Photo of the Boyce family in Pembroke from the Aitkenhead Photo Collection
Retro Fun: Vintage Style Apron
Check out their other articles from Retro Fun
This apron is another Sew4Home design original, complete with a free downloadable pattern. Love, love, love the sweetheart neckline and matching mini-sweet pockets. And the happy bottom flounce will have you skipping around your kitchen, just like when you used to twirl in your big-girl-fancy-party-dress… oh, don’t even try to tell me you didn’t do that! The Simply Sweet floral fabric has the perfect vintage feel, while the big polka dot accents add a modern zing. Clever knotted ties allow infinite adjustability for the neck and waist so you can make a Retro Fun: Vintage Style Apron for every shape and size of family member and friend.
This project is a bit more advanced than many we offer here at Sew4Home, mainly because the whole darn thing is edged with mitered bias tape binding. But, you can do it. I know you can. Practice makes perfect, right?
A BIG thanks to our new friend, Barbara Jones, the designer of the beautiful Simply Sweet fabric collection for Henry Glass & Company. She very generously provided all the fabric for our retro kitchen projects, and has it all in-stock and available for order on her site, QuiltSoup. We looked at a lot of fabrics for this series, but Barbara’s designs are the ones that jumped right off the page as the perfect vintage kitchen combo. There are additional colorways and designs within the collection. Check it out.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3160QDC)
Fabric and Other Supplies
All Simply Sweet fabric is available at QuiltSoup.
- ¾ yard of 44-45″ fabric for apron front and pockets front: we used Barbara Jones’ Simply Sweet in #5116-8 Floral Diamonds for Henry Glass & Co Fabric
- 1 yard of 44-45″ fabric for apron back, pockets back and apron flounce back: we used Barbara Jones’ Simply Sweet in #5122-8 Tiny Red Dot for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
- ¾ yard of 44-45″ fabric for apron flounce front, waist ties and neck loop: we used Barbara Jones’ Simply Sweet in #5120-82 Jumbo Pink Dot on Red for Henry Glass & Co. Fabric
- Two 3-yard packages of extra wide double fold bias tape: we used bright red
- All purpose thread to match bias tape
- All purpose thread to match all fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Download and print the Retro Fun Apron Body And Pocket Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of SIX 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- The first page is the pocket pattern. Cut it out along the solid line.
- Pages 2-5 are the Apron Body pattern pieces (page 2 is row one all by itself, pages 3 and 4 are row two, and pages 5 and 6 are row three). Butt the pages together, matching the lines, to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- Download and print the Retro Fun Apron Flounce Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of TWO 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Butt the pages together to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the apron front (Simply Sweet Floral Diamonds in our sample), use the pattern pieces to cut one Apron Body and two Pockets.
- Following the guides on the pattern piece, use your fabric pen or pencil to mark the placement for the pockets on the Apron Body fabric piece.
- From the fabric for the apron back (Simply Sweet Tiny Red Dot in our sample), use the pattern pieces to cut one Apron Body, one Apron Flounce and two Pockets.
- From the accent fabric (Simply Sweet Jumbo Pink Dot on Red in our sample), cut three strips 4½” by the width of the fabric, and one Apron Flounce.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Match the two pocket fronts with the two pocket backs, right sides together. Pin in place.
- Sew the pocket front and back together, using a ½” seam allowance. Start from the top corner point of the pocket and stitch around to the opposite corner point. Leave the top edge open.
- Trim seam allowance to ¼” and turn the pocket right side out. Press.
- Repeat to create the second pocket.
- The upper edge of the pocket is finished with bias tape. Open the end of the bias tape so it lays flat. Sew the bias tape to the upper edge of the pocket along the tape’s fold line, lining up the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edged layers of the pocket. Leave an extra ½” at the start.
- Stop at the center point of the pocket. Turn the hand wheel of the machine to make sure the needle is down in the fabric.
- Pivot the pocket and gently pull up the bias tape so it matches the edge of the fabric. Continue sewing along the fold line of the bias tape.
