Sunday, March 13, 2011

EASY Ruffles and Flowers Apron

I am pretty excited about this apron, as it is a much simpler take on the Christmas version I made last November. It all started with these lovely fabrics, which I received as a gift for my birthday. They were part of a fat quarter fabric bundle. Feeling like I needed to do a fun project after the not fun soundboard cover (which I finished, by the way), I laid out the fabrics to decide what to do.
Then I realized something. The size of a fat quarter is about the perfect size for an apron. I realized I could use one of the fabric pieces as the apron back, three of them as the ruffles, and one as the band and ties. So, one fabric bundle=one easy apron.

1.  Choose the fabric for your main piece on which you will sew your ruffles. Hem the edges. I wanted to try to do mitered edges from a tutorial from Design*Sponge, so I did the extra work for that. Tip: In order to make a your hem a perfect 1/4 inch from the edge, mark and pin, then fold along the pins and iron.
Follow the tutorial by clicking here to get a beautiful mitered edge, like this one!
Because the top of your apron will have the band sewn onto it, you only need to hem the sides and bottom. Make sure that your width is longer than the length, so the apron has plenty of room to be a one-size-fits-all.

2.  Choose your ruffles fabric.
Obviously, the size of a fat quarter isn't long enough to make a ruffle, but you can remedy that. Take one piece of fabric and fold the fabric into thirds. Cut carefully, and put one of them aside. (You'll use that for the flowers later.) Sew the other two pieces together, making sure to line up the pattern. Now you have a piece that is double the width of your apron, the perfect size for creating a ruffle! Do this with the other two fabrics. You should have one whole fabric left, plus the three extra pieces from the ruffles fabrics.
3. Create the ruffles. Set your sewing machine on a long, loose stitch and sew 1/8th of an inch from the top. (You can also hand sew this.) Tie a knot on one end, then pull on one of the strings on the other end. I like to pull until the ruffle is the size of the width of the apron, then tie a knot on the other side, so the ruffle won't come undone while I'm pinning. Do this with all three of the ruffles.
4. Create the band. Take your last piece of fabric and fold into thirds, like you did with the ruffles piece. Take one of them and fold in all the edges 1/2 inch, then fold it in half to create a band. You don't need to sew the edges yet. Double-check that it fits nicely over the apron top and also double-check that your ruffles will cover the whole apron. If you need to, simply shorten the length of the apron by folding the top over a bit. Once things look good, mark 1/2 inch up from the bottom of where the band would be. This is where you'll sew your first ruffle.
5. Create the ties. Note that this is going to make a knot, not a bow, since it's not long enough. If you want a bow, you'll need to get additional fabric (or sew two pieces together), so the ties are long. To make the ties, simply fold the pieces so that the right sides are facing each other. Cut a diagonal line a couple inches in on each piece. Sew around the diagonal side and the long open side, leaving the straight short side unsewn. Inside it out.
6. Sew the ruffles on. For the top ruffle, simply pin and sew. The band will cover the raw edge. For the bottom two, you'll sew it upside down with the right sides facing together. That way, the raw edges are hidden under the ruffles and won't be seen. After you sew them, fold them over and iron, so they lay flat.
I find it easiest to sew the top and bottom ruffles first. You want the bottom ruffle to hang over the edge just a bit, but not too much, since you want the whole apron to be covered with the ruffles.
To make sure the middle ruffle is lined up correctly, measure the top and bottom ruffle from seam to seam, and mark the middle. That is where you want your seam, so pin your middle ruffle accordingly and sew.
7. Sew the ties to the back side of the band, like shown. Notice the larger piece is the band, which will be folded over the top of the apron. Make sure the tie diagonals are going the same direction.
8. Fold the band over the top of the apron, pin, and sew all around the edges.9. Your apron is nearly finished! Now for the fun flowers. Debbie showed me how to do these, and they are just too easy and too cute not to try. Cut out a few circles from your leftover fabric, about 3 inches in diameter. You also need some buttons or beads for the middle of the flowers.
10. Hand stitch a loose stitch around the outer edge of the circle, about 1/8th inch in. Pull on it, so that it ruffles into itself, until the hole is hardly noticeable.
Tie a knot in the back, then sew it onto the band of the apron. Take your bead or button and sew it onto the middle of the flower, hiding the raw edge.
Repeat for as many flowers as you'd like to have.And there you go! You have an apron that cost no more than a fat quarter bundle and only takes a couple of hours to create. What a perfect gift! (For yourself, even!)

3 comments:

  1. Wow! Super cute, and looks like a LOT of work- so I will just say that I have a birthday coming this year :)

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  2. very cute!! i want to try this for a friend whose bridal shower is coming up...but i'm going to have reread this post about 400 times before i get a handle on it! ;)

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  3. Ha, I know Marisa, I need to work on simplifying. Just remember: one big piece for the back, three pieces squishes together for the ruffles, and one piece for the band and ties. As long as you keep that basic pattern, I'm sure you'll come up with a useable apron!

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