Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Peg Apron: a tutorial

A good friend of mine asked me to make her a peg apron.  I admit I had never heard of a peg apron but I said, "Sure!  Send me some pictures and measurements and I'll see what I can do".

Well this is the result:

Much better than my shabby arrangement in an old plastic basket!

Whether you are a domestic goddess doing the laundry or the housework, or a market type of person who needs a pen, small change and business cards easily at hand, you might like to make one of these aprons for yourself - so read on, dear reader.

You will need:
  • 70cm of 112cm wide cotton drill fabric - drill fabric gives the apron a little bit of body, but you could use quilting cotton if you wanted. 
  • If you want to make your apron using two different fabrics like I have then you will need 2 x 70cm worth of the fabrics of your choice.
  • 1m of 2.5cm wide single fold bias binding

Cut two rectangles from your fabric - each 53cm wide x 43cm long.  Make sure you cut these from the bottom edge of your fabric piece, you are going to need the remaining strip of fabric for the waist ties (we'll get to them later on).  Your plan for cutting out your fabric will look something like the diagram below.  Of course if you are using a second contrasting fabric then you will be cutting some of the pieces from that instead.  Obviously, decide on your combination before you start to cut!

Print out the pocket pattern here.

Take the fabric rectangle that will be the front of your apron and pin the pocket pattern to the top left hand corner.  Cut around the pattern piece at this corner, i.e. you are actually cutting off the corner in a curved shape.  Unpin the pattern piece from your corner of fabric, flip it over and pin it to the top right corner of your rectangle.  Cut the corner off as before, now you have the pocket openings shaped for the front of the apron.

You are going to finish the raw edges of the pockets with bias binding.  You need about a metre, I found some in my scrap bag of bindings.  Taking your front of apron piece, pin the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the fabric along the raw curved pocket edge.

Sew this down following the fold of the bias binding.  Then fold the bias binding over to the right side of your fabric.  It should just cover the stitch line of the seam you just sewed.  Pin the bias binding in place and topstitch it in place on the right side of the fabric.

Your seam will catch the bias binding on the wrong side of the fabric.  Neat!

Next we are going to finish the sides of the front of apron piece.  Fold over 1cm of the raw edge towards the wrong side of the fabric, then fold 1cm over again.  Pressing with your iron is the best way to do this neatly.

Sew this down and repeat for the other side of the front of apron piece, and then repeat for both sides of the backing piece, folding in all cases towards the wrong side of the fabric.

Now we can finish the bottom edge of the apron.  Using the front pocket piece, fold under 1cm towards the wrong side, then another 1cm.  Press and pin in place.  Before you sew this seam it is a good time to make sure everything is fitting together nicely.  Lay the pocket piece on top of the backing piece, matching the top raw edge and the hemmed side edges.  Technically everything should be matching up fine, but if you tend to eyeball your measurements like me then you want to make sure everything is looking good.

Here you might like to also baste the top edge of the pocket piece to the top edge of the backing piece, but that's not essential.  The last step of this stage is to hem the bottom edge of the backing fabric, making sure that the front pocket piece and the backing piece line up nicely.  When all the edges are finished it will look something like the picture below.  Remember, the top edge is still raw.

Now pin the pocket piece to the backing piece around the sides and bottom edge.  I sewed quite close to the edge here.  Use the markings on the sewing plate on your sewing machine to guide you to get a nice straight line.  Turn at the corners by stopping sewing with your needle down in the fabric, lifting the presser foot, turning your apron 90 degrees, lowering the presser foot, and continuing on sewing.

The inner seam here is the hem, the outer seam is joining the back piece to the front piece.

The last step before we do the waist ties is to make a centre seam.  This gives you a left and a right pocket and makes it easy to get the pegs out rather than them sliding all around to the far corners of your apron.  Fold the apron in half and press with your iron, then simply sew a straight seam down the fold.  Stitch in the ditch, as they say.

OK, now for the waist ties.  Take your left over fabric and cut two 8cm long strips from the entire width of the fabric (i.e you are cutting selvege to selvege).  I used my rotary cutter to do this, but you can always use your scissors if you don't have one.

This picture is of me neatening up the edges before I cut my strips of fabric. That skinny bit is not a waist tie piece!

Sew your two strips of fabric together at the short edge, matching the pattern if you want to, and press the seam open. You'll now have a strip of fabric about 2.25cm wide (2 x 112cm...ish).   

Here you are going to make a kind of "bias binding" as the waist tie.  Press the long fabric strip in half along the entire width, and then fold under 1cm along each edge, pressing with your iron as you go.  When you fold the tie together down the centre fold, make sure the edges are matching nicely.

Take your apron and line up the mid point of the apron (where the mid-line seam is that you made) and the mid point of the waist tie so that you have equal length waist ties from each side of the apron.  Place the raw upper edge of the apron right up into the centre fold of your waist tie.

Fold the tie over the raw edge and pin down the entire length of the waist tie, folding in the ends so you don't have any raw edges showing.

Almost there!  To finish it off sew the waist tie to the apron by topstitching along the waist tie.

Stop at the end corner and turn your work around and sew down that last little edge.  

And you're done! 

Go hang washing...

...or bring it in.  Feel good about your domesticity at least.


Megan said...

awesome tutorial thank you! my friend had a peg apron and i'd never heard of them either, must admit I thought it was pretty funny when she was tying her apron on but I definitely see the benefits! great idea to use it for a market stall as well.

Yana said...

peg apron has been on my to-do list for more than a year now! i should make me one soon!! thank you for such a detailed tutorial. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Caroline,
we made your apron! Check it out at

Thanks for the great pattern and tutorial :)

Wendy Roberts said...

This will be my first sewing project! Looks great!


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