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How to make a child’s apron {handmade for Pip}


Four days before Christmas I wandered through town waiting for inspiration to strike.  I’d bought the buttons for Elma’s Wee Chickadee and nearly finished Kitty’s Toy Box Skort and I had nothing mama-made for Pip save for four inches of inky blue hem, and even to my eternally optimistic mind, not nearly enough days in which to finish it.  I needed a plan.

Trousers I couldn’t get the ribbing I wanted, anything more complicated with an actual pattern was going to end up half finished, and shorts didn’t exactly seem weather appropriate even if tiny princes wear them all year round.  Inspiration came to me at Cath Kidston.  Lots of things come to me at Cath Kidston, usually wrapped up in one of their nice blue bags and accompanied by a receipt and the groaning of my bank card, but this time it was free, and rather appropriate.

The fact is, I have a bit of an apron obsession collection.  There are coming up to a dozen usually hanging from the kitchen door; stripy ones, John’s Christmas one, a Mickey Mouse one from Disney and the beautiful butterfly one that my mother gave me at my baby shower for Kitty and has never ever been used.  And quite a few Cath Kidston ones because they’re just so pretty.

Pip loves helping in the kitchen, especially when it gets to be just him and his Daddy, but he doesn’t have a pinny unless one of his sisters is out or not interested and then he gets theirs.  Staring at the pretty display of floral beauties, the penny dropped.

As dusk turned to dark I dashed back to the fabric shop and there found some thick red cotton, near identical to John’s apron, some stripy ticking, and a couple of D-rings.  It made up into an apron in an evening, and while Pip was initially a bit puzzled as to what he’d been given, when he’d sorted out the back to fronts and upside downs and put it on, I think it met with approval.

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

And because it looks really sweet on him, because I’m never going to be the only one in need of an emergency handmade present, or with a neglected third child who doesn’t have an apron, I’ve made a little tutorial.  In my best Blue Peter spirit, here’s how to make a child’s apron:

Before we start I should stress that this is a big apron on him; Pip is a very tall two, currently wearing age 3-4 clothes, and nearer the 4 on a number of them, and this comes down past his knees and goes nearly all the way round him. Knowing Pip as I do, this is definitely a good thing.  In a cotton I don’t think that’s a problem because it will happily bend with him but if you were to make it out of oilcloth or something really heavy it might be more of a straightjacket.

Also, fabric is sold in metric in the UK so I’ve given requirements in cm, but despite being entirely educated in the metric system, I cook and sew in inches because that’s what my Mum taught me, so the measurements are in inches.


As well as the usual sewing accoutrements you will need:

  • 60cm medium to heavyweight cotton (sometimes described as decorator weight cotton).
  • 30cm ticking, or other mediumweight cotton for the pocket and ties.
  • Two inch wide D rings.
  • Tailor’s Chalk or other removable marker (air erase, water erase etc)
  • To be able to see this pattern:

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

How to:

  1. Fold your fabric in half raw edge to raw edge.
  2. Measure and draw onto the folded fabric the apron outline, making sure that the long side is at the fold, and cut along those lines.  You could just sketch out the whole apron and cut it out that way but by cutting on the fold you ensure that the two sides are the same.
  3. Hem the armholes.  Fold the curved edged in 1/4″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1/4″ and press again.  Edge stitch the hems to secure.  You will find that the edges fold in easily as they are cut on the bias.
  4. Hem the sides. Fold the sides in 1/4″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1/4″ and press again.  Edge stitch the hems to secure.
  5. Hem the top. Repeat as for the sides.
  6. Hem the bottom. Fold the bottom hem 1″ to the wrong side and press, then fold in a further 1″, press and edge stitch to secure.  This hem is deeper than the others to give a bit of weight to the bottom of the apron and help it hang nicely.  It’s also a great excuse for fancy embroidery stitches if your sewing machine does that.
    Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron
  7. Make the pocket.  Cut a rectangle 5 1/2″ high by 9 3/4″ wide from the striped ticking. If you cut it the other way round don’t worry, you’ll have slightly shorter ties but they’ll still be plenty long enough. Fold in half, press to mark the centre fold, then open up again. Hem the top of the pocket as for the sides of the apron (step 4).  Fold the remaining three sides 1/4″ to the wrong side and press.
  8. Stitch the pocket to the apron.  The centre fold of the pocket should line up with the centre fold of the apron, and the top of the pocket should line up[where] below the start of the armholes. I include a central line of vertical stitching to divide it into two pockets rather than one big pocket that might become baggy with time but that’s optional.
  9. Make the ties.  Cut the width of your fabric by 2 1/2″.  Fold wrong sides together lengthways and sew around one short seam and the long seam with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Turn the right way round.
  10. Repeat to make two very long ties.  From this you should have enough length to cut two waist ties at 27″ each, the neck strap at 24″ and a 4″ piece to form the loop for the D-rings.
    Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron
  11. Attach a waist tie at the bottom of the armhole on each side of the apron, tucking raw edges in as you go. I like to do a square with a cross in it for extra sturdiness.
  12. Threading the D-rings into the loop before sewing, attach both ends of the 4″ strap to the top right corner of the apron (as you would wear it), and the neck strap to the top left, again, tucking in raw edges as you do.

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron

And there you have it, one apron just ready to tie on and get making a giant mess cooking jaffa cakes (or is that just my children?)

Joining Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday, Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm, Craft On and Make Do and Push for A Lively Style

Space for the Butterflies - how to make a child's apron