Saturday, May 12, 2018

Girl's Apron

Little girls who do art need an apron. Little girls who help their mom bake need an apron, also. Right? And that apron might as well be cute, too. I bought this Little Lady apron pattern by Abbey Lane Quilts at Road to California when I was there this past January. What was especially appealing was the three tiers of ruffles and the two hidden pockets. I chose to make the top and pocket inserts out of a pencil print and the bottom and ties out of pastel dots.

The top was meant to be a single layer and on the 5 out of 6 edges I was supposed to turn under ¼" then ⅜", then press, and then top stitch. Instead, since I had enough of the pencil fabric I chose to cut out two tops and use one as a facing. I still top stitched it the same way, ⅛" and ¼" from the edge.

I liked the way the pockets were added, one thickness to the front top and the other thickness to the skirt bottom, much the way side pockets are inserted in a skirt or set of slacks.

There were ties at the neck and ties at the sides. Oddly enough they were made differently. The neck ties were long strips that were folded over a ¼" along the long edges, folded in half and top stitched. But the side ties were sewed right sides together and then turned right side out. The side ties were longer so turning them did not make a lot of sense. They were mildly, very mildly, tapered though, so perhaps that is why the method changed. I have my handy-dandy turning tool. The fabric was a thin enough cotton and the ties were much wider than those doll limbs I have been doing of late, so that turning was fairly easy.

A ½" wide ruler did the trick for flattening each side tie out initially before pressing.

Attaching the first ruffle to the top was tricky because it was complicated by the insertion of two pockets in the seam. The pockets are hidden and so I tucked in a magnifying glass to reveal the location of one, sort of symbolic of a detective sleuthing out the pouch's clandestine position. 

A closeup reveals how the pocket hangs a bit lower than the base of the first ruffle. The ruffle seam is ½" but the pockets seams are ¼".

Three ruffles share two bases and I am about to gather the third ruffle onto the second base.

After adding the gathered ruffle I sewed a stay stitching zig-zag on the seam and then pinked it.

Then I top stitched ⅛" above the ruffle on the right side. 

All these frills were a lot of work, especially for an apron. I should have invested the effort in making a dress; but then maybe it would not get worn as much and probably be outgrown sooner. These were the steps. 1) Sew ½" guideline onto base. 2) Sew gathering stitch on ruffle. 3) Gather ruffle and pin to base. 4) Stitch ruffle to base. 5) Stitch finishing zig zag on ruffle seam. 6) Trim seam. 7) Top stitch finished ruffle. That is seven passes on one seam! Multiply that by three ruffles. Whew!

The ties were added at four corners on the top and then the apron was finished. Here is the right side.

Here is the back side. The ruffles do lie pretty smooth. I am glad I made a facing to cover the waist seam although I did have to manipulate it a bit and hand sew it in place to ensure the pockets remained accessible.

The pattern was seven pages long, nine if you count the two 11"x17" size pages of the minimal curved templates. Rather than other pattern pieces, the non-curved "templates" took a verbal format similar to "Cut ___ number of pieces ___ inches high by __ inches long; then mark ___ inches on this edge and ___ inches on that edge and sew or cut across a slant." I could follow every step of this pattern though I felt it could have been finessed a bit more for consistency and terminology. Given a pattern piece, a letter reference is clearer than directions to sew the piece you just sewed to the one you just sewed before this one. Also the seam allowances were ¼", ½", and ⅝" (if you count adding ¼" and ⅜") instead of one unchanging dimension. This pattern is certainly doable but I would not recommend it for a beginner.

That being said... would I make this apron again? Yes, I would; but I will be wiser. How could I make only one when I have three granddaughters and the younger two are really avid bakers with their mom? My three year old grandson is about to get an apron next. I am glad that some sexist tendencies still live on in today's world; his will not need to have ruffles! (But it will have pockets.)


  1. Very cute! When Viv helped me bake Lil’s birthday cake, she wore an apron that I had made in 8th grade home ec class!

  2. Thank you so much for the apron! A has not gotten a chance to use it yet, but I can see many fun baking adventures in our future (if I can drum up the energy to get back into baking, that is!) That turning tool seems like a really good idea, and despite the annoyances of the pattern (I too get annoyed at inconsistent pattern-writing: Do these people not have pattern testers that will TELL you when the seam allowance changes get confusing?) i think the apron turned out great. Can't wait to use it, maybe this weekend!