Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Helper's Apron

My girls always want to help in the kitchen.  I've been wanting to make little aprons forever now.  I saw this polka-dot fabric on clearance at walmart one day and was motivated to get one done! 

As soon as I started I realized the polka-dot pattern was in no way squared.  Maybe that's why it was on clearance?  It looks like I cut it really crooked in this picture!  This apron is for my 3 year old so the main piece is 16 inches across and 16 inches top to bottom, with the top corners cut off.  I cut two pieces so it would be semi-reversible.

Then I made an elastic ruffle for the neck.  Nothing worse than an apron that hangs way low, and I have a fear for kids apparel that ties or can be tightened around the neck.  I considered doing a velcro strap, but then I thought about all the bibs we have that have been washed so many times the velcro no longer holds.  

To make the elastic ruffle neck strap I took a rectangle of fabric about 4 inches wide and maybe 22 inches long.  I folded it lengthwise right sides together, stitched all the way down, then turned it right side out.  Then I took a thin piece of elastic of the desired neck length and stretched it from one end of the fabric to the other.  I stitched it in place next to the original fabric seam and when I stopped stretching it sprung back creating the ruffles.  I pinned it in place with the raw ends pointing up.

I made the ruffle for the bottom edge by cutting a long rectangle 4 inches wide.  I generally cut my fabric intended for ruffles twice as long as the area it will be sewn too.  I folded it in half lengthwise and ironed the wrong sides together this time since my raw edge will be hidden inside the body of the apron, and stitched flat.  Then, like I usually do to make a ruffle, I used the longest stitch on my machine and tried to pull the thread tight to bunch the fabric.  This didn't go as smoothly as planned because my thread kept breaking as I pulled.  But I managed to make it work. I'll have to come up with a better way when I make Little Bean's apron.  Any suggestions?  

I pinned the ruffle along the edge of the body piece, raw edges together.  I curved the ends out to taper the ruffle off below the waist strap.  

The pocket is 7.5 by 5 inches with about half an inch folded under and pressed on each side.  I stitched the top hem before attaching it to the body.

The waist strap was another long rectangle 4 inches wide.  It was folded into fourths; first in half and ironed, opened up and each side folded over to the crease and ironed again, then folded back on the original crease.  So when stitched the raw edges are tucked away flat into the crease.  Clear as mud?  (Have I mentioned I'm not an expert?)  I ended up only needing it to be about 12 inches long, so after securing it I snipped the excess.  I snipped the excess ruffle, too.  Better too long than too short!

The waist strap was also pinned in place.  The picture below shows the excess that was cut off after sewing.  I put my second body piece face down and pinned in place.  I stitched along the edges, leaving a hole in the top right corner to turn right-side-out.

I turned it right-side-out and stitched along the edges (closing the hole in the top corner).

I added long velcro strips so the waist can be adjusted.  And put on by a 3 year old without assistance.  I'll swap this velcro out for snaps later if the velcro gets worn out in the laundry.

Girl's Ruffle Apron

And the finished product... {{drumroll}}

Girl's Frilly Apron

I'm quite happy with the end result, and so is my little helper!  I grabbed the apron to take a picture of Monkey wearing it, but it was stuck in a wad covered with pancake syrup.  Such is life with a Monkey!  :)

Have you made a ruffled apron?  I'd love to hear about how you made it!

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