Apron Tutorial
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    Apron Tutorial

    Apron Tutorial

    I am using McCall's pattern #2947, but you may use whatever pattern you choose.

    Most chef style aprons are basically the same with a couple of exceptions. Your pattern will have a different looking pocket although you will put it on the same way. Your pattern
    may finish off the armhole seam differently.

    I chose this one for a couple of reasons:

    1) It was two toned hence easier to see on the computer.
    2) It has us making bias tape.
    3) It uses gathering on the pocket.

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    Materials Needed

    ~Sewing machine
    ~Pattern
    ~Amount of fabric pattern calls for
    ~Matching thread and bobbin
    ~Scissors
    ~Pins and pin cushion
    ~Tape measure
    ~Cutting mat (optional)
    ~Tracing wheel and paper (optional)
    ~Iron
    ~Ironing board
    ~Seam ripper
    ~Seam guage (optional)

    Sorry, I forgot about the tracing paper and wheel and the seam ripper and seam guage, so they aren't in the picture. You will also see that I use cone thread, that is because I have a serger and I sew a lot. To use cone thread on your regular machine you would need a cone thread holder. http://www.joann.com/catalog.jhtml?C...reground=green
    You can use regular spool thread.

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    Pick out your pattern.
    On the back of the pattern, locate the view you want to make and circle it.

    Pick out your fabric.
    On the back of the pattern envelope you will find suggested fabrics. 100% Cotton is a good choice for an apron. Is your fabric choice 44"-45" or is it 60" wide? There will be an amount to get for either width on the pattern envelope back. Make sure you get the correct amount. In the states most cottons are 44"-45" wide.

    Prepare your fabric.
    You will need to wash and dry your fabric before working with it. This is for a couple of reasons. It gets the sizing out of the fabric and to pre-shrink it. This is a good habit to get into especially with cotton and cotton blends. There are of course exceptions to every rule, you will not prewash drycleanable fabrics i.e. wool and wool blends, nylons etc. If you are in doubt
    whether to prewash or not, ask the sales person in the sewing store when you are purchasing your fabric or you can ask me.

    Next you will iron your fabric. There is nothing harder to work on than fabric with wrinkles in it.

    Prepare your pattern pieces.
    Take the pattern pieces and instructions out of the envelope. On the instruction sheet, look for the view you want to make and mark which pattern pieces you will need. Also circle the view you will be making in the Cutting Layout section.

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    Next, gently unfold the pattern. Look for the letter or number of the pieces you need. Carefully cut them apart. You do not have to cut exactly on the lines. This is tissue paper, you will be able to see through it when cutting out your pattern. Refold and put the unwanted pieces back into the envelope out of your way.

    Now you are going to iron, yes iron, your pattern pieces. Using a warm (not hot) dry iron, gently iron out any wrinkles in your pattern pieces. The reason for doing this:

    Say you have a crease in the center of your pattern piece that you don't quite smooth out when you are pinning it on, it will make that one piece not quite fit right and can throw your entire project off. This little 2 minute job can make your life so much easier.

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    Laying Out and Cutting the Pattern.

    You are going to need a large enough surface to work on. Your fabric must never hang off the table or the weight of the fabric will distort not only the fabric but your pattern pieces will not go on correctly. If you have to, fold the fabric up that would hang off the table/countertop surface you are working on. As you pin on a pattern piece you can then fold down the fabric and pinned pattern piece and unfold the rest of the fabric to pin on the balance of pattern pieces.

    You will always layout all your pattern pieces before you do any cutting. This is to make sure you have enough fabric before you start your project.

    The pattern I'm using (McCall's 2947) calls for 2 different fabrics. One print for the body of the apron (7/8 yard) and a second print (1 1/4 yard) for the pocket and armhole trim and ties.

    First you are going to fold your prewashed piece of fabric for the body of the apron with selvages together. I find working with the fold of the fabric towards me is easiest.

    The following is a picture of what the selvage (at the top of the picture) and the ends of the fabric will look like. This is the reason for prewashing and shrinking the fabric. When I had this piece cut in the store those ends matched up, now look at how far they are off! If you hadn't prewashed and shrunk your fabric, this distortion would have ended up in your project the first time you washed it.

