Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Craft vendor apron tutorial

I've been swithering over whether I should list this tutorial in my shop or post it here as a freebie. I've made a couple of these money belts already and they make me happy. And I want you to be happy too. So in the spirit of good will (and maybe karma), I've decided to share. I'd love to see what you make in the Flickr pool!

I like my apron to have a 'clean' look, so all the goodies are hidden within. No pens sticking out, no unsightly cards spilling out of tiny front pockets. There are two deep sections, one with a little pen pocket and one containing a zipper pouch for your massive stash. It has a wide waist band because, like a lot of other mums, my belly isn't as taut as I'd like and I don't want it bisected by a skinny ribbon. This one is like a girdle, I promise. And the other benefit is you can tie a big fat girly bow to hide prettify your bum.

I've made the body of the apron out of three fabrics because I'm hoarding the car print and didn't want to waste it on the reverse side. If you're not as stingy as me you can make it out of two fabrics. The twill I used for the back side does give it a bit of extra-strength though.

Materials required:

18"x12" Heavyweight fabric (such as twill)
18"x9.5" Awesome fabric
18x22" Lining fabric
Two 30"x6 1/2" fabric strips for the straps
10"x3" Scrap fabric for pen pocket
9"x11" fabric for zippered pouch
7" zipper
Interfacing (optional)
Double sided fusible tape (optional)
  1. Lay your awesome fabric on top of your twill fabric, right sides together, matching up along the bottom and side edges. As you can see, if you have a directional print, it should be placed as you will ultimately see it (i.e. not upside down).

  2. Sew the two pieces together along the bottom edge. Do it a couple of times, it needs to be strong to hold all your heavy money. Open up and press seam towards the top. Lay this on top of your lining fabric right sides together, and cut an identical piece. Turn a blind eye to the fact that this picture is upside down.

  3. Fold up the awesome fabric (pic is right side up now, hooray!). Use chalk to mark the bottom edge / fold line on the lining fabric.

  4. Remove the awesome / twill hybrid so you can mark up the rest of the lining piece. I wanted to make one section a bit wider than the other (will it surprise you it's the money side?). As I am right handed, I have made the left side (as you look down on it) ten inches wide and the right side eight inches. If this sounds confusing, hold it at your waist so you can figure out which side you want to have the zip on. Within the bigger section, I've also drawn a perpendicular line (the green one) 7.5" up from the fold to mark where the zipper will be. Ignore the blue pocket that's already sewn on, I'll talk about that next.

  5. Cut your 10"x3" pen pocket fabric in half to make two 5"x3" pieces. Right sides facing, sew around the side, top and side. Leave the bottom open so you can turn it right sides out. Clip your corners and press flat. Fold the raw edges of the bottom 1/4" and press again. Place it (okay, now look at the picture above again) half an inch above the fold line and 1" from the edge. Sew in place close to the edge around the side, bottom and other side. Leave that top open so you can actually stick some pens in there!

  6. My lining fabric for the zippered pocket was Flimsy (note capital F) so I ironed some interfacing onto it. Fold this piece in half lengthways and press a crease with your finger to mark the centre. Right sides together, put your pocket lining fabric on top of your apron lining fabric. The chalk line that you drew before to mark the zipper placement should be one inch below the crease you pressed. Centre the pocket lining between the side edge and section edge too (half inch to the left and right).

  7. Use a ruler to draw a straight line between the bits of the chalk zipper line that you can still see at the sides of your pocket fabric. One inch from each edge of the pocket fabric, mark a small vertical line a 1/4" above and a 1/4" below the line, forming a 7" by 1/2" rectangle.

  8. Sew exactly around the rectangle.

  9. Using a craft knife, cut down the centre of your rectangle until you get a 1/4" from the side edge. Here you will do two diagonal cuts right into the corners of the stitch line (even closer than my pic shows). Don't cut your threads though! Repeat for the other corner.

  10. Push the pocket lining through the hole and yank and press with the iron until you have a nice neat rectangle. Make sure that the pocket lining fabric is pinned out of the way so it's not caught when you sew the zipper in.