NOTE: If you’re new to working with bias tape, the number one rule is ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ You’re sewing along a curve, which is trickier than a straight line. For more hints, check out our tutorial: Bias Tape: How To Make It & Attach It.
- Back tack at the end of the bias tape seam and trim the tape to leave an extra ½” tail (to match the ½” ‘head’ you started with).
- Turn the extra ½” ends toward the pocket lining at each side and pin in place.
- Fold the bias tape and wrap it to the back over the stitching line. Pin in place.
- Place a pin at the pivot point. Then, continue pinning in place along the stitching line. The bias tape will create a natural tuck at the pivot point. Adjust this tuck to create a uniform miter on both sides of the pocket.
- Flip the pocket over, and from the right side, edgestitch the bias tape in place. Press.
- Repeat steps 2- 12 to create the second pocket.
- Pin the pockets in place on the Apron Front, matching the guide marks you made earlier to the corners of the pockets. You can shift position slightly as needed to match the pattern on the pockets with the pattern on the apron front.
- Edgestitch both pockets in place with matching thread. Remember, just stitch from pocket corner point to corner point. Leave the top bound edge open… that’s where your hand goes.
NOTE: If you want to be super fancy and really hide your stitching, start from just below the binding and sew around the pocket, stopping just below the binding on the opposite side. Change your thread to a color that matches your binding, then edgestitch just the top of each side of the pocket along the binding, matching your original seam .
- Match the Apron Front Flounce and the Apron Back Flounce WRONG sides together. Pin along the upper edge.
- Sew along the upper edge, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Clip along the stitched edge, making your cuts about 1″ apart. Be careful not to cut into the seam.
- Pin the clipped upper edge of the flounce to the lower edge of the Apron Body Front. Match the front of the Flounce against the right side of the Apron Body Front.
- Place the Apron Body Back over the flounce, right sides together (right sides of the two Body pieces) and with the Flounce sandwiched in between. Align all raw edges and pin in place just along the bottom.
- Sew all the layers together, using a ½” seam allowance. Fold the Flounce down and press the seam toward the Apron Body.
Bias tape binding
- Bring the Apron Body Back up behind the Apron Body Front and match ALL the outside edges. Front and Back should be wrong sides together and all edges raw. This is correct as all the edges will be bound.
- Set your machine for a long stitch length and machine baste along ALL outside edges.
- Finish the entire edge of the apron with bias tape, using the same technique used for the pockets. Start at a curved edge (along the upper side) and stop and miter at each corner. Fold the bias tape to the wrong side, pin in place. and edge stitch in place on the front side.
- This is a lot of binding, but the finished look is fabulous. Again, take a look at our binding tutorial if you need a refresher on attaching bias binding and/or mitering the corners.
Waist ties and neck loop
- Find your three 4½” wide strips of tie fabric.
- Cut each strip to a length of 36″.
NOTE: This measurement is for a standard-size adult apron. It can be adjusted according to the finished size you need… longer for larger, shorter for smaller.
- Fold the strips in half lengthwise, right sides together, matching the edges. Pin. At each end, draw a point.
- Sew along the edges, using a ¼” seam, and along your drawn points at each end. Leave a 3″ opening for turning.
- Trim the excess fabric around the point seams to ¼”.
- Turn right side out, pushing out the points. Press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening ¼” so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Slip stitch all the openings closed with matching thread. Press again.
- Following the manufacturer’s directions for your machine, make four ¾” button holes.
- Place a vertical buttonhole at each top corner point of the bib with the top just below the bias tape and the side approximately ½” in from the bias tape.
- Place a horizontal buttonhole at each waist corner with the side just below the bias tape and the top approximately ¼” in from the bias tape.
- Thread one tie through the two bib buttonholes to make the neck loop. Holding the ties in place, slip the loop over your head and adjust the tie ends until the bib hits comfortably against your chest but is still loose enough that it can be pulled off over your head.
- When you have it just the way you want it, tie a knot in each end to secure.
- Thread one tie through each waist buttonhole. Leave about a 7-8″ tail and tie this into a knot to secure each tie in place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler