October is Embroidery Month! Scary?… Embroidery sounded hard to me hard, and confusing, or at least made for people who put sayings or licensed characters on everything. Turns out it is so much easier than I thought – and fun to play with – which I found out since being loaned the Janome Skyline S9 sewing and embroidery machine. (P.S. Keep reading to get a free apron pattern and tutorial below. Or click on one of the photos to pin it for later!)
This post is sponsored by Janome Canada. I’m part of a group of Canadian Janome Artisans. Thank you for reading!
Coming Soon! In mid-November, I’ll be writing a more detailed series about embroidery – the Sewing Diaries: Embroidery Edition – tips/tricks and my honest newbie experience using one of these “scary machines”! (Including a list of things I should have done when embroidering this apron and didn’t…)
If the Sewing Diaries sounds familiar, it’s because this spring’s Sewing Diaries: Meet Your New Machine series was similar. If you haven’t read it, take a look. Lots of good general information about getting to know your machine, and how to sew almost anything on it!
Last week‘s installment of “What’s Your Maker Style?” included a super-fun short quiz where you get to choose your favorites from photos of sewing things to find out what your Maker Style is. If you haven’t tried it yet, click on the photo below! (Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you to come back!)
For all the Design Diva’s out there – this post is for you!
This apron was made to highlight the embroidery options available on the Skyline S9. Inadvertently, I also highlighted it’s sewing abilities. Since it is a 2-for-1 machine, and you can switch from sewing mode to embroidery mode with the touch of a button – literally! (On it’s pretty full colour touch screen, I might add… eeep!)
The original Design Diva Apron was made from a nice springy palette of magenta, florals and navy. The tutorial version is a little more autumn-friendly with a pretty wine coloured sash, boho pockets and navy skirt. Plus of course I made it more fun with lots of embroidery, including one of many exclusive Anna Maria Horner designs and my personal monogram. (Couldn’t resist!)
Design Diva Apron Tutorial
As usual, please feel free to use my free patterns/tutorials for your personal projects and gifts and for charitable fundraising events. Please do not sell anything made with this pattern. If you are interested in selling aprons made with this pattern, please contact me or leave a comment and I will make a Seller’s License available for purchase in my shop.
The Design Diva Apron is *almost* a full circle skirt of ruffled goodness, the wide waistband and wrap-around sash add to the fun! This free apron pattern is one-size-fits-many and all seams are finished with a simple French Seam.
The entire apron waist measures about 34″. The back of the apron is open to allow it to fit a greater number of sizes. The sash is about 118″ long and can be tied in the back, wrapped around the front to tie in a bow or a knot to fit the wearer best. This apron is about 21″ long.
Quilting Cotton works great for this project, along with twill, linen and other lightweight woven fabrics. The materials listing is based on 42″ wide fabric (pre-washed) unless otherwise specified.
- 1 yard Main Apron Fabric
- 1 yard Sash Fabric
- 1/2 yard Pocket Fabric
- 4 yards Ruffle Binding (I used 1 1/2″ wide.)
- 1 yard 20″ wide Medium Weight Fusible Interfacing (ie. Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex)
- Matching/Contrasting thread for Edge-Stitching
- Removable Fabric Marker
- 2 Safety Pins
- Your regular sewing supplies
- Optional: Embroidery Machine, stabilizer and thread for embellishment
Before you begin:
- Print out all 12 pages of the Design Diva Apron Pattern Pieces pdf on letter size (8.5″ x 11″) or A4 paper. Important: Do not select “fit to page” when printing, make sure you print at the original size.
- Once you have printed the first page, measure the 1″ test square to ensure the pattern is the correct size.
- Cut each page on the outer gray lines and tape the pages together, matching the letters in the gray half-circles.
- Main Apron: Fold your fabric in half, matching selvage edges. Cut one Apron Front on the fold, and 2 Apron Backs as per the pattern pieces. Be careful, the yardage is tight, buy an extra 1/2 yard if you are worried.
- Apron Pockets: Fold your fabric in half, matching selvage edges. Cut 2 of each pocket piece as per the pattern pieces.
- Sash: There are no pattern pieces for the sash. Cut 3 pieces of sash fabric 9″ x 40″ each.
- Interfacing: There are no pattern pieces for the interfacing. Cut 6 pieces of interfacing 4 1/2″ x 20″.
All seams are 3/8″ unless otherwise indicated. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to secure your stitches. Press liberally throughout to ensure a professional finished product!
Embroider the Apron (optional):
Machine embroider your apron as desired. I chose to use an Anna Maria Horner design supplied with the Janome Skyline S9 machine. And embroidered them using Janome embroidery thread.
It was hard to choose which designs to use, there are so many I like! In the end, because the apron has a circle skirt and drapes a lot near the bottom, I chose to use a simpler flower design, using colours that complimented the fabrics in the apron.
The back needed to be monogrammed, of course! I chose to use a 3 letter monogram for my initals – literally took me all of 2 minutes to program into the machine. Pretty addicting – I “need” to monogram all of our towels now!
Tips: Remember, the front will be sewn to the back at the side seams. Since it is a circle skirt, be sure to angle your design or it will not be straight when you wear it. Plan accordingly if you want to tie a bow at the apron front, some of your embroidery may be obscured by the sash ends. Also, depending on the wearer, the back may or may not be overlapped.
