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Valentine's Day: Hoopla Pre-Cuts: Gathering Apron

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A little bit frilly, a little bit flirty. Our Valentine's Day apron is bursting with candy heart colors. We made ours from pre-cuts in Hoopla by Moda Fabrics, which allowed us to mix and match a great variety of patterns. It reminds me of opening up my mailbox of little valentines in grade school with all those bright pink, red and purple greetings smiling up at me. Especially that Snoopy® one from my crush, Jimmy. Our design adds three fun drawcord tunnels, which allow you to vertically gather the bodice and the skirt. Cute!

Thanks to our friends at Moda Fabrics for providing us with their Hoopla pre-cuts for all our Valentines projects. Though not a traditional 'hearts & flowers' motif, we love the bright and happy colors and playful patterns. For more great ideas of how to work with pre-cuts, check out Moda Bake Shop.

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Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Supplies listed are for traditional yardage cuts. If you'd like to use pre-cuts as we did, refer to our list below of how we made it all work.

  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the front of the neck and waist ties and the three drawcord tunnels
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the back of the neck and waist ties
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the front of the bib
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the center front skirt panel
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the two middle front skirt panels and the two pockets
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the two side front skirt panels
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the bib and skirt lining: we used a natural muslin; any regular weight fabric would be fine, but we would suggest a solid color that coordinates with the colors on the front of your apron
  • 5 yards of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon: we used lavender
  • All purpose thread to match the fabric and the ribbon: we used red for the fabric and lavender for the ribbon
  • Safety pin or loop turner for threading the ribbon through the drawcord tunnels
  • See-through ruler or yardstick
  • Fabric marker, pen, or tailor's chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

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We used Moda Fabrics Hoopla pre-cuts to create our apron. When working with pre-cut packs, part of the fun is that you never know exactly what you are going to find. Traditionally, there is at least one of each design in a collection within the pack, however, sometimes there are multiples, and sometimes with a collection as large as Hoopla, you might not have every single option. This can make your cut planning a bit of a challenge, but we look at it as an opportunity to build a fabric puzzle.

Here's what we selected. Notice in the "Getting Started" section below that additional trimming may be required even with the pre-cuts. In some cases, you may also need to first seam together shorter strips in order to get a long enough strip to use or to cut from.

  • We used Hoopla Tiny Red Check for the front of the ties and the drawcord tunnels; we had ONE Jelly Roll strip (2½" x 44"), one Fat Quarter (18" x 22") from which we cut SEVEN 2½" x 22" strips, and one Fat Eighth (9" x 22") from which we cut THREE  2½" x 22" strips.
  • We used Hoopla Tiny Lavender Check for the back of the ties; we had ONE Jelly Roll strip and one Fat Quarter from which we cut SEVEN 2½" x 22" strips.
  • We used one Fat Quarter of the Hoopla Wavy Red Lines with Dots to cut the bib front.
  • We used one complete Fat Quarter of the Hoopla Bright Tulips on White for the center panel of the skirt.
  • We used one Fat Quarter of the Hoopla Tiny Red Cherries on Pink cut in half for the two middle skirt panels, and one Fat Eighth of the Tiny Red Cherries on Pink to cut the two matching pockets for those panels.
  • We used one one Fat Quarter of the Hoopla Lavender Basket Weave for the two side skirt panels.

Getting Started

As always, be mindful of which way you are cutting if you have directional prints. Our Hoopla prints were omni-directional, which made things quite easy.

