I’ve never been someone who loves cooking, but I do love aprons! My mom always wore aprons in the kitchen when I was growing up, and she had a short yellow one with sunflowers that E and I used to always wear (aka fight over). Once E moved out, my Mom gave it to me and that started my collection.
Every apron I have is different and comes with a story. I love it! When I was in high school, I worked for a Gap Inc. company and during Christmas, we always had a girl dressed up as an Elf near the front of the store. After three years, it was finally my turn! (Most people’s nightmare = my dream.) Part of the costume was wearing an apron that said, ‘Ask me! I’m here to Elf!’ After the Christmas season was over, my boss let me keep the apron so now I remember those long nights cleaning up the overwhelmingly large clearance section of the store during my Christmas break, every time I wear it.
That apron got to relive its glory days a couple of years ago when I went to the annual CRU Southeast Regional Christmas Conference (now Passion Conference) and greeted hundreds of students as they arrived at the hotel. I borrowed K’s gingerbread girl outfit (that she made herself out of a brown thrift store dress), and topped it with my apron and an elf hat. I know there’s a picture of it somewhere!
Since I moved to Paris, I’ve been without an apron because I left them in a box in America. So finally, a couple of weeks ago I decided I should make one. I searched the cheap bins of fabric throughout the fabric district (the area around the foot of Sacre Coeur) and found some really inexpensive swatches of fabric. I don’t really have the patience for patterns, so I just made it up as I went along. It’s pretty basic, so it shouldn’t take much time to replicate if you’re in need of some! I absolutely love it though because it’s been put together using only fabrics purchased in Paris… no matter where I go, I’ll always have a piece of Paris in my kitchen.
To make your own you’ll need:
Fabric for the base (77 cm X 60 cm)
Fabric for the pocket (2 pieces of 37 cm X 24 cm)
Fabric for the two ties around your waist and one around your neck (3 strips of 72 cm X 10 cm)
** I left an extra 2 cm on my measurements for each side, for stitching or errors.
**Always a good idea to wash your fabric beforehand, so it doesn’t shrink and mess up your stitching later after a wash.
The easiest part are the straps that go around your waist and your neck, which are identical.
1. Fold one strap in half (hot dog style) with the printed sides touching each other, then iron the crease and pin it. (See picture below for how it should progress.)
2. Stitch the open long side together and one short side.
3. Turn the fabric back inside out so that the print is now on the outside, and you can’t see the stitching you just did.
4. On the open end, fold the fabric in and stitch over it either by hand so that you can’t see the stitch, or use the sewing machine if you don’t care about seeing the stitch.
They should look like the strip on the right at this point:
Now just replicate that for the other two.
For the body of the apron, I decided to have it be one whole piece, in the shape of a hexagon, but you could use two pieces and make the top part a square shape.
Without the hem, the bottom square of my apron is 36 cm high. So whether you’re doing the hexagon shape, or two squares, you can put a pin on both sides of your fabric 36 cm above the bottom of the fabric. From there, you can cut it and attach a top square piece, or do what I did which was pulling the fabric in at an angle until the top of it was as wide as I wanted it. You kind of just have to eye-ball it.
Once you’ve got it all laid out, pin the sides all around. When I stitched the body, I changed the stitching on my machine to do a zig zag to make it look nicer. If you have a couple different stitch styles on your machine, it’s a good opportunity to try them out!
The pocket can be whatever size you want, with as many openings as you want.
1. Take your two pocket pieces and pin them together with the printed sides touching each other.
2. Sew all of three sides closed, but for the fourth side, stop sewing about 3 inches before it would be closed all the way.
3. Turn the fabric inside out, tuck in the remaining part that’s open, and stitch it closed like you did with the straps.
4. Place your piece of fabric on your apron to decide where it should be exactly. Pin it down.
5. Decide how many openings you want it to have, and double-check that you can easily fit your hand in and out of each opening because they will each become separate pockets. You could do a couple of very thin ones for the stick end of spoons and spatulas, and a big one, or just two big ones.
6. Use your machine to stitch the two sides and bottom of the pocket to the apron. This is another opportunity to use a zig zag stitch!
7. Pin a line in the places you want to make the openings for the separate pockets. Use the same stitching you used for the outside to stitch the dividers of the pockets. Make sure that your pins are straight and that you keep your stitch in line with them. This was actually a bit difficult for me and I had to redo my stitch because it wasn’t straight.
Now for the straps:
For the neck strap, just stitch one end of the strap to one of the top corners of the apron. From here you can choose a couple of ways to attach it to the other side. I chose to just use a button, but you could find a couple different options using hardware from your local Craft/Bricolage store.
If you use a button, decide where on the strap you want the button to come through. The easiest way of doing this is to attach the button to the corner of the apron that doesn’t have the strap attached, and try it on. Then carefully cut your slit in the strap, and stitch by hand or using the special footer on your machine the slit opening. You can find directions on how to do this by hand on the Pintagle blog. I chose to stitch around the opening so that the fabric doesn’t fray in the future.
Now all you have to do is sew a strap onto each side of the waist… et voila! Vous avez fini!