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September 27, 2011

Retro Ruffled Apron – A Tuesday Tutorial – Part 1

By Andrea

I don’t know about the rest of you readers out there, but I really have grown to love aprons.  I wear a lot of black, and I bake a lot – which used to end in a flour-y mess for my poor outfit a lot of the time.  Enter the apron, outfit saver!  I can understand why, back in the day, the happy housewife would usually have several aprons, often to match her outfits!  With the revival of all things vintage over the last few years, it’s become pretty easy to find vintage-inspired aprons to buy online.  However, it’s also super easy to make your own!  I am going to show you how to make a retro ruffled apron, and I’ll also give you some suggestions to customize it to make it truly your own!  Let’s get started.  You’ll need:


Two fabrics: 1-1/8 yd of a print, and 3/4 yd of a solid.  Note – by no means do you have to use two different fabrics – feel free to use only one if you prefer, just make sure you get additional yardage.

You’ll also need a tape measure, ruler, and something to mark on your fabric with (I am using tailor’s chalk).  If you have a rotary cutter and mat, now’s the time to bust those out, too.  Not pictured: scissors, but you’ll need those as well.

Lay out your print.  You are going to need to mark two large rectangles, both 19″ x 29″. Get those marked on your fabric, and cut them out.  Take one of those rectangles, and cut it in half, so that you have two that are 14.5″ x 19″.  Place these two rectangles wrong sides together.  Now, we’re going to round the corners.

You’re going to want to find something with a round edge to trace, unless you’re awesome at drawing circles!  I am not, so I grabbed a dinner plate.  Place the round item on the corner, and trace around it.  Cut off  the area that you’ve traced.  You should end up with something that looks like this:

Now you can put these pieces aside.  Grab your second fabric.  You’re going to need to cut two pieces that are 7-1/4″ x 39″.  You’re also going to need to cut some 2-1/2″ strips for your ruffle.  I would suggest cutting three or four 2-1/2″ strips that are the full width of your fabric, depending on how ruffly you want things to be. If you have a rotary cutter and mat, this is when you’d want to use them.

Time to start sewing!  Grab your ruffle strips and join them together.  You will end up with a really, REALLY long 2-1/2″ wide strip.  Now, we’re going to bust out some of the attachments that I talked about in my vintage attachments post.  Hey, if you’ve got them, why not use them, right?  First off, we’re going to bust out the rolled hem foot, and do a rolled hem all along the one edgeof your really long strip.  Make sure you’ve got lots of bobbin thread before you start!

Now, you may notice that I serged the edge of my fabric first.  This is 100% optional, and something that I just prefer to do.  the rolled hem foot is going to make a nice, narrow, fully enclosed hem, so it’s really not something that you have to do at all.  If you don’t have a rolled hem foot, just press under a narrow hem, and stitch that.

After you’ve finished that, it’s time to break out the ruffler!  If you’re not familiar with your ruffler, you may want to do a test piece first.  These ruffler feet can really super gather your fabric, and it may be a lot more than you want it to be gathered.  Your strip when it’s done needs to be long enough to go around the sides and the bottom of your apron, so keep that in mind when you’re gathering.  You want it to look ruffly, but not TOO ruffly.

Now, you’re going to put your ruffle aside for a bit.  We’re going to sew the main apron panel.  Place your panels that you cut earlier right sides together, sewing along the straight 19″ sides.  Once you’re done that, you will want to finish these seams in some manner.  I serged, but you can also use pinking shears, zig zag, whatever floats your boat, really.  Press these seams.

That’s all for now, come back in two weeks, when we will attach the ruffle and the straps and finish your apron! The fabrics I used are available on my website, Sew What? Fabrics.  If anyone has any questions, please post them in the comments, and I will be glad to answer.  I would also love to hear about any cool aprons that you may have some across!

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8 Responses to Retro Ruffled Apron – A Tuesday Tutorial – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Retro Ruffled Apron on No Pattern Required! — Sew What?

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    September 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Ooohhhh, can’t wait to see that finished apron Andrea – I know it will look awesome! And can anything ever have TOO many ruffles!?! 😉

    One of my favorite vintage aprons that I have I found at a thrift. It is a Christmas themed apron done in white with red flocked poinsettias all over it. I found it for $1!

  3. Andrea Reply

    September 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Sara – I completely agree, there’s no such thing as too many ruffles! Wow, your apron sounds like it was a total score!

  4. Propagatrix Reply

    September 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Adorable fabric!

    My own solution for keeping clothes neat in the kitchen: I cook wearing a lab coat.

  5. Andrea Reply

    September 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks, Propagatrix! Smart idea for the lab coat, too! It’s really not unlike the smock-style aprons that were popular in the 1940s and before.

  6. Pingback: Retro Ruffled Apron – A Tuesday Tutorial – Part 2 | No Pattern Required

  7. Pingback: Check out part two of my Retro Ruffled Apron tutorial @ No Pattern Required! — Sew What?

  8. Pingback: Vintage Patterns – Some of My Favourites | No Pattern Required

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