For our anniversary last year, my husband bought me a beautiful new sewing machine (Singer Quantum Stylist 9960). I was so excited to start whipping up all kinds of clothes on the new machine, except then I realized that I didn’t really know how to sew. I mean, I can fix a hem and hand sew buttons, but the last time I made anything more complicated than that was a little letter Z pillow I sewed in 7th grade. (Letter Z – because I like to sleep…Zzzz…) So anyway, I’m basically a beginner.
Fortunately, there was a beginning sewing class offered through the local recreation department during the month of March. I jumped on the opportunity to have someone walk me through a simple sewing project, and this class did not disappoint. Over the course of four sessions, we learned how to read a pattern, lay out and pin the pattern, cut out the pattern pieces, sew plain seams with proper seam allowance, turn narrow strips, design custom-sized pockets, and basic topstitching, all while creating a reversible apron.
The pattern we used in the class is the Simplicity 2691 apron pattern. The apron has a fixed-length neck strap, long waist ties, and one pocket on each side. The pockets and apron front have contrasting top bands.
The first step was to lay out and pin the pattern pieces to the fabric. I selected three cotton fabrics for the apron: green, yellow, and a green/yellow/white/blue multi pattern. This part took a really long time because I found it difficult to make sure the fabric stayed flat and smooth while I pinned the pattern to it. Also I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so that may have had something to do with it.
Next I cut out all the pieces. I chose to make the main body of the apron in the multi pattern fabric on one side and the green fabric on the other, with yellow contrast on both sides. This part is pretty fun, because the feeling of cutting fabric with a really nice pair of fabric scissors is just satisfying. (Is that just me?) As a side note, I bought my scissors several years ago at Jo-Ann Fabrics with a 50% off coupon, so I splurged on a really nice pair, and it was totally worth it.
The first pieces I sewed were the neck strap and waist ties, which I made of the contrasting yellow fabric. These were pretty simple: fold in half and sew around one end and the long edge, then turn inside out using a long dowel.
After the ties came the pockets. This was the one place where my teacher encouraged us to ditch the pattern and try making our own pockets. I opted for medium rectangular pockets, where the pattern had smaller pockets with rounded corners (which I assumed would be harder to sew). My pockets were designed to be double-thick, so I simply cut a rectangle of fabric that was the desired width and about twice the desired length.
To sew each pocket, I first attached the pocket band by pinning the right sides together and simply sewing straight across the edge. Then I pressed the seam I just created toward the top of the pocket. I folded the long rectangular pocket piece in half with the right side in, then sewed around the two sides (the bottom was just a fold). Finally, I folded in and pressed the top edges (both front and back) and sewed a topstitch across. The pockets were now double-layered closed rectangles.
The rest of the sewing went pretty fast. I stitched the pockets directly to each apron front with a topstitch around the two sides and the bottom of the pockets. I attached the top apron bands in the same way as the pocket bands. I pinned the two right sides of the apron together, inserting the ties and neck strap into proper position. I carefully sewed all the way around the edges of the main apron pieces, making sure that the ties and neck strap were correctly stitched into place and leaving the top edge open. Then I turned the apron right side out and folded under and pressed the top edges of the apron bands. Finally, I topstitched all the way around the edge of the apron, then did a final press. Here is the finished product:
I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, especially for being the hardest sewing project I’ve done to date (sorry, Z pillow!) I was a little disappointed with how large the apron turned out, since I followed the size guide on the pattern in choosing which size to make. But it works just fine with the waist straps wrapped around in front like in the pictures. Also, my topstitching could use some serious work. The spacing from the edge is inconsistent and sometimes pretty wavy. Things to work on in my next project! Overall, I am proud that I made a cute, functional apron.