This is my entry for the Sew Useful contest:
Step 1: Getting Started!
Please read through all the instructions before you start. I have written very detailed directions, so the beginning sewer will have every step spelled out.
This is a basic design. Just pick two coordinating towels. Depending on your towel's design, you can add all sorts of creative touches... buttons, fabric yo-yos, ruffles and just about what ever you want. But it must be washable.
To begin, choose your two towels. They should measure approximately 26 inches by 16 inches, give or take a couple of inches. What is important at this point is to PRE-WASH your towels. Most new towels will shrink an inch or two when first washed. Other supplies are:
1. 3 yards 1&1/2 inch wide ribbon, or trim, for the sashes.
2. Enough trim, or ric-rac, to go across the top of your towel, approximately 16 to 18 inches.
3. 23 to 24 inches of 1 inch wide trim or ribbon to make the neck loop. Here you could also have two longer pieces that you tie in back of your neck, it is your choice.
4. Two buttons for the top corners as an accent.
5. Matching thread.
If you do sew, you probably have all the notions and trims that you need, already.
NOTE: All hemmed edges should be facing the inside, or "wrong" side of the apron.
Step 2: Cutting
Then take the towel that you will be using for the side panels, fold it in half shortways, and press the fold so you will have a guideline to cut by. Then cut it in half on that foldline. You will end up with two pieces the size of the plaid towel in Picture2 (approximately 16 inches by 13 inches).
On the RAW edge be sure to mark (with a pin) the top right and the top left so your designs will be matching when you apply the side panel to the center towel. See box in Picture2.
Step 3: Construction
Take one piece and square it up in the left corner of your right side panel. Sew ribbon down 1/8 inch from edge. See Picture1.
When you come to the corner of the towel with the hem, see Picture 2, pivot and continue sewing to bottom edge of the ribbon. Pivot again and sew back to the raw edge where you started.
Picture3 shows the ribbon end. To finish it, simply turn the raw edge under once and then over on itself again and sew 1/8 inch from edge to finish.
Repeat the same for the left side panel.
Step 4: Top of Apron
Now sew your trim across the top of the center apron panels shown in Picture2
Next, fold down the corners of your apron (to the wrong side) three inches as shown in Picture 3. Take your neck ribbon and insert it into the corner until the raw edge is covered over by the corner flap. See picture 4. Start sewing the flap down by stitching over the trim stitching (backstitch at the start), when you come to the point, pivot and stitch to the edge and then backstitch a couple of stitches. Repeat for the other side.
To secure the neck ribbon, top stitch over the trim stitching, backstitching a couple of stitches at the beginning and end. Repeat for other side. Picture 5.
If you added longer ribbons for ties, finish the ends just like you did for the sash ties.
I added a snap to the neck loop because I felt the apron hung too low, Picture6. If you need to shorten it you could do the same, or take a little tuck in the ribbon. If you use the snap, just follow the directions on the snap package.
At this point you can add the button trim to the corners. Picture 7.
Step 5: Attatching Side Panels
Now align the raw edge of your right side panel to the bottom of your center panel, placing "right" sides together, see Picture 2. Pin along the edge, from the bottom to the top.
Next stitch from bottom to top, 1/4 inch from the edge, backstitching at the beginning and end. Press the seams to the outside and top stitch 1/8 inch from the seam line as in Picture 3.
Repeat for the left side.