Sewing bee - aprons

I wanted to hold this world-wide sewing bee so that we could work collectively on aprons that we use everyday. It's economical to make aprons rather than buy them, you'll build your sewing skills at the same time, so it's worth the time and effort you put into this.  So what is a sewing bee? This is the meaning taken from dictionary.com: Bee is derived from the Old English meaning “a prayer, a favour.” By the late eighteenth century, bee had become commonly associated with the British dialect form, been or bean, referring to the joining of neighbours to work on a single activity to help a neighbour in need: sewing bee, quilting bee, etc. 

Most of us are working in our homes with no other sewers nearby and while some of us are experienced, many others are new to this and want to learn.  And that's where the sewing bee comes into its own. All the patterns and tutorials I've selected to help you along the way are, I think, clear and easy to follow. If you have a problem and have tried to solve it yourself but can't, please tell us about it in the comments and I or one of the more experienced sewing ladies will help. I want you to try to problem-solve yourself though. We're all trying to increase our self-reliance and this is a good way of doing that.

I made this little apron a few years ago from less than a metre/yard of leftover fabric We raffled it off for fundraising at the Neighbourhood Centre.

  Using a sewing machine  
To take part in the project, unless you intend to hand stitch your apron (and I know at least one of you are doing that), you'll have to be able to do the following:
  • Thread the machine
  • Load the bobbin with thread
  • Insert the bobbin
  • Adjust the stitch length
  • Adjust the thread tension (if needed)
  • Sew forward and backward
You'll find out how to do all of the above in the sewing machine's instruction manual.  If you've never sewn before, or don't have a manual, ask a friend who sews to help you on this first project.

  Selecting the right fabric  
If you have an old dress, man's shirt, sheet, tea towels or pieces of cotton or linen fabric, as long as they're not frayed or worn out,  they would be ideal for your apron. You need fabric that is easy to wash and won't hold stains because your apron is for working in and it will get dirty almost every time you wear it.  I wear an apron every day, I have six of them and I'm replacing most of them now.  When I spoke with my sister yesterday, she told me I'm the only person she knows who still wears an apron! Aprons seem like common sense to me. If I didn't wear one, I'd have to change into a new dress or skirt every day and I don't want to do that. Do you wear an apron when you garden, cook or do the housework?

  Pressure points to reinforce  
In the apron photo below, I've added an X to the places that will need extra stitching. These are points where the pocket, waist and neck tapes are attached. The apron will last longer if these points are reinforced with extra stitching.  Just go back and forth a few times where the tapes connect to the apron and at the top of the pocket.  All of these points are under extra pressure when you put on the apron and tie it, and when you put something in the pocket. By reinforcing these points, the ties won't pull away from the apron and the pocket will stay firmly attached.


  Sewing waist and neck ties  
Those new to sewing might find making the ties a bit troublesome. If you don't want to make your own ties, this kind of tape works really well. It's available at most craft shops or Spotlight.

 Videos 
How to sew a full apron - video
How to sew a gathered half apron - video

  Links to patterns and tutorials  
Adjustable apron
Shop/market apron
Half apron 1
Half apron 2
Harvest apron 1
Harvest apron 2
Cross back apron
Kids apron
Toddler apron
Hostess apron
Peg apron
Garden apron
One yard magic apron

I hope you have fun making your apron and if this is your first sewing project, I hope you go on to make many more things.  If you're on the sewing bee list, I'll be making up a new Instagram page and if you send me ONE photo of your apron, I'll add it to our apron gallery.  You can start right now, the finish date is Monday 22 April but if you finish before that, email your photo so I can get a few of them ready beforehand.  Happy sewing everyone!  ♥️

39 comments

  1. I am no ton the Sewing Bee List as I missed the post a few days ago. It seemed to fill up fast! However, I will be joining in to make one. I think I need a pretty gingham apron.

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  2. That's very exciting! I love the apron you made in the photograph. You've got me wanting to get out my sewing machine and manual, and try to sew again. You are always such an inspiration. I'm off to knitting now...

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  3. I won't have the time right now to join in on the sewing bee, but thank you for all the links, I'll know where to come when I do have time to sew!

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    1. Cheryl, I knew some people wouldn't have the time to join in now but hoped, like you, they'd come back to it when they could. I know too that some of the new sewers will take longer than two weeks. They can bookmark the post and keep going in their own time until it's done. No one needs to rush.

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  4. I'm not on the list but hope to join the bee. I think this will be a good project for my 9 year old to practice some of her sewing skills. Also, I just recently got some vintage flour sack fabric and I thought it would make good aprons. Thanks for the bee.

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    1. Yes, please do join in with your daughter, Angi. I love flour sack aprons. xx

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  5. Thank you Rhonda. I will get to this next week as I am going away with my daughters for a few days. I am off to peruse the patterns. When My girls were teens I looked after their friend so she could compete in the Optiminds state final. When she returned from holidays the young lady gifted me with an apron. Her mother was mortified with the gift but was told, "She wears aprons". Yesterday the Aron hook gave way after nearly forty years of use. Aprons are a big part of life. My son is a chef and I am forever repairing and reinforcing his aprons.

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    1. I wonder how many times you've used that hook. Happy sewing!

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  6. Thank you for the links Rhonda. I've been used to half aprons but I think the counters (benches) in this house are a little taller and I seem to splash or wear kitchen "stuff" on the front of my shirt so want a full apron now 😊

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    1. Most of mine are full aprons, I only have one half apron.

