Introduction: Box Pleat Apron
This retro style apron has a fitted waist and a full skirt. It will keep you from getting cake batter all over your child-bearing hips, while also making you look spunkily elegant. It has box pleats at the waist, which look neat and tidy, and which spare you from having to even out a gather. (I really don't like evening out gathers.)
1 yard of 60 in wide cotton print fabric
1 package double fold bias binding (or make your own)
2 different kinds of pins. I use long yellow-headed quilting pins and regular straight pins. I doesn't really matter as long as you can tell then apart. You could even just stick some tape to the head of some.
measuring tape or ruler
Step 1: Cut the Fabric
Cut one piece 60 x 17 inches. (This will be the whole width of your fabric. Note: if you want to use a smaller width fabric, you will need to buy more yardage and seam two pieces together to make 60 inches.
Draw bib pattern:
On a piece of large tracing paper (or kraft paper or cut open paper grocery sacks), draw a link 14 inches long. At one end of this line, draw a 12 inch perpendicular line straight up. At the top of the 12 inch line (point A), draw a 4 inch line parallel to the 14 inch line. Mark a dot 2 inches above the beginning of the 14 inch line--this is point C. From point C, draw a 8 inch long line that is parallel to the 14 inch line. Draw a smooth curve connecting the 8 inch line and the 4 inch line. Cut out pattern. Place the 12 inch line on the center fold of your fabric and cut out your bib.
Cut one strip 2.5 inches by the width of your fabric. This will be the neck ties.
For the waist ties, cut four 2.5 inch strips that at least 18 inches long. The longer the ties, the bigger the waist they can tie around. You make want to use fabric that matches your binding here, or maybe you want to skip the fabric ties all together and use ribbon or something else instead.
Step 2: Mark the Box Pleats
Box pleats fold fabric on top if itself and then back away again. For a given length, box pleats use three times as much fabric.
We are going to first mark the fabric with pins, and then pin the pleats.
Assemble our two different looking groups of pins. We'll call them pin A and pin B. For me, pin A has a big plastic yellow head.
Lay out your 60 x 17 inch piece of fabric. Stick a pin A right in the middle of the 60 inches. Mark the fabric with a pin B stuck at 3 inches from both sides of pin A. This is your basic box pleat sequence: pin B, pin A, pin B. Repeat this pinning sequence 4 times--twice on each side of the center pins.
Step 3: Pin the Box Pleats
Now fold the fabric to make the actual pleats:
Start at the middle. Fold the left pin B to pin A (see photo). Then remove pin B and stick it through all three newly folded layers. Repeat with the right pin B. Repeat this folding with the four remaining pin sets.
Press the pleats so that the creases are sharp. I pressed about halfway down the 17 inches.
Step 4: Attach Bib to Skirt
Pin the bib to the skirt, right sides facing and matching centers. If either one is wider than the other, trim the edges. Stitch together using a half-inch seam allowance. Press the seam allowance up.
Turn under a quarter inch seam on both of the apron sides.
Step 5: Add Bias Binding and Ties
Make neck ties:
Fold the long, 2.5 inch fabric strip in half the long skinny way. Stitch along long edge using a quarter inch seam. Turn the tube right side out and cut it in half.
Make side ties:
Line up two 18 x 2.5 inch strips on top of each other, right sides facing. Stitch along both long sides and one short side using a quarter inch seam. Turn right side out. Repeat with remaining strips.
Press all strips flat and square.
Stitch side ties to apron sides
Attach bias binding:
Open up the double fold and slide the raw top edge of the bib into the binding. Pin in place. Pin binding to the top of the bib and the bottom of the skirt, tucking in the raw binding ends. Tuck the neck straps under the binding at the corners on the wrong side of the bib. Topstitch the binding close to the edge to catch all layers.