  11. You can pin your zipper into place but it's a lot easier to iron on some double sided fusible web to the sides of your zipper. Remove the backing paper and place the zipper inside your rectangle. Press with the iron to secure into place.

  12. Using your zipper foot, stitch all the way around the zipper. If you pull outwards with your thumb you should be able to curve the lining fabric enough out of the way that your stitching will only catch the pocket lining fabric. Go slowly to keep it neat if you need to. I even use the handwheel around the short ends so it's positioned perfectly.

  13. After you have sewn all the way around, turn it over. Trim the end of your zipper if you need to. Match up the edges of the pocket and pin. Sew the sides and bottom closed.

  14. Turn your lining over again. When your pocket is pressed flat against the lining fabric, there will be a bit that extends above the top of your zipper. Using your zipper foot again, stitch along the top of the zip to keep this fabric from getting caught in the teeth.

  15. Right, the hard bit is done! Lay your lining down and place the awesome / twill hybrid on top, right sides facing. Make sure that the zipper-ey bit is behind the twill. Stitch down one side, along the bottom, and up the other side using a 3/8 seam allowance. Remember to leave the top open or you'll be making a date with your seam ripper! Trim your corners.

  16. Turn right sides out and push your corners out to points. Admire your handiwork one last time before you make it a secret.

  17. Fold up the bottom to expose your awesome fabric. Marvel at it's magnificence.

  18. Topstitch close to the edge down both sides to secure your apron in place. If you want you can topstitch along the bottom edge too, but you really don't need to as it's folded.

  19. The top edge of your apron is still raw, so use your iron to press one side down 1/4" and then the other side 1/4" to meet it.

  20. Topstitch the top raw edge shut, close to the edge.

  21. Iron each short edge of your 30"x 6 1/2" fabric strips under 1/4".

  22. Iron each long edge of your 30"x 6 1/2" fabric strips under 1/4".

  23. Fold in half (right sides out), match up the turned under edges and press. Stitch the ends and the long turned-under length. You'll now have two 29" by 3" strips.

  24. Pin one strap to the underneath of the apron, one inch in. Stitch a rectangle, and then diagonal lines through the rectangle as per the green lines below. Repeat for the other strap.

  25. You're done! Tie it on and rock it.


  1. Wow! That looks fantastic. I love the way you don't have 'spilling out pockets' and I like the zipped pouch bit too. Brilliant - thank you for sharing it.

  2. ooohhh, I might try this!!! (or, more likely.... give the pattern to my mum to make for me!! Sewing is her thing...)

  3. I think I'll be making this for my mum - she frequently runs stalls for stuff and I think she could do with one.

    Thanks for sharing it:)

  4. This is brilliant, thank you. It looks fantastic - now I just need to clear a few hours to give it a go!

  5. What a super tutorial, thanks ever so much for sharing. I'm off to choose some fabric for mine :) x

  6. I cannot believe that you found the time to write a tutorial in all the madness of preparation for your show! Now I have a dilemma - make more stock for Saturday, or make a lovely apron... hmm, choices, choices...

  7. thanks for the tutorial. I wanted to make one for my shows and said i'll do, i'll do it but never got around to it. I was surfing the net and found your page and thought well someone was nice to put a tutorial out there for folks so I should stop procrastinating and get this done. I hope good karma comes to you in two-folds!

  8. I love this tutorial! I will be posting a new photo on Flickr of my "pumpkin patch" fall themed vendor's apron. I didn't understand step 6 through 15 about adding the pocket in the back. I ended up top stitching the pocket on top at step 16 when it became obvious that I had attached the zipper to the wrong piece of fabric.

  9. I found your tut yesterday and now I am making it. You did a good job explaining everything. However, it looks like you sewed a line to have 2 pockets (and had a chalk line at 10") but I don't see in the tut when to do it. I am guessing that it would be after step 18. I also used a piece of velcro for the pocket due to having only a 6" zipper.