Confession: I cannot teach art without an apron on. There's a reason why certain professions have a uniform. Certain professions require appropriate clothing for safety and/or for identification purposes. I don't want to wear a complete uniform every day like my students do, but putting on my apron is like my uniform. It automatically puts me in a "ready-to-work" frame of mind, it protects my nice school-appropriate clothing (why can't art teachers where jeans and a t-shirt all the time????), and most importantly it gives me a place to put my hands and the random markers, pencils, erasers, glue stick, scissors, etc that I either need for demonstration or that kids pick up off the floor and hand to me. The previous art teacher at my school bequeathed me a lovely brushed cotton canvas apron in purple that I LOVE. Somehow he left it to me in near-pristine condition. I am a much messier art teacher than he, and after 2 years the bib has become so encrusted with paint and glue that I feel like I can't walk out of my room for fear they'll think some hobo got into the building.
Needless to say, it's time for a new one. Then this past week, Cassie Stephens known for "What the Art Teacher Wore" suggested an apron sew-along project on our facebook art teacher group, and I felt inspired to just jump and do it. Another teacher shared a pattern for a crossover pinny style apron that I've been drooling over- I must have 5 different versions of it on my "If Wishes were Horses" board on Pinterest. But I'm an impatient person sometimes. I couldn't wait for Cassie's tutorial. I couldn't wait for the internet at Fleisher to work properly enough for me to find the pattern that had been shared. And I certainly couldn't wait to make a paper pattern first... who needs a pattern? I completed this project in the studios at Fleisher Art Memorial over the course of an hour and a half while my daughter attended their teen lounge.
Here you go. This is how to make a crossover pinny pattern based on estimated measurements and rectangles.
- Select a heavyweight cotton, linen, or denim. Those cute patterned quilt cottons are too thin for a sturdy, protective apron. Make sure you have a piece wide enough to wrap around your chest from front to meet in back. The piece should be long enough to stretch about from your shoulder to your knee.
- Cut about a 6-8 inch strip off the top of your fabric. This will become the straps.
- fold strip in half along the length, then fold raw edges in toward the center (like double folded bias tape). Sew along the open edge.
|topstitch strap for studiness|
- If desired, topstitch along the edge of the center fold as well so your long strip has 2 parallel lines of stitching down either side about 1/8 of an inch from edge.
|1 long one becomes 2 shorter ones|
- Cut the long strap in half to make 2 shorter straps. You may need to cut more off later to make sure they are the correct length. It's just easier to sew it as one long one first.
|hem the big rectangular|
- Next we finish off the edges of the big rectangle which will make the apron body. Turn raw edges under about 1 inch and turn under again. I like to use my finger as a guage. From fingertip to first knuckle is about an inch
|the impatient person's ruler|
- Turn one edge and stitch down about 1/8 inch from turned edge. I did the 2 selvedge sides first, then the top and bottom hems.
- Once all 4 edges are hemmed, topstitch around outer edge of entire rectangle about 1/8 inch from edge.
|wrap around to fit straps|
- Once edges are hemmed it's time to attach straps. Wrap rectangle around yourself so edges meet at your spine. It might help to have someone help you hold that there.
|finding strap locations|
- Find and mark the points on the front where you would like to have your straps attached. I like mine about 4-5 inches from center, but they could be farther apart if desired.
- It's a good idea to doublecheck your symmetry. Fold fabric in half and make sure your 2 strap points match and are equidistant from the center fold.
|attach straps on front|
- Fold one strap end up about inch and line up end on back side of hem on top edge of fabric (important to remember if your fabric has a directional pattern!). The folded-under end should be hidden once sewn. Start at one edge and sew a square with an X inside, following previous stitching if possible,
|measure strap and attach to opposite back corner|
- Check your fit. Have someone help you if possible. Wrap apron around you again, Take left strap over your shoulder and cross to right corner and pin. If it's too long cut it shorter, make sure both straps are cut to the same length. Make sure strap doesn't get twisted. Fold under end and sew to corner like before.
- Match right strap to back left corner. fold under edge and attach as before. Try it on! Your pinny might be done!! Or not...
|Mine needed a dart|
- My pinny felt too bulky under the arms so I decided to make a dart. I came in an inch and angled to fold so it would end just under the bust. I went vertically down the fold, but it could have been angled in towards the bust instead for a better fit. I marked the angle and sewed along the line on both sides of my pinny. The seam could be trimmed and ironed flat, or topstitched to one side.
|missing something important|
- Try it on and see where you'd like your pockets to go
I think the proportions would be better on me with wider straps....
- You'll need some extra fabric for pockets, either the same or contrasting fabric. Once I ripped back pockets off my dad's worn-out jeans to make pockets for an apron. You could make 2 separate square pockets. I went for one long rectangle pouch.
- Turn edges under about 1/2 inch and stitch down, just like when you hemmed the big rectangle apron piece. But don't topstitch the edges this time. The topstitching will be how the pocket is attached to the apron.
|Pins needed this time!!!!!|
- Doublecheck pocket placement and pin corners and centers of sides. Start at a top corner and stitch down side, across bottom and up side. At the corners it's good to do some extra backstitching. To turn the wide pouch into 2 pockets just sew a line up the center of the pouch.
I've still got about 2 yards of this fabric left for further exploration. I don't like the bulk under the arm because of the very straight rectangular edge across the top. This style might hang better on a less curvy person than me. I also think wider straps would look better. I'm going to see what Cassie comes up with and maybe make a second one, or try the more curved patterns I've seen elsewhere. A pattern that dips down in an arm scye might work better for me. Also, having separate front and back pieces might be better, as a side seam would allow for some A-line shaping for a more gracefully-hanging apron.
At least I've got a new apron. Maybe now I'll feel in the mood for working on next year's curriculum mapping....