Prepare the Sash:
- Match and stitch all 3 sash pieces right sides together along the short edges. Press all seams open. You will now have a sash about 119″ long.
- Fold the sash lengthwise with long edges matching and wrong sides together. Press well. Open and fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one half (4 1/2″height) of the sash length as per your manufacturer’s directions. Overlap the interfacing pieces by 1/4″ so they cover the entire sash. The interfaced side will be the front of the sash.
- Fold the sash along the center line and re-press if necessary. Mark a point 4 1/2″ in m the end of the long raw edge. Draw a line from this point to the corner of the folded edge. Cut along this line, creating the shape for the angled ends of the sash. Repeat for the other end.
- Fold the sash in half and mark the center point (yellow pin). Set aside.
Sew the Pockets:
- Match a Pocket Top right sides together with the pocket curve of the Apron Front. Pin and stitch along the small curve. Trim seam allowance in half.
- Flip and press the Pocket Top wrong sides together with the Apron Front. Top stitch the pocket with a straight stitch, or something fancier! I used an Heirloom stitch (#30) on the Skyline S9 to create a subtle cross-stitch in red along the edge.
- Fold the Apron Front out of the way and match a Pocket Bottom to the long outside curve of the Pocket Top with Wrong Sides Together. This will be the beginning of a french seam to finish the raw edges. Stitch the outside curve with a 1/4″ seam. Trim the seam allowance in half.
- Turn the Pocket Top and Bottom so they are Right Sides Together. Push out the seam and press well. Pin if desired and stitch the outside curve again, enclosing the first seam. You’ve now enclosed the raw edges and finished the French seam.
- Fold the pocket into place and baste the top and side edges with a 1/4″ seam to keep them in place.
- Repeat for the other pocket.
Sew the Side Seams:
- Match an Apron Back to the Apron Front at the side seam Wrong Sides Together. We will sew another French Seam to finish and enclose the sides of the apron. Pin and Stitch the Side Seam with a 1/4″ seam. Trim the seam allowance in half.
- Turn the Apron Front and Back so they are now Right Sides Together. Press well along the seam. Stitch again with a 1/4″ seam to enclose the raw edges. Press the French Seam towards the Apron Back.
- Repeat for the other side seam.
- Fold the apron in half to find the top center waistline. Press to mark it, or use a pin.
Finish the Hem:
- Sandwich the curved apron hem between the ruffled bias tape. Pin if desired. Stitch the tape beginning at the top of one Apron Back edge and ending at the other. Cut off any remaining bias tape.
Tip: This is another great place to use a fancy stitch if you’d like to. I used the same Heirloom stitch as I did to top stitch the pocket edges. This time in tone-on-tone white. It gives a nice hand-made vibe to the apron!
Attach the Sash:
- Measure out 19 1/2″ on each side of the center marking (green pin) you found on the sash. Mark each measurement (yellow pin). The area between these marks will be attached to the Apron along the waistline.
- Match the interfaced side of the Sash to the Apron Front with fabric right sides together at the center mark. Pin. Match the ruffled edge of an Apron Back with the 19 1/2″ markings you just made on the sash. Pin.
- Match and pin one side of the the sash to the apron waistline between the pinned areas. Repeat on the other side so the entire waistline is pinned.
- Stitch the pinned area from one side of the apron ruffle to the other. Open and press the sash away from the apron.
- Place a safety pin in each end of the interfaced area on the sash. This will make it easier to turn later.
- Place the apron right side up on the table with the skirt facing you. Roll the apron fabric up to the sash until you can see the waistline seam you just sewed underneath it. The rolled apron will be laying on the front half of the sash (interfaced). You may want to roll the fabric a bit at a time, since there is a lot of it.
- Match the sash sides right sides together at the center (enclosing the rolled apron) and pin.
- Measure 5″ on either side of the center pin and mark with another pin. The 10″ area between these two marks will be the opening and will not be sewn.
- Match and pin the remaining raw edges of the sash. Be careful to keep the rolled apron inside the sash and out of the way of the edges as you pin. You will now have a strange long fabric snake – it’s ok! We’ll make it look like an apron in the next few steps.
- Stitch along the pinned edges, leaving the 10″ opening un-sewn. Make sure you do not sew over the rolled apron! When sewing over the previous seam, try to sew just to the outside or directly on top of the seam, if possible.
- Clip the corners of the sash. Clip a large long triangle out of the end of the angle, to remove as much bulk as possible.
- Pull the apron out from the opening to turn the sash inside out. Use the safety pins to turn the sash ends. Be patient! It is a very long sash, but I promise – it will turn! Push out the angles with a chopstick. Push out edges and press well.
Finish the Apron:
- Press under 3/8″ along the sash opening. Pin.
- Edge stitch the sash, catching and closing the sash opening. I like to use my Janome blind hemming foot, just move the needle to the left and let the guide run along the edge of your fabric. Perfectly straight!
- Press the apron well, and you are finished. Enjoy!
I’d love to see your project! You can share your apron on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links below) using the hashtags #alongforthreadride and/or #threadridinghood. Thank you!