I’ve been making aprons in this style for several years. I love the vintage feel of their flouncy skirts. I chose to make one using Oly*Fun fabric for my messy artist daughter. Oly*Fun can be easily wiped off and is durable. The full apron protects her clothing from her art projects. The big pockets allow her to easily gather supplies for projects. This apron can be custom fit to anyone. I’ve made them for little kids to ladies of all sizes. My daughter is 4’11”, with a 24″ waist, for your sizing reference of how I determined my pattern measurements. You can make this with multiple colors of Oly*Fun or all one color. You can paint the Oly*Fun fabric, if you would like a print. You do not need to hem the fabric, which is great for fancy scalloped designs and cut outs. Feel free to use my tutorial as a base for your own creative apron design. My daughter picked out the colors, for a color blocked effect. Ok, onto the tutorial.
SUPPLIES Oly-Fun apron:
- 4 Grab and Go Oly*Fun packs – I used Sea Green, Jelly, Kiwi, and Blueberry. Pick 4 from the 18 available colors
- Thread that matches your fabric – I used Purple and bright green thread that I have on hand. I would have used a royal blue too if I had it
- A sewing machine
- 2 bobbins
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
- Chalk or pencil
MEASUREMENTS for Oly-Fun:
You need to measure your body, or the body of the person the apron is for, to custom fit the apron. Use the tape measure to help you. Write the measurements down, for reference while cutting the apron pieces. The measurements you need are:
- Waistband – Measure around your natural waist. This is the smallest part of your torso, along the bottom of your rib cage. Your waistband will be your waist measurement minus 2-4 inches for the ties to knot. Make it 4 inches tall. This allows 1/2 inch seam allowance too.
- Bib – This top section of the apron is made of multiple measurements
- Length– From the natural waist, measure up to where you want the top of the apron bib to be
- Bottom Width – This is equal to the waistband width
- Top Width – You need the width of the top of the bib. The apron straps will come from either side of the top edge. Factor in where the straps will lay comfortable when deciding how wide to make the top bib edge
- Length – Measure from the bib top, straight down to where you want the apron to stop. You will shorten this measurement by subtracting the bib length, and 3 inches for the waist band. This will determine the length of the apron skirt
- Pocket – I chose to make my pocket 20″ wide x 12″ deep. You can make this wider or shorter if desired
- Ties – 36″ long/wide by 7″ tall – You can make them thinner if you desire. Mine are a doubled width, for easier sewing, as you will see later. The final height is 3″ each
- Apron Skirt – For normal width fabric, I make my apron width according to the width of the fabric, but these Grab and Go Olyfun packs are only 20″ wide. However, they are 3 yard cuts and have no grain. I made my skirt length equal to the fabric width, and the length about equal to a normal fabric width. The skirt front is 48″ wide by 20″ tall/long. The back pieces are half that width, 24″ wide by 20″ tall/long.
2) Using the purple thread and a normal stitch length, straight stitch each back piece to the front, about 1/2 inch from the edges. These are straight sides, as the curved edges of the back pieces will lay across your butt.
3) With your hand, press the seam outward. Using a longer stitch, top stitch about 1/4″ from that seam, to stitch that seam allowance flat.
4) Using your scissors, carefully cut back the excess fabric from the seam. This makes the seam look more finished and professional. Since the Oly*Fun doesn’t fray, this seam finishing is acceptable.
5) Fold over 1 inch of the top long edge of your pocket and top stitch it down. This re-enforces the top of the pocket and will make it hold up better to normal use.
6) Center your pocket on the front of the skirt. Use straight pins to temporarily secure it. Sew around the edges of the pocket, keeping the top unsecured, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edge. Make separations in the pocket by sewing straight lines from the top up. This will ensure the fabric won’t bunch up while sewing. You can use the ruler and chalk or pencil to draw your lines before sewing, if desired. I just stitched them straight.
