Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DIY - Apron: From the Boardroom to the Kitchen

     The ground was covered with a ever so thin layer of snow a few mornings ago.  The snow in the yard melted away, but the snow on the mountains stayed.  The dog water and the chicken water regularly freeze at night, and the leaves of kale and Swiss chard hang dark green and limp from the stalks.  The chill in the air contains a hint of magic.
     It is the time of the year where something comes from nothing.
    There are many childhood Christmases that I remember. I remember cardamon bread baked in a wood stove, pajamas, Christmas dresses, candles clipped to the branches of our tree, hotel rooms and having strep throat on Christmas - again. A few Christmases I remember for the presents and one in particular. I must have been about five, my brother almost three and my mom very pregnant with my sister. I got a doll and a pram. My brother a hammering bench. Those might have been the only gifts we got that year, but they were the best gifts.
     My mom sewed the doll. She had meticulously attached her hair that hung in two brown braids from the side of her head, painted her face and sewed her an outfit complete with bloomers and shoes. The pram was built from wood and had a detachable woven basket that I could lug around with me and matched the real life pram in which my mother pushed us around in. The hammering bench was also sawed, hammered, sanded and painted late at night, in secret, by my parents in the other room of our two room apartment while we slept. And it was magic.

     Just as my parents did, I am pulling out my sewing machine, to trying to make something from, well, very little.  Here is my first attempt to post DIY project instructions:

Apron: From the Boardroom to the Kitchen
Time - this project can be completed from start to finish during nap time...  2 hours maybe 
Pattern - make your own.  Instructions below. 
Sewing Machine
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Thread ($2.99)
Men's XL or L Dress Shirt ($1.75)
triglide closure ($.30 at the army navy store)

  1. Make a pattern.
    I used a red Pita Pit Apron that we inherited from a friend a few years ago. The one thing that drives me crazy about this apron is that the neck strap does not adjust, so I made mine adjustable. To make the pattern, I folded the apron in half lengthwise and traced the shape onto newspress. I then added 1” seam allowance to all edges except for the top of the bib. At the top edge of the bib I added 1.5” seam allowance.
  2. Cut apart the shirt.

    I start at the front and cut around the collar, then across the shoulders, cut around the arms and across the back of the shirt right on the seam.

    This opens up all the pleats and you have more fabric!! Then cut down the seam of both sleaves and cut off the cuffs. DO NOT CUT THE FRONT OF THE SHIRT FROM THE BACK OF THE SHIRT!
  3. Cut Apron. Iron the shirt in half matching up the side seams. Place your pattern at the fold (which should be the center of the back of the shirt. Cut. The bottom of the apron keeps the shape and hem of the shirt.

  4. Cut the ties and neck straps. 

    I always cut the ties first. Use the remainder of the fabric from the front of the shirt. (This might require removing the front pocket). Cut 1.5” strips of fabric from the longest length you can. The ties will be about 30” to 32”. For the neck strap cut 2 pieces of fabric that are 1.5” wide and 18.5” long and 2 pieces that are 1.5” wide and 7.5” long.
  5. Sew the neck straps and ties. 

    Put neck straps wrong sides together and sew along the two long edges and one short edge with 1/4” seam allowance, turn, press and top stitch along the edges. Done. 

    Take the ties and press them in half lengthwise, open and then press both long edges to the fold. Fold in half again and sew along the open side. DONE.
  6. Apron body. Roll the straight hems on the side (fold over about 1/2” and then again a 1/2”) and stitch down. Fold over the hem on the bib first 1/2” and then 1” and stitch into place. Roll the slanted hem, pin the ties into the roll at the back corners, stitch into place.

  7. Add the neck straps to the bib. Place 1” from the outside edge ( onto the backside) and attach.
  8. Attach the triglide to the end of the short strap.

  9. Use the remainder of the fabric to fashion whatever pocked you would like, and attach.
  10. How to make a pocket: Cut two rectangles with a 1/2” seam allowance.  If you are using the front of the shirt, sew along the stitching on either side of the buttons to make one piece of fabric.

    Place right sides together. Sew together with a two inch opening. Turn right side out press, pin to apron and sew into place closing the opening through which the apron was turned.


1 comment:

  1. Who says a shirt can only have one life?