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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Have a girls' dress, but wanting a new apron

My daughter grew out of this dress years ago. The fabric was too cute to give away. Sometimes you just can't part with something. And, the dress itself was free from the annual clothing swap that our church used to host.

Anyway, I'd actually been out shopping for apron fabric earlier in the week. I wear aprons when I work at the charity teas, at our church every month. This past Saturday was April's tea, and I wanted a new apron for that event. My other aprons are just not terribly pretty or flattering, ones given to me as promotional items. So, a new and pretty apron was on my list.

At the fabric store, I just didn't find any fabric that I really liked. And then I remembered this dress, sitting in the stash of sewing fabrics. I talked with my daughter about the dress, and she said I could use it. This was after class on Friday afternoon. While she made the biscuits for dinner, I made the apron.

Here's the dress, a sleeveless, gathered skirt attached to bodice. When you look at the dress, you can see it has the possibility to become a half-apron, pretty easily, using part of the bodice for the waistband, leaving it attached to the gathered skirt.

I turned the dress over and cut up the back seam.

On both sides of the cut seam, I cut off 4.5 inch strips, to use to make ties.

Then I cut the bodice off, about 4 inches above the gathered skirt, leaving some of the bodice attached, to serve as the waistband.

After, pressing under the edges of the long slit up the back, I machine topstitched it down, creating a finished edge to the sides of the apron.

Here's the 4-inch portion of the bodice, still attached to the gathered skirt.

I turned the portion of the bodice under, and topstitched it into place, for a waistband.

These are the strips I removed from the back of the dress. I turned these into ties, by folding each in half lengthwise, right sides together, stitching, and turning right side out, leaving one of the short edges unstitched.

After turning the ties right side out, I tucked the unfinished end into the edge of the waistband on the apron, then topstitched into place.

And here's the finished apron. It's on the long side, so I may take up the hem. Bt I wore it as is on Saturday, and received many, many compliments. All in all, it took me about 1  1/2 hours, start to finish.

This is the sort of project that I find very satisfying. It was totally free to make. It was something I had wanted. It was quick and easy, under 2 hours, from start to finish. And I could use it right away.


Anonymous said...

Very pretty! It's neat that you were able to make it from your daughter's dress.

I haven't worn an apron since I was a teenager. I've been thinking lately of making myself one.

Have a wonderful day!

Jayne said...

What a gorgeous print. I can see why you wanted to re-use it. You did a fabulous job turning it into a very pretty apron. Very nicely done!

Anonymous said...

That is a lovely print! I have to wear a full apron because I always seem to splatter on the front of my clothes. But I dislike the ones I buy in an Amish store as they are so very thin.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lili,
Your new (free!) apron is beautiful. As always, you are providing much needed inspiration. Time to look at my fabric stash : )
Jo Ann

Lili said...

Hi Angie,
I was telling my daughters that I remember my mother wearing an apron. And she made matching aprons for my sister and I when we were little girls. It seemed to have gone out of fashion to wear an apron for a couple of decades, but now I am seeing more and more of them. I am a very messy baker, so now I just have to remember to put on the apron before the mess starts.

Have a great day, Angie!

Lili said...

Hi Jayne,
I know, isn't the fabric lovely? Originally my daughter put the dress in a giveaway pile, but I snagged it out to save just for the fabric. It just looked perfect for a reuse.

Have a great day, Jayne!

Lili said...

Hi Alice,
I had intended on making a full apron, as that would cover up my clothes better. But this dress seemed like the perfect style to remake into a half-apron, with the gathered skirt attached to the small bodice section.
That's too bad about the thin fabric on the ones you've bought at the Amish store. Do you sew Alice? There's a simple design for an apron, no gathers or ruffles, that can easily be made from heavy-weight fabrics like canvas, twill, ticking or some of the decorating fabrics in the home decor section of the fabric store. This is the style of apron that is described as a "chef's apron". It's what I had thought I would make if I bought fabric. Anyway, just a thought.

Have a great day, Alice!

Lili said...

Hi Jo Ann,
Thank you! I think the "free" part improves the look, too! LOL
I'll tell you what sewing this has done for me -- it gave me "new eyes" for looking at clothing in thrift shops and garage sales. The apron, here, was half-way made for me, before i did a thing! Happy hunting through your fabric stash!

Have a great day, Jo Ann!

Anonymous said...

Very nice job, and you did it all in record time!!

I'm in the midst of some "fashion" redos myself. I've neglected my "wardrobe" for decades, sadly. Too many ill fitting, undesirable, little worn clothing are in my closet and crates. I wear the same clothes out, so it was time for some attention. This week, I started work on a t-shirt top that had a lacy front and back collar bib. Too good to turn to rags or even a rag rug, yet terribly old style, circa the 90s. So not even donation worthy. I cut off the collar bib and penciled my new neckline. Cut that out, folded under/pinned about 3/8 inch at the neckline raw edge, and stitched it. Of course that looked stretched out and unfinished, but I had plans to edge that with some kind of crochet edging. I googled for a quick easy pattern and came up with a very easy pivot style pattern. It is turning out great, but a little challenging on my fingers to pierce through two layers of fabric with a pick to create a hole large enough for the crochet hook to pick up the cotton thread. But I do this double duty with surfing the internet.


