Tutorial #2: Apron with pocket and piping

Apron with pocket and piping
Reversible - look!

Hi everyone. I’ve managed to cobble together a tutorial for making a lovely reversible apron complete with a charming little pocket and piping all round the sides for that retro fifties look. This particular apron is for my mum, who’s just moved back into her house after a devastating fire last year. I like to think of her wearing this as she tootles about her new kitchen, whipping up Ulster fries and muttering Hail Marys, as Irish mothers are wont to do.

Apologies in advance for the quality of the images below: I left my camera lead in work so I’m taking these ones with my mobile. Hopefully you can still make everything out.

OK – so I’ve used three different contrasting fabrics for the apron but don’t worry – you don’t need three, or even two. You can do the whole apron in one fabric but then you might miss out on all that fun when you flip it to reveal a whole new look! I’ve used a floral print for the ‘front’ and a cute little strawberry print for the ‘lining’. I’ve used blue polka dot fabric for the pocket and the piping, plus some left over ready-made binding to frame the pocket.

Apron pattern

I’ve used a free pattern from the wonderful world wide web for my basic apron shape. Get it here from (gulp) the Martha Stewart website. Hey, it’s free. Don’t judge me.

You will need:
Fabric for front (26″ x 40″)
Fabric for lining (26″ x 40″)
Medium weight 1.5″ cotton twill tape approx 80″ depending on how long you want the neck and the waist straps to be.
Contrasting fabric for pocket (6″ x 8″)
Contrasting fabric for piping (120″ x 1.375″ – I cut three strips of about 40″ each and sewed them together to get this)
Piping – I used size 4 which has a circumference of about 0.375″
Binding – enough to frame your pocket – mine was roughly 27″

Your seam allowance for this project is 0.5 inch, included on the apron pattern.

Making piping

To start – let’s make our piping, which is the sweet little blue polka dot trim around the outside of the apron. Although I’ve given you the measurements above, if you’re using a different width of piping you’ll need to adjust this. So to work it out, wrap a tape measure around your piping nice and tight and make sure your tape measure then allows for half an inch (which is our seam allowance) on either side. If that doesn’t make sense – hopefully the picture will! The total measurement will then be the width you need your strips to be.

Secure piping in the fabric

Then just tuck the piping into the middle of the strip (right side on the outside) and stitch as close as you can to the piping itself. I use a piping foot for this but you can use your zipper foot as well. So that’s your piping done.

Now let’s cut out our apron. As you can see from the pic you’ve got to fold your fabric and place the edge of the pattern on the fold. So when you cut it out and unfold it you get a perfectly symmetrical apron! Cut one of your front fabric and one of your lining. Mark where you want your waist straps and neck strap to come out of. Don’t worry about the markings on the pattern – just do it where it feels natural.

Cutting out your pocket

If you’re adding a pocket you need to do it before you sew the apron together as then all your stitching will be hidden on the inside. So I just did a simple half square with a curved bottom like this, but you can do any shape you want. Cut it out of your chosen fabric, again on the fold.

Adding binding to the pocket

I used some leftover ready-made binding to frame it. I just folded the binding around the edge of the fabric and pinned it, pressed the corners and turned the edge under at the end to neaten the join. Then I edge stitched around the binding to secure it to the pocket, pinned the pocket to the apron and then stitched over my edge stitching so it was nice and neat. Obviously leaving the top open. Yes you may scoff, but I sewed a few inches into my opening and had to unpick it with a seam ripper. Durrr.

Inserting the pipingNext it’s time to put all your pieces together. So, lay your apron pieces on top of each other, right sides together. Your piping can be inserted as you go along pinning. So as you can see from the pic the raw edge of the piping lines up with  the edge of your fabric and is sandwiched in between the two layers. Pin as you go to secure it. I started at the bottom of the apron so any joining would be done in a less conspicuous place.

Clipping piping on a curveRound the curves it’s worth making snips in the seam allowance of your piping every couple of centimetres or so – just makes curving it so much easier.

Inserting the strapsWhen you get to where your straps go in, carefully tuck the strap inside the two layers and just have a centimetre or two peeking out. Make sure it’s between your piping and your lining fabric so that you get the uninterrupted piping all the way around. This will make sense when you turn it right side out, I promise.

Sew all the way around the apron except for where your piping overlaps – leave roughly 5 inches open. Again I used my piping foot and sewed right into the side of the piping so it was nice and snug.

Before fixing your opened piping, turn your apron right side out and admire your handiwork. Poke out any edges that haven’t fully turned.

To join your piping, finish your seam and make it all nice and neat, unpick some of the stitching on one side of the piping and open up the fabric. Take the other length of piping and trim it so it joins your first bit of piping inside its opened fabric case. Then just overlap one length of fabric over the other, turn the end under so there are no raw edges and then tuck it back into the apron seam, turning the upper and lower edges of the apron under to match the 0.5″ seam allowance. Press if you need to, then just do a tight edge stitch along the opening, ensuring you catch all three layers.

Press and you’re done!

Again – sorry about the misty dark quality of the images. Normal service will resume next week. Have a fantastic sewing weekend! x

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