Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Poor Blog and an Emmeline Apron

My sister called me up the other day to tell me, haughtily, that she was DELETING my blog from her shortcuts bar.  Reason: no posts for an entire year.  Blog, I treated you bad and I'm sorry.  No particular reason, except maybe a crafting enthusiasm that precluded spending time on things like taking pictures for the ole' blog.

So, just for her, here's one from the last year.  I used the Emmeline Apron pattern from Sew Liberated to sew up birthday presents for each of my sisters.  My youngest sister sent pictures of hers... modeled myspace-style for the mirror (including kitchen utensils in the pocket!)

I put the little pocket on one side of the apron - and on this apron I stupidly did it AFTER I had assembled the whole apron and creating a lot more work for myself. I ended up ripping the topstitching on the bottom hem and then arranging things so that the opening was under my presser foot and all the fabric was bunched around. If that didn't make sense it's because it was a stupid plan (I shouldn't even use the word plan as this implies that I was actually thinking...).  For all the following aprons I had the good sense to put the pocket on before assembling the front to the back.  The embroidery design (it's a shark, not a pissed off walrus) is compliments of my niece, who made a special drawing for each of her aunts.

I have a few suggestions for anyone who is considering the Emmeline Apron:

Bust Adjustment: Although the style of the bust is looks very forgiving, on larger busts the under-bust accent can disappear, making the apron look a bit blah.  On smaller busts the gathers give you a bunch of extra fabric hanging about and make you look smaller.  Since it's really easy to do, it's a good idea to go ahead and adjust the bust - measure yourself from just below your bust (where your bra band sits) to the top of the bust or where you would like the neckline of the apron to lie. Increase the height of the bust piece so that it is the same as your measurement. If you make a pretty big change, measure horizontally as well to make sure that will work out.  You may want to increase the length of the bias strips to match your new height, but they were plenty long for me without adjustment.

Waist ties: The instructions for this are completely guess and check. It's ridiculous and took me 15 minutes to do the first one. For the second one I just copied the first one and it was perfect from the get-go. So - start by measuring 1" from the end of the apron tie, along the bottom (shorter) edge. Mark a diagonal line from that point to the corner of the tie. Align your mark with the edge of the apron, pin and check. This should give you a fairly good result, although you may want to adjust it slightly.
Apron reverse side, using angled darts

Bias binding/Neck tie: Looks cute but the knot at the back of my neck was annoying. You can replace the tie with a single strip that slides over you neck. Drape a measuring tape over your neck and measure to just below your bust at the sides, near but not quite under your arms. Add 1" to this measurement to get the total length that you need for your bias strip, then just follow the directions in the pattern, using the ends of your single bias strip instead of one end each of two strips.

Example with straight tucks

Apron Front Tucks: I didn't like the straight tucks in the pattern because I think they looked unfinished, so I changed them to angled darts.  Basically, I just added an angled line from the end of the pattern dart off the side of the pattern, making it about 3" longer.

Look how much sleeker the dart is!  I, for one, don't need any lumps added in around my waist...

So there it is!  And I'm officially back on the horse, folks.


  1. Hi! Thanks for this post! I'm about to begin an Emmeline apron, and I will incorporate many of your suggestions. But I have a question about turning the rectangular tuck into a triangular dart. I understand bringing the tuck to a point. But doesn't widening the tuck into a triangular dart at the top, make the top edge of the skirt too short? I hope tht makes sense. Thank you!

    1. I see what you are saying! I went and looked at my apron (it's been a while since I made it) and the dart is trimmed inside so I can't tell how wide it was at the base. You could make it so that instead of matching the tuck width near the tip of the dart, you match it at the base instead. Or, if the larger dart seems better, you could cut the lower bust accent piece to match the bottom piece after the darts are sewn. Since the bust is gathered, you can match that to the accent piece easily.

  2. Ok, makes sense! Thank you so much!