8 April 2019

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.

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!  ♥️

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