Tonight I'm cooking a big dinner for friends and showing off something else I made: this sassy little apron. I sewed it last night at the latest installment of MSLO's (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's) monthly employee sewing classes taught by Becky Hanson, education manager for Singer.
I'm a beginner, and I was able to make my apron in less an an hour. All you need for this project is half a yard of sturdy fabric for the skirt and a yard of lighter fabric about 5 inches wide for the waistband. Here's how to do it, step-by-step.
Take your skirt piece, a rectangle that's a half yard long and about 15 inches wide (which can be adjusted for your height), and use an iron to press a half-inch hem on each of the two short sides. Use pins to hold in place.
For both sides, run a straight stitch along the inner edge of the hem, removing pins as you go along.
Once the short sides are done, you'll want to fold an inch hem on the bottom of the skirt, use an iron to press it down, and pin it. Again, you'll run a straight stitch across the top of the hem, but this time you'll want to secure the stitching on each end. You can do this by sewing a few stitches forward, then reverse direction to sew backward a few stitches, then sew forward again to proceed with the hem.
For the next step, set your sewing machine to make longer, and thus looser, basting stitches. Across the top of the apron, you're going to run two lines of basting stitches, about a 1/4 inch apart. Leave those loose thread ends hanging..
Pull on the loose thread ends to gather the apron fabric. The best thing to do is pull from one end first and then the other, then distribute the pleating evenly across from both sides. You'll want the top of the apron to be about 15 inches wide once it's pleated up..
Now you'll take the waistband piece and fold it over, pressing with the iron to hold the shape, and then pinning to steady the fabric for sewing. Find the center of the band and mark it, then measure 8 inches on either side of the center and mark them out with two straight pins. This is the opening that your skirt will go into..
Sew closed the two ends and the open side of the waistband, skipping the 16 inch middle portion you marked out, with a straight running stitch. On each end, trim the excess fabric on the corners you've sewed..
Turn the waistband right side out by reaching your finger in from the middle and pulling the fabric slowly out. Trimming the corners in the last step gives you the smoother end you see here..
The final step! Put your skirt piece into the open part of the waistband, tucking the rough edges of the band under on both sides. Pin the pieces together so that the pin line, and then your stitching, is just below the lower line of basting stitches. If you raise the band higher those messy stitches would show, and if you go lower it'll ruin the way the pleats lay. Sew a running stitch across, securing each end with the reverse stitching just as you did for the bottom hem. After sewing, just iron the band flat one last time to smooth it. You're ready to cook!.