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Teach Yourself to Sew

Free Patterns for Three Apron Styles

Jan 16, 2012
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Download the pattern for a Chef's Apron.

During the second season of Teach Yourself to Sew we learned about gathering, sewing double-fold edges and hems, and everything you need to know to sew an apron. Teach Yourself to Sew was created with beginners in mind, but sewers of any level can use these tutorials to brush up on their skills. Here are bonus patterns for three apron styles.

free patterns

More free patterns:

• How to Sew a Reversible Apron
• How to Sew a Versatile Sundress
• How to Make a Custom Coat
• How to Upgrade a Basic Tee
How to Sew a Scarf Necklace

The patterns are designed to fit on 1 yard of 45-inch wide fabric. Aprons are popular right now and make a great gift as well as being fun and practical to wear. So, give these patterns a try. You’ll see how easy it would be to modify the size, or change the length or shape, add or remove pockets, or play with fabric combinations. This is a risk free way to be your own designer. Enjoy!

Skirt Apron

1. Finish the skirt side edges.

2. Hem the skirt.

3. Fold under the outside pocket edges and press.

4. Hem pocket top.

5. Position pocket as indicated on skirt and topstitch sides and bottom to attach.

6. Gather the skirt width to 16 inches wide.

7. With RS together center and sew the tie’s short, straight edges to waistband short edges.

8. With right sides together, center the waistband on the skirt and sew one edge to the skirt waist.

9. Fold waistband and ties in half lengthwise with right sides together and sew from D to E and from C to F. Turn RS out and press.

10. To finish the waistband, turn the unfinished edge under and either hand sew it with invisible stitches or topstitch by machine.

Skirt Apron – Download Pattern

Chef’s Apron 

free chef's apron pattern download

1. Hem the bib top. Trim ends to be even with the bib sides.

2. With RS folded together lengthwise, sew ties into long tubes with one finished end each. Turn RS out and press.

3. With RS folded together lengthwise, sew neck strap into a tube, leaving both ends open. Turn RS out and press.

4. Sew a narrow double-fold hem on bib sides first, then on the apron sides and hem.

5. Position the unfinished tie ends under the apron at the Xed boxes and topstitch in place.

6. Place the neck strap’s ends under the bib at the Xed boxes, and topstitch in place.

Chef’s Apron – Download Pattern

Heart Apron

heart apron free pattern download

1. Sew the short ends of the skirt ruffle together to make one long strip.

2. Turn one long edge and both short ends of the ruffle under 1/4-inch and press. Fold under another 1/4-inch, press again, and stitch in place.

3. Sew a double row of machine basting stitches along the ruffle’s unfinished long edge and gather to fit the skirt edge, starting 1/2-inch below the waist seamline.

4. RS together, sew the ruffle’s gathered edge to the skirt edge. Turn and press seam. Topstitch along the skirt edge so it lays flat. Trim the seam allowance with pinking shears.

5. Finish the waist tie edges in the same way as the ruffle with a double-fold hem.

6. Sew a narrow double-fold hem on each shoulder ruffles’ curved edge.

7. Gather the shoulder ruffle to 12 inches long.

8. Gather the skirt waist except between the notches.

9. Apply waist band and ties as described in steps 7 to 9 on “Skirt Apron” directions. But note: the heart apron ties are a single layer and hemmed not folded.

10. Turn under the long edges of both shoulder straps by 1/4-inch and press. Fold each strap in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

11. Insert a shoulder ruffle into the open side of each shoulder strap between the notches and with mirrored versions.

12. Apply interfacing to one heart shape. Place interfaced heart RS up and position the ruffled end of the shoulder straps RS down and place the straps on the bow of the heart to fit your body with the ruffles to the outside. Align the raw edges and pin with heads off the outer edge. Align the second heart RS down and stitch 1/2-inch from the edge from point A to B leaving the point open. Turn the heart RS out and press. Press under the open section’s edges by 1/2 inch.

13. Slip the skirt waistband into the heart’s open point, between the lining and interfaced fabric. The heart’s point meets the placement dot on the skirt. Topstitch around the open section and remainder of the heart, catching all layers.

14. Attach the shoulder straps to the waist ties either by sewing the unfinished end directly to each waist tie; or sewing a loop to each shoulder strap end and sliding the waist tie through it.

Heart Apron – Download Pattern

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  1. User avater maddie964 January 17th

    I bought my stepmom an apron from Anthropologie for Christmas but it would have been wonderful if I had made her one! I'll keep this in mind for next time. Thanks!

  2. Jaggs January 17th

    I have been cooking and sewing for years and do not own an apron...I will give these a try. Thank you

  3. raskl January 17th

    Great, the patterns look straightforward and easy to make, but I am surprised you didn't provide pictures of the finished projects.

  4. savannagal January 17th

    How do I make the pattern from an 8.5 x 11 sheet? Do I look for a large roll of graph paper and try to recreate the pattern by drawing what I see in each of the tiny squares on the document I downloaded from your website? I'm sorry, but I just don't understand how to use your pattern.

  5. KarenHM January 17th

    Savannagal, you can the pattern by using graph paper with one inch squares, or you can make the graph paper yourself, using tissue paper or inexpensive craft paper. Each of the little squares represents one inch. My first sewing project in junior high school was to make an apron out of a yard of fabric. This brings back great memories.

