One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

May 23, 2012

Border-Print Apron Pattern

Remember when I made my friend an apron?

And I told you about my apron and promised to give you more details soon.

It took me a long time to have a good opportunity for an apron photo-shoot.

“Oh thank god she finally matches her kitchen curtains,” is what I hear you saying.

I know. I’m embarrassed that it took me this long.

I don’t have a lot of pictures to share because when cameras come out I am made of awkward. Here’s the only picture where I don’t look completely self-conscious.

Anyhow, I also wanted to share the pattern with you. Which is the other reason this has taken so long. I didn’t take any pictures while I was sewing these aprons, so I had to make graphics. I think they’ll probably illustrate it better anyhow. Enjoy.

Retro Border-Print Apron (lined)

For a 45″ fabric, if you were making everything from the same fabric, you would probably need 1.75 yards (1.6 meters) of a primary fabric and the same amount in a lining fabric. If you want to have a contrasting sash, get 0.4 yards (0.4 meters) in your contrast and that much less of your main fabric.

If you’re using a border print and you want to make the sash out of your border, like I did, you’ll need, oh, I’m not sure. Probably 2.5 yards (2.3 meters) if your border is on both selvedges. If the border is only on one selvedge, you’re looking at 5 yards (4.5 meters), which seems a little ridiculous, but, hey, it’s your apron and it should be as fabulous as you demand.

After all that measurement talk, I should point out that because I’m Canadian I talk about small distances in inches and large distances in meters unless it’s really small distances and then I’ll talk about millimeters, which all makes perfect sense to me, but I will attempt to remember to translate for you.

This pattern assumes you have some experience with basic sewing concepts like clipping your curves, top-stitching, darts, gathering and casings.

All the pieces are rectangles. You can just measure and cut rectangles to the specified dimensions.

Cut one sash, one skirt, one bib and two straps from your main fabric and cut the same pieces from your lining fabric. For the polka-dot apron, the sash is in a contrasting fabric.

If you’re not being picky about border prints and your sash, the most economical way to get your sash to the right dimensions is to start by cutting three 4.5″ strips width-wise off your fabric, and then sewing them together using a diagonal seam.

Then cut your skirt piece lengthwise along the selvedge.

Choose a strap width according to your tastes. The straps on the blue-and-white apron used a 1 inch piece (resulting in probably a half-inch strap). The polka-dot apron uses a wider strap.

The bib is given more shape later on, so we’re just starting with a basic rectangle that should cover your front. I’m a bit of a pear shape, so I don’t have much bosom to cover. If you’re curvier, feel free to cut the bib more generously at this point. You’ll have an opportunity to perfect its fit later.

1. The Sash

Pin your sash piece to your sash lining, right sides together. Mark the center. Measure 9 inches out from the center (or whatever is half of your desired skirt width) and mark that point. Mark the outside points on the other side of the sash as well.

Stitch around the edges of your sash up to an inch away from your outside markings, leaving 20-inch openings top and bottom. (Note that this diagram shows straight ends on the sash, but  you can cut and sew your sash ends at an angle if you prefer that look.)

On the skirt-side opening, mark the center, edges and mid-point between the opening and edges with pins. You’ll use these five markers when you gather the skirt.


2. The Skirt

Pin your skirt piece to your skirt lining, right sides together. Sew around three sides, leaving one of the long sides open.

Trim the corners and turn the skirt pieces right-side out. Iron and top-stitch the sides and bottom. Using a basting stitch, stitch across the top (open) side of the skirt. Then, using pins, mark the center and quarter points on the top of the skirt.

Pull the basting thread to gather the top of the skirt until its width is 18 inches. Use the marking pins to distribute the gathers evenly until the center and quarter pins line up between the skirt and the sash.

Slide the skirt through the bib opening of the sash and line up its raw edge with the raw edges of the waist opening on the sash. Re-pin to secure the skirt in place and stitch across the waist opening

Trim the corners on the sash and turn it right-side out through the bib opening. Iron and top-stitch all edges of the sash, leaving the bib edge open.

