Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Apron for My Mom

My Mom’s birthday is coming up, and she loves handmade gifts. Which is often a pain in the you-know-what, and many years she has to make do with store-bought offerings from me. But I do enjoy making things, and this year I (gasp!) planned ahead and got a gift both started and finished before the last minute. Could be a first for me. (Now I just have to remember not to tell her about this blog until after Sept. 13th.)

The apron idea sprouted from the Tie One On “Summer Gingham” apron challenge. All the fabrics are from my stash, except for the gingham. “What gingham?” you ask. Well, it ended up on the back, as lining:

Yeah, not quite in the spirit of the challenge, but the only gingham I could find was icky 65/35 poly/cotton and very transparent, not the sort of thing you want to feature. Also, it’s a blah pale blue 1/8 inch check, so has no visual punch whatsoever. But, because I decided to piece the front, a lining on the flip side to hide seams and wrong-sides seemed like a good idea. And the gingham was fine for that.

The pattern is basically the one from Amy Butler’s “In Stitches” except that I pieced the front and lined the back, and veered rather significantly from the assembly instructions for putting the back and front together (her pattern doesn’t have a back) and doing the bottom edge (mine folds to the back). I also made the waistband and ties about an inch narrower. Next time I’ll interface the waistband. Maybe. I hate fussing with interfacing, so maybe I won’t. But it would be a good idea.

I thought doing the pleats would be a major pain, but they turned out to be easy. I made 1-inch pleats 1-1/4 inches apart, didn’t mark anything, just used pairs of same-color pins to mark which points to bring together:

I knew I'd discover a good use for those colored-head pins someday.
Here the pleats are basted in place (with the towel loop), but not yet pressed:

Hadn’t originally planned to use the hydrangea print at all, but I only had a half-yard of the blue vines (pocket and bottom fabric on the front) and that wasn’t enough to also make the waistband and ties.

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Almost wish I’d gone all out and made a skirt, which wouldn’t have been much more work. And I’m thrilled to have finally made something for my mom from the blue rose and teapot/plate prints! Those were both originally purchased with her in mind, and every time I’ve made an attempt to weed out the stash over the past, oh, 15 years or so, I’ve held onto them thinking, “Someday I’ll make something for my mom from those.”

I’m so astonished the day actually arrived, I might have to pinch myself.

The final triumph was getting the entire thing done -- from plunking down uncut fabric on the dining table and plugging the sewing machine in, to final “ta-dah!” moment -- in one afternoon session. May be the first time I’ve ever started something and not had it linger for a while in the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile.

Total effort, start to finish: about 4.5 hours. That includes several time-eating mind-changes about fabric choice and placement.

Now I want an apron for myself. But I’m gonna hold off until I get some skirts made from my Amy Butler fabrics. Then I’ll make a gorgeous apron out of whatever’s left.

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