Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby Apron and a Quick Tutorial

In a recent post, I told you the story of my baby apron, and of finding the exact, matching vintage fabric on ebay. I finally finished creating a copy of the apron, so thought I would show you the original one with the new one here.

The original apron is at the bottom, stains and all.
I mailed off my original apron to my eldest granddaughter today, and kept the new, duplicate one for my next granddaughter. They won't fit either child for long, so I wanted to be sure that each one will have some memories created while wearing their little aprons. My little Maddie already wears hers for pouring water, so I hope Lena G will have some similar fun times in her little apron.

Quick Tutorial for Making a Todder Apron
So, how did I copy the apron? Since it was simply made from two fabrics joined at the sides and shoulders, I just folded the front in half, pinned to my folded fabric, and cut out the shape twice. If you don't have something to copy, a basic swing dress or top pattern will work. Just skip the sleeves. I cut each piece, front and back, on the fold, then cut the back piece along the fold line for the opening, adding 1/2" seam allowance to all edges. After hemming the back edges, I stitched the front to the back at the side and shoulder seams, then topstitched to finish the seams. Yes, I admit, I am obsessive about topstitching and clean finishes!

Next, I hemmed the bottom edge and pressed it well before stitching it in place. Using some vintage double fold bias tape, I covered the raw edges of each arm opening. A little tip on using bias tape for armhole edges: Instead of trying to cut it to length, try this: Open the bias tape so that the slightly smaller side is at the top right. Fold under the raw edge of bias tape 1/4" and iron well. Place this pressed edge at the underarm seam right side of bias tape to wrong side of apron, lining up the bias tape edge with the raw edge of the apron armhole. Begin stitching where you ironed the edge under, and work your way around the tiny armhole. Don't stretch the bias tape too much, or it will ripple. Rather, sew a length, then work the edges to match, lifting up the presser foot if necessary. As you come back around to the underarm seam, continue sewing 1/4" past where you started, so that you have a good overlap. Don't sew too far, though, or you will end up with too much bulk to turn over. Turn the bias tape to the right side of the apron, pressing at your ironing station as you go. Pin your overlapped edge in place to prevent slipping. From the front side of the apron armhole, topstitch the bias tape in place. You can hand stitch the opening at the underarm seam, if desired. Repeat for other armhole.

For the neck edge and tie closure, I will be using a single length of double fold bias tape. Begin the same as for the armhole, but when you line up the bias tape to the wrong side to begin sewing, make sure you allow an extra 12 inches overhang before you begin sewing. You will do this on the other end, as well, to create the apron neck tie strings. Stitch the neck edge in place, turn to the front of the apron, and press. Press under the other tie end before you finish the final stitching. Pin each turned under tie end in place to hold them until they are stitched down.

To complete the neck ties and neck edge, begin stitching at one tie end. Hint: to sew this cleanly, use tear-away or tissue paper underneath the tip of the bias tape. This will give you something to hold onto while you secure your stitches, and begin your line of stitching. You can finish your stitching on the other end in the same way. Continue top-stitching the 12" bias tape tie, then the neck edges and the other 12" tie. Knot off, and you are finished. Hurrah!

This apron opens in the back, and ties at the neck.

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