Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finished Apron, Blouse Refashioned?

At last I have a finished project to post! This mysterious project can now be revealed!

Voila! It's an apron for my sister Katie. If you check out the delicious things she cooks/bakes and the delicious photos she takes, you'll understand why I would happily put the time in to make her something like this. I'm continually impressed by the work she does. For instance, she made me these:

Check out those cables. She and my mom have been knitting things for other people for years now, and I've only just gotten around to sewing something for someone else. Shame shame. So I was very happy to finally finish this apron and send it off to her. Now she can bake in style. The pattern I used came from the box of vintage patterns I picked up off of Craig's List this summer. It's Simplicity 4479.

Supposedly you can make this apron out of one yard of fabric, but I think it should be scaled up a little if you want it to be practical. I slashed and spread the center pattern piece down the middle, adding a couple inches to the width, but I think it could easily stand to grow a few inches more. You can see in Katie's photo that it just barely covers her front, and she is not a large person. The straps are also too short, in my opinion. If Katie were any bigger, they wouldn't be able to criss-cross in back and meet at the waist ties. This apron took me way longer than any apron should because I decided to line it and create my own ruffle trim. As a result I spent a lot of time just staring at the pieces and trying to make sense of the sewing order of operations. If you decide to try this pattern out with a lining, it would probably be easier to just sew the lining and matching front pieces as one, rather than sew them separately and then join them at the end like I did. You could finish your edges with bias tape. My ruffle also created problems because I decided to top-stitch it down to the front pattern pieces. This caused headaches when it came to attaching the lining. It might have been easier if I had sandwiched the ruffle between the two layers when I sewed the lining and front together (similar to how you might sew piping). Who knew an apron could get so complicated!

Here's the order of operations I ended up following....

  1. Sew ruffle trim to individual pattern pieces
  2. Sew side pattern pieces to center pattern piece
  3. Sew trim to pockets, attach pockets to sides of apron
  4. Sew shoulder straps (I made these into tubes) and tack them down to the top (wrong side) of the center pattern piece
  5. Sew lining side pieces to lining center piece
  6. Sew lining to front, right sides together, being careful not to catch your ruffle or the shoulder straps (which should be on the inside as you sew), leave the tops of the side pieces where the waist bands attach open, and leave a gap where the waist bands will get sandwiched between the lining and front center piece
  7. Attach the waist band on either side according to the pattern instructions - you will be able to finish one side inside out, sewing on the wrong side to secure the end of the waist band between your lining and main fabric, but you'll end up having to top-stitch the other. Don't finish the outer, short ends of the waist bands yet.
  8. Sew your long floofy ties (the ones that join the waist band, not the shoulder straps). I made these as tubes again and turned them inside out. Then fit the ends of the ties inside the tube created by the waist bands, and top stitch all this together.
  9. Sew some buttonholes and buttons onto your shoulder straps and the waist band. Cuz that's cuter than just sewing them together like the pattern instructs.

Wow. I hope that is useful in the unlikely event that anyone decides to recreate this. Maybe it will help me when I decide to make another one someday. For now, I'm on to different projects. I got tired of my blouse refashion and ended up sacrificing any kind of stylistic changes for just making it wearable. Here it is on me, looking ambivalent:

And here it is on me, having a crazy time out this weekend...

I guess if you get at least a few successful wears out of an item, it's not a total waste. I can see pulling out this one again in the future, even if it's not my finest work. Now, on to other things!


  1. Claire - I have this pattern as well that I picked up at a flea market a few months ago but it was missing the instructions. Would you be willing to share your instructions with me? I am wanting to do view 4 - half apron with single pocket. I would really appreciate any help you could give. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kori! Sorry I just saw your comment today. I can definitely photograph those instructions for you if you still need them. Do you want me to email them?