Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Birthday Apron

I just finished a fun, challenging-to-me sewing project: a kids' apron of my own design. My niece Maya (daughter of one of my best friends) just turned six (!!), and this was my gift to her. In a sense, it was custom-made: I took Maya with me to the fabric store, and she picked out all the fabrics and decorations ("Can it be pink, Auntie Liz? Can it have sparkles?!?! And these buttons?!" Sure. I can figure out a way to put buttons on an apron!). Then I worked up a design and sewed for a month of fits and starts, as I do, and voilá:

I am pretty pleased with the result. I'm really glad I wrote my pattern out step by step ahead of time, to make sure I got everything in the right order. I presented it to the birthday girl on Thursday, and was happy to see that it fits well, although is plenty large so she'll be able to use it for a long time. And was very gratified by her glorious smile and exclamations of "You made it so so beautiful Auntie Liz!" Bless young eyes that don't see my mistakes.

I don't have a good way to share my pattern, but it was fun to come up with so I'll give it a shot. It was a good exercise in geometry and fabric engineering, for my not-particularly-math-inclined brain. I probably could have made it simpler, but I wanted to make sure it was "fancy" for this awesome little girl. Hopefully the photos are a good reference if my directions get confusing.

This could easily be adapted into a larger apron, but the final dimensions for this one were:

Height (top of bib to bottom of skirt): 29 inches
Width (top of skirt): 13 inches

2 100% cotton fabrics, one print (1/2 yard) and one solid (1 yard), pre-washed and dried on high heat
Matching thread(s)
Buttons (optional)

Pieces (All dimensions include 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side):

Print fabric

  • Shape is a trapezoid, with the curve added onto the bottom after these dimensions 
  • Height: 15 inches from top to bottom of trapezoid
  • Width at top: 14 inches
  • Width at bottom of trapezoid: 19 inches
  • I used a ruler and the skirt of one of my aprons to help me free-hand an even curve at the bottom of the skirt. The curve is optional!   
Bib: 10 inches x 10 inches

Solid Fabric
Belt: 5 inch x 44 inch strip (could stand to be longer, but these are the dimensions I used)
Neck straps (2): 2.5 inch x 19 inch strip
Pocket: 5 inches x 6 inches (optional: cut off bottom corners diagonally for more interesting shape)
Hem ruffle: 3 inches wide, cut to match slant of sides of skirt and bottom curve of skirt, or  3x19 inches with slanted ends if using flat line at bottom of skirt

Project Steps:

Cut out pieces in this order:
1. Belt (you'll want to use the long side of your yard of fabric before you cut out any other pieces)
2. Neck straps
3. Skirt
4. Bib
5. Pocket
6. Hem ruffle 

(note: I'm leaving out steps that involve pressing seams and belt/straps, I figure you'll be able to tell when you need to do those things)
1. Hem top of pocket
2. Sew ric-rac onto pocket
3. Turn sides and bottom of pocket under and sew onto skirt
4. Hem the bottom of the ruffle
5. Sew ruffle to skirt
6. Sew ric-rac onto skirt
7. Hem sides of skirt/ruffle
8. Fold belt piece the long way with right side of fabric facing in.
   8a. Sew into a long tube, leaving the ends open.
   8b. Turn tube right side out (this is easiest done with a large safety pin pinned to one end, the same trick I use when threading elastic through a waistband).
   8c. Hem the ends of the belt
9. Sew the skirt to the belt (make sure to mark the center of the belt and center of the skirt and line them up before sewing)
10. Sew ric-rac onto bib
11. Hem sides & top of bib

12. Sew the bottom of the bib to the belt (again, remember to center it)
13. Sew the straps to the top hem of the bib, at the very edges of the bib
14. Sew the buttons onto the bib


Friday, June 6, 2014


It's that wonderful sunny busy time at the front end of the summer, before things get REALLY busy. Here's a little of what's been going on in my life lately. 

:: I spent Memorial Day Weekend up north with my family, babytending my wee niece and enjoying a stay at my childhood home, where my favorite wildflowers were blooming. 

:: My mom and her grandbaby

:: A gift-in-progress for a pink-loving six-year-old

:: The final batch of starts are now safely into the garden, with Bill's help this morning. Ararat basil from the farmer's market, tomatoes grown under my shop lights. Peas abound.

:: Some of Bill's students got a gorgeous day to launch the boat they built. Bill took them on their maiden voyage, and later a smaller group of us went sailing in another student-built boat.

:: Life is pretty darn good.