Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Jeans Apron Tutorial

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I am always losing my rotary cutter (and other sewing tools) under fabric, so I decided it was time to make an apron with pockets.  This way I can keep my tools on me at all times.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I figured the quickest easiest way would be to use some old jeans as they already have pockets.  This is how I made my new apron.
First I hunted through my old jeans pile (I always keep worn out jeans hoping to up cycle one day).  I then cut the legs off. 

Next I cut off the front panel leaving 1/2inch from the seams on both the left and right, then
trimmed the bottom to straighten.

From the back part of the jeans that were cut off, I cut out a square around each pocket leaving 1inch around the pockets.  At this point I realised that I should have ironed the denim first (as you can most likely tell from the photos). 

I laid the pieces out flat and lined up the pocket pieces under the front panel and in line with the sides, leaving a space in between.  I then took another photo to show how to make the pocket panel.

As you can see, there is a space between the two pockets.  I like pockets and I wanted to fill this space with another.  Now I am going to show you my super proffesional pattern making skills (not really), so that you can make the centre pocket.  Slide a piece of paper under the pieces and draw lines around the empty space.  Use a ruler to add 1/2inch (seam allowance) to the left and right sides of the lines.  Measure an inch down from the top and rule a line across the width.  This is now the pattern for the centre pocket, so go ahead and cut out along the outer lines.

Cut off a piece from one of the jeans legs, making sure it is larger than your pattern. Leave the denim doubled, pin on your pattern the and cut out.  You will now have two pieces.  Leave the pins in and fold back the pattern and one layer of denim along the extra line you ruled.  Now cut that small 1inch section off of the second layer of denim.  This has now become the outer pocket piece.

After ironing all three pocket pieces, I folded the top edge of the centre outer pocket down twice and top stitched it with two rows for strength.    Then I placed this piece on top of the slightly longer piece, both with right sides up, and used a narrow seam to sew along three edges (not the top as this will be the opening).

Next up I sewed all three pockets together using a 1/2inch seam, and ironed seams to one side.  Top stitching to hold seams down finished that part off nicely.

Once the pocket panel was complete, I pinned it together with the top panel and sewed them together in the same way as the last step.

At this stage I decide to cut the band off so I could add my own waistband using a different fabric.  Then my second thought was to line the apron with the same fabric, so I decided to make it reversable.

I visited my fabric stash (down the hall, around the corner, further down the hall and into my sewing room), because I use the dining table for cutting, and picked out a beautiful piece by Westminster.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I used my sewn together denim piece as a pattern to cut a lining piece the same size and shape.
Because I love this print so much, I thought it would make a lovely pleated addition to the bottom of the apron, so I cut a 4inch strip along the width of the fabric.  Then I cut another two 4inch strips for the waistband and ties.

After a little more thought (and another visit to the sewing room to look at co-ordinating fabric), I came to the realization that I wouldn't be happy without pockets on the reverse side.  So much for keeping it simple!  This time I folded the denim panel in halves along the seam and used it as a pattern to cut two pieces for pockets (the same size as the original denim pocket panel), and sewed them right sides together along the top and both sides with 1/4inch seam.  I then turned it through to the right side and pressed.  I top stitched along the top edge which later became the openeing of three pockets for the reverse side.  I then sewed up the long opening with a narrow seam.
Now you may be thinking "what happened to the bottom pleated idea?"  Well I'm glad you asked because I am now going to tell you how to make it.  Take one of those 4inch strips and fold in halves with right sides together so that it is only half the length.  With a narrow seam, sew along one long side and the open short side, turn through and press.  Close the long opening with a narrow seam.  To make the pleats, pin little folds along the recently closed long edge until this piece is 1inch shorter than the bottom width of the denim panel.  Sew along the length of the pinned edge to hold the pleats in place and remove pins.
I forgot to take photos for the putting it all together part, so I hope I don't lose you here (that's if I haven't already). goes!
First lay the lining piece, with the right side up, on a flat surface.  Now place the long pocket piece on top with raw edges aligned along the bottom edge of the lining piece.  Pin the raw edges together and use a narrow seam to join,then take out the pins.  Next, lay the pleated piece on top and pin the pleat edge to the one you have just sewn, leaving a space of 1/2inch at both ends.  Sew again through all three layers with a narrow seam and once again remove the pins.  Are you still with me?  I hope so!  Okay, now the denim layer goes on top right side down.  You should have the lining fabric on the bottom, right side up and the denim on top with right side down.  The rest of it should all be in the middle.  Double check, and if you have it all in the correct order, pin together along the raw edges and sew with a 1/2inch seam.  Remove the pins and pin together each side, leaving the top open to turn through once sewn.  Use 1/2inch seams again to join each side.  Turn through and iron.  Hopefully it is all looking great!  Top stitch along all four sides.  

Turn the denim side to the top and stitch in the ditch of the two seams between the three pockets.  This creates three pockets on the reverse side.  Turn it over and check it out!
Lastly, you will need a waistband with ties (unless you know of some other way to keep the apron on).  Take the last two 4inch strips and join together to make one longer strip.  Press seam open.  Fold 1/4inch in along the length of both edges and press to hold.  Now fold the strip in halves along the length and press that too.  Pin this strip to the top of your apron so that the ironed fold sits along the top edges and there is fabric on both front and back of the apron.  Also, make sure there is enough hanging from each side to use as ties (I really wish I had taken more photos).  Top stitch to attach to the apron keeping the 1/4inch folds tucked in so that no raw edges escape.  Top stitch along the length of the ties turning in the raw edges at the ends. 
Wow, that was a lot to think about, I hope it is not too hard to understand!  Teaching is so much easier to do in person with props and practicles.  Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.  Thankyou so much for sticking with me throughout this tutorial and I hope you love your new apron.