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    I apologise for using all the different fabrics in the pictures here, I was so excited about doing this tutorial I sometimes forgot to take the pictures as I went along. The actual fabrics I used for the completed apron are as follows:

    Body of Apron = Floral one-way design
    Bias Trim and Pocket = Blue Paisley print


    You will also note that I have a one-way design on my fabric, in this instance it is vases of flowers. You will have to pay attention when doing this. If you put your apron pattern piece on wrong, you will end up with your fabric print upside down. This layout is called with Nap.

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    The first picture is with folding the fabric in half selvages together. You will place the main apron piece (#13) on the fold.

    Look at your pattern piece, the straight part will have a line with 2 arrows pointing towards the solid line and says "Center Front, Place on Fold" You will place this solid line right on the fold of the fabric, paying attention that the top of the apron is on the right end of the fabric so that the flower vases are all pointing up.

    I have had to flip my pattern piece so that I am looking at the back of it. This was so that my apron will come out with the flowers and vases going in the right direction. You will have to do this sometimes to get the pieces going in the right direction.

    Now you will pin along the entire fold first, start at the top and pin all the way down the pattern piece till you get to the bottom. Your pins should be parallel to the solid fold line on the pattern piece.

    Next you will gently smooth out the pattern piece, starting at the center of the fold and go across to the center of the side seam, place a pin parallel to the cutting line and inside the seam line. If you placed your pins perpendicular to the cutting line, every time you came to a pin while cutting, you would have to remove that pin out of your way.

    Keep doing this all the way around the pattern piece, alternating from one side of the original pin at the side seam to the other side, smoothing out the pattern piece from the fold until you have enough pins in to hold the entire pattern piece down securely for cutting. To place a pin in the corners, you will pin from the inside of the pattern piece to the corner making sure the tip of the pin is not on the cutting line. This will hold the corner of the pattern piece flat and in place for cutting.

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    This next picture is a different version of laying out the apron. I prefer this way as it will allow you to be able to use the excess fabric better. You will measure the widest part on the pattern piece, in this instance it is the very bottom, it measured 14". I opened up the piece of fabric and measured 15" in from the selvage on both ends, then folded it there (the extra inch is for the selvage which you will NEVER use and a tad for leeway). Now pin your pattern piece on in the same manner as above.

    Doing it this way will give you more of your fabric remenant (larger piece) to do something else with. I may want to make potholders or placemats out of the excess, which I couldn't do if I folded the fabric together as in the first picture. I wouldn't have had enough 'scraps' left to make a placemat, doing it this way I do have enough left over. You want to get the most out of your piece of fabric. You cannot always do this, but in the instance you can.

    Can you see the difference between the 2 pictures?

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    Now you will take your second piece of fabric and open it up (single layer) with one of the selvages towards you. This is because the pattern piece states that we only want to "Cut 1".

    First you are going to pin on the pattern piece for the binding (#17). Mine is upside down in the final picture as I want the grain line on the pattern piece closest to me. I am short and it is hard to reach that far across the table. The grain line marking on a pattern piece is a solid line with an arrow at each end.

    Place the binding (#17) pattern piece on the fabric with the grain line marking in front of you. Place a pin in the top of the line at the arrow. Now take your measuring tape, place the end ( 0" ) on the line at the arrow and measure across to the edge of the selvage. Make a note (mental or on paper) of this measurement, it must be exact! Take the measuring tape and place the end ( 0" ) on the other end of the grain line at the arrow, measure over to the selvage again, only this time you want to measurement to be exactly as the first one. For instance if you measured 3 7/8" the first time, you want your second measurement to be 3 7/8" also. Pivot the pattern piece until it comes out exactly as the first measurement. Place a pin in the grain line at the arrow. Like this.

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    Now you will continue to place pins all around the pattern piece. Start at the center of the piece and work your way all around alternating from side to side, placing the pins parallel to the cutting edge and within the seam line. The seam line on a pattern piece is the broken line or dashes just inside the solid cutting line.

