Last Christmas time, Kay at Stuhr Museum lent me this apron pattern. I had just made a white apron from the National Garment cutter, and she thought I should make another apron for wear at Stuhr.
Who doesn’t need another apron? Really. Aprons are pretty necessary when you’re in the past.
So I held onto it for a while, waiting for the right fabric to show up, because cambric, much less figured cambric, isn’t really available anymore. Around January, I bought some Civil War print calico from my friend Christine, and she included a two yard piece of some fantastic dark blue and white print that would be appropriate for the 1890’s. I didn’t even think of putting the two together until late March. Silly me. As you can see, the description of the original apron says “Figured Cambric with a Navy Blue Ground is the material of which this apron is made. The edges are piped with Red…”
Once I finally decided the fabric should become the apron, I had a bit of a problem. The pattern calls for 3 1/2 yards of 32″ wide fabric, and I had two yards of 45″. I decided the only way to make it work was to cut it on the cross grain, which is not recommended. (That makes the garment less likely to wear well.) But I did it. And, it ended up about 6″ shorter than I would have liked. I had to cut the flounce for the bottom mostly in extremely short sections, but I got it all!
So, the front of the bib has a little section that is piped, which also makes the front a bit stiffer. I learned that one should wait until you attach the shoulder straps to pipe the top edge.
The pattern calls for this bit to be embroidered as well, but I decided this was really enough.
The rest of the apron went together fairly smoothly, but I’ll mention a few key bits:
Like most patterns from Ageless Patterns, there isn’t a lot of instructions. There’s just one size, not specified, which seems to be about mine. (34″ bust, 26″ waist. ) I made my apron shorter than I would have liked, due to fabric restrictions.
The amount of piping required is not specified either. I think I used about 8-9 yards, which is a lot. I had to make more several times because I kept underestimating how much I really needed.
The pattern pieces go together well, but judging by how they do, I think you could take off the 5/8″ seam allowance and sew the pieces together with a 1/2″ seam allowance and be fine. Coincidentally, this makes the pieces fit within the original specification for fabric width. (32″).
The front panel of the apron is gathered. This is achieved by sewing a casing on the inside with two channels, and running tapes through and tying them at each end. This makes the front very adjustable, so this apron might be a good bet for maternity or for wear by different people IF you also add extra buttonholes to the belt. My belt is maxed out. I gave it a buttonhole, but mostly because I was supposed to.
I used little china buttons with pie crust edges for my apron, because I like them, and a while back I got a pile of them for cheap on Etsy. I need to look for some a little large though, for aprons and such.
The side seam, which you should align with the side middle of the belt, is the seam where the back panels of the skirt attach to the rest of the apron. NOT the vertical darts which appear to be side seams on the main front piece. If you sew the apron with the dart aligned as side seam, the whole thing pulls funny around the hips. I had to take it apart and redo.
Overall, this is a good apron pattern, even if all the piping is a bit fussy. 8/10, would make again. (But would probably make the yet-unreviewed Garment Cutter apron first– it gets a 9.)
Thanks for reading, and as always, let me know if you have any questions!