Today I made another little tea party apron (for my other niece, since I missed her birthday in May...) and since I got a nice comment on the last post that someone else would like to make one, I thought I would do an actual tutorial on how I make them. *Disclaimer*: I have never done this before and since I tend to be a visual learner I took a ton of pictures. I just hope that my directions make sense.
First things first: fabric requirements... (this project is a great use for fat quarters.) One fabric for the apron, pockets, and ties. And a contrast fabric for the waistband, applique, and bias edgings. A small amount of lightweight fusible web for the applique.
apron: 8" by 21"
pocket: 5" by 21"
ties: at least 2" by 20" (You can make them wider if you want a larger bow, or even substitute ribbon for fabric ties.)
waistband: 3" by 10"
bias edging: 2" strips cut by putting the fabric on grain and then cutting at a 45 degree angle across it.
You line your bias strips up, right sides together, and stitch across.
Then you trim the angled edge off.
Press the seams open.
Fold in half lengthwise and press. (Be very generous with your steam setting, it will make it easier for the fabric to retain the folds.)
What it should look like after pressing, a distinct fold.
Fold each side into the center and press.
Fold in half lengthwise again and press. Your 2" strip will now be 1/2" wide. Now we move on to the applique.
Take a small square of fusible web and iron on to the contrast fabric, then draw a simple shape (like a heart or star) and cut out. I like the child-like look I get by drawing free hand (I never claimed to be an artist...) but you could also trace a shape or monogram using a template.
Peel off the paper backing and place on the pocket and iron in place.
Make sure that you don't place it where you will be stitching the pocket sections!
Now you will stitch around the shape using a zig-zag stitch. (It is helpful if you haven't done this before to play around on a scrap of fabric trying different stitch lengths and widths to find the look you like best.)
I like a satin stitch look, which I get by having a fairly wide with to the "zig" and a tiny length to the "zag".
Now we add the bias tape we made earlier to the top of the pocket section. Simply slide the pocket piece into the fold of the bias tape with the ends being even. You can pin the bias tape in place if you like, but because it is sewing a straight line I usually don't have any trouble sliding the piece in as I go.
You want to stitch as close to the edge of the bias tape as you can, while making sure you are catching it in the back too.
Now we will measure and draw a stitching line for our pockets. I made these pieces 21" so that I would end up with 3 evenly spaced pockets. You can be as creative as you want here, you could make one large pocket and two smaller ones, or add a couple of narrower "slots" to hold a pencil or wooden spoon. You just have to take the time to do the math and figure out where you want the pockets to open. Also, you don't want to go too large or they may just gape open, but you could always add a button or snap or piece of velcro if that happened.
Here you can see the stitching line I've drawn. On dark fabrics a white dress maker's pencil or chalk works wonderful, I am using a disappearing marker here since the white wouldn't show up on the yellow very well.
Next I add pins an inch or so away from my lines on each side to keep the pocket from moving around on the apron while I sew it place.
What is should look like after sewing the lines for the pockets.
Now we cut two strips of bias tape for the sides and stitch in place like we did for the top of the pocket, making sure this time to catch both the apron and the pocket fabric in the fold of the bias tape.
Yea! It's almost a pocket.
Last step of the pockets is to sew the bias tape along the bottom edge. You'll want to add an extra 1/2" or so to each end of the bias tape.
Then trim the corner at an angle, like this.
Then fold to the inside and press so that when you sew the bias tape along the bottom you will end up with a nice finished edge on the sides.
Next we'll make the ties, fold the strip in half lengthwise and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance down the long edge and one of the short ends. Then clip your corner at an angle, making sure not to cut your stitching!
That way when you turn the tie right side out you will have a nice clean corner on the finished edge.
Press 1/2" seam allowance on both short ends of the waistband. Gather the top of the apron and pin it to the waistband, matching the centers and ends, and easing the gather along the rest. Pin the right side of the waist band to the wrong side of the apron and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Once you have stitched it in place and removed your gathering stitches you will press the waist band up and then press a 1/2" seam allowance along the top.
Fold the waistband over to the stitching line and pin in place. Then stitch close to edge of the waist band.
Now take the unfinished end of the tie and insert it in the opening at the side of the waistband. (If you choose to use a wider tie or ribbon simply make a pleat in it so it will fit the opening.)
Then stitch the ends of the waistband shut and your ties are attached.
And voila! An adorable apron any little girl will love for tea parties or helping Mommy cook dinner. I hope this was somewhat clearer than mud, but if you have any questions feel free to leave them as a comment.