Anonymous said...

Oops, not pivot style but picot style. Kindle fire changes the spelling as I type. This is such a quick and easy edging, I may do this on dish towels or cut up dishcloths.


Anonymous said...

Very nice apron, Lili. You did a great job reusing that pretty dress. I find "upcycling" very fun and rewarding as well, using fabric from items for other things, or changing up clothing to make it more what I want or need. It's an excellent way to save money, time (shopping in your own home, right?), and resources by not buying new.
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Good job, how you redid the neckline on that t-shirt! I will also change up necklines, sleeve length, and overall length of tops that are just not quite right for me. It's a way for me to be creative with supplies I already have, which is very satisfying.

Lili said...

YHF, your t-shirt redo sounds fantastic! Great job! I find doing these sort of projects so satisfying. I really need to learn how to crochet. Wish you lived nearby to teach me!

Have a great day, YHF!

Lili said...

Hi Mary,
Thank you. Yes, so fun and rewarding to do these sort of projects. And making something that I already have, fit better or make more flattering saves so much time over shopping for something new.

I also have to think, if I went out and spent $10 on new fabric, what would I have to do around the house to save that same $10.

Now, I'm wondering where I've stored my very 80s maternity dress (big, huge white collar on a floral dress). There would be a lot of fabric to do something pretty with in that dress. Gee, I
m seeing a whole lot of aprons in my future!

Mary, since we're all sharing, here, what's been your favorite clothing remake?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mary :) I'm thinking of redoing more t-shirts with this type of edging. Many were bought on clearance and very plain styled.

Oh, Lili, I wish I could return you this favor and teach you to crochet. I've taught my grandsons and granddaughter to crochet the basic chain stitch. One grandson in particular was amazed with what can be made with crochet, and asked me to teach him. When they were younger, I always had a crochet project to do while talking and watching them at play. This particular edging is the easiest, just chain stitches and single crochet. There are lots of youtube videos teaching how to do these two stitches, the very first stitches that are learned in crocheting. So a very good beginner's project too:) Handmade crochet laces has a hippie elegance that I'm fond of, saves me money on buying store bought lace or other trimmings.


Anonymous said...

Lili, that's how I see it too...if I spend xx dollars (on those nice to have extras other than food and necessities), I immediately try to think where I can cut xx dollars (probably by doing without).


Live and Learn said...

Very pretty fabric and a very nice apron. However, I think I'm in the camp that needs a bib to my apron. No matter how hard a try not to be, I'm messy.

Shara said...

Very pretty!

I am down to one apron, but I am trying to hold off until my last class is over. I feel a "fall" full of sewing coming since I should finish up in August.

CTMOM said...

Well done!

Anne in the kitchen said...

That is very pretty fabric and a lovely apron. Several years ago I made a few different cocktail aprons to have in addition to my all purpose cooking ones. Whenever we had a casual dinner party I wore the same black top and slacks but wore a different apron. Even the people who ate with us more than once never noticed the same outfit, they just noticed the different apron. Plus even a small cocktail apron kept the serving mess off of my clothes.(I did have one bad spill and just changed aprons rather then clothes. It worked really well)

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of my most current project which was a way to save my favorite pj pants. They are a green and blue floral knit, and were very worn at the waistband. I cut off the worn waist right below the stitching, then added about 4 inches cut from the bottom of my son's blue t-shirt that had gotten torn by the sleeve as well as somewhat bleached around the neck by benzoyl peroxide (which I have banned from our home since it ruined towels and shirts). I made a new casing for the elastic, and have been wearing them happily. They kind of have that yoga pant look with the contrasting top yoke. Another recent project was a white linen tank top I got for about a dollar, but had a little bias cut strip ruffle around the bottom edge that didn't fit my style. I removed the ruffle and really like the results.

Lili said...

Thank you, live and learn.

For me, aprons are much like other apparel. I have jeans that I wear to garden in and can get as messy as they need to. But then, I have nice slacks, for wearing to church or meetings, which are not intended for messy work.

Well, with aprons, a half-apron for me is more to do light duty in the kitchen (such as when I work at the teas at our church -- I'm not mixing dough from scratch, but serving, not as messy), whereas a full apron is more something I prefer for the really messy work. This apron, being so long, though, is good for wearing a bit higher up, about to my ribcage. Which meant it covered more of my clothing.

Have a great day, live and learn.

Lili said...

Hi Busy Bee,
this is so exciting for you! Almost done. And then what?! Best of luck with these last classes.

Lili said...

Thank you, Carol!

Lili said...

Hi Anne,
How fun, to have a wardrobe of aprons to choose from! Maybe some year, I'll do something similar.
Thank you. this fabric just look apron-like, to me.
Have a great day, Anne.

Lili said...

Mary, I love your clothing redo's. When I'm shopping thrift stores, I try to keep an open mind about an item's potential (as you did with the white linen top that you removed the ruffle from). Great work!

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