Making An Apron


Dancing a jig in my apron and chore boots. I don’t have to tell you what else I had on, do I?

The pattern and instructions for the apron I made this week can be found at Tipnut here (along with a number of other vintage apron patterns–which are all free), so this is not so much a how-to post as just my experience with the pattern. It’s a vintage 1945 pattern for a full apron that is much like most of my Great-Aunt Ruby’s everyday-wear aprons. (See Great-Aunt Ruby’s Aprons and An Apron Display.)

I chose this pattern because of its similarities to Ruby’s aprons and also because it appealed to me on several counts–it was a vintage pattern, it was free, it was a full apron, and it had a back strap.

Back view of the apron.

Aprons without a back strap drive me nuts because the shoulder straps are forever falling off while you’re wearing them. This apron has two pockets, and pockets are always a good thing. I didn’t use the piping (because I’m not a huge fan of piping).

I invited and begged my cousin’s wife, Sheryl, to come over and make the apron for me help me. I cleared off the dining room table and set my laptop on one end to keep it handy.

Sheryl brought some plain wrapping paper to use to cut out the pattern.

The only tricky pattern piece is the bodice. All the other pieces are straight-sided and easy to transfer with a ruler and a measuring tape.

(I swear she’s not really poking my computer screen there.)

If you have grid or pattern paper, the bodice will be easier to draw, but Sheryl just counted the squares (one-inch each), measured, and used a large oval platter to make smooth curves. You can also download a pattern sheet for the bodice from Tipnut.

Next thing you know, we had a whole bunch of pattern pieces.

(Note: You can find the instructions for the crocheted bird’s nest pincushion here.)

The only piece we didn’t cut out as a pattern piece was the apron skirt. We just measured that out straight on the material.

This is a very simple sewing project. All the techniques involved are basic–just straight stitching, hemming, gathering. You can make it in a couple of hours.

I did find some of the wording in the instructions confusing, such as step 11: “Lap the back extending corner of bodice over raw end of a tie, right sides up; baste in place.” The directions keep telling you to lap this and lap that when what you’re doing is putting the pieces together and stitching a seam to join them. It reminded me of my Treasure Trove collection of recipes and the interpretation sometimes required to figure out what they’re saying.

However, that’s part of the fun when you’re making something from with old-fashioned instructions, so let me just reassure you that the apron itself is so straightforward that you can let your common sense guide you even if you’re a beginning sewer.

When all the pieces were put together and the last hem stitched, we attached the pockets. I put the apron on and Sheryl pinned the pockets where I showed her, then I tried it on again and we did a slight adjustment before I sewed them on. For some fun, you can make the pockets in a contrasting fabric. I might do that next time.

I have material for a couple more aprons, so now that I’ve got my sewing room cleaned up and Sheryl held my hand while I got my sewing juju back, I’m ready to roll!

What about you?

P.S. In case you missed it above, the free pattern is here.


  1. Melissa says:

    I am dying to make the apron but I can’t find fabric where I live. Honestly. We only have quilting fabric stores and I find all of that fabric to lightweight. I have to take a trip south of here to find some but I can’t wait and quite frankly I’m jealous that you got yours done already! I love the vintage looking fabric you chose. Thanks again for posting the link to the Tipnut.

  2. Amber Swafford says:

    Wow! I have that same sunflower barn print! i am planning to make a purse out of it. beautiful….

  3. Rachel says:

    I love the coffee/tea print, it’s adorable! It will definitely make a great apron.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Woo Hoo! I love your apron. My great-grandmother had so many aprons. I remember staying with her before she died and always asking her “Which one are you wearing today, Mom?” She was Mom to everyone! Such a comforting thing is an apron. I will have to get back to my machine and try this. :purpleflower:

  5. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Those fabrics are beautiful, especiall y the sunflower barn print. Where did you buy them?I have a hard time finding fabric anymore, and I’m hesitant to purchase from an online source.

  6. Carmen C. says:

    Very lovely apron, it goes well with the chore boots too;)

  7. Miss Becky says:

    the apron is lovely. I’m not so sure I can do this though I am going to give it a try. I haven’t taken my sewing machine out for years but this is a very timely post Suzanne ~ I’ve been wanting to try my hand a making an apron for awhile now. At one time I collected vintage aprons, then I started wearing them, and now they are all worn out!

  8. Tina says:

    The apron looks great, Suzanne! I was a little bit chicken about transferring the pattern the way you did, but your post made it seem attainable. I’ll be trying it very soon! Love the tea pot fabric! :sheepjump:

  9. Ang. says:

    I was just looking at that pattern last night! Can you post a full length shot of you (or even Morgan!) wearing the apron? Thanks. My goal today is to sort through my fabric to find something to make this apron. That and find my sewing table! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  10. Deb says:

    Great job Suzanne!

