How to Sew a Retro-Style Half Apron with Lightweight Cotton Twill

JAN 10, 2017 updated May 19, 2021

We are over the moon about the launch of Lightweight Cotton Twill, and we knew just what we wanted to make with it: aprons with jumbo pockets and pretty gathers. Well that, and about a zillion other things! This half apron is sure to help you out with all your 2017 goals from cooking more, crafting more, and sewing all the things. Read along as we walk you through each step of this simple sewing project using Lightweight Cotton Twill. 

Gather your materials

  • a yard of your main fabric Lightweight Cotton Twill (58 inches wide)
  • a yard of coordinating pocket fabric
  • ties/waist band fabric (I cut this from the yard of my main fabric)
  • thread
  • pins
  • scissors or rotary blade
  • disappearing ink sewing marker
  • seam guide
  • clear ruler
  • cutting mat
Tomato Pasta, Tomato Pasta Floral, and Tomato Pasta Tomatoes designs by zoe_ingram

Lightweight Cotton Twill is 100% cotton with a light, lovely texture that’s sturdy enough to hold up in the kitchen. We recommend washing fabric first to increase softness and remove any shrinkage.

Step 1: Cut your fabrics

Begin by trimming the white selvedge edges off all fabrics.

Cut down each of your fabric pieces. You will end up with 5 separate pieces. For the main apron piece, cut one 19″ x 31″ of fabric, making sure that the design elements are oriented across the width. For the pocket, cut one 10.5″ x 31″ piece. For the waist band and ties, cut two 31″ x 4″ pieces, and one 19″ x 4″ piece.

Step 2: Sewing your apron

Grab your main apron piece, and create a 1/2 inch double hem on the bottom and two short sides. Use your seam guide to measure half an inch, fold. Then fold over another half inch so that the right side of the fabric is facing up and you have a full inch of fabric folded into your hem.

Press the hem then pin in place.

Each hem should measure half an inch.

Step 3: Sew and attach the pocket

Now, grab your pocket fabric and create a 1″ double hem along just the top edge as shown below.

Pin your hem, then edge stitch in place.

Align the bottom of your pocket edge with the bottom of your main fabric edge. Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then press open the seam.

Fold the pocket up and over the main apron fabric. Pin and sew up along the sides.

Step 4: Create your pocket segments

After you’ve flipped the pocket fabric up and over your main apron fabric and stitched it in place along the sides, draw two vertical lines, nine inches from either edge of your apron using your water erasable marker and a clear ruler.

Sew down each line with a straight stitch, using a neat lock stitch at the top and bottom. If your machine does not have a lock stitch feature, a carefully placed backstitch will do the trick. These segments will create handy pockets in your apron.

Step 5: Gather the top edge of the apron

Create two lines of long basting stitches along the top edge of your main apron fabric for gathering. Make sure the two lines of gathering stitches are within the top half inch of your fabric. Be sure to leave long thread tails at both ends for pulling the gathers.

Gather the top of your main apron fabric until the width has gone from 31″ down to 18″ precisely.

Step 5: Sewing the waist band and ties

Find the waistband and tie strips. Place one 31″ strip on either end of the 19″ strip, matching the 4″ ends. The strips are right sides together. Pin in place.

Stitch together, using a half inch seam allowance. Press the seams open. You now have one continuous strip 4″ x 79″.

Fold this strip in half, right sides together (so it is now 2″ x 79″). Pin in place from each vertical seam out to the end of each tie. The middle 18″ waistband section should be left un-pinned.

Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, stitch each tie. To do this, you will start at the waistband/tie seam, stitch towards the end of the tie, pivot at corner, and stitch across the end to finish. Remember, this leaves the center 18″ waistband section open.

Turn the ties right side out through the open waistband section. Fold under the raw edges of the waistband end ¼”, press and stitch in place to secure your edge. Warning: I found this to be the most time consuming part, but using tweezers and a chop stick helped tremendously! Press both ties flat.

Step 6: Attach the waist band and ties to the main apron

Match the gathered top edge of the apron panel right sides together with the front layer of the waistband opening. Pin together. The gathered edge should be a perfect fit within the 18″ opening of the waistband. If it isn’t, loosen or tighten the gathers until it fits exactly.

Stitch across the top edge, making sure your seam is below your rows of gathering stitches.

Fold over the top of your waist band fabric to conceal the gathering stitches. Pin in place then edge stitch the seam.

Voila! Tie it in the front like me, or make a big ol’ bow in the back.

Time to take on the kitchen (or the craft room–this apron works for both)! Stuff all the things inside those jumbo pockets of yours. I’m mixing up some delicious imaginary brownie batter in that there bowl. Tea towel shown features this design by Pennycandy and was also made with yummy new Lightweight Cotton Twill.

You just saw the top half of my nana’s coveted Christmas Eve fish sauce recipe. Consider yourself very, very lucky.

Happy making!

Theresa

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  • Your instructions say to hem the bottom of the main fabric, but then show the raw edge with the bottom of the pocket. Which way should it be done?

    • Hi Eliza,
      We apologize for the confusion! We recommend hemming the two sides and bottom of the apron. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask! -Meredith from Spoonflower

      • Ellen Cunningham

        You did not tell people to turn a hem for the waistband. You images did show it. Also image with the turn the pocket up are confusing.
        If you leave the end of your strings open you can use a safety pin to turn them. Way easier.15 min or less for both.

        • Hi Ellen,

          Thanks so much for your feedback and sharing your alternative method for creating the waistband. We love how there are so many ways you can achieve the same look and this is the method Theresa has chosen for this project. We’ve updated the instructions to include the step about hemming the end of the waistband.

          Take care!
          Amy
          Spoonflower

  • Is it possible to give us measurement for children’s sizes (maybe something for a toddler and one for a grade school child?) This would be adorable as a mother daughter duo.