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The Pillowcase Apron

March 6, 2011

It just so happens that Maya needs an apron. She’s playing the Widow Corney in the “Oliver” production her class is presenting.

Apparently we’re really late in putting her costume together, so I took the rather frantically insistent child and her brother to the consignment store on Friday and we found the perfect blue dress. It was a few sizes to big for my petite monkey, and is lacking the puffed sleeves it absolutely must have. No problem, especially with great tutorials like this kicking around!

Next we went to the thrift store and found this charming embroidered pillowcase for a buck.

And here is where I’ll attempt to show  and explain what we did. I don’t have photos of every step, but hopefully it’ll be clear none-the-less.

**Oh –  I’m supposed to inform you that Maya did every stitch of sewing herself. ** I’m so proud!

Step 1: We held up the pillowcase and decided that we didn’t need the the top 1/4 of the pillowcase and trimmed it off. *That’s 1/4 of the length of the pillowcase, not 1/4 inch.*

Step 2: if I had thought this through some more, I would’ve then turned it inside out, sewn the top seam, turned right side out and pressed before the next step.

Step 3: Topstitch the bottom hem closed.

Step 4: Hold it up on the kid again, and mark the waist. Run 2 lengths of stitching *longest stitch length possible, no back stitching and leaving long tails of thread* across the width of the pillowcase along the waistline.

Step 5: Holding just the top threads of one end of the tails, push the fabric along until you’ve got a nice even gathering along the waistline. Tie your tails together at both ends.

Step 6: Pleat the top edge until it’s the width you’d like. I eyeballed 3 x 2″ pleats. Then sew across them. Add another row of stitching 1/4″ away from the first line.

Step 7: Fold the top edge to the inside/wrong side of the apron along the second stitching line so the front is nice and clean. Pin in place. We then topstitched some seam binding over the raw edge. If I had thought ahead some more, I would have used the leftover strap we’re about to make in the next step and wrapped it all around the whole top edge and stitched that down.

Step 8: Grab the top 1/4 of the pillowcase you had trimmed off in the beginning, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut one of the side seams on both pieces so you have 2 long strips of fabric.

Step 9: Press one long edge in 1/4″. Then go back and fold that edge over itself and press again. (to tuck the raw edge under) *I hope that makes sense*

Step 10: Fold in about 1/2″ of each short end of the strips to hide the raw edges there.

Step 11: Press the opposite long edge in to meet that crease now in the middle of the strip.

Step12: Now it’s time to topstitch your double folded edge over the opposite side to make your long straps.

I like to do my straps this way as I hate the fiddly turning and the  pressing you need to do for the usual tube method.

Step 13: Take one of your straps, fold it in half and mark the centre with a pin. Fold your apron in 1/2 lenghwise and mark the centre of the waist with a pin. Topstitch your strap along the waistline on the front of the apron to hide the gathering stitches. The rest will be your waist ties.

** NOTE** one of these strips was just long enough to use as the waist band and straps of my skinny 9 year old (who wears size 8 clothing). You may want to make these straps out of a contrast fabric and make it plenty long enough if your kid is at all bigger than mine**

Step 14: Measure the length for the neck strap. Sew one end to the wrong side of the top of the apron. Then we cut a small 1″ piece of velcro and stiched the rough side to the other end of the strap, and the soft side to the wrong side of the top of the apron. *boy I hope that makes sense!*

Step 15: Because I like things to look finished, we cut some of the strap and topstitched it over the top front to hide the stitching lines from the seam binding and neck strap.

Now you can make your kid wear their apron and take photos of them until they think you’re nuts.

Oh, here is a little shot of how I took the sides in on the dress. While she was wearing the dress, I first pinned some in on either side of the zipper (on the middle back) and then took some in on either side seam. I topstitched to the waist and then let the pleat fall open there.

This way you can always pick out the stitching if someone bigger inherits the dress, or she grows and still wants to wear it.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2011 7:44 pm

    Hmmm…. now I want to add puffed sleeves to my next quilt ;o) Your pillowcase apron is super cute!!! Lucky girl!

  2. March 7, 2011 4:30 pm

    Awesome pattern and tutorial! Make sure to save that apron for her, even after she grows out of it. I believe Nancy Zeiman’s first sewing project was an apron and she still has hers!

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