  1. From the fabric you are using for the front of the neck and waist ties, as well as the bib and skirt drawcord tunnels, cut the following:
    ONE strip 2¼ x 8 ¾" This will be your Bib Drawcord Tunnel.
    TWO strips 2¼" x 21¾". These will be your Skirt Drawcord Tunnels.
    TWO strips 2½" x 29". These will be your Front Neck Ties.
    TWO strips 2½" x 44". These will be your Front Waist Ties.
  2. From the fabric you are using for the back of the neck and waist ties, cut the following:
    TWO strips 2½" x 29". These will be your Back Neck Ties.
    TWO strips 2½" x 44". These will be your Back Waist Ties.
  3. From the fabric you are using for the front of the apron bib, cut ONE 11" x 11" square. This will be your Front Apron Bib.
  4. From the fabric you are using for the center front skirt panel, cut ONE 18" x 22" rectangle. This will be your Center Front Skirt Panel.
  5. From the fabric you are using for the middle front skirt panels, cut the following:
    TWO 9" x 22" rectangles. These will be your Middle Front Skirt Panels.
    TWO 9" x 7½" rectangles. These will be your Front Pocket Panels.
  6. From the fabric you are using for the side front skirt panels, cut TWO 5" x 22" rectangles. These will be your Side Front Skirt Panels.
  7. From the lining fabric, cut the following:
    ONE 11" x 11" square. This will be your Bib Lining Panel.
    ONE 22" x 42" piece. This will be your Skirt Lining Panel.
  8. Cut the grosgrain ribbon into TWO 22" lengths and FOUR 30" lengths.

Curving the top of the bib

  1. Place the Front Apron Bib and the Bib Lining Panel wrong sides together.
  2. Draw a gentle curve along what will be your top edge. The curve should dip down approximately 2" at the center. You can draw this freehand, use a compass or trace the edge of a dinner plate.
  3. Cut along the drawn line through both layers of fabric. Set the cut panels aside.
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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Apron bib

  1. Fold and press under both sides of the Bib Drawcord Tunnel strip ½", then fold and press under ONE end of the strip ½". At this folded end, sew a ¼" box on the right side of the fabric.
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  2. Align the raw end of the Bib Drawcord Tunnel to the top raw edge of the Front Apron Bib, centering the drawcord tunnel at the center of the bib's curve. The folded end of the drawcord tunnel should be about ¾" above the bottom raw edge of the bib. Pin the drawcord tunnel in place.
  3. Find the two 22" lengths of ribbon. Fold and press one end of each ¼", then fold and press another ¼".
  4. Edgestitch across this tiny folded edge.
  5. Attach a safety pin to the raw end of one ribbon (or use a loop turner), and carefully thread the ribbon into one side of the Bib Drawcord Tunnel. Thread through until the raw edge of the ribbon aligns with the top raw end of the drawcord tunnel. Repeat to thread the second ribbon.
  6. Tack the ribbons at the top with a ¼" topstitch, staying close to the raw edge.
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  7. Place the Bib Lining Panel and the Front Apron Bib right sides together (the ribbons will be sandwiched in between. Pin together along the top edge
  8. Sew a ½" seam along the top curved edge of the Apron Bib. After sewing, trim the seam allowance to ¼".
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  9. Turn the bib right side out and press the curved edge flat.
  10. Edgestitch along the curved top edge.
  11. Pin together the sides of the Front Apron Bib and the Bib Lining Panel, lining up the raw edges. The bottom edges should align as well.
  12. Stitch both sides, using a ¼" seam allowance.
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Apron neck ties

  1. Fold under ½" and press along the RIGHT side of one Front Neck Tie and the LEFT side of the other Front Neck Tie, as well as one end of each tie.
  2. Repeat these step for both of the Back Neck Ties.
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  3. Place each pair of ties right sides together, aligning the the raw and folded edges.
  4. Pin the ties together along the raw edges only, starting at the folded ends and ending about 12" from the raw ends.
  5. Slip the apron bib in between the ties so the side and bottom raw edges of the bib align with the ties. The bib is sandwiched in between the ties.
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  6. Finish pinning through all three layers to the bottom edge.
  7. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance, from the bottom raw edge of apron bib to the top folded ends of the ties.
  8. Press the seam away from the bib.
  9. Pin the ties together along their outside folded edges and the top folded ends.
  10. Edgestitch along both sides and the top edge of the neck ties.

