Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Regency Pin-Tuck Apron

Who needs an apron?  I sure do!  Whenever I'm cooking or cleaning here around the house I'm always forgetting to put on an apron...and thus ruining my clothes.  My clothes now-a-days are precious, yes, but not nearly as important to me as a historical dress I spent days creating.  And the dress that came to mind at first was my newly finished Regency work dress.  I spent days sewing tiny little stitches-and I don't plan on getting grease or red clay smeared across any part of it.

So, I made an apron.  And I figured since I had hand-sewed the dress, I should just hand sew the apron too. Yes, hand-sewing goes by faster than one would think, but I've never longed for a project to come to an end as much as that apron.  It has come to an end though, and part of what motivated me to complete it was the prospect of making a blog post out of it! :)

I've made one regency apron before.  It was a quickie- I needed to wear it the next night for a Christmas cooking demonstration.  I'm ashamed of that apron.  Everything was raw edges...machine sewn, not rolled hems, non-matching bias tape for ties and waistband-just horrible.  These pictures make it look better than it is.

But happily, I'm not ashamed of my new one (well ok, I'm still ashamed that I never can sew on hook and eyes properly), or I should say, not as ashamed of my new one :).  To be honest, I LOVE it! :D  I used white cotton sheets (from the thrift store), and I only used, um, maybe like 2/3 of the sheet.  The skirt part of the apron is very full, the sheet was a little bigger than a twin sheet, which was good because I like full skirts.
(pic of waistband with caption)
First of my inspirations for the apron, was this charming, diagonally tucked apron that Sarah from the Romantic History blog made. I just like how the bib detail gives some interest to an otherwise bland utility garment.  Just because it's practical doesn't mean it can't be pretty! :D
she has such great skill, her things amaze me
Also was a bib front dress a friend of mine made.  I loved all the lovely tucks on the front!  Sadly, I don't have a picture, since it is currently on display in the Latta Plantation house, and no one is allowed to take pictures in there.

And since I had a total of 6 hours in the car, and since I miscalculated as to how many tucks there would be *grin* I sewed a total of 14 little tucks across the front.  You can see that on one side, two tucks are closer together than any others.  Why?  Because I forgot to bring a measuring tape, and I was impatient, so I guessed and...guessed wrong :P.
you can sort of see the back here
the full skirt

So yeps, that's my new Regency apron!  Total cost was about $1.50, and total time maybe 8-ish hours?  I did not use a pattern.  To get the length you want for an apron, all you do is hold a measuring tape under you bust, and then step on the end of it so that it stays taught.  Pick a place you want the length to be, and add a few inches.  Usually when I sew by hand I use 1/2 inch seam allowance, and for this apron I did a narrow rolled hem, so I added 1 inch to the length I picked to allow for that.  You can do a larger hem at the bottom to give it some more body and stability.  I find larger hems less puckery when sewing as well.  I used two rows of hand gathering at the top to

When doing the bib, I took a measuring tape across my bust (about from edge to edge of the bib in the pictures) and said that was how wide I wanted the apron to be.  Then I added an inch to that measurement to account for narrow rolled hems on either side.  For the length of the bib, I put one end of the measuring tape at approx. the top of my bust (or about 3 in. above the middle of my bust) and then measured to right below my bust where the waistband would be.  Then I added an inch for seam allowance and the rolled hem at the top.
front of bib, corner where strap is

The straps go on the far edges of the top of the bib.  I attached the straps by folding under the raw edge of the strap and then stitching it down on all 3 sides, as well as where the top of the bib was on the strap.  I whip stitched the strap to the bib fabric.  I made my straps, I think like 2-2 1/2 wide and then folded them in half and stitched along the edge.
inside of bib, where strap is

For the waistband, I ran the tape around my body directly under my bust.  Then I added an inch or so for the hook and eye overlap in the back.  You can make the waistband be a couple inches, an inch or less than an inch wide.  I made mine between an inch and an inch and a half.  You can either attach the straps directly to the waistband, or hook and eye them to the waistband.  Mine are currently hook and eyed to the waistband, (because hook and eyes happen to be my sewing weakness :)), I may sew the straps to the waistband.

underside of waistband
Overall, this was a very fun and necessary project. It's an upgrade for sure from my last apron and I think the accuracy of it is pretty good.  It's comfortable, pretty, useful, and I'm very happy with it! Phew that was a long post!  You could probably make an apron in the time it will take you to read it! :D  I hope the info can help if you are looking into making a regency apron yourself.  And, now that I've shared more than my 2 cents worth I'd better sign off!  Have a great week!


  1. Is this the one I wore in the Pilgrim's Progress play? Just curious!

    1. haha, no :P! I hadn't even finished this one then. The first one was the one you wore though :O