July 16, 2008

A is for Apron: Provence Smock

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 10:47 am

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This apron is one of the reasons I bought the book.  I love the look and style of it and knew it would be a great pregnancy apron.  And now that I’ve made it, I love it even more.

This apron is designed by Joan Hand Stroh.  It is one of the more complicated aprons in the book, but well worth the effort.  It took me about 3 hours all together to cut and sew it.  A large chunk of that time was dealing with the bias binding.

Most sewists have things they don’t like to do.  For many, it is zippers or buttonholes.  For me, it is narrow bias tape binding.  I struggle to keep the fabric tucked it and sew the very narrow tape in a straight line.  If I were to make this again, I think I would go through the hassle of making my own bias tape in a slightly wider width…or maybe just alter the pattern to do regular hems.

I made a couple changes, the most important is that I lengthened the neck straps by about 8″.  I’m a plus size woman and pregnant to boot.  When I pinned together the pattern pieces to do a quick test fit, the strap that should stretch from one’s shoulder the the side of the apron only reached just past the middle of my back.  So anyone sewing this apron who is “plus size” (I’d say size 14 or up) should do a test fit and lenghten as needed.

One thing to double check before you start is if you have enough fabric.  The pattern say 1.5 yards.  I needed closer to 2.  My fabric was directional, so that may have something to do with it.  But just to be safe, lay everything out before you cut.

The instructions, as I’m finding to be typical in this book, are sometimes confusing or strange.  For example, instruction number 3 says to attach “the bias tape across the top front of the apron”.  What they want you to do is attach the bias tape all around the edges of the front (skirt) of the apron but NOT the top:  that is where you will be gathering.   The last step tells you to fuse a small square of interfacing for the button to the neck strap, rather than the apron front. 

The instructions also have you jumping back and forth.  Add interfacing to the neck straps for the buttonholes, then trim the yoke, then sew the pockets together (but not onto the apron).  It says to stitch the gathering stitches for both the pocket and the apron, but then set them aside and pick up the yoke and neck straps again and join them together. 

I think it makes more sense to do all the steps to the neck and yoke at once, then stitch and gather the apron front.  Oh, and those pockets?  I think they would be easier to put on the apron before it is gathered, rather than after as the instructions say…but maybe that’s just me?

Here are my pockets.  I used some vintage ribbon I have rather than the dreaded bias tape.

This pattern is another of the ones I had enlarged at the local copy place and that brings to mind one more thing I wish the book did:  put the name of the pattern on the pieces.  It’s written on the page the pattern is printed on, but once you cut out the pieces, the name is gone.  I’m a pretty organized sewist, but still sometimes find random pattern pieces wandering around my sewing room.  It would be helpful if the name were printed on each piece in little tiny letters that would be clear to read at 400% enlargement.

Summing it up:  great apron, good pattern, fair instructions and a lovely end result.



  1. I love, love, love your apron! I might look into getting that book. Does it come with patterns?

    Comment by Judy — July 18, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  2. OOps…I sped read…and see the answer to my question…it sounds like you have to cut the book to get the pattern???

    Comment by Judy — July 18, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  3. I love that apron, and I love the vinatge ribbon you added.

    Comment by summersadie — July 21, 2008 @ 8:36 am

  4. hi there!

    you did a great job on your apron despite the instructions in the book…. arg! i was really disappointed in what they did to the instructions i sent – they even boggled my mind-lol. it appears that someone who doesn’t sew edited that part of our submissions. unfortunately we did not see the final outcome until after the book was published.

    this apron was designed as a maternity apron – however, they didn’t even mention that at all – since they were wanting an array of styles, i assumed that would have at least mentioned the maternity, expectant mother part.

    anyhoo, if you or anyone would like the original instructions for this or my other aprons (yes, those are wonky as well), please contact me. i am happy to help you any way i can.

    joan hand stroh

    Comment by joan hand stroh — July 29, 2008 @ 4:48 am

  5. oops –
    here’s my email address –

    Comment by joan hand stroh — July 29, 2008 @ 4:50 am

  6. do you sell ready-sewn aprons?
    i want one — i’ma chef, pregnant, and getting big!
    but i have no time now for sewing.

    Comment by Miranda — September 25, 2008 @ 1:48 am

  7. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Comment by Buy Sewing Supplies — May 17, 2009 @ 1:11 am

  8. hello

    i am looking for the fabric you used to make the cosmopolitan apron. could you please tell me where i can purchase the fabric.

    thank you

    Comment by paula — August 28, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  9. I’m in the middle of making the Provence Smock and I became very confused. I decided to check out your website and felt better when others were confused too! As I begin to attach the yoke I think I will just use my own judgement and not the instructions. I am enjoying the book. First, I made The Waldorf in a beautiful, subtle Christmas print.

    Comment by Jeri McCurnin — August 31, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  10. Hello i bought the booka is for apron, it is great. I am interested in the fabric that the cosmopolitan is made out of . Could you please help me find it? Thank you paula

    Comment by paula — October 24, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

  11. Hi! I just came across your site through the “automatically generated” links thing. I have this book, too, and have so far made three different styles (waverly, fruit tart, and psychedelic squares.) I’ve been wanting to try the Provence smock. Yours came out beautifully! I love the ribbon on the pockets. And it’s helpful to see from the designers very own comments that indeed, some of the instructions in the book are a little bit off.

    Comment by Sarah — November 2, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  12. Just wanted to say thanks for some clarification on the instructions. This was what popped up on google. I have made many aprons from patterns (including the simplicity pattern that is the same as the loreli apron) and had trouble understanding this one. I just winged it on the yoke because the instructions and pics confused me. It came out ok i think.Thanks for the help!

    Comment by Mandy — December 23, 2009 @ 11:13 am

  13. Please know that you can contact me for the unedited instructions for any of my aprons in the book.

    The fabric for the cosmopolitan was made from fabric called “Girlfriends” by Patti Reed. It is out of print but you might be able to find it on ebay.

    Joan Hahd Stroh

    Comment by joan — January 10, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  14. Yeah, I wouldn’t make anyof the aprons by Joan Hand Stroh. Her patterns are not the greatest. I ordered one of her aprons and was dissapointed as well. She seems to think she invented the apron, but her designs are copied.

    Get your patterns from a reputable source, not this book. It’s a rip off, it’ll cost you 35-40.00 to make the copies to get these patterns, just go buy the original patterns at JoAnns

    Comment by sewgreat — March 8, 2010 @ 9:48 am

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