Small Leaps

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Retro Apron + tute

Ok, first post on my new blog. The general idea is for it to be a craft blog, but I can't honestly say that it will be for just one. I find that when I reach a certain point and something is no longer challenging, I need to put it down for a while and start on something you might see sewing, spinning, crocheting, embroidery, weaving, knitting, tatting, and whatever else I decided to pick up. I can't say that I am particularly skilled at any of them, buthopefully over time that will change.

Because this is new blog, first post, I figured I would do something a bit different to what will probably usually be on these pages- a tutorial. This is for a retro style apron, modelled after the type of full-coverage apron a woman in the 50's or 60's might have worn. I needed somewhere to put my scissors when I was sewing, and all the other craft type stuff you need, but don't have the hands for- thus the pockets.

Skill Level- Beginner. Mostly straight sewing, basic drafting, easy darts, gathering, applying bias binding, basic pocket.

  • I used about 2 1/2 yards of 37" wide fabric, but this can be adapted to what you have at hand.
  • Matching thread
  • Bias Binding
  • Sewing machine, or needle and thread
  • Either draft the pattern straight onto your fabric, or else newspaper.

Start by drawing a rectangle, with one side along the selvege of your fabric, or the side of a newspaper sheet. This is going to be the centre bodice panel, and I have included the measurements I used in brackets, including seam allowance.

Now you need to get the shapes of the neckline and armholes, but it doesn't need to be exact first time. I would hold up the shape and keep trimming down until I got the shape that I wanted, but it can still be changed later.
Also, make the darts now. To do this, take away your waist measurement (just at the front) from your bust measurement (just the front as well) and you are left with the difference between the two. Divide this by two (for the two darts), and this is how wide your darts will be at the bottom. Find the centre of your pattern piece, and measure about an inch away from it on either side. Then, draw the base of the dart-triangle the width that you have just found. Taper them upward, to a point just beneath your bust (the blue line).

To sew these darts, simply work from the outside into the point, and instead of going back and forth when you reach the end, leave a bit more thread before you cut it, and tie the bobbin and overhead thread together.
To draft the back pattern pieces, simply copy the front armholes and straps (so it is easy to sew them together) and drop a slightly diagonal line to the bottom, with the diagonal coming in toward your spine. This is the dark blue part of the diagram.
Join the side seams up.

The skirt is just made up of three rectangles. I made mine 30" long, which brings it to just below my knee. It can be any length that you want. The large rectangle in the middle was cut from my fabric, and is the full width of it. The two smaller pieces are the same length, but I cut the width in half.
The next step is for pockets, so if you don't want them it can be skipped.

To make these basic pockets, either draft a pattern from an existing porcket that you like the size of, or draft one around your hand or what you want to carry in it (if it is specific, like me and my scissors) with added seam allowance and wiggle room. You will need four. Attatch one of these to each side of the centre panel, near the top, around hip level. Attatch the remaining two to the side of the side seam which is going to be sewn to the centre panel, at exactly the same place.
If you cut the width of your fabric in half like me, you will have a selvedge side on each of your panels. You can attatch your pocket to the other side, so it is not necessary to hem down the side of the skirt part of your apron.
Now sew these seams, matching the pockets, and sewing all in one go. You will need to sew a curved line around the pockets. Do this on both sides.
Now it is time to attatch the skirt to the bodice. Set the stitch length to the longest it will go, and run a straight line across the top of the skirt part. I only run one line, and have never had any problems with my thread snapping. If you are unsure, or are having trouble, sew two lines side by side. I gathered from both sides, and to do this just pull either the top or bottom thread (not both) until it is the right length, then do this on the other side for the other half of the apron. Match the side seams of the skirt and bodice, distributing the fulness evenly all the way around.
Also join the shoulder seams.

Try on the apron, and if you are unhappy with the neckline or armholes, trim them now.

Attatch bias binding (explained here better than I could) using either the one or two step method, around the armholes and neckline, down to the seam joining bodice to skirt. From here, either hem the sides and bottom, or just the bottom if your sides are the selvedge.

To make the tie, cut two lengths of fabric around 5" wide the length of your fabric. Join these two lengths along a short side, and fold them in half, right sides together. Sew into a tube, along one short side, and the long length, leaving the other short end to turn. If you like, you can taper the ends as you sew, to make ties that come to a point. Turn the sash, and iron it. Press under the raw edges and sew shut.

To attatch the tie the the rest of the apron, pin the centre of it to the seam joining the bodice and skirt. Either sew along this line, or sew verticle lines 3" or so apart.

Slip it on, tie a bow, and your DONE!

I hope that it was easy, and if you have any problems following it, please tell me and I will try and fix it up.


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