Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crafter's Apron Tutorial

I want to add my two cents to the tutorial for the crafter's apron we will be making for our swap on Craftster.  The original tutorial is here:
When I made mine, I tried to simplify and clarify a few things, so look at the original one, but look at mine too, especially if you are at all confused about anything.

This is what the finished apron will look like:

 I made mine with five pockets, and I eliminated the batting behind the pockets.

1.  Choose the fabric, starting with  the main body of the apron.  it should be more substantial than quilting cotton, so choose something like lightweight canvas, decorator cotton or drapery fabric.  Mine is decorator cotton.  Press the fabric, then cut one piece 30 inches long and 12.5 inches wide.

2.  The other fabrics can be regular quilting-weight cotton.  For the pockets I chose 5 different prints, and for the lining I used a white-on-white print.  Cut the pocket fabrics 6 inches by 6.5 inches.  Sew them together along the 6" sides, using a 1/4" seam.  Press seams to one side.

3.  Lay your apron body and strip of sewn pockets on top of the lining fabrics. I find it easier to work with the linings if they are a little bigger than the main pieces.  You can see in the picture below that I've cut mine about an inch bigger all around. Cut your lining fabrics a little bigger than the apron body and pocket strip.

4.  Let's start with the pockets.  Lay your strip of pockets face down on the lining fabric, matching the top edges only.  Pin the top edge, and sew the top edge only, using a 1/4 inch seam.

5.  Flip the fabrics right-side-out and press.  Top stitch 1/4" from the top edge.  This picture shows my finished pocket strip.

6.  Now it's time to trim the excess fabric.  It's easiest with a rotary cutter and a see-through ruler.

7.  Even though you have only sewn the top edge of your pockets, you are done with them (for now, anyway!)  Now, layer everything together as in the picture below.  Lay the fabrics out in this order:
--On the bottom:  main apron body, face up
--In the middle:  completed pocket section, face up.  Put a couple of pins along the top edge.
--On top:  lining for apron body, face down

8.  You need to hold the layers together and carefully flip them over.  Pin all around the edges.  Using the main apron body fabric as your guide, sew a quarter-inch seam, starting in the middle of the top of the apron, going all around, and leaving a 6" gap unsewn at the top for turning.

9.  This picture shows that yes, before sewing and trimming, your pocket section will extend a little beyond the edge of the main apron fabric, on both sides.  That's okay, because you are following the edges of the main apron body fabric for your sewing guide.

10.  Now, using the edges of the apron body fabric as your guide, trim off the extra lining and pocket fabrics.

11.  Turn your apron right-side-out through the opening in the top.  Press. Top stitch along the top edge to close the opening.  To make the individual pockets, sew a line along each seam where two pocket fabrics meet.  (Remember, in step #2, when you pressed your pocket seams to one side?  The seams you sew now, to create the pockets, should go down the side without the seam fabric bulk).  Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to secure it.

12.  Dang!  I forgot to photograph the making of the apron ties!  I'll talk you through it:  Choose a quilting-weight cotton fabric for the ties.  Cut two pieces of your chosen fabric 2.5 inches wide by 35 inches long (or longer, if you prefer).  Fold under 1/2 " on each end and press.  Then fold in half the long way and press.  Open it up, and fold each side to the center, and press. (This will give you a tie that is 4 layers thick and 5/8" wide.)  Repeat with the other tie.  Sew along the open side.

13.  Pin one tie on each side of the apron, about 1 inch in from the side edge, and 1/4 inch down from the top of the apron. Sew a nice rectangle to hold it securely.  You are done!!  Wear and enjoy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's In Your Pocket? Apron Swap

Take a look at these awesome craft aprons that I made!!

The body of the apron is made from home-decor-weight fabric (the first one) or lightweight canvas (the second one), with quilting cotton fabric for the five pockets.  I can imagine a lot of different interpretations of this pattern--these two rely on the fun fabrics for their appeal, but they could be embellished with embroidery, paint, applique, decorative get the idea. 

What crafter couldn't use one of these?  My friend Susan and I have been asking ourselves that question, and since the answer is "no crafter"--we knew we had to organize an apron swap!  Sign-ups will be at in August.  We will be crafting an apron to suit our partners' tastes, plus one small item (if it fits into one of  the apron's pockets, all the better!)

There is a tutorial for these aprons here:

They are easy to make and will take you less than 2 hours.  Anyone with a sewing machine should be able to make one.  Consider this your personal invitation to our swap!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Do You Like My Bag?

There are so many great shops on Etsy!  At Syko (  I saw a cute little pouch that had a cat with a bird on it's head on the front (it's not there any more, but the link takes you to a similar one with a dog instead of a cat); it was so cute I had to make it for my partner in a recent swap on!  I wanted it to be more substantial than just a zippered pouch, so I added a strap and some hardware, and pockets inside and out, and voila!  A wonderful little bag that my partner really loved:

I want to make more of these--I think I need one myself!