Talk about vintage, this apron project is old school, for real! The pattern is cut from exactly one yard of fabric with hardly any waste (minus a little seam trimmings), and was often used as a first-time school sewing project during the 1950's.
Check out my post about this popular apron for some nostalgic photos of this pattern from old school books. And here it is boys and girls!
The One Yard Use-it-all Apron Pattern and Tutorial
- One yard (36") of 45" wide 100% cotton solid or print (like quilter's cotton)
- Trimmings (optional, like ric-rac, ribbon, or other trim)
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine with straight stitch
- Fabric cutting shears
- Fabric marking pen or pencil
- Hand sewing needle
- Thread snips
- Yardstick or other long quilter's ruler
Cut your fabric following the measurements on the cutting chart below.
*Note that if you fabric isn't quite 45" wide, cut the apron ties and waistband pieces first, and then see how much fabric you have left for pockets. If you don't have much left, you can make just one pocket instead of two.
Beginning with the largest rectangle (the apron body), press up 2 1/2" to the wrong side along the bottom long edge of the apron to mark the hemline.
If you are applying trim to the apron, use the pressed hemline to align trim along bottom edge, and stitch in place.
When finished stitching trim, hem the sides of the apron body. On each side of the apron, press over 1/2" to the wrong side. Fold under the unfinished edge to create a 1/4" hem and pin in place.
Stitch close to the folded edge to finish hem.
Finish the bottom hem. Press under 1/2" of bottom edge to the wrong side, then fold up along the creased hemline and pin.
Using a needle and matching thread, use your favorite hem stitch to finish the edge (I am using a blind hem stitch).
Create the pockets. Press one short side of each pocket 1" over to the wrong side, then fold over again and press another 1". Stitch across the folded edge to create the top hem. If you are adding trim to the pocket, add it now! Then, press under 1/2" along the two sides and bottom of each pocket. Pin one pocket to each side of the apron body, 4 1/2" down from the top unfinished edge and 6" over from the side hem. Pin in place.
Topstitch apron pocket in place along the sides and bottom, backstitching at the top edges of the pocket.
Pin the two waistband pieces together along the top long edge and stitch. Cut seam allowance to 1/4"
Press seam open, then fold waistband along stitched edge, wrong sides together, and press well.
Fold each apron tie in half lenthwise, right sides together, and pin. Leave one short end open for turning, and mark the other with a 45 degree angle that ends in a point at the folded fabric edge (I used a quilter's ruler and blue fabric marker to mark the angle for stitching, see photo below). Stitch down the long edge and across the angle with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Trim seams to 1/4" inch and clip corners. Turn the apron ties right sides out and press. Top stitch along seamline close to edge to help apron ties keep their shape during laundering.
Line up the unfinished ends of the apron ties, folded edges at the top and seam at the bottom (see photo below). With a ruler, find the center of the tie end, and mark 1/4" above center and 1/4" below center. Do this on both tie ends.
Fold the tie end up so that the marks meet, and push the fabric fold down to the back.
Pin to hold each pleat in place, and stitch across the tie end with a 1/2" seam allowance to secure each pleat.
Sew two basting rows of stitching across the top unfinished edge of the apron body. Sew with the longest stitch length on your machine, once about 1/4" from the edge and again at a little less than 1/2" away from the edge. Be sure to leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of the basting stitches to help begin the gathers.
Fold the apron body in half along the top raw edge, right sides together, and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with the waistband along the raw edge of what will become the FRONT of the apron waistband.
Match the pinned center of the waistband with the pinned center of the apron body, right sides together. Secure together with a pin. Remove pins used to mark centers.
Pin each end of the apron body 1/2" in from each end of the waistband. Make sure you have a full 1/2" sticking out on each end of the waistband.
Now that you have the center and ends secured, it is time to pull up the gathers. Beginning at one end, pull the top two basting threads with one finger while pushing the fabric gathers together with the other hand.
Pull the gathers from each end until the gathered part of the apron fits well to the waistband.
Great! Now, take your time evening out the gathers across the waistband, and start setting pins in place when things look good.
Take your time, and re-arrange gathers as needed. The more evenly distributed your gathers and the more pins you use to help it all stay in place, the nicer your finished apron will look. Sew the gathered apron body to the waistband using a 1/2" seam, taking care to remove pins so as not to sew over them.
Before continuing on to the next step, flip the waistband over and look at the seam to make sure there are no big puckers or folds. Re-stitch if needed. Trim seam allowance to 1/4" when finished.
Place the apron on a table, right side up with waistband opened. On each end of the waistband, pin the pleated end of one tie. Place the end of the tie, raw edges aligned with the raw edge of the waistband end, so that the seam is at the bottom and the folded edge is at the top seam of the waistband.
Fold the waistband down over the tie end and pin on both ends of the waistband.
Stitch straight across both waistband ends with a 1/2" seam. Trim seam to 1/4" and clip the corner. Turn waistband right side out, pulling the ties to help pull out corners.
Turn the apron over, so that you are looking at the inside of the waistband with the raw edge of the back band facing you. Starting at the very corner of the raw edge, press over 1/2" to the wrong side.
Continue pressing 1/2" over across the entire raw edge.
Fold the pressed edge over to the back of the apron and pin in place.
Finish the edge with your favorite hemstitch (I am using the same blind hem stitch as in Step 3 above).
And there you have it, your very own half-apron to wear with pride!