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  7. Good morning. Lovely patterns, particularly love the cross back one. I have a half apron and a peg apron, but I need a full apron. I am always having to change my top, lol. My printer has packed in, so I am using a pattern for a retro-apron I have. Hope that is ok. Pattern cut and fabric picked out. Looking forward to get started. Blessings, Pam in Norway

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  8. Oh I absolutely love this! I won't be able to take part this time round as we'll be away from the end of the week for some time. I'll definitely make one when I get home though. I love my adjustable one that I received in our DTE swap a few years ago. I wore it just about every day and one just recently wore through and became too stained to bother mending. Very happy to see a pattern for this above. I'll just have to adjust it, no doubt, to make it wide enough for me. ~ Becci

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    1. I'm glad I got one in there for you, Bec. xx

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  9. Hi Rhonda,
    thank you for the videos and all the links. I can't wait to get started.
    My mum wore an apron everyday and she always made her own. She would get so frustrated to see my two sisters and I cook without wearing one. This continued once we all moved into our own homes.
    I started wearing an apron when I started making sourdough bread. A lot of my clothes are black or navy and I was getting flour on them.
    My 25 year old daughter, unlike her mum, always wears an apron, no matter what she is cooking.
    I hope your apron sewing post inspires some of your younger readers as I don't think too many young people would have grown up seeing them in use in the home.
    Cheers,
    Maria from Adelaide.


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  10. I was planning to enter too. But have some infection and my hand is so swollen I can't pick up a thing. Maybe if it goes better soon.
    Wilma

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  11. Rhonda, thanks for pulling all this info together - it's great! It's so interesting to see the different ways the patterns are made. Like others, I can't "bee" right now, but want to come back to this. I have a couple of my Mom's old aprons and a half apron that I made in school during sewing class, but I don't wear them now. This makes me want to make a few new ones that I won't mind getting dirty. Right now, my apron is an old shirt :). Beth in MN

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  12. I always wear an apron - I don't have a lot of money for clothes and an apron certainly helps keep things cleaner. Plus it helps make me feel "homemaker-ish" if you know what I mean :-) I've always thought I'd like to try making a cross-back apron, so thankyou for the link. Not sure when I'll sew it, but now I've got it bookmarked.

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  13. I appreciate those links, Thankyou! Andrea

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  14. I'm going to make the cross-back apron when I'm finished my other sewing project. I currently use the way-too-big bbq apron my hubby bought when he was on sausage sizzle duty back when our son was in kindy (years and years ago). I think it's time I had an apron of my own and I have some linen in my stash now to use. Thanks for the links, Rhonda!

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  15. Hi Rhonda, I currently own 3 bib aprons. Two are new and not yet worn but the other I use often especially when I am making a holiday dinner and have invited others and want to keep my clothes clean. I think I should wear them more often which is why I've purchased more. I'm too buy right now to make any aprons...doing spring cleaning, gardening and so on. I only started wearing aprons a few years ago but grew up seeing almost all women wear them daily.

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  16. Hi last Sunday we had a small fete at our local Road Safety Centre an older lady had made apron with pegs pockets including the pegs. I had never seen one, I bought it straight away for 4.00. Love it

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  17. I really want to make the cross back apron, but none of the material in my stash really suits. So I have printed out the One Yard Apron, super simple and already cut out ready to put together tomorrow.
    I may still make the cross back one...just have to find the right fabric.

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    1. Good on you for being flexible, Cassandra. The cross back looks really good in linen or a heavyish cotton. I hope you send a photo.

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  18. Like others said above, I'd like to try but not at this very moment. Thank your the inspiration though, it 'looks' simple enough, but my attempts at sewing are highly irregular! So much so that I probably need to take my second hand sewing machine for service first, who knows, maybe I'll have the time during the Easter holidays, here's hoping. Shall most definitely keep this link though :)

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    1. Sometimes if you give your sewing machine a really good clean under the bobbin area it can make a huge difference to how it sews. There is often the top of a wick visible also under bobbin so pop a drop on oil on it too.

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    2. Great tips, Jude, thank you.

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  19. My 17 year old son has so kindly printed out the cross back pattern for me at school as my printer doesn't work. Bless him. Hope to get started by weekend. Pam

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  20. Rhonda I have put my name down, but due to circumstances have had to go away and will not be back until the end of April. AM I able to do mine late?

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    1. You can do it whenever you have the time for it, Rosie.

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  21. I am a convert to the cross back apron, so glad to see a pattern here. For anyone who has never worn one, the nice thing about them is you don't have to keep tying a bow every time you put it on. I take my apron on and off many times in a day so really appreciate this. As well, I love not having something behind my neck. The only thing it isn't great for is cleaning the bath and gardening as when you bend right down one side tends to fall forward. Other than that, I love it.

    I can't join in now with the apron making as I MUST get my bedroom curtains made before the really cold weather sets in! We are currently making do with some I made for my daughter that don't give enough coverage.

    Madeleine

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  22. Thank you Rhonda! I have books about sewing but never get the time to do it...Your patterns, links, gorgeous photos and lovely ladies posting tips are really motivating me to get started!

    Helena

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    1. Go for it, Helena. If you need help, post a comment and one of us will reply.

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  23. These aprons are so cute! Not sure which one I'm going to do. This will be my second time making an apron. My daughter took my sewing machine, so I'll be making mine by hand this time. I'd love to make the hostess or cross back someday. They are so sweet.

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    1. Kellylynn, your reply warmed the 'cockles of my heart' by simply saying that you are sewing your apron by hand. How lovely, am looking forward to seeing your progress. Your comment reminded me of beautiful hand made items of yesteryear!

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  24. I just started making aprons a few months ago. I started with one for our youngest and made it with his favourite superhero fabric. He loves it.

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  25. A cool idea, people working together for something positive.

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  26. My only expertise in sewing is mending horse rugs, so it will be nice to make something that I can actually wear myself! I have the material I need, pattern is all printed out, away I go! I am looking forward to seeing how everyone else does, it's just nice to be involved with a lovely group of people.

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