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Easy No-Pattern Apron


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This project is a simple, easy apron. You'll use just one yard of fabric. You'll cut this fabric into four pieces -- actually, you don't even have to "cut" the fabric, you can just tear the fabric into the proper sized strips!

Fabric choices would be any broadcloth or patterned cotton -- something easy, cheap, and WASHABLE (it is an apron, after all!) I found this bright yellow ladybug fabric for half-price.

The apron has an extra strip along the bottom that is separated into pockets. The pocket strip actually goes from one edge of the apron to the other -- you sew straight seams "channels" to separate this long strip into different pockets. Put you seams whereever you feel necessary to create the size pockets you want. I put smaller pockets on the side and two larger pockets in the middle portion.
Start with a piece of fabric 1 yard long by whatever width it comes in -- probably 44 inches. We're going to use the selvedge sides as the sides of the apron -- that way, we don't have to finish the edge seams!

Next, fold the fabric in half width-wise -- that gives us a doubled piece of fabric 22 inches wide by 36 inches tall. Now, fold it in half width-wise again -- yielded a quadruple folded piece of fabric 11 inches wide by 36 inches tall.

The only reason we're doing this is to make the cutting easier. We'll start by cutting a strip 2 inches tall by 11 inches wide across the quadruple fold. The end result will be 2 inches by 44 inches wide when we unfold it.

Not too difficult -- let's do it again! That'll give us 2 strips 2 inches tall by 44 inches wide. We'll use these strips to make the apron drawstring.

So far, we've used up 4 inches of our 36 inch tall block of fabric -- leaving 32 inches.
Let's use up 11 more inches -- cut another piece 11 inches tall by 11 inches wide (quadruple folded). Unfolded, this will be 11 inches tall by 44 inches wide -- we'll use this piece to make the pocket of our apron.

The remaining 21 inches will become the body of the apron itself.

We end up with 4 pieces -- two 2" tall strips for the apron drawstring, an 11" tall piece for the apron pocket, and the remaining 21" tall piece for the apron body. Each piece is 44 inches wide (selvedge to selvedge).

By the way, you can make this apron even easier -- there's really no need to "cut" the fabric to get the four pieces -- you can make a small nip and then "tear" the fabric across!

If you choose to tear the fabric, there's no need to do the folding and refolding bit. That's only to make it easier to cut. If you tear, snip along one selvedge edge, then rip all the way across to the other selvedge edge. You'll have to snip again to cut through the other selvedge.

This gives you perfectly straight edges since the tear will follow the grain line! Of course, this only works in a fabric where the grainline flows across the width of the fabric! Also, make sure the pattern follows the grain line -- sometimes it's a little off in cheaper fabrics. If the pattern is off, then just cut instead of tearing.
Sometimes, when you're using very wide pieces of fabric, they can "stretch" out of shape. After all, fabric is just woven threads. That weave can loosen along the edges. That perfect right angle corner can become something not quite 90 degrees!

To help us out, we're going to lay a straight stitch around the cut edges (top and bottom) of the apron body and the apron pocket pieces. Make this stitch about 1/4" in from the edge.

The Singer 221 did a wonderful job here -- it only sews a straight stitch, but what a wonderful straight stitch it is! I did a little too good a job matching the fabric color with my thread color, so the stitch doesn't stand out in the picture.
I had planned to leave the selvedge edges alone -- they're already finished, so they really don't need staystitching.

However, when I unfolded the fabric, I found there was a "brand" label printed on the fabric along the selvedge edges! This is kind of a glitch, because I hadn't planned on finishing these edges. I didn't want to have a label appearing in random spots on the apron, though.
The solution was obvious -- if I didn't want the labels, I was going to have to finish the seams with a hem. So...

I dropped another line of straight stitch staystitching along the selvedge edges. I used a 1/2" seam allowance here -- that was enough so the label would "wrap" around to the back of the fabric when I hemmed along the staystitch line.

If you're using a piece of fabric that doesn't have a label along the selvedge, you can skip all the side hemming parts. Just leave the selvedge edge as your finished edge.

I had to do this to both the apron body and the pocket sections.
Staystitching's all done -- time to start hemming. If you want to have a pretty good hem, fold the fabric on the staystitch line and press it hard with your fingers to make a fold line. If you want to have a near perfect hem (plus much easier to sew), use your iron to press this hem line flat.

When you sew a hem, you normally "double" the fold so that the raw, unfinished edge is enclosed. We're not doing that this time -- because we'll enclose these edges a little later.

We're starting with the apron body piece. Once you've pressed the hem over to the backside, stitch the hem closed. I sewed along the backside so I could see the fabric edge. Unfortunately, it turned out I had a tension issue.
When I turned the fabric over, my stitch line was loopy and puffy. The thread was not lying flat and tight against the fabric.

This means my tension was not set correctly. If you have loose thread on the top of the fabric (when you're sewing), that means you have problems with your bottom tension. When you have loose thread on the bottom, you have problems with your top tension.

In this case, my issues were on the bottom. That means I need to adjust my top tension. I tightened the tension a little bit with the top tension adjustment (it's the number dial your thread passes around).

I sewed two lines: one before adjusting, one after adjusting. The thread doesn't appear too well in this picture, however, you can see how the left-hand yellow seam has "thick" sections. This is where the thread is hanging in loose loops. The stitch on the right side is hardly visible -- that's because the adjusted tension means the thread is laying flat and tight against the fabric.
Here's where we start "enclosing" those raw edges we hemmed. Fold over a 2 inch section to the backside of the fabric. This fold will go on the top of our apron body, not on the sides. On the apron body portion (the 21 inch by 44 inch piece), we want to sew along the 44 inch width. Sew one line using about a 1/2 inch seam allowance from the top.

This 2 inch fold over will become our drawstring casing, so this will become the "top" of our apron. Be sure and do not sew the edges of the casing -- we want them open!
Once you've sewn along the top of the casing, sew another line along the bottom of the casing. Since I've got my tension set properly, my top stitch line looks just like my bottom stitch line -- means I can sew along the backside of the apron and the stitch on the front will still look good.

I sewed just along the bottom of the 2 inch casing from one edge to the other edge. Again, be sure and do not sew the edges of the casing closed -- that's where we're going to insert the drawstring.
Once you've finished with the apron body portion, let's do the same thing with the apron pocket segment.

Let's check something first, though. Lay the pocket along the bottom of the apron front. Check your pattern and make sure it's in the same direction for both the pocket and the apron body (I wanted all my ladybugs heading in the same directions!) Once you've done this, you've established a "top" and a "bottom" for your apron pocket.

Fold the hemline over along the staystitching. Sew this 1/4" hemline along the bottom of your pocket.


On to Part Two of the Easy Apron

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