Size doesn’t matter when it comes to aprons. I love them all, whether they would fit a Barbie doll or be in grown-up proportions! This post is a combo of all of that – a few small sized, vintage inspired ones to decorate the tiny mannequins which stand on my sewing room’s wall shelf and one big 1940’s one which I made as gift for a friend of mine.
Firstly, I’ll start with the adult gift apron. One thing I have learned from doing many projects for others is that your ideas and preferences can show but must take a backseat to the personality of the person you are sewing for. This was a wonderful project to work on as a gift because I used a vintage pattern for both my own taste and also because this friend also sews past era fashions using old patterns just like me! The print is a wonderful assortment of old style sewing machines which both she and I actually use to do some of our stitching.
As I have said before for my other tiny aprons (see here, here, here, and here), these are a charming and fun way to use of scraps of treasured, nice fabric and notions too small to seem useful otherwise. If you don’t have small dress forms like I do, or don’t want these for actual Barbies either (like me), you can pin them up on a twine “clothes line” and decorate a wall or any other space that needs a little something! This is what I have done for our kitchen under our spice rack. Tiny aprons take up much less wall space than having lots of actual adult aprons and yet are every bit just as addicting. It’s literally hard to stick to just one. Now my mini apron count to date is brought up to 6 in total. Yet, I have a few more I want to do still!
FABRIC: The vintage sewing machine print is a 100% cotton, bought from the now-defunct Hancock Fabrics Store. The fabrics for the mini aprons are true vintage material, found in scraps too small to do anything more with otherwise, but still amazing and killer cute! I am supposing from the feel of the cottons, the white and green mini apron fabric is about 50’s or 60’s, and the yellow one about 1940’s or 30’s era.
PATTERNS: Simplicity #1221, view A, a reprint of Simplicity #4939 from 1944, for the full-sized apron; and for the small aprons I used both Simplicity #2748, view F, and Simplicity #1957, view C
NOTIONS: As the mini aprons are of vintage fabric, I used almost all vintage notion scraps (most from my Grandmother) on them for the details. The full-size apron is all new materials, yet still stuff that came from what I had on hand. These were stash busting projects!!
TIME TO COMPLETE: The gift apron was made in April 2015 and finished in 2 hours. The mini aprons were made in January 2015 and each one took a few hours.
Aprons are relatively easy-to-make, so there is not much to say. The adult apron was whipped up quickly so I spent extra time to make nice details, especially as this was to be a gift. I was quite happy with the sizing too and made it as-is (according to the pattern) no changes, except for substituting ribbon ties for self-fabric ones as directed. However, the small scale of the Barbie sized ones provided a big challenge in and of themselves. I had to do more hand stitching on them so that they ended up taking longer to make than doing an apron for a real person…how weird.
As the vintage “gardening woman watering her flowers” print fabric was rather thin, I did the extra step of lining the apron with cotton broadcloth remnants. I also had to add a center front seam to the mini apron’s skirt because I had such limited fabric…but at least I was still able to match up the print! This by far my nicest mini apron made yet…not all of my own aprons get lined.
The yellow-red-black mini apron is a thick, feedsack style cotton so it was not lined, but it did get a lot of details. I even added a tiny mini “handkerchief” folded up in the pocket for a touch of quaint realism. I quickly realized that my idea of going with a fun contrast thread color for machine top-stitching the pocket edges was not the best idea, especially as I was trying to attach baby rick-rack, too. I really should have chosen a matching yellow, and worked the stitching by hand. But once it was done, my work wasn’t terrible enough for my own hardened self-criticism to have the heart to unpick. This was a mini apron after all, was my thought, and one that was taking quite long to make in my opinion. Oh well – I really want to try this design again, anyway and then I’ll do better for the next time! Not too many people see my nice sewing area, and even then no one will notice some tiny wayward stitching on a mini apron up on a wall shelf.
I’ll admit I did feel sort of bad actually using up my vintage scraps this way. Perhaps I should have used these scraps for pocket linings in my garments? Even then they would not really be seen the same way, and on a regular basis (as I am pretty much sewing every day). Why shouldn’t my house’s decorations receive the same detailing, thought, vintage flair, and handiwork as what I wear? What would I really do with a 12 inch scrap of lovely rayon seam binding otherwise? Yup – sometimes I have to find legitimate reasons for my creative desires, because as the saying goes, “Of course, I talk to myself while sewing… I need expert advice!”