Friday, June 18, 2010

Yards and Yards Original: The BEST Adjustable Apron Ever

I have searched and searched for the perfect apron pattern and *shock* I couldn't find what I wanted. So, I created it. And here I am sharing it with you. Please feel free to use this, but please don't copy it-- just send people back here. Thanks!

OK... so here we go. First off, this is an adjustable apron. There are no awkward ties behind the neck because the ties adjust to exactly what you want them to be. So it's nice and snug and PERFECT.

So, here is the finished product:

Alright, here are the directions. Disclaimer: There may be some errors in this. If so, let me know and I'll fix it up.

Before you start: There is some wiggle room in this pattern.

The tie can be lengthened or shortened depending on the intended user.
Pockets and ruffles are optional. I just like the cute factor.

1. Supplies:
Fabric (see measurements below)
Sewing machine (ha ha)
Rotary cutter and mat (very helpful though not necessary)
Bias Tape Maker (optional)

Cutting List:

Sm. (age 1 to 3) Med. (age 4-10) Large. (14 +)
Apron …………...see my lovely drawing below…….
Tie 72" x 2" "96"x 2" 120" x 2"
Pocket 6.5" x 10" 7" x 11" 8"x 11.5"
Pocket Ruffle 3" x 13" 3" x 14" 3" x 16"
Bottom Ruffle 3" x 36" 3" x 42" 3" x 50"

General Pattern

Step 1: Make the pattern

Using the measurements from my lovely drawing, draw the main apron piece onto wax paper. Just eyeball the curved part, connecting the lines.

Step 2: Cut the pieces.

Pick out the fabrics you want. You can decide if you want your pocket to match the apron, or be with a coordinating fabric. Same with the ruffles and tie. You can play with what you have until you like the results.

You should cut 2 apron pieces, 1 long skinny tie piece (you can sew multiple pieces together if needed), 1 pocket piece, 1 long ruffle piece, and 1 short ruffle piece.

Step 3: Make your tie.

If you have a bias tape maker feel free to use it. It will make this job a lot easier, but you can still do it without one. I know, because I have made my own bias tape for years, with no fancy tool.

To do this by hand:
a. Get your super long and skinny strip. Iron it in half, so you have an even skinnier strip.
b. Open it up and fold each side in to almost the center. Iron it.

c. Fold it back in half along the first line you made. Fold in the unfinished top and bottom edge, as shown. Iron.

d. Sew along the top, bottom, and the really long, skinny opening.

Here is an image using the bias tape maker. (About $7.00 at JoAnn Fabrics.)

Step 4: Sew the main body of the apron.

Take your 2 main apron pieces and put them right sides together. Use a 3/8" to 1/2" seam. Sew the sides, curves, and the top. **DO NOT SEW THE AREAS SHOWN BELOW. THESE ARE USED TO MAKE A CASING FOR THE TIE. LEAVE THE GAPS ABOUT 1" WIDE.

Turn it right side out and iron it. Also iron the little gaps you didn't sew. Iron them as if they are sewn so that they are just in line with the rest. Clear as mud?

This shows one of the gaps I left.

Now we sew the casing. Just sew right along the edge of both curves for extra stability. Then sew about 3/4" away from that to form a pocket for the tie to be threaded through.

5. Sew the pocket.

Take your pocket piece. Fold it in half, right sides together. Sew up the two sides.
Turn it right sides out. Iron the pocket. Then fold about 3/8" of the top raw edge down inside the pocket. Iron this well. You will pin your ruffle into the opening and sew it all shut. Turning the fabric down will give you a nice finished edge to work with.

6. Make your ruffles.

You will be making a ruffle for the bottom of the apron, as well as for the top of the pocket.

Take your two ruffle pieces. Fold it in half along the long side, right sides together. Sew the two ends shut so your ruffles have finished edges.

Turn it right side out and iron.

Finally, baste along the open edge. I just make my stitch length as long as possible and sew along that edge. Carefully pull the end threads to gather the fabric into a ruffle.

This shows the ruffle AFTER I pinned it into the pocket opening.

7. Add the ruffles to the pocket and the bottom.

Iron about 3/4" fabric along the bottom of the main apron, as shown.

Pin the ruffle in between these two layers.

Carefully sew along the edge, making sure you go through all layers.

Do the same with the pocket, as shown.

8. Attach the pocket.

Pin the pocket on the front of the apron and sew the sides and bottom onto the apron. This also serves to add some stability between the two layers of the apron.

9. Thread your tie.

Attach a safety pin to the end of your tie. Carefully thread it through the bottom of one casing and down through the top of the other. Tie knots in the ends to prevent it from getting pulled all the way through.

10. Cook up a storm!! Enjoy.

Yeah, I know. She's a doll! This is the smallest apron on my 14 month old.

