Good morning Scrappers! I am so excited
to share this week's project with you and the story behind it. Aprons are important in my family because food and cooking is important in my family. My Grandma Sheridan was an amazing cook and she loved to make people happy with food. I grew up in her kitchen as much as I did my own mother's. Before I was tall enough to reach the counters, my grandmother stood me on a chair to help cut potatoes or make pie crust cookies. So many of my favorite childhood memories were made in my grandmother's kitchen.
In honor of that lovely woman, we are making aprons this week! These scrappy aprons are fun to make and beautiful to wear. They are easy to resize to any person no matter the height or the waistline. I made one in the adult size for my sister-in-law and one in a toddler size for my 2 year old niece. We'll talk a little bit as we go through the steps about resizing and what to measure for.
Cutting for the Adult Apron:
Cut strips 2 1/2" wide (I chose a range of bright colors and light fabrics)
You will need 1 yard of backing material and four 3" x 42" strips for the waist and ties.
Cutting for the Toddler Apron:
Cut strips 1 1/2" wide (I cut these from the same fabrics as the larger apron so I could create matching aprons for my sister-in-law and my niece)
You will need 1/3 yard of backing material and four strips 2 1/4" x 30" for the waist and ties.
Begin by measuring the waist of the person you are creating the apron for. Double that number to determine how wide your apron strata will need to be. Also measure how long you would like the apron to be.
Step 1. Begin creating your strip sets. I wanted this apron to be approximately 18" long with the waist in, so I made all of my strip sets at least 18" long to allow for a bit of trimming. Piece as many of your 2 1/2" strips together end to end to reach the length you need. As you can see in the image above, I made every other strip start with a light color and the alternating ones I created with no light fabrics present. You'll see why as we get to the finished piece.
When you have enough strip sets to make your apron as wide as you need, begin to piece your strata together, always pressing towards the strip set with the light fabric at the top.
When all of your strip sets are pieced together, trim up both the top and bottom of the strata to even up the edges. I trimmed mine to measure 17 1/2" x 82".
Step 4. Set up your backing material by cutting two pieces 17 1/2" x WOF (Width of Fabric) from your one yard of backing fabric.
Piece the two rectangles together to make a backing piece 17 1/2" x 84" and trim down to the same size as your strata.
If your strata is a little wider or shorter depending on your measurements at the beginning, cut your backing material to match.
Step 5. With right sides together, layer the strata and the backing material. Stitch the bottom and both sides of the project, leaving the top open.
Turn the project right side out and press all three sewn edges.
Stitch the raw edges of the top of the apron closed 1/4" from the top.
Step 6. Top stitch the pressed edge of the apron on both sides and the bottom approximately 1/4 from the finished edge.
Step 7. Now that my backing and strata are top stitched, you can begin the pleating process. Here's where pressing toward the light colors helps. Start at end and bring the light edges together, pinning in a couple of places as you do it. As you can see here, the folds will all be equal and the light colors will be all you see at the top.
Step 8. As you can see in this image the edges of the lights come together nicely. Determine how far down you would like the pleats to be fixed, then stitch from the top edge to that point. I choose about 4". I stitched at least two lines in each pleat. You can stitch more, but not less. This is also an opportunity to use decorative stitches if you like.
You can stitch the pleats more than one way. In the toddler apron, I used all the same directions, Trimming the strata to a rectangle measuring 10" x 38" and making a backing to match.
Then I pinned the pleats and stitched across the top in multiple colors to hold the pleats down. This could also be done with decorative stitches.
Step 9: I like to avoid having a seam in the middle of my waistband, so I like to press my four 3" tie strips and then cut one of each of the colors in half and stitch those two halves to either end of the remaining long strip.
Then stitch the resulting back and front strips together along one long side.
Press the seam open.
Step 10. Mark the middle of the waistband and find the middle of the top of the apron. With right sides together, line up the middle of the waistband with the middle of the top of the apron and pin the front of the waistband to the apron as shown here. Pin across the top of the apron.
Stitch with a 1/2" seam allowance, back-stitching at the beginning of your seam and at the end of your seam.
You can see how the stitching works here on the toddler apron.
Step 11. Press toward the waistband and turn the apron over. Press the 1/2" seam allowance all the way to both ends of the apron ties on both the front side as you see here and the backside.
Step 12. Fold the back of the waistband over to the backside. Pin the waistband and the ties together and stitch all the way around the edges to close the remaining seams
Complete the apron by pressing the pleats either with a little steam in your iron or by spraying the apron with a little water and then pressing with high heat.
Here's my daughter modelling her Aunt's apron and holding up the tiny one that heads out to her cousin this week! Aren't they cute?!
I might have to make one for Kestrel now that she tried this one on. She wants one with an all purple top. ;)
I might end up making quite a few of these!
So this week is a bit of a long post, but I wanted to share a little bit of my love of cooking and the chefs in my life that led me on my cooking journeys while we're talking about aprons. Traditions are important to me. I have some things that have been passed down and a few things my husband and I have created together and we do our best to teach our daughter that these are the things that make our family different and special.
Growing up, my grandmother wasn't the only one in my life that taught me to love making food for my family. My mother raised me and my sisters as vegetarians, cooking beautiful food. My step mother also cooks incredible dinners and caters to the tastes of her family. My mother's best friends (my Aunties Shirley and Donna, a couple I truly look up to) ran a vegetarian tamale business in the San Francisco Bay area for decades. All of these beautiful women taught me their traditions as we cooked.
Shirley and Donna picked up a lovely tradition from their friends after a trip to an isolated part of Italy. On the 29th of every month, they make a batch of gnocchi and a simple sauce. In keeping with the Italian tradition, they empty their wallets of any cash or credit cards and place their wallets under their plates. The plates are then filled with sauce covered gnocchi and as the group eats dinner, the goal is to invite in health, wealth and happiness for the coming month. My aunties like to use this dinner to invite over new friends or someone who has never enjoyed their gnocchi and share the tradition with them.
They eat their dinner with their plates balanced on top of their emptied wallets, turning their conversations to the pleasures of their lives and the successes they hope for. My aunties tell me that over the years their friends have called them time and time again after their gnocchi dinners to talk about a change in their luck or an unexpected windfall. Many of them begin to carry on the tradition of making gnocchi on the 29th of the month in their own homes.
Recently I have begun to take on their gnocchi making tradition. I've always been a fan of Lidia Bastianich when it comes to Italian cooking. I love how easy she makes gnocchi in this great video of hers. Take a peak, maybe you'll be tempted to try as well.
When I make it, I like to invite my mother and my stepfather over to share dinner with us.
My mom and I use the thumb print method to shape the potato pasta because we're way better at thumb prints than the fork method Lidia does so well.
We pile our plates with sauce covered pasta, unload our wallets, and balance our plates atop their empty pedestals. We eat, share our plans for the upcoming month, and laugh over family stories.
In the time of Covid-19 and quarantine bubbles, it's a joy to have the little moments of hope and love. I feel uplifted with every bite.
This week when you visit the Facebook Page or my Instagram @swanamity share a tradition from your family and be entered in the Sunday pattern drawing. Be sure to comment before 6pm Pacific time to be eligible.