Now that October is here, it’s boutique season again! This year, we thought it would be fun to upgrade our boutique “uniforms” a bit with a little half apron! We figured it would be dual purpose – it would look cute and also provide an extra place for us to keep our phones, pens, etc, within easy reach!
Since I was making the aprons this month, I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial for them in case anyone else would like to make something similar. So, here’s a (hopefully!) simple tutorial for how to make a ruffled half apron. 🙂
In keeping with our “Throne of Grace style”, we decided the body of the apron would be black and then the rest of the pieces would be black with pink polka dots, but of course, you can choose any fabric you like!
I made 4 aprons, so we got 2 ½ yards of each to make sure we’d have plenty, but if you want to make only one apron, you’ll just need 1/2 yard of each fabric (assuming you’re using 2).
The first step is to wash and iron the fabric.
Next, cut out all your pieces. I highly recommend using the following tools – a large ruler-lined cutting mat, a cork-backed, metal ruler, and a rotary cutter:
These tools make cutting straight lines super easy and quick!
Cut out the following pieces (the sizes take into account ¼ inch seam allowances):
Main piece (the body of the apron): 28” x 14”
Ruffle: 42” x 3”
Waist Band/Tie: 76” x 3”
(For the Waist Bands, I was able to cut out 76” long pieces since we had bought enough fabric for 4+ aprons. However, if you’re only making one apron, just cut out strips that are as long as possible and sew them together with a ¼ inch seam until you have a finished strip that’s 76” long by 3” long.)
If you’d like to add a pocket, also cut the following pieces:
Main Pocket pieces (cut 2): 11 1/2” x 6 1/2”
Pocket cuff pieces (cut 2): 11 1/2” x 4 1/2”
(By cutting 2 of each piece, you’ll make a pocket with a front and back section for extra storage!)
To keep the edges of your main piece from fraying, sew a narrow (just under ¼ inch wide) overcast stitch around both of the short ends (if your machine doesn’t have an overcast stitch, you could also sew a small zigzag stitch close to the edge of the fabric).
Then, iron the short edges down to make a ¼ inch hem before top stitching them down:
Next, make the ruffle. Just like with the main body piece, to keep the ends from fraying, sew a narrow (just under ¼ inch wide) overcast stitch around both short ends and one of the long ends:
Then, iron the short edges of the ruffle down to make a 1/4 inch hem before topstitching them down:
After that, iron down one of the long edges of the ruffle to make a 1/4 inch hem and topstitch it down:
Next, to gather up the ruffle, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length it has (aka a basting stitch).
As you can see, “6” is the longest stitch length my machine has, but yours may be a bit longer or shorter.
Then, with this long stitch, sew a seam a little less than ¼ of an inch from the edge of the long, unfinished edge of the ruffle piece. Also, make sure to knot the start of the seam, but don’t knot the other end of it!
(After basting, immediately set your machine back to a regular stitch length so you won’t forget to do that later!)
To begin gathering, start by holding the bobbin thread in one hand, and the fabric piece in the other:
Then, gently pull on the bobbin thread, and the fabric will begin to gather.
Keep a hold of the bobbin thread and gently work the fabric gathers toward the other end of the fabric:
Continue pulling on the bobbin thread and gently evening out the gathers along the length of the fabric till the ruffle is 27” wide (or the same size as the finished main body piece).
To secure the ruffle, trim the bobbin thread so it’s only a couple inches long, and then tie it to the top thread to make a knot:
Here’s what the finished ruffle will look like:
The next step is to sew the ruffle to the body piece.
First, pin the ruffle to the bottom of the main body piece so that the right sides of the fabric are together and so that the unfinished edge of the ruffle lines up with the unfinished, bottom edge of the main body piece. Then, I pin them together to secure them, making sure that the edges line up correctly:
Then, I sew them together with a ¼ inch seam, making sure that the seam always falls to the left of the basting stitch on the ruffle:
It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but if you look carefully, you can see that the needle is staying to the left of the basting stitch on the ruffle.
Here’s what the finished seam should look like:
Once they’re sewn together, you want to make sure that the unfinished edges of the ruffle and main body piece won’t fray, so sew an overcast stitch over their edges just as you did with the other pieces:
Then, iron the seam and the ruffle flat:
Next, it’s time to make the waistband!
The first step is to iron down both short edges to make a ¼ inch hem:
Then, do the same thing to both of the long edges:
Then, fold the waistband in half widthwise and iron it down:
Then, I open up the edges and iron the corners down so they meet in the middle, so that when the waist band is folded up again, the corners will have a nice, diagonal, finished edge:
(After ironing the corners, fold the waistband back up again along the existing crease.)
Then, find the center of the waistband piece, and iron it to make a crease. If it’s hard to see the crease, you can also put a pin through it:
Next, find the center of the top of the main body piece and iron it to make a crease:
Then, open up the waistband and lay the body piece onto it so that the center markings line up with each other…
…and so that the top of the body lines up with the center crease of the waistband all the way across:
Then, fold the waistband down over the top piece (to form sort of a sandwich over it) and pin them together:
Start by sewing the waistband to the body by topstitching an 1/8” seam along the edge of the waistband:
Then, continue topstitching the 1/8” hem along the waistband to secure the entire waistband piece together:
When you get close to the corner, check to make sure it’s lining up correctly. If it’s not, stop and knot the seam about 2 inches from the end:
Then, re-iron it so the edges line up, and continue the 1/8” topstitching around the edge:
Next repeat the process on the other side of the waistband, till the entire piece is finished.
If you don’t need a pocket, you’re now finished!
However, if you’d like to add a pocket to yours like we did, come back next week to learn how!