PS. Linking up to a few fav's...
Sumo Sweet Stuff

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  1. Oh my goodness - you saved the money shot for last. Super cute!!!!! Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Wow...that's cute...thank you for sharing the tutorial

  3. Aw, the baby has her own apron too! How adorable. Great tutorial for a cute apron. Love the ruffly bits.

  4. Fantastic Tute, And than you for sharing it, But your little one is the most gorgeous of your finishes I think ;)

  5. Oh, how sweet! Love the fabrics and the model. Great Friday Finish!

  6. Looks like the little one is enjoying her own apron. :-) Way to go on designing your own pattern. Well done!

  7. So cute, and I love that it is adjustable everywhere. Nice work!

  8. Adorable!! Both the apron and the model!

  9. I have been wanting a apron I'm going to make it . Thank You it is so cute Come Visit Laura Q

  10. Awwww, what a sweetie! And what a great apron idea. I'm going to bookmark this one. Thanks so much for linking up to Finished for Friday.

  11. this is adorable....but not cuter than your model

  12. Such a pretty apron and yes your daughter is adorable!

  13. That's an great apron! The one strap for the neck and side ties is brilliant!

    I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  14. Thanks everyone. But you are right-- I could new sew anything cuter than my little model. Nothing tops that kind of creating.

  15. SO cute, I will have to try this. I have made aprons for my kids several times, they out grow them so fast

  16. love aprons! Bookmarking this. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. I LOVE this and can't wait to make some! Would the large be for an adult? I am not able to see all of the cuts for the adult size (they are cut off). I can see your pattern drawing, but not the measurements for the tie, pockets, and ruffles! Would you mind posting the large measurements for me? Thanks so much!!

  18. Hey Brooke's Mommy. Thanks for pointing out that error. I'll fix it right away.

    And yes, the large is for Adults. It's a very forgiving pattern because of the adjustable neck. I'd say the large would fit a 15-120 year old. :)

  19. I love it when a blog just keeps making me happier as I go on! My daughter first oohed and aahhhed over how appealing your blog is to the eye. Then I squealed over your great apron idea and your generosity in sharing the tutorial with us. But the pinnacle moment came at the end. Yes, she IS a doll!

  20. Dayna,

    Thanks so much! Your comment made my day!

  21. Yay thanks!! You are a rock star! I think this just may be my naptime project for the day! :)

  22. Please send me a pic when you are done. I'd love to see how it turns out!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Hmmm I can't find your email address! Let me know where to send pics! :)

  25. This is definitely a learning experience. I added my email on the right sidebar. I'm sure I'll find a more savvy way soon.

  26. Got it.. and you got mail! I also wanted to post that you can make the small apron out of fat quarters! I made the length of mine just a couple of inches shorter and used the amt. trimmed off of the side to make the ruffles. I did use a bit from a third fat quarter to make the pocket. I can't wait to make a matching mommy apron!
    Thanks again for this tute!

  27. LOVE IT! Thanks so much for posting! I can't wait to whip one up for myself!

    Elizabeth @

  28. Fat quarters! Great idea. And I saw you used ribbon for the tie. What a great time saver.

  29. Yes, I used ribbon! However, I also ordered bias tape makers in three sizes as well! Next up I will be ordering a ruffling foot for my machine! I've wanted to for a while and this has convinced me I must have one!

  30. A gathering foot would be great. I just might invest in one soon. And those bias tape makers are only about $6.00 at JoAnn's. Not bad for all the time they save.

  31. That is super cute!! I love that it is adjustable, what a great idea!

  32. I'm going to have to bookmark this! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  33. I'm a newbie at sewing, I've been making aprons, the kind where the bias/tie is sewn on the outside. I love the idea of running it through a casing to make it adjustable! What does the bias tape maker do, and how does it work? How does a ruffling foot work?
    Thanks, Missy

  34. Just made one as a sample for the sewing class I'll be teaching in the Fall... so cute and simple! I also put a link to your tutorial on my site! Love it ~ Thanks, Alisa

  35. Wonderful pattern - thanks for sharing.
    Question: Is it / can it be reversable?
    I have the fabric, and am ready to begin...

  36. This is so cute! I looked all over trying to find a pattern for toddler-sized aprons. I just finished 2 of yours, 1 for each of my 2 grandaughters. Thank-you so much!! Love your site.

  37. Finally...the perfect apron!! Can't wait to make this one, as I, too, have been searching for the one that's "just right". Thanks so much for sharing!

    Deanna @

  38. Just finished this apron and I feel so proud of myself, LOL! Thanks for sharing this easy tutorial. I thinking I will be making more of these as gifts for family. And...I'm now sold on a bias maker. Joann should give you a kick-back. :) Thanks again!

  39. If I use a bias tape maker, will I fold the fabric in half again after the device sends out the folded project and it gets ironed. For example, mine is a 3/4 inch bias tape maker. Do I fold the 3/4 inch piece in half, iron again, and then stitch? Will I end up with a 3/8 inch wide strap?

  40. Just made this today for myself! Used a denim fabric for one side, and a red bandanna print for the second side. Did 2 angled pockets rather than one top pocket. Thinking of adding a couple more unruffled pockets on the red side to make it completely reversible.

    Brilliant design and so easy! Thank you.

  41. I got my sewing machine on December 26th. Today is December 27th. I've never sewn before in my life... I am almost finished making this apron (Taking a food break)! Thank you SO much!

  42. what a wonderful kids apron you did...she really does look like a doll wearing that beautiful apron you make. great job!

