Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vintage Apron Tutorial

Wanna know how to make it? Read on!
Jon and I attended a wedding this past weekend. A few months ago, I was snooping around on the bride's Pinterest boards to get some ideas for a handmade gift. It wasn't long before I stumbled across these darling aprons:

I LOVE making aprons. I like adding them to a gift bag of other kitchen items from a registry, or a cute pair of "his" and "her" mugs. From the look of her other Pinterest boards, this particular bride seemed to appreciate vintage items. So, I decided to make her apron out of fabric I inherited from my grandma's fabric stash. It has this adorable horse-and-buggy print marching across the bottom.

As for the pattern, I modeled the gift apron off of one I received a few years ago. I always wanted to copy its unique way of tying in the back. The shoulder straps actually become the tie at the waist.

I started by folding my fabric in half and cutting pieces away so that it looked like my cherry apron.

I used some of the extra fabric to cut out pockets.

Next, I hemmed the long sides of the apron.

To make the ruffle for the bottom, I cut a long, two-inch wide strip of fabric and hemmed one of the sides (double roll, one seam through all the layers). It was about two yards long.

I then sewed the non-hemmed edge to the bottom of the apron. I rolled up the very end of the strip for a nice, clean edge, and then proceeded to pinch the fabric to make an "accordion" ruffle. I made sure that I had a long enough strip so that I wouldn't run out of ruffle when I came to the end of the apron.

After the ruffle was attached to the bottom edge, I noticed that it didn't lay flat. Rather than merely ironing, I ran another seam along the ruffle's top edge. Essentially, this forced the ruffle to point "down" instead of "out."

Mommy's little distraction...I mean "helper!"
Next, I made the straps. I sewed a long tube of fabric, about three yards long, by folding a 3-inch wide strip over and sewing the edges to each other.  This tube then had to be turned inside out so that the seam was hidden inside. This took a little longer than planned because Jadon wanted to get in on the fun (story of my life these days!). When I finally finished turning it inside out, I centered the seam in the middle of the tube, and ironed it flat. I also tucked in the ends of the tub for a nice, clean finish.

Because aprons tend to get dirty, and therefore need to be washed, I decided to sew along the sides of my tube so that the straps would stay flat. Then, I cut this three-yard long flat tube in half so that I would have two separate straps.

The next step was probably the trickiest of the whole project. I wanted the straps to connect to the top of the apron behind another ruffle. This meant I had a lot of layering to do, and in the right order (see above). With my apron body facing down, I first laid down the ruffle. I made sure to roll the end and start my "accordion" look before proceeding (just like the bottom ruffle). Then, I placed the end of the strap on top of the ruffle. Carefully holding all these layers in place, I slowly sewed through them all, stopping after I passed the strap (top left picture, above). Then, I had to continue pinching and folding my accordion ruffle (top right). Before I reached the end of the ruffle, I added the other strap, and carefully sewed it in place (bottom right). I rolled the other end of my ruffle as I came to the edge of the apron.

Like the bottom ruffle, my top ruffle stuck out awkwardly, so I ran another seam along the edge of the ruffle to tack it down. Hopefully, the pictures above make the process a little clearer!

The straps have to go through a small loop in order to function for the shoulders and waist. I cut two small rectangles of fabric (maybe two inches by six inches?), folded the edges, ironed the folds, and sewed a zig-zag stitch down the center to hold it all together. Then, I sewed the loops on the apron for the straps to go through.

Final step: pockets. I cut small slits in the "hand opening" so that I could fold down the edge without the fabric bunching up (top right picture, above), and sewed the fold in place. Then, I ironed a narrow fold around the perimeter of the rest of the pocket (bottom left). Now the pocket was ready to be sewn to the apron, leaving the hand opening open, of course. I kind of like how the pockets are "camouflaged" with the rest of the apron (bottom right).

Here's the finished apron! I'm hoping it brightens the kitchen of the newlyweds as they start their lives together.

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