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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Kids Sweater-Apron Tutorial (Re-visited) & Give-Away


Remember my Kids Sweater-Apron Tutorial from a while back? Well, I decided to post the entire thing over here on my blog, instead of redirecting everyone over to my Flickr. It's another one of my ploys to draw readership and get to know more about my readers (last time I got to meet so many lurkers — fun). And, just to make it exciting for youz guyz, there's going to be another give-away. Since my sons love the original two aprons, I've made up another one (solid gray with stripe-y pocket and navy trim) for the lucky winner. This time it's cashmere — what it lacks in density and structure it makes up for in softness — mmmmmmm, cashmere. It's big enough for a five-year-old, but could be worn by someone more wee.

Same rules apply: leave a comment on this post, AND, link back to this tutorial on your blog or flickr. In about a week, I'll have a kid pick a name out of a bowl. I'll post a reminder with the actual cut-off time before then.


Green Kitchen's


One shrunken adult-sized wool sweater
Seam binding or other edge trim
Buttons (optional)
Sewing machine
Thread to match or contrast

Getting Started: The Rough Cut
Step 1: The Rough Cut
Take one fulled/felted/shrunken sweater, and, using pinking shears, cut along the seams to separate the pieces (front, back, sleeves). You should be able to make two aprons out of one sweater. Hold the body piece of sweater up to the recipient for sizing. Make adjustments to length, width, neck shaping, etc. This sweater was just right for my son, so I didn't alter the shape. The second apron I made (see end of this post) was a slightly different design with more altering. Use your imagination and let the sweater give you ideas for what works best.

Trim Seams
Step 2: Trim the Seams
Trim off any thick seams. You only want to have one thickness of sweater to work with.

Make it Symmetrical
Step 3: Even Things Out
Fold sweater piece in half vertically to make sure the sides are symmetrical. Trim where necessary.

Choose a Binding
Step 4: Choose a Binding
I used a polyester knit seam binding because that is what I had around. Having a knit binding is important because you need to stretch the binding around the thick sweater edge. I'm sure you could do it with a woven, but you'd need to make sure it's pretty wide to take the sweater thickness into account. Make sure you have enough binding before you start sewing. Don't trim it until you have sewn it on.

Sew Binding to Back
Step 5: Sew Binding to Back
On wrong side of sweater, zigzag stitch the seam binding around the apron. Try to keep the stitching close to the edge of the sweater, so, that when you turn the binding to the other side, it gets hidden by the binding. I went quickly and some of my zigzag shows on the front.

Miter Corner
Step 6: Miter Corner
At corners, lift foot and miter the corner of the binding. Lower foot and continue. The knit binding is pretty forgiving, so I didn't worry too much about making perfect corners. I just tried to not have obvious gaps or lumps.

Binding End
Step 7: Binding Off
When you get all the way around the apron, trim off extra seam binding, leaving a couple inches for finishing.

Cut Corners
Step 8: Cutting Corners
Because of the thickness of the sweater, clip the corners to make it less bulky before finishing the binding.

Binding Front
Step 9: Binding Front Side
Fold seam binding over to the front of the apron and straight stitch it close to the edge of the binding.

Seam Binding End
Step 10: Seam Binding Finish
This is how I finished off my binding. It's not beautiful, but I couldn't really think of something else to do to make it look better without doing some hand stitching. I zigzagged the end, overlapped, and stitched. Folding over the end would have made it much too bulky.

Neck Strap & Ties
Step 11: Neck Strap & Ties
To ready the seam binding for the neck strap and apron ties, I zigzag stitched the seam binding to itself so that it wouldn't flap open. You could leave this step out if you are in a hurry. You can see by my uneven stitching that I was in a bit of a hurry.

Neck Strap
Step 12: Attach Neck Strap
Fold over ends of neck strap and stitch to sweater fabric just under the binding at the shoulders. I didn't stitch the neck strap to the binding because I didn't want it to show on the front. This made for a bit of extra work because I ended up hand stitching the front of the neck strap to the shoulder of the apron to avoid the gap.

Apron with Neck Strap
Step 13: Strapped
This is the back of the apron after the seam binding and neck strap are attached.

Fashion a Pocket
Step 14: Fashion a Pocket or Two
I used one of the sweater sleeves to make the pockets. A contrasting sweater piece could also be nice. Cut along the seam on the sleeve to see what you have to work with.

Layout Pockets
Step 15: Lay Out Pockets
I used the sleeve cuff for the little top pocket and the bulk of the rest of the sleeve for the big pocket. Trim pockets to fit, making sure to square them up as you go. Use your creativity when choosing pocket placement, size, and orientation.

Pocket Detail
Step 16: Pocket Detail
The little pocket at the top is made from the sleeve cuff. Since it's edge is already finished I didn't do any seam binding, just turned the edges on three sides and top stitched.

Pocket Binding
Step 17: Pocket Binding
The big pocket needed a finished edge on the open side, so I put some seam binding on it, same as the apron edge. But, this time, I just ran a zigzag stitch on the front.

Sewing Pocket
Step 18: Sewing Pocket
Pin pockets in place and then sew, hand turning the seam, and top stitching about 1/8 inch from edge. At the top of the pocket, where the binding is, I did a bunch of reinforcing stitches so it wouldn't tear out.

Apron Ties
Step 19: Sewing Ties
To make the apron ties, cut two equal lengths of seam binding. I guessed on length and they turned out a little long. Just make sure they're not too short. I attached the straps directly to the binding on the back side. It seemed like the strongest place and I didn't mind that it would show on the front because it's an area that is mostly hidden. Reinforce with many back and forth zigzag stitches.

