I found this tutorial to draft your own pattern for an apron dress, and decided to go for it.
Here’s my current apron situation. As you can see, it’s been well used. I was also looking forward to going for a style that does not tie around the waist.
I followed the instructions for drafting the pattern. They were good. I had a few moments of uncertainty, but it went fairly smoothly.
Making notes to myself on the pattern.
You can see that I used the finest pattern paper available. (It was great the Christmas wrapping paper was printed with grids on the obverse.)
I hit two Goodwill stores first to look for material before going to an official fabric store. I found the blue material at my neighborhood Goodwill. It’s an Ikea duvet cover. I paid $7.99. Old duvet covers are a great source of material for household products. The other pattern is officially fabric and it came from the superstore Goodwill on Grand. I paid $9.99 for several yards.
Buying used (really unused) fabric at thrift stores is a great way to cut costs. This amount of material would have run me probably $50–$60 at at fabric store. In the Portland Goodwill system, they seem to direct all fabric yardage to the superstores, so that’s the place to go. But I’ve made things from tablecloths, sheets and now duvet covers, all of which are available at my neighborhood Goodwill store.
When I turned the duvet cover inside out to cut it apart, I found a fun surprise: a bonus sock.
One of the downsides of drafting your own pattern is that you have to figure the amount of material you need and the amount of notions. I made a mistake with the bias tape and only bought enough for one project. Bias tape, by the way cost me about $10.00, so more than costs for either material.
I decided that I had enough material of the duvet cover to cut two. Then I could sew the two sides wrong sides together and flip them, eliminating the need for bias tape. This also gave me a thicker apron, which I thought would be good.
it turned out that I didn’t have enough material for two complete cutouts, but I cut individual right side/left side pieces for the backing side and sewed them together. Sewing provides many opportunities to #problemsolve.
Here you can see where I’ve joined the right and left sides of the backing and that I managed to remember to add in the seam allowance when cutting.
I really liked the technique used here of adding the bias tape to the edge and then folding it over and using a twin needle stitch on the top. (Watch the video for a visual explanation as words are failing me here.) It gave me a completed edge, took less time than if I had used the bias tape as it is usually used, and took much less time than hemming all those seams would have. (I hate turning up edges.)
Sentinel, as he always does with sewing projects, helped.
For the duvet cover, I twin stitched along the top on the front side.
The finished project version one.
I made a mistake in drafting the pattern. The woman who designed the pattern is a small woman. I assumed the three-inch neckline (six inches when doubled) was going to be too small for me, so I switched it to a four-inch neckline (eight inches when doubled.) I was wrong in that thought, so there is a lot of gaping there.
Also, I haven’t pattern drafted enough to understand how gentle curves work, so this apron rides up in the front, though not in a way that keeps me from using it.
The apron takes a little concentration to get put it on (there are a lot of places your arms can go) and I have to manually adjust the back to overlap like it’s supposed to, but I really like the wrapping effect.
For this one, I fixed the riding up in the front situation.
The back isn’t as great here, which might have to do with me not having a photo assistant who is cognizant that one of his jobs is adjusting things I can’t see before he takes the picture.
Overall, I spent about thirty dollars, and maybe six hours (including driving around looking for material) and I got two aprons in fun patterns, plus got to muck about with some low-stakes pattern drafting.
I declare this project a win.