Making an Apron, with Supplemental Start of an Upscaled Jeans Skirt

Making an Apron, with Supplemental Start of an Upscaled Jeans Skirt

Making an Apron Header

The Apron

Okay, while I was having a hard time deciding on the piecing for the curtains, I started an apron. And a new project to let my over-thinking it rest helped out, as did showing my husband my three favorites and getting his input. (He does, after all, have to live with the curtains too.) The piecing is decided, and I need to cut a vast quantity of rectangles. Anyway, back to the apron.

The fabric was was from Goodwill; it was stuffed in a bag with several other pieces of fabric. The whole bag was about six dollars. The pattern was on sale, but wasn’t really cheap; the sale only took it from $12 to 10$. But I love this style of apron, and I’d been looking for a pattern for ages. I’m going to be making several of them, so its cost will be spread out across multiple uses. It’s a cross-backed slipover apron, the pattern says that it’s modeled after some aprons from the 1930’s.

The fabric and the traced pattern pieces.
The fabric and the traced pattern pieces.

I traced the pattern onto a roll of paper (bought at Ikea, $4 a roll, and you can trace several patterns on a roll). This pattern required it. The pattern pieces are printed nested together a bit on both sides of a large sheet of paper, and the first step of the directions (after read all of these directions before starting) is to trace the pattern.

Even if the pattern doesn’t require it, I’ve been tracing my patterns lately. Doing this saves the original and almost anything you’d trace it onto is sturdier than the pattern paper that most patterns come on. If you just cut out a multi-size pattern in the size you want, that’s it for that pattern. Tracing it, you can make pieces for every size included, and makes it easy to do any alterations¬† or blend sizes if your hips are one size and your bust is another (again, without harming the original) You could also use newspaper (be careful of the ink; it might stain your fabric), interfacing, or paper grocery bags as materials on which to trace patterns.

Attaching bias tape.
Attaching bias tape.

This pattern uses bias tape instead of hemming or facing the pieces; it combines a decorative element with the practical need of finishing the edges so that they don’t fray. I bought bias tape to put around the edges; it’s less effort than making my own, and it’s not expensive; it took 3 packages to go around the edge, with a little left over. That said, you can cut, iron, and use your own bias tape if you want it to match in a particular way.

I chose contrasting color tape, both because it looks nice as a trim and because an exact color match wasn’t possible using premade bias tape. To attach it, I just put the fabric between and sewed through all the layers, being careful to keep it all the way tucked in and have very even seams. This is not the way you apply bias tape or quilt binding if you’re binding a quilt.

 

The seam guide there – attached with the green screw – helps keep seams even and straight. It’s adjustable from a scant 1/4 inch up to over an inch.

Closeup of L-shaped adjustable seam guide
Closeup of adjustable seam guide

I find that seam guides help me keep straighter seams than just trying to use the measurements on the needle plate. This was especially useful in this pattern, which uses French seams.

The crossed back of the apron
The cross-back of the apron.

 

I found it interesting that this design of apron is basically a mobius strip. While I was sewing on the bias tape, I noticed at no point did I have to cut it until I was done and trimmed off the extra. You can trace all around every edge of this apron with no breaks.

 

 

Detail of pocket with decorative bow.

 

I love pockets on aprons (and other garments; I have stuff to carry!) This pattern includes a pattern and instructions for a pocket that has an elasticized gather and a decorative bow. It also says you can use any other kind of pocket you want, and leaves it up to you to decide where to put the pockets. I just put two, at the expected place for pockets, right where my hands reach easily. I used elastic that came in with some random notions I bought, after testing that it was still good. (Be careful buying second-hand elastic; if it gets old, it loses it’s stretch. This came in the drawers of a sewing machine and cabinet I bought, so it was just a nice bonus, not a risk.) I used up the last remaining leftovers of the bias tape to make the bow. The bows ended up way to dense to sew them on – I couldn’t shove a needle through, so I used safety pins to attach them.

The Skirt

Also, I’m upcycling a pair of jeans. The thighs wore out. But they used to fit so nicely – and it’s hard to find jeans that fit well in the waist and hips. So I’m keeping the top part of it. I’ve cut out the worn section, and used fabric from the legs to fill in between the thighs and add a little room for movement. I don’t like really tight skirts.

Adding gussets from material from the jean legs to make the skirt.

I’m not fond of mini skirts either; I’m going to make a longer, more flowy lower skirt out of a lot of yard-sale and thrifted scarves, but I’m still collecting those. I’ve only got a couple in my scarf basket I’d want to use for it. So as soon as I get the hem evened out, this project’s going to be sidelined while I collect scarves.

For more about sewing without ruining your budget, read my book, Sewing on a Budget.

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