7) Set your machine to the longest straight stitch. I use this to make a line of stitching for gathering. Stitch along the top of the skirt, about 1/4″ from the edge, stopping at the sides and midway, to make gathering easier. The full top will have a long line of stitching, but broken up into workable sections. Sit the skirt aside for a bit, as we construct other apron sections. We’ll hand gather this later.
8) Switch your thread to green and reset the stitch length to normal. Fold an apron tie in half. Stitch one end shut, and stitch the 2 long edges together. Leave the other end open, for easy turning.
9) Using your scissors, carefully trim the excess fabric up to about 1/4 inch to the stitch line. Clip the corners at a diagonal, for nicer corners when turning. Do not cut into the stitching! Do this for each tie.
10) Using the chopstick, press the short stitched end into itself. Push the fabric end, so the tube inverts. Pull the fabric along, till the full right side is out. Use the small end of the chopstick to poke the corners out nicely. Use your hands to press the ties nice and flat. Do this for each tie.
11) Using a longer stitch, top stitch around each tie about 1/4 inch from the edges, to make the ties stay in their flat shape. I sew the stitched edges 1st, then move on to to the long folded edge. You don’t need to stitch the open ends, as they will be encased in the apron later.
12) Line up one waist band with long edge of one apron bib. Using a normal length stitch, stitch the two pieces together. Do this for both sets of waist bands and bibs.
13) Using your hands, press the seam downward, to the waistband. Using a longer stitch, top stitch this seam flat, about 1/4″ from the seam on the waistband fabric.
14) With the scissors, trim along the backside of the seam to clean up the excess fabric. Be careful to only cut away the excess and not the other apron fabric or the stitching.
15) Hand gather the apron skirt, by gently pulling the fabric along one thread. Match up the edge of the gathered skirt to the other long edge of the waistband. Alter your gathering as needed. Use straight pins to secure the skirt to the waist band.
16) Carefully straight stitch along this edge to secure the two pieces together. Make sure all your gathers are laying neatly along the waistband, and your waistband isn’t bunching. Take your time stitching this, as it can be tricky. Stitch about 1/2″ from the edge. I use purple thread, to help it blend into the purple fabric better. Remove your straight pins as you sew, or after.
17) Time to add the ties. For the top ones, pleat them so they will wrap around your neck better. Use straight pins to hold the pleating. If you have skinnier ties, you might not need to pleat them. Straight stitch the ties in place, about 1/2″ from the bib top corners, and 1/4″ from the edge.
18) For the other two ties, center them on the waist band edges. Stitch them in place, about 1/4″ from the edge.
19) Line up the other bib/waist band piece onto the one with the ties. Make sure all the ties are encased inside and away from the edges. Use straight pins to hold the edges in place. Using a normal length stitch, stitch around the edge. Do not catch the skirt in this stitching. Leave about 1/2 inch of the waistband non-sewn at the unsecured long edge. You’ll secure that edge a few steps.
20) Using the scissors, cut away any excess fabric about 1/4 away from the seam edge. Clip the corners at a diagonal for better corners.
21) Turn the bib right side out and press flat with your hands. Use the chopstick to poke the corners out nicely.
22) Using a longer stitch, top stitch around the edge of the bib, leaving the unsewn edge still loose.
23) On the back of the apron, smooth down the bib. Fold the raw waistband edge inwards lining it up to overlap the gathered skirt. Use straight pins to keep this in place.
24) Flip the apron over. Top stitch about 1/4″ from that waistband edge, so it encases the gathered skirt and waistband edges. Go slowly, keep the stitching straight and make sure the backside of the waistband edge is being caught by the stitching.
25) Above the waistband, top stitch the two bibs together, about 1/4″ from the seam of the waistband. This helps keep the bib and waistband flat while wearing it.
I know this tutorial is long, but hopefully it’s easy enough to follow to make a professional looking apron. All the top stitching helps keep your apron seams flat and the fit smooth. The best thing about using OlyFun for this project is not having to hem that bottom! Saves you a bit long step! However you customize your apron, have fun with it! Happy Makery!