliment to find first thing in the morning

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