Tie Front
Step 20: Tie Front Attachment
This is the front of the tie attachment.

Tie End
Step 21: Tie End Finish
I zigzag stitched the end of the ties to keep them from unraveling. It's not the prettiest solution, but for a utility garment I thought it was fine.

Button Detail
Step 22: Button Detail
I attached a button to the front of the apron to cover the stitches from the neck strap.

Finished Apron
Step 23: Ta Da!
You are finished.

Blue Apron


Variations on a theme:

Because of the kind of V-neck sweater I had on hand, my next apron became a halter style one. The front pocket was large, so I divided it into one medium-sized pocket and smaller ones for putting kitchen tools.

Sweater Apron (orange)Sweater Aprons

Buon Appetito! And, don't forget the link-o.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the orange and blue on the v-neck apron. I made two glass bead bracelets that are orange and blue and I think of you each time I wear them!

also: today darling daughter (you know, the strong-willed one) and I braved the sewing machine: we're 35% done with our first ever Tote Bag Project! I just may be a sewer yet. I wound my own bobbin for the first time. I feel quite accomplished. Felted Sweater Apron, here I come!


Sun Sep 07, 09:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger cupcake studio said...

That is the most delightful apron!

Mon Sep 08, 12:56:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Jenni said...

Great idea to reuse a sweater. Love how you turned the v neck into the halter apron.

Mon Sep 08, 04:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Anjuli Fry said...

I love this idea it is so cute! I have three boys so I have to save each sweater but I would love to have one for my oldest who just started preschool and needs an apron there.
I will post about you on my craft blog.

Mon Sep 08, 06:36:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous katie said...

OH what fun -

Mon Sep 08, 08:34:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Harpa J said...

I´ll be glad to link to this great tutorial - but I won´t be participating in the game. Partly because my boy is 14 - but mostly because of the postage costs to Iceland.

Mon Sep 08, 09:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger said...

This is DARLING! I'll be linking to this!

Mon Sep 08, 11:16:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Regina said...

This tutorial/giveaway thing is so clever! What a great way to increase readership. I have decent stats, it seems, but low comments. Im a bad commenter too, which probably doesn't help. I should some up with something as well.

I love this tutorial, have wanted to make this since your first post about it. Very well done!!

Mon Sep 08, 08:22:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous tommy said...

I love the first gray and blue apron. You created it with such flair I could easily see the apron on the fashion runway as everyday ware, and not just for the kitchen! Although you do have minimal sewing machine use, you utilized the free hand sewing so well.. just curious how long it took to make this.

Mon Sep 08, 09:54:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Ali said...

I love your tutorials! I was just thinking today that my little girl needs an apron for cooking ... hmmm, great idea - thanks!

Wed Sep 10, 03:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Meadowlark Days said...

You are very creative - a wonderful idea! I've linked to you as well.

Wed Sep 10, 05:18:00 AM PDT  
Blogger ::Sylvia:: said...

Oh I love this! My son loves to help cook and would love this! I'll be posting the contest on my blog!

Wed Sep 10, 08:01:00 AM PDT  
Blogger ::Sylvia:: said...

I also wanted to mention that I'm hosting a month long giveaway over at my other blog to promote the relaunching of the Blissfully Domestic site. Check it out, I'd love to have you join us! Also, would you be interested in being featured along with this tutorial on the BD site? It would be great advertising! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wed Sep 10, 03:47:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Joanna said...

I love this tutorial, and I really love the orange halter version! I linked to your giveaway and tutorial on my just need to scroll down past the top post...I love your blog and have added you to my blogroll, if you don't mind...

Thu Sep 11, 08:49:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Spare Ribbon said...

That's enough to make anyone smile. How adorable!

Thu Sep 11, 04:30:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Anna - Three Sneaky Bugs said...

Ha! I almost forgot to comment after posting on my blog. Silly me.

Love the idea and the tutorial. With the weather starting to turn I'm hoping their are some good sweaters in the thrift stores now. I had trouble finding them at the end of last winter.

Thu Sep 11, 08:08:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Sunny said...

Finally some fun things for my little men! Thanks!

Fri Sep 12, 09:01:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Nanna said...

Love this idea.
Hope I am picked! My granddaughter would love to wear this!

Sat Sep 13, 08:58:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Alexis said...

Am I too late? I hope not!

I'm having a giveaway, too. Come by and enter, if you are so inclined!

Sat Sep 13, 12:36:00 PM PDT  
Blogger elizabeth said...

This is sucha great tutorial. I've ben wanting to make one for my son. I'm loving those stripes.

Sun Sep 14, 03:28:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Annie said...

Oh this is just so sweet! A must have for every little man. And one more creative way to use the binding that always seems to just pile up! I have the perfect sweater to start trying on. But I am sure that mine will look nothing like yours!

Mon Sep 22, 04:26:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Ian D. Major said...

Just love this. My kids need aprons from time to time and I usually end up buying them plastic ones but these are so unique and original. I must have a go.

Sheila from the UK.

Fri Oct 10, 12:10:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW ! just want to say that all are really pretty cool ! and want to puchase them !!!


Thu Nov 20, 12:13:00 AM PST  
Anonymous said...

These aprons are very cute and thanks it gave me some ideas!

Wed Dec 10, 04:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger Linda said...


Mon Feb 23, 09:04:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

knit seam binding? I haven't seen that in so many years!! would love to find some now that I am working on knits but probably impossible.

Fri Mar 06, 02:30:00 PM PST  

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