How to Make an Apron by Hand

How to Make an Apron by Hand

Gathering fabric is exactly what it sounds like: "gathering" or bunching fabric together along one edge so that a ruffle effect is created. This technique is used in many sewing projects, such as puffed sleeves, can-can skirts, tote bags, and . . . aprons!

MATERIALS:

• 1⅓ yards of 45-inch-wide light cotton fabric

• Thread that closely matches the fabric in color and weight. Use 100 percent cotton thread.

Cutting the Fabric

1 Cut one piece of fabric 36 inches wide by 45 inches long to form the body of the apron.

2 Cut four pieces of fabric 3 inches wide by 45 inches long each to make the ties of the apron.

Making the Body

1 Turn the top edge of the body fabric down ¼ inch to the inside (you'll attach this edge to the ties). Using an iron, press the seam allowance. Turn again, and using your sewing machine, sew a running stitch close to the pressed edge.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

2 Follow Step 1 for the hem, working from the bottom of the fabric, opposite the part you just sewed.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

3 Follow Step 1 again for each side of the apron body. You now have, essentially, an edged rectangle.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

Making the Apron Ties

1 Line up two of the four already-cut pieces, right sides together.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

2 With the right sides still together, use the sewing machine to sew the 3-inch width, making a ⅜-inch seam.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

3 Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with the other two pieces. You now have two 90-inch-long ties.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

4 On each of the two apron ties, use a warm iron to press the long edges under ¼ inch to the inside.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

5 Repeat Step 4 to press under the short ends of the apron ties.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

6 Lay out the pieces, wrong-sides together. Pin them in place, and use the sewing machine to sew close to the edge for the entire length.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

7 Pin and sew along the short ends of each of the apron ties. Use a small stitch and proceed slowly to keep the narrow ties as flat and smooth as possible, since long, narrow seams like this are inclined to pucker.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

Sewing the Gather Stitch

1 Using the sewing machine, sew a gather stitch all along the top end of the fabric. (Choose the longest length possible on your stitch-length selector so the fabric gathers more quickly.) Place the presser foot about ⅛ inch or ¼ inch in from the edge of the fabric. Don't forward or backstitch at the beginning of the stitch (as you normally would). Keep a long tail of thread and sew a straight line parallel to the edge of your fabric. Grasp the thread with one hand and push the fabric over with the other hand. You'll see the fabric easily gather over the thread.

2 Continue gathering, pushing, and shifting the fabric until you have evenly spaced gathers and the top edge of the apron body measures about 20 inches.

Attaching the Apron Tie

1 Fold the gathered apron body in half to locate the center, and then mark it with a pin.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

2 Fold the apron tie in half to locate its center, and mark it with a pin.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

3 Lay the center of the tie over the pin in the center of the apron body.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

4 Keep the tie at the very top edge of the body piece. Smooth the gathers at the inside of the apron body.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

5 Double-check your measurement to ensure that you are maintaining the 20 inches at the top of the apron.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

6 Double-check to ensure that you will have the same apron tie length on both ends by checking the center of the tie.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

7 Pin the tie in place and sew along the top edge.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

8 Repeat Step 7 for the bottom of the tie.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

9 Press.

How to Make an Apron by Hand

In 16th and 17th century England, the color and pattern of your apron indicated your trade. Barbers wore a checked pattern, while butchers and porters wore green.

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