Vintage Apron from "Sewing Made Simple"

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Pretty gingham and rickrack trims set against illustrations of Paris scenes are the perfect combination for a 1950s-style vintage apron. Aprons were typically the first garment our mothers and grandmothers sewed at school, as girls could practice their gathering and trimming skills without the challenge of complicated darts and fastenings.
This vintage apron sewing pattern fits sizes small to large.
- 1yd/1m patterned cotton fabric 45 in/115 cm wide
- 1 yd/1m smallest check pink gingham
- 3 1/4 yd/3m turquoise rickrack
- White thread
- Turquoise thread
- Paper for the pattern
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Step 1

- From the patterned fabric: cut on skirt, 31 x 18 in/78 x 46 cm
- Draw a paper pattern for the bib: first draw a rectangle, 12 x 12 in/30 x 30 cm, then measure 1 in/2.5 cm in from the top corners. Draw a line from each of these points to the corresponding bottom corner. Cut out the paper shape and use it to cut two bib pieces.
- From the gingham: using the top of the pattern piece, cut a top bib band 3in/8 cm deep
- Cut two waistbands, 2 1/2 x 22 in/6 x 56 cm
- Cut four waist ties, 2 1/2 x 32 in/6 x 82 cm
- Cut one bottom frill, 2 1/2 x 57 in/6 x 144 cm
- Cut four neck ties, 2 x 22in/5 x 56 cm

Step 2

With right sides together, fold the grill in half lengthwise. Pin and then stitch the short seams. Clip the corners and trim the seams. Turn the frill right side out and press.
Using double thread, run gathering stitches along the top edge. Fold the frill in half widthwise and mark the center point with a pin. Fold in half again and mark the quarter points.

Step 3

On each side of the skirt piece, fold in a double hem, press, and then stitch. Fold the skirt in half lengthwise and mark the center point on the bottom edge with a pin. Fold it in half again and mark the quarter points. With right sides together, pin the frill to the bottom edge of the skirt at the marked quarter points. Pull up the gathers to fit. Baste the gathered edge to the skirt. Stitch in place using a 1 in/2.5 cm seam alliance.

Step 4

Make a self-bound seam. First, trim the gathered edge to neaten the seam. Then turn in the raw edge of the skirt seam allowance by 1/4 in/6 mm. Fold the turned-in edge over the raw edge of the frill and stitch into place.

Step 5

Sew a line of gathering stitches along the top edge of the skirt. Mark the halfway position with a pin. Use pins to mark 2 1/2 in/6.5 cm in from each end of both waistband pieces. Place these pins together to mark the halfway positions. Lay the waistband lining piece wrong side down on a flat surface. Lay the skirt piece wrong side down on the top of it, matching the raw edges and halfway marker pins. Pin the outside edges of the skirt to the waistband lining at the pin markers. Pull up the gathers until the skirt fits the waistband, then wind the threads around the pins to secure. Now place the front waistband piece on top of the pile, right side down, and pin it at the halfway and edge points. Baste all the layers together. Stitch, and then trim the seam allowance.

Step 6

Make up the neck ties by placing two pieces with right sides together and stitching along the two long sides. Trim the seams and press them open. Turn through to the right side using a safety pin or loop turner, and press. Repeat with the other two pieces to make the second neck tie. Turn in and press one end of each tie. Topstitch around all three sides, leaving on end of each tie open.
Press the bottom edge of the gingham bib trim ¼ in/6 mm to the wrong side and stitch. Place the trim wrong side down on the right side of the front bib, aligning the raw edges, and pin. Stitch the top edge and sides. Clip the corners.

Step 7

Lay the trimmed bib piece wrong side down on a flat surface. Place on neck tie on either side of the top edge, in line with the seam allowance and with the raw ends of the ties. Now lay the bib lining right side down on top. Pin and stitch through all layers, up one side, along the top edge and down the other side, taking care not to catch the length of the neck ties in the stitching. Clip the corners, trim the seams, and press them open. Turn through the right side and press.

Step 8

Now attach the waist ties. With right sides together, pin one waist-tie piece to each end of the front waistband and one to each end of the waistband lining. Stitch, then trim the seams and press them open. Turn in the seam allowances all around, and press. Pin the front and back of both waist ties together. Topstitch along the end and length of one tie, across the waistband, along the length of the other tie and end, and then all the way along the other edge of the ties and the waistband.
Pin rickrack along the top and bottom edge of the gingham bib trim, around the waistband, and along the bottom edge of the skirt. Turn in the ends neatly and stitch in place with matching thread.

Step 9

This apron sewing pattern is excerpted with permission from "Sewing Made Simple: The Definitive Guide to Hand and Machine Sewing" by Tessa Evelegh and published by Chronicle Books.

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  • by j9
    User profile

    I am new to your site and would like to try this pattern. I am not sure where the link is to download the pattern to use?
    Thanks J9

  • by aluvanderelst
    User profile

    What is the "grill" referred to in step 2? It is hard for me to visualize the pieces referred to in each step even with the measurements indicated. I would like to see either photos or drawings showing each piece before they are sewed together.

  • by debra.oropeza.9
    User profile

    I would like to try this pattern, but I wish I could see a picture of the finished piece. Either on a seamstress form, or lying flat. The picture you have does not do a seamstress justice when you can't see the finished product.

    • by craftfoxes
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      craftfoxes Rate this comment 0 0 | Report

      Hi Debra, Great suggestion! We added two images in the last couple of steps to help you get a better look at the apron and how it's assembled. There's a also a link to a video from the publisher about how to attach a ruffle.