Aprons, once considered old-fashioned, are making a stylish comeback. Vintage patterns are in high demand, and new patterns of new and old styles are readily available. An apron can be made from a small amount of fabric and can be plain and sturdy, or enhanced with ribbons, lace and rick rack. Pockets are optional, so a simple gathered half-apron only has the main skirt, a waistband and ties. Once the pieces are cut, it takes only basic sewing skills to attach the waistband and ties.
Cut out the apron pieces using the pattern. You should have a large rectangle for the skirt, a narrow rectangle for the waistband and two equal strips for the ties. The ties should be about half the width of the waistband. Also cut out a rectangle of interfacing, a white, non-woven material found at fabric stores, to match the waistband. It is used to stiffen the waistband and help it hold its shape.
Hem the sides and bottom of the apron before you attempt to attach the waistband. Fold the edges over 1/4 inch and press, then fold again and stitch.
Attach the interfacing to the waistband by laying it along the wrong side of the band and hand stitch it with long, loose stitches about 5/8 inch from the edge. You can also set your sewing machine to the longest straight stitch, the basting stitch, and sew around the edge. Some interfacing material is fusible, and you only need to place it on the fabric and press it with a hot iron, bonding it in place. Press under 1/2 inch along the top of the waistband.
Sew basting stitches by hand or machine about 1/2 inch from the top of the apron skirt. If you use your sewing machine, sew two lines of basting stitches about 1/4 inch apart.
Gather the apron skirt by pulling on the basting threads. Pin the waistband to the skirt top with the right sides together. Pull the threads until the skirt is 1/2 inch narrower than the waistband on both ends. Adjust the gathers so they are even and machine sew the apron skirt to the waistband with a 5/8-inch seam.
Hem the edges of the ties by turning them under 1/4 inch and pressing, then turning them under again. Stitch the hem around the two long sides of the ties and across one short end.
Match the unfinished end of the waistband to the unfinished end of the tie and pin in place with the right sides together. You will be matching the tie to the lower half of the waistband. Sew a 1/2-inch seam across the end of the tie and waistband. Repeat with the other tie on the other side.
Turn the apron to the back. Fold the waistband over so the top portion is at the back of the apron. Use a needle and thread to make small stitches along the 1/2 inch that was folded and pressed under earlier, and along the sides of the waistband. Slide the needle horizontally through the fabric fold and just catch the material behind it.
An alternative way to finish the sides and bottom of the apron skirt is to use bias tape, a narrow, folded trim. It can be purchased in fabric stores and fits over the unfinished edge of the apron. Just sew it in place. Rather than hand sew the back of the waistband, you can put a decorative line of stitching close to the edge on all four sides of the waistband. This is called top stitching.
Tips and warnings
- An alternative way to finish the sides and bottom of the apron skirt is to use bias tape, a narrow, folded trim. It can be purchased in fabric stores and fits over the unfinished edge of the apron. Just sew it in place.
- Rather than hand sew the back of the waistband, you can put a decorative line of stitching close to the edge on all four sides of the waistband. This is called top stitching.