Autumn Apron, 50s Style

I’ve been meaning to make myself an apron for some time now, but dresses and other clothes always seemed more fun important.  Two years ago my husband and I hosted my family for Christmas dinner for the first time and spent my day in the kitchen in a silk dress with no apron.  I did the cooking and even made an apple pie from scratch and inexplicably, miraculously didn’t get anything on the dress.  I’m still completely baffled by how I managed it.  This year we hosted them for Thanksgiving.  I was determined to make a silk ‘Thanksgiving’ dress (which will likely be the subject of my next post) but there was no way I was going to push my luck a second time!  Thus, an apron became the next important thing to sew!  I have a few vintage apron patterns and decided on Simplicity 4213:

Simplicity 4213a

Having the bib seemed like a really good idea, but I wanted roomier, more substantial pockets.  I decided to make view one with the bib, but use the pocket front from view 3.  I did not trim it with fringe, frankly the fringe looks a little weird to me.

I used some really lovely fabric from my stash that I’ve had for several years now and never quite knew what to do with.  It’s a quilting cotton with a very pretty Asian-inspired fan print in fall-ish colours.  The problem was it never seemed quite right for garment sewing, which is what most of my sewing is.  But I think it ended up being perfect for this apron. I’m still excited to have found a use for it, though now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of it (I had 3m of this fabric and the apron used approx. 1m)



Such pretty fabric!

That’s my Thanksgiving dress underneath the apron, but it really deserves its own post.

These shoes probably deserve their own post, I think they may be the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned.


As you might expect of an apron this was quite easy to put together.  Nothing complicated about the pattern pieces, and only one quirky bit of construction – but what’s a vintage pattern without at least ONE quirky bit of construction, eh?


(I’m still wondering if I should have bound the opening edges of the pocket as well, they do quite disappear when there aren’t hands in them – it’s a really great pocket though!)

The quirky bit of construction had to do with the waistband and how the lower edge of the bib and upper edge of the skirt were enclosed to be neat.  Unfortunately I don’t have the pattern at home with me now, otherwise I’d show you the diagram(s) from the instruction sheet.  Hopefully the following couple of photos will do.  Basically, the waistband is cut in just one piece that is folded in half lengthwise and topstitched to both finish it and enclose the edges of the bib and skirt.  Here is a detail of the area from the underside:


The top edge of the finished waistband is the folded edge, the bottom is the sewn together one.  You can see here that the bib lower edge and skirt upper edge are both enclosed in the waistband along its lower edges.  I didn’t get this at first and initially sewed the skirt to the waistband the wrong way round.  But then I realized that while the bib is sewn right sides together, the skirt is sewn wrong side to the right side of the waistband.  Both upper and lower edges of the waistband are then topstitched – as well as across the ends which encase the waist ties (I should have taken a photo of that, sorry)

So here it is from the front:


Oh, and doesn’t my binding match so nicely?  Well, that’s a potential mistake waiting to happen, actually.  I didn’t have anything at all the right colour in either my bias binding stash or my cotton yardage stash.  The downtown alterations shop that has a sizeable stock of old trims and notions didn’t have anything I liked much either.  But I was feeling too impatient to get this done to trek out to Fabricland (esp now that my bus route there has been screwed up) so I got…..creative.  I had recently pulled out a fall UFO from last year (which I just finished last night, and will be the post after the Thanksgiving dress) and found a fabric scrap I was using for bias strips in the perfect colour with plenty left of it for both apron and UFO dress.  The only problem…….it’s a wool twill.  I decided to use it anyway.  I sprayed and steamed the bias strips I cut to help with potential shrinkage in the wash.  I’m NOT getting an apron drycleaned, ask me what happened to the silk tea cozy (that a friend made for me – I’m sure as a joke) I took in a couple months ago..grrr).  I don’t know if my pre-treating will be enough, I guess we’ll eventually see!  Worse comes to worse I have plenty ’nuff of this fabric to make another apron.  Maybe I’ll keep my eyes peeled for rust coloured bias tape in the meantime just in case.

Well, until then I’ll just enjoy my pretty new apron!


I’m thinking it would be great to have one for each season, and they really are quite fun and satisfying to make.  Perhaps version 2 of this pattern may be the next one?

Simplicity 4479

14 thoughts on “Autumn Apron, 50s Style

  1. Wow! You look fabulous! Both dress and apron are gorgeous 🙂 I’ve been meaning to make an apron for ages, they are so cute (not to mention how sick I am of getting tomato sauce on my shirts 😛 ). Think this one was the spur I needed!


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