December 07, 2021 4 Comments
Welcome back! Its Day Two of the Cynthia's Cookie Apron sew along and we will finish up the apron by adding the facing, get a quick lesson on how easy it is to roll seam edges for a clean garment edge finish, hem the edge on the apron, and consider different ways to finish and attach the straps.
Go here for Day One of the sew along.
Finishing the Center Front Seam (if not cut on fold)
If you cut your apron on the fold, this step does not apply. Since I cut my apron body in two pieces instead of on the fold, my apron has a seam on the center front. I have decide to finish the edges of the center front seam by simply turning the edges under and securing with a machine stitch close to the folded edge. Because my fabric is textured due to the pucker of the seersucker fabric, the stitching is barely visible.
However, this may not be the case for other fabrics. If you do not want to see the stitching on the apron front, you can hand-whip-stitch the turned under edge for a nearly invisible finish on the right side of the apron. You can also bind the edges or serge to finish edges. Finishing the center front edges should be done prior to attaching the facing and hemming.
Adding Facing to Apron
Facing Considerations: Facings are a great way to finish a garment's raw edges and strengthen areas that get a lot of wear, all at the same time. However, this apron can be made without the facing if you like, but you will need to consider how to finish the raw edges. Or, you could line the entire apron. Binding the edges with bias tape would also work, while also providing an extra design element to your project. A serged or zig-zag stitch edge would be a great option for an apron that needs to be made quickly. Depending on the weight or thickness, ribbon would also serve as a nice edging, but only if the ribbon will lay smoothly along the curved bottom edge such as Petersham.
Since this apron version is meant to be rather nice and I intend to wear it a lot, I am adding a facing. My fabric is a heavier medium weight, so I have not added interfacing. It is fine to interface the entire facing or just the straps area if you feel your fabric could use a bit of strengthening. If you intend to add interfacing now is the time. Add either sew-in or fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the facing.
Note: Use an interfacing weight that is close to or lighter in weight to the fabric you are using. Interfacing that is too heavy, will result in too much bulk, especially on corners and when the edges are turned.
Hint: Using fusible interfacing you can eliminate bulk in the strap seam allowances. Cut the interfacing just shy of the seam allowance. To do this cut the interfacing 1/4-inch (6mm) smaller than the pattern piece on all edges. This will give all the extra structure needed without the interfacing getting caught up in the seam allowance and it's stitching, therefore eliminating the bulk in the strap area. This will also allow for easier turning of the straps.
Sewing Facing: With wrong side facing up, turn under the bottom edge of the Facing B by ½” (13mm) and press. Top stitch close to turned under edge. Add interfacing to facing or straps now, if desired.
Note: To eliminate bulk at the bottom edge on the facing don't include the interfacing in the turning of the edge.
With right sides together pin and stitch the Facing to the Apron, using ½” (13mm) seam allowance around all edges.
Trimming the Facing Edges
Clip corners and curves, and trim the seam allowance of facing and apron where facing is attached. This eliminates bulk and makes turning the facing easier and allowing for nice pressed finished edges. Take your time to carefully trim the 1/2-inch (13mm) seam allowance approximately by half and clip curves, as shown below.
Clip off the turned under tails on each side of the facing .
Carefully trim the bottom edge of the facing where it is attached to the apron as shown below. Do not trim away any of the apron hem. The remaining turned edge at the bottom of the facing will neatly tuck into the inside of the facing when turned right side out. This will create an uninterrupted edge to the turned under edge and hem.
The photo below shows the edges you need to trim on the facing.
Hold On: Don't trim the strap ends unless you are confident about the strap length.
Once the seam allowances are trimmed by half, clip the seam allowances on the curves. This will release the fabric creating a smooth finished curved edge when the facing is turned right side out and pressed.
Note: Be careful to not clip into or beyond the stitching.
Clip the slightest of curves too. Even curves that are not well pronounced, benefit from clipping.
Clip the corners of the strap edges (if sewn up and confident of the length) and bib front.
Turn the Facing and Apron right side out. The edges and corners should turn easily. The straps are like any tube and are a little trickier, so take your time and turn the strap portion right side out slowly, until the strap finally appears.
Note: Surgical clamps with teeth are handy tweezer-like tools good for turning tubes, loops, or straps. Because of the sharp teeth take care not to damage your fabric. I could have used my clamps for this turning task. However, the straps were easy enough to turn with just my fingers.
Rolling the Edges
If you are new to edge rolling, or not quite sure of your technique, I am sharing what I learned to do.
Rolling the edges of a garment is a small detail that gives your work a professional finish. The idea is to roll the main fabric slightly over and towards the facing to keep the facing edge from peeking out and being visible on any garment you make. This is especially true when the facing is a different color or a different fabric all together from the fabric used to make the main body of the garment. This is not a hard task, but some areas like straps can be tight and fussy. Sometimes heavier fabrics need a bit of massaging to make them cooperate in order to make the edges roll nicely.
