I decided back in August to sew aprons for Christmas gifts for my husband’s family. Aprons are cute, useful, and there’s an amazing selection of patterns out there.
And to think- I don’t even have one, myself. But cooking isn’t really my thing anyway.
It turned into more of an exercise in time management. You’d think that with starting in August, I’d have plenty of time, but I wound up working on these until
just about the last minute. Also? As adorable as some of these apron patterns are,
after making 7 of these bad boys, it’s going to be a while before I feel inspired to apron it up again.
It was still a good exercise, and it was fun to see them come together. My husband’s family members were happy with them, so that made it worth it.
The first apron I made was from Butterick’s “See and Sew” line, B5518. This was actually the first pattern I ever purchased. Nearly 2 years ago, I started to learn to sew, but then life happened, and my sewing machine gathered dust for a year until I tried again. But during that first attempt, I picked up this pattern intending it to be my first project once I mastered the art of pillow cases and tote bags. I looked at the pattern a few times, and just felt confused and overwhelmed. It did not look anywhere close to “fast and easy” as the pattern envelope promised. Now that I feel more comfortable with patterns, it’s not nearly as intimidating, but I don’t think this is one I’d recommend to a virgin pattern sewer, either. This was straightforward enough I didn’t take any extra pictures.
The next apron was the lobster fabric in McCalls 6334. I used the same pattern/view in the sushi apron. This was a not too frilly apron that was pretty straightforward to put together. The bias tape on the lobster fabric was the trickiest part, and it was around this time that someone clued me in to the right way to apply bias tape (bless you, J!), which is SO SO SO much easier than the way I had been doing it (same link, the method she describes as “the cheating way”).
Simplicity 2592 was the next one up. I was pretty excited with how this one turned out. I am not the greatest at putting on trim evenly. I think (hope) it’s just one of those things that takes a lot of practice, and I haven’t had much of it yet. So I pinned the shit out of this trim here, and that helped a lot.
I was able to do this without too much difficulty by lining up the notches in the pattern paper to a row of ric-rac. I then took the pattern piece that attached to that notch, and lined it up on the same color row.
With just 2 colors of stripe to maneuver, this was pretty easy, and I think having the rows meet at the back and side seams is a nice effect. I tried to get a similar match on the little flower portion. I didn’t get it exactly right, but I think it’s close enough that the seam isn’t jarring.
Vogue 8643 was the last of the first four aprons, and also the pattern used for the very last apron (but a different view). These aprons were the least forgiving in terms of fit. Where the others all had loose ties at both the neck and waist, the floral apron has a button neck strap, and the pig apron is even less forgiving with buttoning overall-like straps and a button waist.
The floral apron was more practice in trim. I wasn’t originally intending to trim out this apron, but I came across this lime green lace at a local quilt shop, and I thought drawing out the color from the leaves would give the apron just a little bit of a modern edge. I found a crochet flower for the pocket in the same shade of green, and I think playing up the green accent color really saves this fabric/pattern from being too 1950’s apple pie housewife.
Another modernizing update I did with both of these aprons was for length. The ladies were NOT messing around with the tea length and crinoline back in the day, and even their aprons accommodated for the dress assumed to be underneath. I was surprised and amused by that realization, but I still shortened both of these Aprons by about 5″ each. And they’re still the longest of the 7 by a few inches!
As for the other apron from this pattern… This was a lesson in choosing the right pattern/fabric combination. Of all the fabrics I chose for these projects, this was my very favorite. And I saved it for last because I really wanted to not screw it up. I mean, look at it. I even made buttons with a Dritz kit because if there was one thing this apron needed, it was more pig. The only downside to this fabric is the weight. It’s a Kokka cotton, and is closer to a lightweight canvas in terms of weight and drape than the other fabrics I’d been working with.
The stiffness of the fabric just doesn’t really lend itself to either a big billowy skirt or a garment that’s intended to be somewhat form fitting. You can see my dress form is practically swimming in it.
I am not altogether unhappy with the outcome, but I think this frabric would have been better off as a simple BBQ apron like S4987, but at the time I thought that might have been too much pig fabric. Now I know. There is no such thing as too much pig fabric. No realy, no matter how super awesome the fabric is, you can’t make something poufy out of something that heavy. Likewise, I will not be teaching my girl scout troop to craft sit-upons out of silk chiffon.
Finally, the last apron to talk about is Simplicity 4987. The end result of this apron was just fine. With all the fancy pants options in Apron patterns, sometimes a classic BBQ apron just hits the spot. The waist ties for this are long enough to wrap around the waist for a more fitted look. I made my own bias tape to finish the edges from the same fabric as the pockets. I used the 1/2″ bias tape maker, and in hindsight, I wish I had used the 1″. Not only was this kind of a pain to install, I wish I had a little more visual impact from the fabric contrast. But mostly? Really tricky to install. Even using the right method of sewing in bias tape.
The pattern itself was easy enough to cut out and sew together, but I really had my doubts on that when I first opened the instructions. Why be intimidated by the simplest apron design among the 7? For one thing, I am used to different views of a pattern being lettered (A, B, C, etc.). Pattern pieces that are used to assemble your chosen view are numbered (1, 2, 3, etc.). This pattern, for reasons unknown, switches up that routine, and when I realized that, it totally cast doubt in my mind about the competence of the people that put this pattern together. What were they thinking changing things up on a view/pattern piece labeling system that was working just fine. What other wacky shenanigans can I expect from these instructions? Lest you think I just can’t handle a simple (still, arbitrary and needless) change from my routine, I present what has to be by far the worst technical I have encountered so far:
Fortunately, it all turned out ok in the end.