3. The Bib

This part is the finickiest, but if you take your time and make sure that all your cut and dart measurements match each-other, it will work out. Just don’t rush, and don’t hestitate to pick out a dart seam if it doesn’t sit right.

To shape the bib, begin by deciding how deeply the sweetheart neckline should dip and cut a line down the top-center to that point.

Fold the bib in half and draw a nice sweetheart neckline shape from the bottom of the neckline to the top-outside corner. Cut along this line.

Cut your lining to match.












If you can, pin the bib onto a dress-maker dummy to start working out your darts. If you don’t have one, get a friend to help you so you can hold it up on someone while you pinch the darts.

Pinch the bib together at the waist to make two roughly equal waist-darts. Pin in place. Then shape the neckline against the body to round the neckline over your breasts towards the armpits and pin darts at the side to hold this shape.

Give it a long critical look, try it on against your body without any bulky clothes on and check it out in the mirror. To make it even, un-pin the darts on the side you like least. Then mark the center point and edge points of the other darts. Fold your bib in half and mark those points on the other side, using those markings to re-form the darts.

Copy the same points to the lining to make its darts match.


Once you’ve sewn your darts, the bib front and lining should fit together perfectly. Pin the front and lining, right sides together and stitch along the neckline.

Clip curves and turn wrong sides together.  Iron and top-stitch the neckline.

4. The Straps

To make the straps, pin the front to the lining right sides together. Sew along one edge. Using an iron, fold wrong sides together and press.

On the raw edge of the strap front, fold over an amount equal to a seam allowance and press. Do the same for the lining side, with slightly less seam allowance (so that the lining side’s pressed edge sticks out slightly further than the front pressed edge).

Lay the strap against the side of the bib. Right sides of the lining together. Stitch along the bib side (this seam will end up pretty much in the crease that you just ironed).

Fold around the bib’s side edge and top-stitch the length of the strap. Do the same for the second strap.

You can finish the straps however you like. Some options would be to fold the ends inside and top-stitch. Knot the ends. Slide a large bead on and knot the ends. Attach  D-Rings to one strap. Overlap them, folding the raw edges under and stitch them together.

To be honest, some of my projects just get fastened with a safety pin and and then I wear my hair down whenever I wear the apron.

5. Attach the Bib

Put the bib on your body and mark where you want the sash/waistline to sit.

At the bib opening of the sash, flip the lining edge out of the opening. With right sides together pin the bib’s bottom edge to the lining edge aligning your waistline mark with the seamline of the sash.

You can also flip the bib up and check the whole apron on your body before you stitch it in place. On this diagram, I’ve shown sewing the sash pretty high on the bib. Because it’s supposed to be a bit retro, I feel like a higher waist is more appropriate. But if you like a lower waist, there should be room on the bib to move it down.

When you’re happy with the height of the skirt, stitch with lining sides together as pictured above.

Trim the bottom of the bib off to prevent your sash from being bulky. Flip the bib forward, tuck under the opening edge on the front of the sash and top-stitch across the opening. Ta-da, voilà, etc! Make your next supper, knowing that it will taste indefinably better for having been concocted by someone in a spectacularly lovely, super-pro, retro apron.

"Wow, how did I fit all that glamour and pizzazz in one little bowl of cake and ice cream?"

Feel free to suggest corrections or improvements. Let me know if any parts confuse you. And if you make one, let me know how it turned out. worldempress at gmail.


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2 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Deborah

     /  2012-05-24

    But where is your martini?

  2. Seriously! I have just spent the last 3 days searching online for a pattern just like this. Actually, more like the one you made for your friend, but I’ll make this one work. Thank you, I can finally go to bed and sleep well. Now, let’s negotiate this world domination thing. Which one of us is Pinky and which one is the brain?


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