Frugal and Fun and Fast

Do you ever just feel like making something quick and fun and maybe a little whimsical?  Something that isn’t going to task your brain too much, but which is nevertheless rewarding?  

That’s how I was feeling a few days ago.  I just was not ready to start a big new project, of which I have (too) many lined up in my head.  In addition, propped in my sewing room, looking at me forlornly, were a few piles of fabric, leftovers from things I had sewn this past summer.   For the life of me, I cannot throw away any decent length of fabric left over from something I have made.  I always think I’ll need it for something.  That is rarely the case, but for once I decided to do something about it.  I decided to make some aprons.  

Seriously, who doesn’t love an apron?  They can be all-business or whimsical, pretty or frilly, plain or busy, colorful or monotone, practical or impractical.  The list goes on.  Fortunately I had three apron patterns already available to me, one from the 1950s, one from the 1970s and one more recent one, perhaps from the last 10 years or so, shown in order below.

In order to make my leftover fabric go as far as possible, and to make this apron project fit my criteria for fast and fun and frugal, I went with the simple chef’s apron (View F) on the pattern directly above.  The only change I made to the look of it was to construct contrasting ties and pockets.  Not only did I like the idea of adding color and whimsy to my aprons, but this change gave me the ability to use up shorter pieces of fabric.

The first one I made from excess fabric from dresses I made for my granddaughters this past Spring and Summer. 

The neck and waist ties and binding along the side fronts are a continuous piece of bias binding. Oddly, the pattern instructions did not indicate how much should be left for the length of those ties, so I guessed. It seems to have worked out okay!

The second apron used fabric left over from a ribbon-embellished tunic I made for myself, also in the Summer.  The ties and pockets used zigzag-patterned fabric I had on hand to use for “baby tote bags”  I have made over the years as gifts.

That zigzag fabric is quite an effective accent as you can see by these baby tote bags, made years ago… But “so long” to the red zigzags – now they are embellishing aprons!
I decided to divide the pocket into two unequal parts with a simple line of stitching. Otherwise the pocket gaped a bit and could possibly catch on panhandles or other obstacles!

After making two aprons, I was having so much fun, I thought I would look and see what other apron-appropriate fabrics I could find stored away.  I came across a “vegetable” print which is from the 1980s or ‘90s, given to me by a sewing/quilting friend.  I had one yard which was perfect for the main part of the apron.  I stitched this one up in a flash, having perfected a few time-saving techniques in the first two aprons.  

What else would you use this fabric for?

Now I’m ready to approach some more serious sewing!  But what fun to create three distinct looks from one simple-to-make pattern.  My friends and family had better watch out – they may be getting aprons for Christmas…  


Filed under aprons, Uncategorized

29 responses to “Frugal and Fun and Fast

  1. Melissa

    Love your aprons! I discovered ‘fiftydresses’ perhaps 3 years ago while researching a Claire McCardell dress I remember my Mother wearing in the late 50’s & early 60’s. There are treasures to be found at 2:30am while roaming the internet, and your marvelous site is one of them. I admire your ingenuity, your creativity and willingness to share. Thank you!

  2. karen

    I absolutely adore a good apron. What a fantastic idea. I just love them.

    Kind Regards, > Karen Mizzi > Couture > 0431488064


  3. Golly gee wiz does this bring back memories! A few years ago I made 21 aprons and hot pads as Christmas gifts. Then my granddaughter wanted to be a chef for Halloween and she wanted an apron, hot pad and chef’s hat and I was delighted to make it all for her. I’m addicted to aprons and couldn’t be in the kitchen without wearing one. I even have a gardening apron. I adore your use of remnants and love all the aprons you’ve made. The world is a happy place when I’m wearing an apron.

    • Wow! Twenty-one aprons is a lot of aprons, and I’m sure they were all beautiful! I also like to make potholders, which is another great way of using up scraps. Aprons conjure up all kinds of memories from my childhood – making life a happy place indeed!

  4. Bet Morgan

    Wonderful way for scraps not big enough for a garments! This something I do each year.

  5. Patricia Ross

    I would be happy to receive a lovely hand made apron any day.
    Such a fun project, love them.

  6. Great thought to make aprons! They are so cheery.😊

  7. Those aprons are nice enough to give as gifts.
    I couldn’t help noticing your dress dummy (fifth photo). You should sew her some shorts or panties.

  8. Linda D.

    Very nice! All of them. Always a pleasure reading your posts. I get excited when I see them in my inbox. Thank you for taking the time to share. (And the panties comment is kinda funny. I did a double take myself. LOL!)

  9. Cyn

    Very stylish, as always.

  10. This was great to see. I’m about to make a few aprons myself. This was encouraging. They are each beautiful. Such a practical thing an apron is, too.

  11. Lucy N

    The aprons are great but those totes! I can’t stop looking at them. What a fabulous gift idea for a new baby! Did you use a pattern or was that trial and error? I’d love to know.

    • Hi Lucy – Ah, those totes! I have made so many of them. They make wonderful baby shower gifts, filled with other things for the little one. They are good for holding diapers and other supplies on the changing table… I used a pattern from Noodlehead, called the “divided basket” pattern.

      • Lucy N

        Thank you! What a fabulous baby gift!!!

      • Thank you for this info on another great referral.

      • Mery

        You have outdone yourself. Seemingly simple pattern and far less sewing than your couture outfits, yet each is just perfect. Perfectly delightful. Perfectly useful. Perfectly pretty. Perfectly full of care and memories snd hope.
        May you and your loved ones have a holiday season full of goodness.

      • Ah, thank you, Mery! Those totes are fun to make and even more fun to give away. The pattern is very precise which I appreciate.
        And may you, too, enjoy all the blessings of the approaching season of goodness.

  12. Those are wonderful, and they would make wonderful gifts as well. I still have the little apron my grandma made for me when I was 4 or 5. I loved that th8 gs!

  13. Just wanted you to know that your apron post made a lasting impression on me: I hope to work on a new apron today and re-visited your post from November for a bit of inspiration! All of your aprons are terrific, but I love the last veggie print one!

    • Thank you so much for letting me know this, Joan. It is comments/feedback like yours which keep me at this. Best of luck with your apron sewing. I think I have many more aprons “in” me for this coming year – they are quite addictive!

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