Retro Style Apron




About: I am not a professional baker, chef, artist or seamstress. Everything post on here of how to's may not be the easiest, prettiest or most logical but it is the way I personally have done them. I'm sure my ins...

As my profile states, I'm no pro at sewing or giving direction so please bare with me! Today I made this "retro style" apron. I had found this adorable shale fabric and wanted to make an apron, but all the patterns were not quite what I was looking for. I decided to wing it and create as I went. This took me about two and a half hours to make, keeping in mind that I was figuring things out as I went and trying to get photos as well, I can't imagine it will take you this long to recreate.

The things you will need :

- a sewing machine

- chalk

- stick pins

- an iron

- scissors

- a pencil or other slightly pointy object

- two pieces of broad cloth ( I used a patterned one and a solid colour )

- thread to compliment or blend in with your fabrics

- something round to draw optional whale shape ( I used a cat food can )

- a towel or ironing board

- measuring tape or ruler

Step 1: Measuring the Length and With of Your Apron

I didn't bother making a paper pattern for this apron as it is such a simple shape one isn't really needed. This was my personal opinion, you could always make one yourself especially if you plan on making more than one.

I wanted my apron to only tie around my waist and not my neck, I was calling it a half apron for lack of a better word. I wanted it to flare out slightly at the bottom so cut a piece of fabric that was 19'' in length, 17" on one end and 23' on the other end. if you are using a fabric that has a print that will matter what way it goes, like mine, the "top" is the more narrow end. after I cut out my shape I rounded the corners slightly, this was for aesthetics only. Looking back, I wish I had rounded the entire bottom more, but perhaps learn from my mistakes.

Step 2: Cutting the Trim and Tie Straps

For the trim and tie pieces I used a dark fabric as close to the whales as I could get. Whatever fabric you used for the main piece, try to find something that mimics a colour in your pattern. I like using a solid colour, you don't need to, but keep in mind that when you are working with patterns less is usually more.

For my trim I cut multiple strips of fabric 3" thick, I had to sew them until they reached about 160". This was only a guess at how much I needed, I wanted to be safe than sorry. It's a good thing, because I used almost all of it. I folded my grey fabric into quarters to make the cutting easier, having everything folded up meant less cutting and more uniform pieces.

I wanted the band around my waist and the ties to be thicker, I cut this at 6" because I knew I would be folding it in half and also needing some for a seam allowance. For figuring out how long I needed it, I took my measuring tape and wrapped it around my waist and tied it. I added some extra inches onto this measurement so I could make a nice bow in the back when it was done. All of these longer pieces will have to be made by sewing lengths together. While I was in the process of cutting I also cut the ends of my waist piece on an angle. One again, this was for aesthetics only. Chalk is my tool of choice for mapping things out on fabric, it shows up well and easily brushes or washes off.

Step 3: Cutting Out Your Whale

The most option step is this one. I thought it would be cute to have a large cut out of a whale using my solid colour. Depending on your pattern you could cut out another shape. I also thought this added to the retro feel, kind of like a poodle skirt decal.

I used a cat food can to get the circle and then traced out the rest of a whale shape. Cut it out and you're done cutting!

Step 4: Sewing the Ties for Your Waist

As you could see before, my fabric desperately needed an ironing. I was avoiding using it because of how hot my apartment already is, but I bit the bullet and busted it out.

As I said to get a piece of fabric long enough to tie around my waist I had to sew two together. This seam down the middle will help us in the future when we need to sew it evenly onto our apron. I used my iron and pressed my long tie down the middle lengthwise. This left me with one long piece and the angled cuts on either end.

I sewed all around the edges of the tie minus the folded side because it wasn't needed. Be sure to leave a small opening somewhere on your tie when you are sewing because this allows you to turn everything inside out. Once sewn and inside out I used my pencil to really make sure all my seams were laying flat and to push out the corners of the angled ends. After this I ironed everything flat again and top stitched the entire way around.

Step 5: Sewing on Your Whale

To sew on my whale I just pinned it down where I wanted and used a zigzag stitch around the perimeter. I wish I had used used an iron on adhesive but I didn't think about that at the time.

Step 6: Measuring and Sewing the Two Pleats at the Top

I wanted two pleats and the top of apron, I like the way they look and it gave a bit more shape. to do this I found the middle of my apron top, then measured 2 inches of either side of the middle. I put a stick pin in each of these three spots. I then measured 2 inches again on either side of our outer pins. There was then 5 pins, match the to outer left pins by folding the fabric towards the outer edges and then do the same to the right, pin and sew. This will leave you with two pleats, each folded and facing in the opposite direction ( towards the outer edges) .

Step 7: Sewing the Many Pleats in the Trim

I sewed all of my 3" strips together to form one long one. I folded down one edge about 0.5" and sewed it to finish the edge. The other side doesn't need to be finished because it will be sewn to the apron and will only be visible from the back.

I once again created my pleats by pinning two areas for markers and then matching the two up. For the trim I measured 2" in from the end of my fabric and then again 2" more from my first pin. Fold the fabric over itself to match the pins up, take out both pins, reinsert one of them to hold both pieces together and press with the iron to make a crisp pleat. Repeat this process for the entire length of your fabric and sew everything down. I sewed my pleats a few at a time because I was scared that I might have a mishap and lose some pins. This is a very long process and I wanted to make sure I didn't have any set backs.

Step 8: Sewing the Pleated Trim to the Apron

I pinned my pleated trim along the outer edge of my apron except for the top. Pin your trim securely and cut off any extra length you may have and then sew. Once sewn you can use your iron to flatten your seams and this will make everything lay flat.

Step 9: Sewing on Your Ties

This is your last step! as said before, the seam down the middle of your tie will help you know where the middle of it is. Located the middle of the top of your apron and pin your tie down. Your apron is complete!!! I wish I had not only filmed this, but also had a camera because I feel as though things could have been explained clearer that way. This is my first Instructable in years, so I hope you like it :)



    • Fat Challenge

      Fat Challenge
    • Jewelry Challenge

      Jewelry Challenge
    • Pie Contest

      Pie Contest

    3 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Yes we do (like it)!

    I was in search for a woodturners apron and I ended up in your post!

    How sick is that??!


    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    thanks :) ahaha it's a bit of a stretch from what you were looking for buy I'm glad you like it!


    Reply 1 year ago

    A big stretch indeed! Lucky I didnt end up turning bowls in a whales apron..on camera!

    Just teasing you! Nice work..