A few years ago, when Oliver started Blossoms, I noticed all the teachers wore long aprons to protect their clothing, most were a cross between a tunic/dress and an apron. These aprons often had pockets, were free of fiddly ties, covered vast swaths of their bodies, ensuring their clothing stayed clean, and they still had freedom of movement.
When Oliver went to kindergarten, I made him an apron for school. It was cotton print on one side, and denim on the other; one side for painting day, one side for baking day.
I’ve been on the search for a good apron for a while, I’ve got several that I like, but they have ties (which can be pulled), adjustable straps (that slip), and unless I’m planning spending the entire day in the kitchen, I don’t put them on particularly often.
A little while back, JoAnn Fabric had a $1.99 Simplicity pattern sale (or something like that), and I found Simplicity 1133, “Super Jiffy” wrap around beach cover up or tunic and pants. The bold pronouncement of “one pattern piece each, no side seams, no zippers” held great appeal.
I read over the pattern and decided I wanted to make some changes: I wanted it to have pockets, and I wanted it to be reversible.
The pockets were somewhat of a challenge, until I folded some paper around until I figured out what I wanted. I played around with the fabric a bit as well, then I cut some fabric, did some measuring, a lot of pinning, some careful sewing, and I had pockets! I’m rather proud of the pockets, they’re probably my favorite feature of this apron, they’re large enough for my hands, my iphone, or whatever little “treasures” need to be re-homed with minimal fuss.
Reversible was easy enough to do, I made two tunics, one in denim (because it is sturdy) and one in a fabulous cotton print (because, fabulous). The 2 yards of denim was more than enough, I have a nearly a yard and a half extra for other projects.
The two yard of cotton print was slightly problematic, it was not as wide as the denim, and it had a distinct direction the fabric should go (it not wide enough to be folded in half with the print going the correct direction). I cut the 2 yards in half (instead of folding it), and sewed it back together, then I folded the fabric along the newly created seam, and cut the pattern. I did not try and match the pattern perfectly — initially I did, but laying it out there was a 4+ inch difference and I wouldn’t have room for the pattern pieces, so I embraced the fabulous print and simply went for it. There is a seam, I’m okay with that.
After I’d made the tunics to the pattern (including the bust and side darts), I pinned the straps into place and tried it on. I wasn’t thrilled with the fit, it was very slim, and didn’t leave much room to layer clothing under it — it was a swim suit cover-up/tunic after all. To give myself a bit more wiggle-room, and to be able to layer it better, I modified the straps, adding about 4″.
I did away with the idea of buttons, the placing with the extra length was just too awkward, and the extra length made it possible to take it on and off with out needing to unpin the straps. I don’t have many/any photos of this process, other than a few unflattering, poorly lit bathroom selfies – this was before I put the bias tape on, and finished the edges.
I went about stay-stitching everything into place before putting on the final bias tape, and then realized I’d bought single fold bias tape, not double fold bias tape, so my project was on hold until I could get the correct variety. To pass the time, I organized my sewing drawers and made a needle wallet, and pin cushion.
The bias tape arrived and while it was a bit more orange than I’d intended (the hazard of ordering online), it was double fold and I had enough of it. The boys took over the dining room table for their lego building, so I took over the train table for my bias tape pinning. I started with the long straight stretches first, the sides and bottom. The little one “helped” with some of the pinning.
Once the long edges were pinned, I sewed them mostly into place, then I moved on to the curvier parts. I pinned and sewed in sections, working on one arm strap at a time. Bias tape feels like it takes forever to sew properly: pin it down, sew it, fold it over, pin it some more, sew some more.
Eventually all the pinning, sewing, pinning, folding, pinning, sewing was done and I had a finished reversible tunic/apron with pockets! Over all, I am happy with the end results, I hope it holds up well in the long run.