Friday, January 17, 2014

DIY Dress-Style Apron

I've always wanted an apron, but somehow I don't think I've ever had one. Actually I do have a rubber apron that's chemical resistant for dyeing with lye and the sorts, but that one is totally not cute, I wanted a cute one. After seeing Emma Watson's Golden Globes dress the desire got even more intense. So that was that, I decided to make my self an adorable dress-inspired apron.


  • A dress or shirt with desirable neck and armhole lines.
  • 1-2 meters of woven fabric, depending how wide it is.
  • Sewing machine
  • Tracing wheel, awl or sharp needle


1. Trace the front bodice of your dress onto a piece of paper from the shoulders, down around the armhole. Use the tracing wheel or a sharp needle to poke through the dress onto the paper along the neckline and waistline. You only have to trace half of the bodice, as both sides of the apron will be symmetrical. Use a straight ruler and a French curve or vary form ruler to smooth out all the lines.
2. Add 1/2" seam allowance around the perimeter of this bodice you have traced on all sides except the center line. The pattern will be "cut on fold" so you won't need to add seam allowance there.

3. Decide how long and wide you want your straps to be, remembering to keep in mind the width of the straps that are already there from your dress pattern that you've created. I made mine 17" long, but looking back I wish I would have added an extra 2-3". Add 1/2" seam allowance around the entire perimeter of the straps. *** If you have enough fabric you can add the straps pattern directly onto the bodice pattern without seams at the shoulders. I didn't have enough fabric for this so I had to do it in two sections.**

4. Create the skirt of your apron by deciding how wide you want the sweep to be (or the width at the bottom of the skirt) and how long you want your skirt to be. I made mine 18" long and 25" wide. As this is a gathered skirt, you can just make one large rectangle with no angled shaping. You'll also have to add an inch of seam allowance along both sides of the skirt and along the hem of the skirt, and 1/2" seam allowance along the waist of the skirt.  
5. If you would like a pocket on your apron, decide how big you want it and if you want it to have sections. I decided to make mine 8" tall and 12" wide with an inch of seam allowance along the top edge, and 1/2" around the three other sides. 

6. Create a long rectangular pattern for the waist tie. I would recommend making this the same width as your straps, just for consistency. I made mine the length of my fabric and 5cm wide. Add 1/2" seam allowance around the perimeter.

7. Once you have all your patterns figured out and seam allowances added, trace and cut them out of fabric. Make sure that you fold the fabric before cutting out the bodice pieces, lining the center front line up with the fold. You will need to cut: 2 bodices, 4 straps (or just 2 bodice/straps if you connected them as in step 3 above), 2 waistbands, 1 skirt, and 1 pocket. Mark the center at the waistline on the bodice pieces, waistband and skirt by fold the pieces in half and making short snips into the fabric at the center point.


1. If your bodice and straps are separate, start by sewing the straps to the shoulder seams. Now you should have two bodices with straps attached. If you did them connected, you can skip this step.
2. Pin the two bodice/strap pieces together right sides facing in. Stitch all around the perimeter at 1/2" seam allowance leaving only the waist seam open. Turn right side out and press. This will take a bit to get just right, but keep pressing until it looks good. Set aside for now.
3. If you chose to have a pocket, iron  all the sides of the pocket in 1/2". Then iron the top side down another 1/2" (turn and turn). Pin onto skirt using the little snip at center waist of the skirt as your guide for placement. Stitch around the pocket, leaving the top edge open. If you wish to have sections in your pocket, add those now too by stitching a horizontal line through your pocket.
4. Using an iron turn and turn the two sides and hem edge of the skirt 1/2" and 1/2". Then stitch using the edge of your presser foot as a guide as shown in the pocket picture above.
5. To gather the top of the skirt, stitch a line across the waist of the skirt using the longest stitch on your sewing machine without back tacking at the ends, just a straight line across about 1 cm from the waist edge leaving long tails of thread at the beginning and end of the stitch. Gently tug on the threads from both sides of the stitch and you'll see the fabric begin to gather. Keep going until the width of the skirt matches the width of the waistline at the bodice. Don't worry about consistent gathers yet, just get it to the right width. 
5. When you've reached the correct width slide a pin in and out of the fabric (as shown in the picture below) on both sides of the gather stitch. Then wrap the thread tails around the pin in a figure 8 motion a couple times until they seem snug. Now you can gently go back and evenly distribute the gathers until it looks good.
6. Set the skirt aside for a second and grab your two waistband pieces. Iron one long edge of both waistband pieces down 1 cm.
7. Sandwich the gathered skirt waist in between the 2 waistband pieces along the non-folded side with right sides together and pin, as shown in the picture. Make sure to line the pieces up at the center notches that you made earlier. Pin the rest of the waistband together as well.
8. Stitch along the end of the paired waistband and then along the top, along the sandwich area, to the other end of the waistband leaving only the folded edge of the waistband untouched. 

9.Turn the waistband end corners right side out and then sandwich and pin the bodice pieces in between the folded edges of the waistband as seen in the picture. (The bodice and the skirt are both clean finished by being sandwiched into the waistband). Ensure again to line up the center notches.
10. Stitch along the top of the folded waistband, using your presser foot as a guide. And Voila! Press and press until it all looks perfect! 

11. If you want your straps to be connected to the waistband like I did, just try it on and pin them in place and stitch em down. Or you can keep them as ties. Or even criss cross them at the back! Follow your heart and do what feels best for you!
So that's that! I finally have an apron, and a super cute one at that, all clean finished inside and out! I hope you find this apron tutorial helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments. 

Thanks for reading! I gotta go cook now, in my snazzy new apron ;)


  1. Thank you so much for this!! You really inspire me and I want to be like you when I'm older. YOU ARE SO COOL!!!!

  2. Thanks for the information and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative!
    Groomers Aprons



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