    I make and sell alot of aprons; they are so fun to do! Apron fabric doesn’t have to be very heavy; I like to use quilting cottons because they are 100% cotton and such cute patterns. Since they often run up to $9.50 a yard now; it’s nice that I can make a simple bib apron with just a yard of fabric.

    Two online sources for fabric that I really like are and . has really cute fabrics for $6 a yard. I’ve never had trouble ordering from any of them.

    If you don’t like transferring patterns, Simplicity and McCall’s have really cute patterns, and they go on sale at Joann Fabrics for as little as $1 each! If you live near a Joann’s, be sure to get on their mailing list for 50% off coupons! Another source I really like for apron patterns is

  11. northcountrygirl says:

    Good job on the apron! I love making my own patterns. I combine features of one pattern with those of another. It’s fun to be creative. Sometimes I even draft my own. I bought the Islander book for drafting pants. I made my own dress pants from a pattern I measured and created myself. No pre-drawn pattern pieces, either. All done by measuring, math, and drawing the result. I get a big satisfaction out of doing things fully from scratch. You need rulers and a french curve and you can create your own novel, one-of-a-kind clothes.

  12. Shannan says:

    I used the same chicken fabric to make some curtains for my kitchen, I am sure it will look great as an apron. I got mine at Wal-mart. Love the simple apron pattern makes me wish I had time right now to pull out the sewing machine.

  13. bonita says:

    Hint: Sometimes textile manufacturers print their name and the name/code of the pattern along the selvedge edge of the fabric. When I find a pattern I particularly like, or a manufacturer whose line I’m fond of, I file the name and a scrap (or picture) of the fabric. Occasionally, a first-tier textile manufacturer will sell a pattern to a second-tier manufacturer after the initial “season” is over. I’ve been able to find particular fabric patterns 4 and even 5 years after the initial purchase. It’s easy to call and find out if a retail outlet stocks fabric from the manufacturer…and having the name of the pattern, well that’s just gravy!

  14. Michele says:

    I need someone to hold my hand so I can get my sewing Juju back too! I have a new machine and material I just need to get started. I like your material and the design of the apron, great job! I love all your ideas. :pawprint: :pawprint: :pawprint:

  15. Cousin Sheryl says:

    The chicken fabric did come from Walmart. The teapot fabric came from a little mother/daughter craft/sewing shop in Marmet, WV.

    We had fun drawing the bodice (I didn’t know I was going to need to take my French curve to Suzanne’s). But, the oval platter worked just fine. The apron looked really nice on Suzanne.

    After you get your pockets just where you want them, you could draw an outline of the pockets on a “skirt” pattern piece. Then you could use tracing paper to mark your pocket location for the next time you make your apron.

    Fun project!

  16. Connie B says:

    Lovely apron. I have the same barnyard chicken fabric. We should all make matching CIR aprons.

  17. princessvanessa says:

    I’m ashamed to say that I have had an apron pattern, beautiful material and the bric-a-brac to go with……for 7 years. That is not to mention the yards and yards of different Hawaiian print material (that I actually bought at the manufacturer’s outlet store on Maui)….let’s see, that was in 1999.
    I have got to get sewing!!

  18. Mel says:

    I’ve been thinking about aprons lately myself. I wanted to sew one for when I collect the chickens eggs, it’d be easier than stuffing them in my sweatshirt pocket…

  19. Debby says:

    I love the coffee pot/tea pot/cup and saucer material – any chance you know where more of it might be found?

  20. Patrice says:

    Congratulations on the return of your sewing juju! :dancingmonster:

  21. Melody says:

    Now you need to make the cap! Then get a full picture of you with your apron and cap… I love it I also like makeing aprons.

  22. Helen says:

    I love your apron…it turned out really nice. I like the kind that are similar to yours, but without a waist…the front just goes straight down. All I can say is that the model for the woman in the illustration of your apron must have been wearing one heck of a corset!

  23. Jen says:

    I have had my eye on that pattern too!

    I finally dug into my own fabric stash and whipped one up.

    Here are my pictures:

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Correen says:

    This so reminded me of my grandma…rarely saw her without her apron on. I won’t be trying this project :heart: it sure was wonderful to read and remember grandma though.

  25. Nina says:

    I have been wanting to make this apron, but busy making one for a friend, putting the seer sucker apron from Tipnut site and a bib on it.
    You are giving me confidence to try this pattern.
    Next time have someone take a photo of you in it and put on site. I love to see real people in aprons, not some model, but the real person.

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