  43. I have been looking for an apron pattern like this! I am so happy to have stumbled across your tute! I can't wait to give it a try! You are so clever!

  44. Thanks for this blog and for creating this adorable and perfect apron! I made it without the ruffles, and it turned out really well! I'm sending others here to check it out.
    Thanks again!

  45. the adjustable tie is just BRILLIANT!! I am doing a swap and wanted my apron to fit my partner really nicely and this will definitely do the trick!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING! off to sew...

  46. Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I'm in the midst of making two aprons for a birthday party. I have to tell you, I'm quite proud of myself - with your help, these will make nice gifts.

  47. I just made two toddler aprons for my nieces-they turned out so cute! Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions and thanks for sharing! You're awesome!

  48. Thank you for this tutorial! I just made a toddler one for my niece in a monkey print and one for my toddler son in a boat print is in the works!Your directions were great!!

  49. Super cute. I want to make this for my niece, she is in size 2T, which pattern size should I use?


  50. You don't offer a Pinterest option but I am pinning with link back to this post. Love the apron and the doll!

  51. Thank you for the pattern.
    I have made two of these aprons so far. I gifted them to my daughters and they both just love them!

  52. Just wanted to say I am glad I found your pattern! I have already made 6 of these aprons! I did not add the pocket or ruffle, but I put another fabric on the back and made them reversible! I also decreased the size of a couple for my nieces that are only 3 yrs old! I can't wait until I give them for this year's Xmas gifts! I wish I could att a photo! Thank you!

  53. Thanks for great pattern! I've made one wonderful apron with cupcake appliques for my little girl this afternoon, looks stunning. She will be baking superstar :)

  54. Thanks you very much for the pattern Merci beaucoup pour votre patron Il est très facile à faire. J'ai fait 3 tabliers Merci

  55. Thank you thank you thank you so very much for sharing your pattern!! I made an apron this afternoon for my 18month old granddaughter Abby for christmas! Looks awesome!

  56. Thank you for the great pattern, I've made some for my granddaughters. However, I think you do need a WARNING that if very young children (babies / toddlers) are to wear these, you should always knot the waist ties THROUGH THE NECK TIE. This is to avoid the possibility of the back ties being pulled too tight. Because it is all one long string (which is why it's so nice and adjustable), if the fastened back strings should get caught or be pulled in any way, this has the effect of tightening the neck part. For example, the child may trip, get caught on something, or another toddler may grab the back. Try it and you'll see what I mean. You can imagine this would lead to a sore neck or much worse. It's easily avoided if you tie the back in an 'X' shape by threading one of the side strings through the back of the neck string before tying it. Then, it's always pulling against itself.

  57. Thanks for the pattern. Only one question...where the spots are left open for threading the tie through, do you go back and stitch them any, or are they just left unstitched? I wonder about pulling the tie through if you would pull the unsewn edge up? Otherwise, great! Thanks for sharing

  58. In reply to KWHinSC: I haven't seen a reply from the blogger for a while (and no reply to my comment about knotting the waist ties through the neck) so I'm not sure if she still reads updates to this post. (Apologies to Anna if you do - I love the pattern!)
    So I'm replying to help you, KWHinSC. The open edges stay open so you can pull the threads through. In other words you have a complete tube with open ends on each side of the apron. However you want to hem or finish the edges so they don't fray. But do have a look at my comment above, if you are making for a small child. You can see the aprons I made from the Yards and Yards pattern here.

  59. Hi,

    Can you tell me how many yards I will need to make the medium apron? Thank you.


  60. As I said earlier, I'm not sure whether the blogger is still responding to comments and questions, see my comments above. I think you can work that out from the instructions, all the measurements are given.The main pattern piece for the medium size is 26" by 21", and assuming you want a different fabric front and back you'll need two of these each in different fabrics. If you use ready bought bias tape, you don't need the long piece for the tie of 2" by 96". But if you want to make your own bias then you will need to piece it.
    You'll need to cut the main pieces down the length of the material i.e. with the sides parallel to the selvedge. So you need at least 26" just for the main pieces. Then there's the bottom ruffle which is 3" by 42" - virtually a full width of 45" fabric. If your fabric is 45" wide, a yard of of the one you are cutting the ruffle and one main piece from should do it, provided it has been cut nice and straight. You can probably manage with about 3/4 yard of the other fabric.
    You may be able to get away with a bit less if you don't mind joining bits (e.g. for the ruffles).
    If making for a child please do check out my comments above - important safety note.

    You'd have some bits left over for other projects.Hope this helps.

  61. I just finished making this. I too wondered about the openings. I’m whip stitching around them now, but next time I’m going to sew the edges somehow. I think after washing they would ravel out.

  62. Thanks for the tutorial! Worked great. a nice apron that grows with the kiddos for awhile.

  63. Just made this apron this morning for my daughter (who loves wearing mine but keeps tripping over it no matter how well I tuck it up to shorten it!). Very clear explanation and very helpful photos. I didn't bother with the ruffled edges and ran out of fabric for the pocket but I reckon I can just add that on another time once I've picked up some more fabric. Thank you!