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Apron skirt

  1. On each of the two Front Pocket Panels, fold under and press the top ½", then fold under and press another ½".
  2. Edgestitch this folded hem in place.
  3. Fold under and press the bottom ½" only.
  4. You should now have two Front Pockets that are 6" high x 9" wide.
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  5. Place one of the hemmed Front Pockets on the right side of one of the Middle Front Skirt Panels. The top folded hem of the pocket should be 2" below the top raw edge of the skirt panel.
  6. Sew the pocket to the panel, along both sides (using a ¼" seam allowance), and across the bottom (edgestitching). Remember to pivot at the corners and to back tack at the top corners approximately 1" to give a little extra strength to this common pocket stress point (as you put your hands in and out of the pocket, those top corners get a lot of tugging).
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  7. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew one Side Front Skirt Panel to one Middle Front Skirt Panel, joining them along one 22" sides. Repeat to join the remaining side and middle front panels. You now have two Finished Side Panels.
  8. Place one Finished Side Panel right sides together with the Center Front Skirt Panel. Align and pin in place along one 22" side.
  9. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  10. Place the remaining Finished Side Panel right sides together with the opposite 22" side of the Center Front Skirt Panel. Pin and stitch together as above.
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  11. Press the seam allowances together (not flat) so the seam allowances of the Center Front/ Middle Front Skirt Panels face toward the Center Front Skirt Panel, and the seam allowances of the Middle Front/ Side Front Skirt Panels face toward the Side Front Skirt Panel. This will keep the additional bulk of the top pocket hem laying flat.
  12. Place the finished apron front right sides together with the Skirt Lining Panel.
  13. Using a a ½ seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom edge. Clip the seam allowance away from both bottom corners.
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  14. Turn the skirt right-side out, and press well. Be sure to push out the corners with a blunt-edged tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick, to make a sharp corner.
  15. Edgestitch along both sides and across the bottom edge.

Skirt drawcords

  1. On EACH Skirt Drawcord Tunnel strip, fold and press under both sides of each strip ½", then fold and press under ONE end of each strip ½". At the folded ends, sew a ¼" box on the right side of the fabric. This is just how you prepared the Bib Drawcord Tunnel strip.
  2. Pin the raw end of one of the Skirt Drawcord Tunnels to the top raw edge of the Front Skirt, centering the drawcord tunnel over one of the Center Front/ Middle Front Skirt Panel seams. The folded end of the drawcord tunnel should be about ½" above the bottom finished edge of the skirt.
  3. Edgestitch the Drawcord Tunnel strip in place along both sides, then stitch down the exact center of the strip.
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  4. Repeat to attach the second strip over the opposite Center Front/Middle Front Skirt Panel seam.
  5. Find the four 30" lengths of ribbon. As you did with the ribbons for the bib, fold and press one end of each ¼", then fold and press another ¼".
  6. Edgestitch across this tiny folded edge.
  7. Attach a safety pin to the raw end of one ribbon (or use a loop turner), and  carefully thread the ribbon into one side of the Drawcord Tunnel. Thread through until the raw edge of the ribbon aligns with the top raw end of the drawcord tunnel. Repeat to thread the second ribbon.
  8. Tack the ribbons at the top with a ¼" topstitch, staying close to the raw edge.
  9. Repeat to thread the other two ribbons into the other Skirt Drawcord Tunnel.

