Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pattern Drafting 101: Sewing the Basic Bib Apron

Follow the directions I laid out in Drafting a Basic Bib Apron to create the pattern for this apron!

In this tutorial I will walk you through sewing your basic bib apron.

My guinea pig is my 8 year old son, Ian.
Click to enlarge the pictures!

Begin by choosing your fabric and pinning your pattern to it. I'm using pattern weights instead of pinning. And I'm using the Army's ACU material for the front and ties and unbleached muslin for the back.

Cut out an apron front and back.

Cut out your ties from the pattern you made or use a rotary cutter and ruler. I prefer using the rotary cutter because it takes much less time and I know what my measurements are because I have them written on my apron pattern ~so if you choose to use your rotary cutter don't forget to write down your measurements!

We will begin sewing the apron ties first. I have 2 methods for sewing below, choose which ever one you like best!

Ties- Method 1

Iron the ties, wrong sides together, to create a crease down the center.

Open the ties back up and fold in your seam allowance on the long size, press flat.

Fold in the seam allowance on the end and press.

Fold your tie back in half, wrong sides together with the seam allowance tucked in, and pin.

Repeat for all 4 ties.

Skip to }*{ to complete the Method 1 ties.

Ties- Method 2

* My preferred method because it creates a cleaner/straighter tie.

Pin your ties, right sides together, length wise. If you want, then you can just hold the edges together while feeding the ties into the sewing machine, eliminating the pinning.

Before you begin sewing anything, sew a scrap of fabric in first. This is called a 'leader' as it helps lead in whatever you'll be sewing. I always sew with a leader because it keeps my stitches from gumming up right at the very beginning.

Sew along the long edge of the tie, back stitching at the beginning. I am using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

When you get to the end, stop leaving your seam allowance along the short end. Make sure your sewing needle is in the down position. My sewing machine has an automatic needle down position but if you're using an older machine turn the wheel so the needle is all the way down.

Raise your presser foot and turn the whole tie 90 degrees.

Finish sewing the top edge of the tie, backstitching at the end. Clip the corner off and repeat for all 4 ties.


There are 2 methods to turning the ties that you created in Method 2.

You can use a dowel rod or a turning tool. I prefer using the turning tool.

Dowel Rod

Turn a little bit of your tie right side out to begin and stick your dowel rod in.

Work the dowel rod all the way through until your tie is right side out.

Turning Tool

The turning tool has a little hook on the end with a little latch that closes. Open the latch and stick the tool all the way into the tie, until the hook is at the very end.

Poke the hook through the fibers at the end of the tie. Don't worry, the hook isn't sharp and won't break the fibers. Feel for the latch and close it.

Begin pulling the end of the tie through the center and work it through until you can pull the whole thing right side out.

The ends of your ties will need to be straightened out. The best tool I have found for this is an old empty mechanical pencil. Drop it into the open end of the ties and poke out the corners.

Iron your ties flat with the seam on the side. I little spray of water helps.

}*{Finish the Ties

Beginning at the opened end of the ties sew a 1/8" stitch all the way around.

When you get to the end, stop in the needle down position and turn the tie 90 degrees and continue sewing.


Attaching the Apron Ties

Pin the ties onto your apron top, leaving room for your seam allowance. My seam allowance is 1/4 inch so I'll pin my ties just inside that. Pin down your loose apron ties to the body of the apron. Leave them pinned down through out the next couple of steps.

Back stitch over the ties inside your seam allowance so it won't show. My back stitching is at 1/8 inch.

Finishing Up

Pin your apron back, right sides together, onto your apron front.

Sew all around the edge, leaving a whole big enough to get your hand inside.

Clip your corners and reach inside and unpin those ties.

Pull everything out through the whole so it's right sides out. Poke out any corners like I described in Method 2 of creating the ties above.

Iron all around. When you get to the opening, tuck in your seam allowance and iron flat.

Take the whole apron to your sewing machine and sew all around close to the edge. I sewed it at 1/8 inch.

Put it on and enjoy!

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