A Christmas Apron Tutorial

Monday, November 17, 2014

I know it's not December yet, but hopefully this tutorial might get you in the festive spirit! Today I am sharing a really easy and fun tutorial to make a 50's inspired Christmas Apron. The fabric I have chosen, which was very kindly donated by Elephant In My Handbag (don't forget you can get 10% off your first purchase by using the code 'Salt'), is a really fun and quirky print which I am just in LOVE with. Actually, I would love a dress in this print, but just don't have time to make one, so an apron is a really quick alternative - I'm definitely going to be wearing this apron at our annual Christmas drinks party in our house!! Housewife-extraordinaire! lol.

On to the tutorial:


  • Approx 1m main fabric
  • Approx 1m accent fabric for the strap and ties and optional pocket(s) (you could get away with a bit less if you don't include pockets)
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread

1. Cut out your pieces

You will need (refer to diagram above):

In the main fabric:
1 x Skirt piece 110x55cm
1 x Bib piece 35x35cm

In the accent fabric:
1 x Strap piece 60x9cm
6 x Waist Tie piece 85x9cm

I recommend using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut out the pieces for best results.
Cut a small notch (only about 0.5cm in size) in the middle of the skirt top edge, bib bottom edge and both top and bottom edges of 2 of the tie pieces.

2. Sew skirt sides and hem

Fold under shorter sides of skirt piece 1.5cm, iron, fold over again, iron and pin in place.
Sew down with just under a 1.5cm (5/8inch) seam allowance.
Repeat with both sides

Fold under bottom edge of skirt piece (the hem) 1.5cm, iron, fold over again, ensuring sides are neatly tucked in, iron and pin in place.
Sew with just under a 1.5cm seam allowance.

2. Gather top of skirt

Sew three lines of basting stitches close to the top of the skirt piece (make sure they don't overlap each other).
Pull top threads of one side of each row of stitches, and the bottom threads of the other side and slowly gather fabric.
Decide on the required final width for the skirt section of your apron (I decided to make mine 50cm) and distribute gathers evenly.

3. Prepare waist ties

Sew together the short end of one of the notched waist tie pieces to the short end of one of the un-notched waist tie pieces, right sides together, with a 1.5cm seam allowance.
Repeat with the other short side of the notched piece (so again, sew short ends of the notched piece with the short end of an un-notched piece, right sides together). This will form a strip of three ties sewn together, with the notched piece in the middle.
Iron seams open.
Repeat with remaining three waist tie pieces.
You should now have two strips, both made up of three waist tie pieces sewn together.

4. Sew ties to skirt

Take one length of ties and position on the top edge of the skirt piece, right sides together.
Pin centre notches together.
Measure half of the skirt finished width (so for mine, this was 25cm) and pin the tie to the right edge of the skirt. Repeat for the left side. Now continue pinning tie to skirt, distributing gathers evenly.

Now take the other length of ties and place right sides together with the first set of ties - this will be on the WRONG side of the skirt. Match the centre notches again and use the same pins to pin through all layers. You will essentially have a skirt 'sandwich' "Ties - Skirt - Ties". Continue pinning ties right sides together along the full length of the upper and lower edge until you reach the edge of the skirt again.
Mark a diagonal (45 degree) line on the ends of the ties. These will be the new edges of your ties.

Sew around the ties with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Start from the left hand edge of the skirt, on the lower edge of the ties. Sew all the away around the edge of the ties, making sure to catch the upper edge of the skirt and ensuring to follow your new diagonal seam line at the edges of the ties.
Stop sewing around the ties when you reach the skirt edge again, leaving a 'gap' to turn the ties right sides around.
Trim around the pointy ends of the ties as the photograph above shows. This will help you get a sharper point when you turn the ties right side out.
Turn the ties ride side out (this will require a little bit of manoeuvring!) and iron.

5. Prepare the neck strap

Fold the neck strap piece in half length ways, wrong sides together, and iron.
Open the piece up again and fold the long edges into the middle, wrong sides together, and iron.
Keeping those folded edges in place, fold the strap in half again, iron and pin in place.
Sew the open edges together with a 3mm (1/8inch) seam allowance (or as close to the edge as you can).  Repeat with the folded edge (essentially topstitching to create symmetrical sewn lines on either side of the strap).

6. Prepare the Bib

Fold down the side edges of the bib piece by 1.5cm, iron, fold over again by 1.5cm, pin in place.
Sew down the sides with a seam allowance of just under 1.5cm.

Position the strap on the right side of the bib as shown in the photo above, being careful not to twist the strap. Pin in place.
Baste the strap in place.

Fold the top of the bib over by 2cm, iron, fold over again, iron and pin in place.
Sew down with a 1.5cm seam allowance.
Secure the ties in place by top stitching over them with an X figure - see photo above.

7. Attach bib to ties and skirt

You are on the home stretch now!
Place the bib in-between the top of the ties, matching the centre notches.
Pin in place. This is when you can test the size of the bib and adjust as necessary. I ended tucking the bottom of my bib all the way into the ties, so you might do the same, or it might be the right size with just 2cm being tucked in.
Now topstitch around the edge of the ties (with a 5mm seam allowance - or whatever you think looks good), ensuring to catch the bib at the top edge of the ties.

And you are done!

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  1. Oh my goodness! This is fantastic! I've been looking for an apron tutoral for a while, and nothing was just right - but this one is! I have the world's most embarassing and manky old apron! It was one that my Mum gave me, and the great thing about it is that it has a pocket (it would be so easy to add a pocket to yours). The bad thing about it is that it has Santa's face on the pocket and it says "ho, ho, ho" on it - which is fine at this time of year, but not so great when I go out to put something in the bin in the middle of June! Oh, and it was from the pound shop (keeping it classy!). I am already stash-diving in my head to see what I have to make this! Thank you for the tutorial!

    1. Lol, thanks Lynne! I know what you mean, I have a really old manky looking apron which really needs to be replaced - think I might have to make this up again in a not so Christmassy fabric too!
      Oh yes, I totally meant to add that at the end of the tutorial - it would be REALLY easy to add a pocket or two to this apron. I did toy with the idea of adding a pocket to this, but decided it would distract from the fabulous fabric.

  2. I found your tutorial through Lynne. This is indeed a great apron that I should give it a try!

    1. Thanks Eva - if you make one I would love to see the end result!

    2. http://www.pearlboxblog.com/2014/12/just-apron.html ;)

  3. Thank you for the tutorial this is gorgeous, I am certainly going to see if I can squeeze making one in before Christmas!! :-)

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment Wendy - if you do make one I would love to see it when it's done!
      Happy Christmas :)

  4. This is a great tutorial!
    So well-made and easy to follow.

    I love that fabric!

  5. Great tutorial! I shared it with my friends who love Christmas! I will definitely will make AT LEAST one for me :) Thanks!


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