BlueflowerTreasures

August 22, 2008

A is for Apron: Amoeba

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 4:35 pm

Another A is for Apron review.  I think this is the fourth?  Anyway, I do love the aprons in this book, so it probably won’t be the last!

The designer for this apron is Joan Hand Stroh.  In the book, she is quoted to say “I prefer classic, tailored clothing, so I seldom make frilly aprons.  Never underestimate the impact of a simple design.” Oh, so true for me, too.

As usual, I made some changes to the apron.  First off, I made mine reversible.  I prefer two layer aprons, probably because I’m a messy cook, and I always have trouble with bias binding a single layer of fabric.

      

I also used wider bias tape, because I had just gotten this lovely Michael Miller pindot trim and thought it looked great with my Chocolate Lollipop fabric.  It’s cotton tape (not polyester like the Wright’s brand) and the difference is clear.  It goes around curves and corners much smoother. 

    

Then I lengthened the ties.  I could tell by the picture in the book that the ties weren’t very long, so I added several inches, so that the apron could be worn by a larger woman (like me!).  Also, the pattern calls for the fabric to be cut on the bias, but I didn’t, mostly because I didn’t have enough of either print to do that.  If you were using a single layer of fabric, I’d recommend that you did cut it on the bias, I think it would fit better (because it would stretch slightly).

As for the directions in the book…after the struggles I encountered making the first three aprons, I largely ignored them.  But reading through them, I don’t see any obvious problems, just the usual A is for Apron and M is for Make it More Complicated Than it Should Be stuff.

I have listed this at Retro Femme for tonight’s stocking.  If you like the apron, but would like different fabrics (there’s a link over there —-> to my fabric album), please contact me.  I’d love to make more of this apron!

July 16, 2008

A is for Apron: Provence Smock

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

click for link to Amazon

 

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.

July 7, 2008

A is for Apron: Waldorf

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:06 pm

click pic for link

As I was cleaning up my sewing room in preparation for my month of family sewing, I found this apron, all cut out and ready to go, it just needed stitching up.  It seemed the work of just a few minutes to put it together.  This is the Waldorf apron, designed by Erin Harris, from A is for Apron.

Here is my version, in Amy Butler’s Brown Lacework:

Here are the changes I made:

* I used wider bias tape.  I did this for two reasons.  The first one was that I wanted to really highlight the pink in the flowers.  The second was that it was what I had and I’m trying to use what I have this month.

* I added a muslin lining.  Again, for two reasons.  The first is to further protect the user’s clothing.  The second and more important is that I’ve have terrible luck with bias binding staying on a single layer of fabric after multiple washings…it tends to pull off. 

I’m thinking of adding a pocket to this…but can’t decide.

The directions in the book for this apron were much better than the Josephine apron.  No skipped steps, but some were a little fussy for an experienced sewist…taking two steps to do something that could be done in one.  For example, when sewing the ties, the instructions say to sew along the long edge (right sides are folded together).  Then the next step says go back and sew the 45 degree angle on one end.  I did this all at once.  Minor stuff and easily combined for those with experience.

This is also the first pattern from this book that I used an actual enlarged pattern.  I took the book to our local office supply store, made a photo copy of the pattern page and they scanned it and reprinted it at a 400% increase.  Each extra large copy cost about $3, so I’m doing two or three at a time.

Overall, I’m very happy with this apron.

May 27, 2008

A is for Apron: Josephine

Filed under: A is for Apron, sewing — Tags: , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 10:12 am

I recently got my hands on a new apron book:  A is for Apron.  It’s full of fun and lovely aprons, many pictured with fabrics that I actually have in my stash!  I’m so inspired by the book that I thought I’d do a brief review.

A is for Apron showcases 25 “fresh & flirty designs” for aprons, and includes the patterns and instructions for each.  The patterns are listed in the back of the book and must be enlarged to be used directly.  But the book does give some measurements on the pattern pieces, so I was able to figure out the dimensions for the apron I decided to make as a tester:  Josephine.

This is one of the more complicated aprons in the book.  It’s a reversible full apron and the skills a sewist uses include buttonholes, casings, ruffles, bias cutting and topstitching.  It took me about 4 hours to make it, but some of that time was spent trying to figure out parts of the instructions.

Along the way, several small steps were left out.  For example, the neck strap is cut as two pieces (more on that in a minute) but the instructions neglect to tell the sewist to sew them together to make one long piece.    Later, when attaching the neck strap to the bodice, the book is not clear which side (right side vs wrong side of the bodice) to attach the strap to.  Little things that are obvious to an experienced sewist, maybe not so much to a beginner.

Regarding the suggested cutting layout:  in an effort to be ultra frugal with the fabric, the instruction direct one to cut some things in smaller pieces (such as the neck straps and the long waist ties).  I’d much rather use a wee bit more yardage and not have seams in the middle of my ties.

Overall, its a great book, I’d give it 4 stars.  I’m already planning to make at least two more aprons from it and I’m sure it will continue to inspire me every time I open it.

Here is my Josephine:

          

I choose two bright bold prints…both with pinks, purples & greens.  My first challenge was that the butterfly print is very directional and so I couldn’t cut it on the bias as the pattern called for.  It didn’t seem to make a difference.  The other big challenge was figuring out the settings on my ruffler foot so I didn’t have to hand gather that ruffle at the bottom.  I ended up with a few inches extra ruffle, so that was good (rather than too little!).

Here’s a close up of the bodice, the top gathers with a tie.  Also, a close up of the fabrics I used.

      

 

I’ll be listing this apron at Retro Femme, hopefully by tomorrow, for Friday’s stocking.  It’s also our Father’s Day stocking, and I’ll be trying another pattern from the A is for Apron book to make a Dad’s BBQ apron.  I have 3 customs bags and one custom apron to finish.  Plus my 3 yo keeps asking for a “green dwess with fwowers”.  So I should have lots of fun things to post this week!!

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