    Take your pocket pattern piece (#16) and place it above and to the right of your binding piece with the grain line arrow going up and down. Place a pin in the grain line arrow and measure from there over to the selvage (you can use either selvage, but you must use the same selvage for pinning on each individual piece). Do the same for the other end of the grain line arrow as we did with the binding piece. Pin the balance of the pocket pattern piece in place all around as before.

    Like this.

    I apologise, this is one of the pictures I forgot to take while working on the apron. I had to use another piece of fabric this morning and take the pic.

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    Cutting Out

    Now you will cut out your pattern pieces. The following picture shows you how to cut out pattern pieces. This is for right handed cutting.

    The pattern piece will always be to the back of your cutting hand (right handed or left handed is the same). This is so you don't undercut the pattern piece. Take a piece of scrap tissue paper and make a line on it, pin it on a scrap piece of fabric and practice cutting on the line both ways, with the line to the back of your hand and with the line to the front of your hand (palm). You will see what I mean.

    Go all the way around the pattern piece cutting just on the outside edge of the solid line. DO NOT CUT THE SOLID LINE ON THE FOLD OF THE APRON! You will never cut the fold line on a pattern.

    You want the solid cutting line to still be on the pattern pieces when you are done cutting. If you cut the solid cutting line off you will have made your pattern pieces just a little bit smaller. If you want to reuse the pattern pieces again or multiple times, it won't come out right.

    Make sure when you cut out the pattern pieces that you cut around any notches. Note: There is a notch on each end of the binding pattern piece.

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    Transfer Markings

    Now we have to transfer the markings on the pattern pieces to the fabric. This is where you will use your tracing paper and tracing wheel.

    Tips on using tracing paper and a tracing wheel.

    1) Do not remove the pins from your pattern pieces until you have transferred all the markings.
    2) Use a color of tracing paper closest to your fabric color.
    3) Mark tracings only on the wrong side of your fabric.
    The next one is a biggie,
    4) Use a cutting mat or piece of cardboard underneath to protect your work surface. The tracing wheel will leave marks on your table!


    The first piece you will mark is the binding (#17) Take a sheet of tracing paper and open it out to a single thickness with the glossy side up. Place it under the cut out binding piece under one of the solid lines going down the middle. Glossy side of the tracing paper against the WRONG side of the fabric. Pin in place. Using the tracing wheel, slowly go over the line transferring it to the wrong side of the binding.

    Unpin and move the tracing paper along the line, repinning and continuing to transfer the lines until you have marked both of them completely.

    I used red paper in the picture below so you could see what I am talking about.

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    Next take your pocket pattern piece (#16) and do the same thing, marking the sewing lines (3 of them) for the pocket separations. You may also mark the top fold line.

    Now we have to remark the sewing lines for the pocket so they are visable on the right side of the fabric.

    Unpin the pattern from the pocket piece and turn over to the wrong side so you can see the transfer markings. With a hand sewing needle and thread, you are going to baste over the markings. I have used red thread in the following picture.

    If you did not do this step, once you had sewn your pocket on the front of your apron, you would not know where the sewing lines were for the separate pockets. You are only making them visable to you. You do not want to use the tracing paper on the right side of your fabric, because it is hard to get out.

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    Next you will transfer the marks where the pocket goes on the apron. Take your apron piece (#13) and a piece of tracing paper. This time leave the tracing paper folded in half and insert between the 2 layers of fabric of the apron until it is where the pocket goes. Pin in place and trace the markings. This will transfer the markings to both sides of the apron at one time.

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    Another way of transferring the markings is by using a hand sewing needle and thread.

    With the pattern piece still attached to the apron, take a hand sewing needle threaded with a contrasting color of thread. Insert the needle at the top of the pocket placement and through all 3 layers (2 layers of fabric and 1 layer pattern piece). Leave a 2 inch tail on both sides of the apron piece. Do the same to the bottom corner of the pocket.

    I had to fold the pattern piece in the following photo so you can see the thread sticking out of both sides.

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