Because the seersucker fabric I used is on the heavy side of a medium-weight, with elastic thread woven into the fabric to make it pucker, I decided to roll the edges and pin them in place before pressing.
Hint: After taking the time and effort to roll the edges you will be happy you used pins to secure the roll in place. You can roll the edges when pressing if you like. However, I find it helpful to at least try to ensure some tasks will go well before handling hot objects.
Hint: Use glass tip pins when using an iron. Plastic tip pins melt leading to ruin.
I began rolling the edges that I could get my hands into first. Simply, use your fingers on both the top and under sides of the fabric and tease the apron edge towards the facing or inside of the apron. Once you have the edge rolled, pinch the seam on the right side edge with your fingers and pin to hold, then press, as seen in the series of photos below.
In the photo below, my fingers on my right hand are under the fabric (sandwiched between the wrong sides of the apron and facing) and my right thumb is on the right side of the fabric. I am using my left hand to pinch and finesse the roll.
Pins make pressing the roll edge easier.
Because of the way the straps are constructed, working your fingers on both the under and top sides is not an option. Instead, you will need to use a different technique. Roll the edges to the back of the strap towards the strap facing using your fingers in a rolling back and forth motion, until you can massage the fabric to a slight roll. Have a look at the video below to get the idea.
In the photo below you can see the edge of the strap slightly rolled to the back left edge starting at the bottom and working up the strap edge.
Hem the Apron
With wrong side of Apron facing up, turn and pin the side/bottom apron edge under 1/4-inch (6mm), then again 1/4-inch (6mm) and press. Top stitch close to turned under edge.
Tip: If you follow my blogs closely, you will have noticed how much I utilize a basting stitch guideline in my sewing. This technique eliminates having to measure as you go when turning or hemming an edge.
For this hem, machine baste 1/2-inch (13mm) from the edge. This stitch line can then be used as a guide to turn the edge under 1/2-inch (13mm), then turn under the raw edge 1/4-inch (6mm) or in half again, meeting the inside of the fold. Turn and pin as you go using the stitch line as a guide, then press and stitch the edge to finish. Once you are done stitching the hem in place, the basting stitch guide is easily removed.
You might be thinking... if the instructions tell me to turn the edge under 1/4-inch” (6mm), then again 1/4-inch (6mm)... then why not make a 1/4-inch (6mm) basting stitch to use as a guide. You can. But a 1/2-inch (13mm) guideline is easier to control and keep accurate.
If you look closely at the edge of the fold you can see the white basting stitch line guide.
Below the raw edge is turned under again into the fold.
Turning and pinning the hem takes time, but the basting stitch guidelines eliminates the need to measure.
Finishing the Straps
Try on the Apron with the straps crossed in the back to evaluate the fit. The straps are intended to be sewn on the outside front of the Apron, but you can also finish them on the inside of the Apron. It simply depends on if you want them to be visible.
Note: When it comes to straps, sometimes you really cannot evaluate how long they should be until the end. Aprons are not typically fit sensitive, but the length of the straps matter somewhat for comfortable wearing. Personally, I prefer to add extra length to my straps when cutting, just in case. Too much length can always be trimmed away. If you are making this as a gift, you should be fine with the strap length of the pattern.
If you added extra length to the straps and they have ended up being too long, trim the excess, but remember to include the seam allowance. Turn the edges to the inside for a nice finish. Press and stitch the edges together to close, using a machine stitch close to the edge or hand-whip stitch.
Once straps are the length you want, you can sew the straps to the apron front. Sew a small box 1.5”x1.5” (3.8x3.8cm) over the strap ends at the top of the apron front. This will secure the straps to the apron. If you want the straps sewn to the inside of the apron front, do the same as above, just put the strap ends on the inside of the bib.
OR if you are not in the mood for making buttonholes as it turned out to be my case, add a non-functioning button anyway, minus the buttonhole. Position the button on the strap as if using a buttonhole, then stitch it on going through the strap, and apron/facing layers. No one will know the difference. I added buttons to the pockets too... just because.
Hint: Snaps can be used as well. You could even use a snap to the underside of the strap (with its mate on the bib front) for practical reasons and add a button on the right side of the strap for a decorative touch. Large snaps will work best.
Adjust the Straps
You can alter the fit of your apron by making the straps adjustable. Position the button on the bib as you normally would for a buttonhole and stitch it in place. Depending on the amount of adjustment you would like, make more than one buttonhole spacing them in even increments that you determine... maybe make two or three? Of course, you will need plenty of strap length to do this.
Since I am pretty sure you will make more than one apron, consider giving this a try. Making adjustable straps is especially handy if making an apron for a child in your life. Be watching for an apron for little people coming soon!
I hope you have enjoyed making the Folkwear Cynthia's Cookie Apron. It is truly a pleasure to share something I personally enjoy so much. I can hardly wait to see what you make! Please share your creations and include yourself "in action" wearing your apron on Folkwear's Customer Galley (if you purchased the pattern, you can review it with photos too!)
Happy Apron Making!!!
P.S. Don't forget to try my cookie recipe for the holidays.
January 17, 2023