:: A post originally published in August of 2008. Goodness, I have made progress with the camera, haven’t I? ::
I was a little tired when I did this so prepare yourselves; at some point it might really hurt your eyes. There are lots of good little tips in here though so maybe put on some sunglasses or something. And if you have a hangover I would advise you to come back another day because this one might end up on a sewing version of What Not To Crochet.
Ok, here we go. Brace yourselves.
In addition to your functional sewing machine, iron, thread and scissors, you will need:
- A funky old skirt
- Bias tape (the amount depends on the length and width of your apron)
Any old thing that will cover the edges will do…hem tape, wide bias tape folded in half lengthwise and ironed, double fold bias tape. I had some hot pink bias tape already made up so I opted to use that. It’s also shiny…it was very early and somehow I thought it might look nice with that green lacy skirt that Madonna would have proudly worn in the “Holiday” era.
On a positive note, it will be very easy for you to see what I am doing in the pictures. The ones that aren’t blurry anyway.
So go ahead and cut up the skirt into whatever size apron works for you. I will also be covering how to gather fabric (oh, yes I did) so go ahead and cut it on the wide side if you’re planning on giving that a shot. Oh, whoops…should have warned you about the pink and orange plaid that was coming up. It’s actually a really cool vintage wool that I found at a yard sale and apparently was just a bit too eager to show off.
Press the “apron” in order to make applying the bias tape a breeze. The secret to quality sewing is to iron, iron, iron. It will make the difference between a crappy homemade project and a crisp, professional result. Just be careful not to turn the iron up too high and melt green ribbon onto the plate. If the skirt you have chosen has embellishments, iron the backside of the fabric.
Gathering the Top Edge
With your machine set on the basting stitch (the veeeeerrrrry loooongest one), stitch a straight line about 1/4″ away from the edge of the top of your apron. Be sure to leave a nice long tail of thread and do not backstitch. You always want to sew two stitches close to each other (NOT overlapping at all) just in case one of your thread breaks from your giddiness. These stitches will be easily removed with a seam ripper when the bias tape has been applied so don’t worry about the exact placement.
There will be four tails of thread hanging from the edge of the apron: two on the top and two on the bottom. It doesn’t matter which two you choose to pull as long as they are both on the same side.
Pull the threads and evenly gather the fabric until you reach the desired width for your apron.
Tie the ends of the thread off into a simple knot in order to keep the gathers from liberating themselves. They are very sneaky.
Applying the Bias Tape
With the bias tape folded around the edge of the fabric on one side of the apron, you will want to start your seam about 1/2″ from the top. Sew a couple of stitches and then backstitch to secure the bias tape. This will ensure that the edge of the whole deal doesn’t get sucked down into the undercarriage and cause a big snarl of thread and/or a broken needle. Continue stitching, attaching the bias tape first to one side, continuing across the bottom of the apron, and coming back up the opposite side. Do not attach the bias tape to the top of the apron yet because that is covered in the next step.
Determine the length of the ties for your apron. I like nice long ties so I measured each length at 26 inches. This is in addition to the actual width of the apron (21″), making the the full length of the top bias tape 73 inches.
To easily find the center points, just fold each item in half. Pin the centers together and then continue to pin to each edge. Or just eyeball it and forgo the pins, you daredevil.
Go ahead and sew along the edge of the bias tape, backtacking at the stress points (where the edges meet).
And finally, to clean up your basting stitches simply pick apart a few stitches with the seam ripper. These stitches are so long that they should come out very easily.
And since the trim, the lace, and the hot pink shiny edging just wasn’t enough for me, I also applied a smattering of lovely crocheted flowers all over the apron to embellish it just a bit more. I’m embarrassed to even show the gal from Ireland who makes these. You can also happily purchase your own from her Etsy shop.
I’m off to track down some lace fingerless gloves, one large earring, and some ankle boots with a one inch heel. Get into the Groove, yo.