Gathering the waist

  1. Sew two rows of basting stitches along the top raw edge of the Front Skirt, spaced approximately ¼" apart. Tie the thread tails into a knot at one end of the skirt. Pull the bobbin threads from the opposite side to gather the skirt to 24" wide.
    NOTE: You will need to work the gathers by hand to evenly space them. For more information on gathering, read our tutorial: Gathering & Ruffles Made Easy .
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Waist ties

  1. Sew both of the Front Waist Ties together at one end with a ½" seam allowance, and press the seam allowance open.
    Diagram
  2. You will now have a Front Waist Tie that is 87" x 2½". Repeat this step with the Back Waist Ties.
  3. Place these two waist ties right sides together, lining up all raw edges. This will become your final waistband/ties.
  4. Using your see-through ruler and fabric pen, measure and mark the openings needed in the waistband to insert the Apron Bib and the Apron Skirt. You can use the center seam on the waistband to insure the openings are centered. You need a 13" opening along the top of the waistband for the bib and a 24" opening along the bottom of the waistband for the skirt.
    Diagram
  5. Stitch the two waistband/tie pieces together, using a ½" seam allowance. Start at the bottom opening mark, stitch along bottom edge, pivot at the corner, stitch along end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the top edge until you reach the top opening mark.
  6. Remove the tie from machine. Move to the other side of the top opening mark, and start again. Stitch along the top edge, pivot at the corner, stitch along the end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the bottom edge until you reach the opposite of the bottom opening mark. Be sure to back tack 3-4 stitches at the beginning and end of all your seams.
    Diagram
  7. Turn the waistband/tie right-side out through the middle opening. Press edges flat. Make sure you press in the opening seam allowances ½", so the opening edges (top and bottom) are flush with the sewn edges. Also be sure to push out all four corners with a blunt-end tool, like a large knitting needle or chopstick, to make a sharp corner.
  8. Edgestitch along your finished seams, pivoting at all corners, but be sure to leave the top and bottom openings free and clear.
    Diagram

Attach the bib and the skirt to the waistband

  1. Insert the completed Apron Bib into the top opening (the 13" opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.

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  2. Edgestitch the Apron Bib in place, being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/tie piece.
  3. Insert the completed Apron Skirt into the bottom opening (the 24" opening) of the waistband. Pin in place.

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  4. Edgestitch the Apron Skirt in place, again being careful that your new edgestitching matches the existing edgestitching on the waistband/tie piece.

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Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 2800 Pink and the Bernina 380.

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Comments (8)

dnocco said:
dnocco's picture

I just finished making this apron. I've only been sewing for a month so this was a big project for me. Took me 3 days. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! My apron is a birthday gift for my son's girlfriend.

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

dnocco - Yay! We love stories like yours. Congratulations! I'm sure your son's girlfriend will love - especially because you made it just for her.

Sherri Leonard said:
Sherri Leonard's picture
Really cute!! I'm thinking of using the bib top as a tutu skirt top...I think it would be darling and not too hard to do. Also like the idea of a dress but I too am too tired to go there right now. Thank you ladies for what you do, I for one really appreciated what you share with us...thank you!
Sherri Leonard said:
Sherri Leonard's picture
Really cute...I'm thinking about making the bib top as a tutu skirt top. I'm thinking that would be really cute. The dress idea is a good one too...I'm also too tired to go there right now. Thank you ladies for what you do, I for one really appreciate you!!!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi rachaelroyce - I don't think it would be difficult to just extend the edge pieces on the skirt enough to gather all the way around. Sew the back seam with a zipper in at the top, enclosing the zipper top in the ties -- which are part of the waist band -- so the zipper starts at the base of the ties. You could also omit the skirt ties and just finish up at the back seam -- just a waistband. The zipper would be inserted back seam and go to top of the waistband. The bodice is another matter - that would take more brain cells to finish than I have this afternoon. However, you could certainly wear it over a shirt - just as shown on our model. If you figure it out and make it as an outfit -- let us know smilies/cheesy.gif
rachaelroyce said:
rachaelroyce's picture
Is there any way to transform this into a dress? It is seriously adorable and I can imagine millions of color and fabric combinations for this!!
LCO said:
LCO's picture
Cute! I love the bright, cheerful colors! Was there a Sew 4 Home Update newsletter for this week? I usually get it in my email on Monday morning, but haven't received one (I am subscribed to the newsletter, and it wasn't in my spam folder or anything). smilies/sad.gif

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