Project: Apron

Sew Tunes: Au Revoir Simone (Pandora Station)

Pattern: Simplicity Crafts 8372 (copyrighted 1998)

Fabric Used: Duck Cloth (Canvas) and Broadcloth

New to Me: Making my own bias tape

Trips to Store: 3. Once for the fabric and notions, and then again for the bias tape maker, and then again for pre-made bias tape.

Loved One: My dearest friend Jenna, who is a constant creative inspiration for me. Speaking of, check out the bracelet she made me in the picture of us below.

Day by Day…

Sadly, Jenna’s grandma recently passed away. When she passed, Jenna boxed all of her zippers, vintage patterns, and thread and sent a very caring package to me. To keep the spirit of Grandma Elsie alive, I am making Jenna an apron from one of her grandma’s patterns.

I am making the apron on the far right (woman holding the bowl). And the project goes…

Sunday, August 14:

Jenna’s color scheme in her kitchen is a light blue and yellow. I wanted the apron to compliment her kitchen’s hues, but saw this amazing duck cloth with a Moroccan motif. I couldn’t resist.

What exactly is duck cloth, you ask? Wikipedia is so smart:

Cotton duck (from Dutch doek, ‘linen canvas’), also simply duck, sometimes duck canvas, commonly called ‘canvas’ outside the textile industry, is a heavy, plain woven cotton fabric. There is also linen duck, which is less often used. Duck fabric is woven with two yarns together in the warp and a single yarn in the weft.”

Thank you, Braemore Textiles, for making such great fabric! I am using cream broadcloth and leftover green broadcloth from last week’s project as my contrasting fabric.

Monday, August 15:

Time to spend some QT with the pattern. I was amazed by the condition. The pieces were uncut, and the directions were still in the manufacturer’s fold.

I studied the directions in-depth. I wasn’t sure if terms and techniques had changed over the last 13 or so years. What I didn’t realize was that I will be making my own bias tape. Buying bias tape would be too easy, right? There are 15 steps to the project. Other than making the bias tape, I think this project will go smoothly. Let’s get started.

I cut the pattern pieces and placed them on the fabric, selvages together.

When cutting the pattern pieces, I noticed the difference in quality of the tissue pieces. This pattern used thicker, almost coated, tissue. I like (more durable)! I decided to use my cheap pair of scissors not to dull my fabric scissors when cutting the pattern pieces out. I am glad I did. After cutting the pieces, I pressed with a warm dry iron. They definitely needed it after being folded for 13+ years.

When placing the tissue pieces on the fabric (right sides together), I was very cognizant of the grain line and how the design of the fabric will look on the finished piece. As you can see from the image, I folded up the tissue pieces since I am making the shorter apron.

I placed the pocket and the belt that will go on the back of the apron on the green broadcloth (leftover from last week’s bag), and the block for bias on the cream broadcloth:

And cut. Calling it quits for the evening. I will be able to pick up easily tomorrow where I left off tonight.

Tuesday, August 16:

I’m happy that what hopefully is the toughest part of the project is one of the first steps – creating my own bias tape.

With right sides together, fold the block for bias into a tube (see image above — cream fabric and the pattern). One width of bias extends beyond the edge of each side. Stitch a 1/4″ seam and press open. Cut along the bottom of the strip and continue to cut in a spiral until reaching the end.

Ok, so the above is what  the directions told me to do. Here’s what really happened:

I tried following the instructions above. I never was really all that great at geometry. I went to the world wide web and Googled “make your own bias tape.” Prudent Baby was at the top of the search results. Talk about small small world, even by New Orleans’ standards. Just this AM, my momma was telling me about her visit to the doctor’s office. She ran into my friend from high school’s mom. As moms do, they started chit chatting about their daughters. She mentioned this 26-week sewing experiment I am doing, and then my friend’s mom mentioned how my high school’s friend’s other friend has a blog (confused yet?). Well the blog is Prudent Baby. Wow. It was the first to pop up in the search results, and here I am referencing it. I guess I am a little “bias,” being that Prudent Baby is a friend of a friend and all. She has a great blog, and her homemade bias tape is super cute.

But I am still in need of some help. Time to turn to a video tutorial. I watched 30 minutes worth of video and learned the following:

  • Why is it called bias tape? Because it is cut on the bias, which means it is stretchy. We want stretch when dealing with curves (think armholes).
  • Although more effort, you can be much more creative, taking remnant fabric and turning it into bias tape.

Mentally exhausted.

Wednesday, August 17:

After work, I ran to pick-up a 1/2″ bias tape maker.

Bias tape makers can get really fancy:

But I bought myself one that was a little more pedestrian:

And made just enough bias tape to place on the upper edge of the rounded pockets.

Once the pockets were prepped by placing the bias tape on the top and then turning under the raw edges of the rest of the pocket, I stitched it to the front of the apron. I then stitched the front and back sections of the apron at the shoulders and sides, leaving room at the bottom of the sides for the godet.

Ahhh, the side godet. I am note quite sure what a “godet” is. Turned to the world wide web:

“A godet is an extra piece of fabric in the shape of a circular sector which is set into a garment, usually a dress or skirt.The addition of a godet causes the article of clothing in question to flare, thus adding width and volume. Adding a godet to a piece of clothing also gives the wearer a wider range of motion.”

Jenna will be able to twirl around her kitchen.

At the last minute, I decided to switch the godet fabric. I thought it would be fun to have it match the pockets. I’m pretty excited about the result, but… I have been using two thread colors so far – cream and army green. I forgot to switch out to the army green, so you can see the cream thread against the green godet. Grrrr.

I hemmed the bottom of the apron and the raw edges of the back section. Calling it a night.

Saturday, August 20:

Back to the bias tape. More tape is needed for the neckline and the armholes. I sewed two of the bias tape fabric pieces together for the neckline. When I pinned the bias tape to the neckline, I wasn’t so happy with where the seam of the bias tape fell, so I used store-bought bias tape. I think it looks better. Although I love the idea of homemade bias tape, I also wanted the apron to look like I put attention and care into the making of it. After I placed the bias tape, I made the belt that gets attached to the back. I fused interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric, sewed it, then flipped it inside out. I am really getting good at flipping things inside out…with a chopstick. I gave my machine another chance with buttonholes, and surprisingly, it pulled through. All that is left is sewing the buttons to the apron.

Sunday, August 21:

I woke up early this morning to sew the three buttons on – two for the belt, and one for the neckline. My button sewing skills are improving by the project. Check out the backside:

I then ironed the apron. Despite the lack of lining, the finishing on the inside doesn’t look so bad:

And we have week 8’s project…finished.

The front:

And the back:

So Jenna, go twirl (thanks to the godet).  I’ll be By Your Side in spirit.

Project Wrap-up

Sew Happy:

  • I am able to visualize the finished products now, and plan the way I use the fabrics accordingly.

Not Sew Happy:

  • I needed more pins. I don’t know where they are all disappearing to. Maybe my bare feet will soon find out. I bought 75 long color ball pins. They are not sliding into the fabric smoothly. I then remembered Ms. Paula saying not to buy ball point. Now I understand why.

Helpful Hints (to self)

  • Keep practicing with the bias tape. Although challenging, I am really excited about learning about diy bias tape. It really opens the doors to creativity. I am thinking canvas placemats with some really fun bias tape.
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