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Garden Apron Tutorial

Hurray, I finally finished this post!  Making this apron was so much easier than writing about it.  How many times can you get interrupted, I ask you?  And still keep your head in the game?  But all’s well that ends well.  So here’s my apron tutorial.

This apron is just perfect for the garden… or for crafting, or a craft fair.  You get the picture.  It’s versatile.

And here’s how I made it:

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard 54″ wide home decor weight fabric, canvas, demin or something with a little weight to it.  You’ll be putting shovels in the pockets after all… lightweight isn’t going to cut it.
  • 1/3 – 1/2 yard alternate fabric for the binding.  You won’t use even close to all of this, and you can get away with less, but it’s nice to have a bigger cut of fabric to cut on the bias (a fat quarter can work great).  That way there are less seems.
  • A disappearing fabric pen.  I like the blue “erasable by water” pens.

The only thing easier than making this apron is making two at once.  And that’s what I’m doing.  I am lining my fabric up together to cut out two aprons at once.  Economy of action is where it’s at.

  • Cut one piece of fabric 21″ x 9″ for the body of the apron.
  • Cut one piece of fabric 23″ x  7″ for the pocket.
  • Cut one waistband 22″ x 4″
  • Cut two ties 4″ wide x 26″ – 30″ (is a good range depending on the size of the person)
  • Cut 2″ strips on the bias to make bias tape.  You’ll need approximately 70″ of tape… you can buy it pre-made in solid colors.  I always make my own using my handy dandy Clover Bias 1-Inch Tape Maker (a must have tool for anyone who wants to make aprons… and many other fun projects too.)

I’m cutting out my fabric for the bias tape on the bias (at a 45 degree angle)(thus the name).  Cutting on the bias makes your bias tape stretchy, so it will go around corners like a champ.

Next stitch your strips together as shown in the picture, right sides together.  When you press your seam open, it will make a nice long strip.  You need this strip to measure approximately 70″ long.

Feed your strip into your Clover Biased Tape maker and press as it’s coming out the other side.   Voila, instant bias tape.  Well not instant.  But close enough.

Fold in half and press.  Notice how the bottom is a bit wider than the top.  That’s on purpose.  When I stitch the bias tape onto the apron, I stitch on the top, which is obviously what shows, so you want it to be perfect.  If the bottom is a bit wider, you’ll never miss catching the edge.

Now that your biased tape is ready, set it aside.

I cut rounded corners at the bottom of the apron.  There’s nothing high tech here.  I simply used a cup and my marking pen to trace a rounded corner.  Be sure to round both the bottom corners of the apron body and the pocket.

(Sorry about the two different fabrics in the photos, I hope it’s not confusing.  Since I was making two, I was cutting them out all at once.  The rest of the tutorial should be consistent.)

Next, using your disappearing pen, mark the lines for the pocket dividers.  The great part about the pocket divisions is they can adjusted to suit your needs.

Here’s how I marked my dividers working from right to left, each mark is measured from the last mark.  The first mark was at 4″, the next was 5″, the next was 4″, the next 5″, the next 2 1/2, which makes the last two pockets 2 1/2″ wide.

For the two pockets that are 5″, I placed two 1/2 pleats at the bottom which I marked 1 1/2″ in from each side.

Phew… I hope that all made sense.  Give me a shout out if it doesn’t!

Here’s what a few of the divider marks look like.

Now that all your marking is done, stitch the bias tape to the top edge of the pocket.

When stitching on the bias tape, I move my needle position all the way over to the left.  So it’s easy to stitch cleanly close to the edge of the tape.

Time to pin the pleats.  Once they are pinned, the pocket should be exactly the same size as the body of the apron.  Pin the pocket to the body of the apron.

Stitch around the outside of the pocket.  I stitched around a second time for good measure, I’ll be putting a trowel in these pockets after all.

Stitch the dividers of the pocket, being sure to back stitch several times at the top.

Pin the binding around the sides and bottom of the apron.

Stitch into place.

Now for the straps.  I’ve pressed my fabric in half, right sides together.  And since I like a strap that comes to a point, I’m cutting the end at a 45 degree angle.

Using a 1/4″ seam, stitch around the strap, leaving the end open.

Be sure to clip the corners.

I love a good chopstick to help me turn the straps.  I’m the first to admit, it’s a pain in the rear to turn these thin straps, but the finished look is the nicest, so it’s worth it.  Once turned, press well.

And I added a little tuck to the end of the strap.  Repeat the whole process with the other strap.

Pin the straps into place at the top of the apron.  Stitch into place.  Be sure to really reinforce this stitching, it’s going to take a lot of weight.  I stitched in a box shape, then stitched an “X” in the center of the box.

In the picture you can see the waist band already in place at the back of the apron.  Ignore that.  I stitched in place on the first apron and decided it was better to stitch the straps on before I put on the waistband.  It’s just cleaner.

Turn and press a 1/4 seam down the edges of the waistband.

Fold in half and press, wrong sides together.

Fold in about a 1/4″ seam at each end and press well.

Pin the waistband along the top of the apron and stitch into place along the edge.  I even stitched along the top edge to give the apron a nice finished look.

And it’s finished.  I can hardly wait to get out into the garden in my new apron.  This one is for my mother-in-law, but the orange flower apron is for me.  It’s very stylish… and best of all very functional.

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