  6. Joyce05 January 17th

    Thank you very much for the patterns. I haven't made aprons in a long time.
    I don't ever remember my grandmother without her apron on, whether it was sitting in her rocking chair knitting with her ball of wool in her pocket or cooking in the kitchen. It was part of her being and she put it on in the morning before making breakfast and changed it if before answering the door in case it was company. There waa always a stack of them on the pantry shelf.
    Not too long ago I read an article entitled 'Grandma's Apron' and it brought tears to my eyes with all of the memories.
    I have to admit that I don't wear an apron anymore, although I did when my children were young. I used the skirt apron or as we called them the 'half apron'.
    Maybe it is time to reintroduce them and give my grandchildren memories of the usefulness of a great item.

  7. Rainbowheart January 17th

    Thanks for the aprons although it would be so much easier to have the instructions with a picture and the pattern all together. Also how to size it up for human size and not doll size. I will need to copy and paste the details on how-to separately and make sure to keep it with the pattern.

  8. savannagal January 17th

    Thanks KarenHM. That's what I thought. Hopefully somebody makes rolls that are 45 inches wide. That would surely be better than piecing all those 8.5 x 11 sheets together. Thanks for your help.

  9. User avater SharonMaroney January 17th

    Thanks for the patterns - but where are photos/drawings of the finished aprons?

  10. copywriterMT January 17th

    I made my daughter and granddaughter matching aprons last Christmas and they were a big hit. Then in 2011, I made a bbq apron for my 30+ age son - aprons are great gifts and even if people just hang them in the kitchen as decor, they seem to be appreciated.

  11. kewpiedoll99 January 17th

    If I want to blow these patterns up on the photocopier, what % do I set it for? There's no way I'm sitting down and using squared paper to hand draw it. The patterns are free, but my time has value.

  12. User avater Daylily124 January 17th

    Thanks for the patterns. I don't have a heart apron yet and always admire them nostalgically.
    When I get a pattern like this I just lay my tissue out on my cardboard cutting board with the grid markings already on it, and transfer the lines. This pattern should be pretty easy, especially if you have a curved ruler.

  13. MamaKelly January 17th

    When I have to enlarge a pattern, I either use gift tissue paper taped together or exam table paper and put it on my cutting board which aalready has the inch grid on it and is visible throughthe paper.

  14. Osewfine January 17th

    I am also disappointed that you did not provide % guidelines for enlarging the patterns. If the instructions were with the patterns that would be beneficial. After all, if this is all about learning to sew the process needs to be as easy and organized as possible so that the projects are successful! I do like the patterns and appreciate the fact that they are gradually a bit more complicated. Thanks!

  15. littlemsdynamite January 17th

    Thanks for the pattern. The way I like to enlarge is go buy white wrapping paper on the roll. The back side has the grid lines. I still have the apron my Grandma made for me when I was young. She was part of the Depression Era so her quilts and things were made from using old clothing.

  16. impulsive January 17th

    You can tell the required percentage enlargement by finding the ratio of the actual dimensions on your downloaded pattern and the size as indicated by the 1" squares. I found that a strap that was three squares, i.e. 3" wide, was 3/8 of an inch wide on the downloaded pattern. That means that the pattern for use is eight times as large as the downloaded pattern, so the enlargement on a copier would be 800%, which you might have to do by enlarging it 200% three times. Since most of the pieces are rectangles that can be cut to measurement with a rotary cutter, it hardly seems worthwhile to enlarge the pieces on a copier except for curvy pieces like the heart bodice and shoulder ruffles. You'd probably need to do it on 11" x 17" paper, and you might fit only a half pattern for the ruffle on the paper. On some of the other curves, like the rounded corners of the chef apron and skirt of the heart apron, the radius of the curve is not critical--just use a dinner plate or the turntable from your microwave or whatever looks good to you

  17. crofthouse January 18th

    HI - I love all your extras posted on-line and thoroughly enjoy my subscription to Threads magazine.

    How can I save this extra information/ patterns to use at a later date? I do not want to print out, as trying to get ready for retirement downsizing, but want to keep them on my pc/ put onto CD/DVD at some point ( probably when my left foot is not doing something!)...until then...How can I do this??

    I have saved several articles in the past - as either page sources or web archive, and when I come to use them with my students, they are no longer discoverable.

    Any suggestions please? I am sure there must be a way!

  18. silverlining January 18th

    To Crofthouse: When you download the file...make sure to save it to your documents. I have a file just for sewing projects. This has been working for me. After saving it to your documents; try to open it on your computer to make sure it works. I don't save these type of files as a web link because sometimes the link is no longer available. Hope this helps.

    To Threads: Thanks for the patterns.

  19. User avater monkemama January 19th

    I'm going to make the chef's apron but don't see any pocket pattern piece. It's mentioned in line 2 of the instructions.
    Does anyone have any idea of what size they should be and the placement? 1 or 2 pockets???

  20. meteormom January 20th

    I agree with Sharon that having pictures of the finished aprons would be very helpful. Hard to invest time and money if you may not like the finished product.
    Thanks for sending this; looking forward to more free patterns.

  21. kmegamom January 20th

    I really appreciate the free pattern downloads, however, I think it would make it much more beginner freindly if the instructions actaully gave the measurements of each peice in the instructions themselves. The only thing we have to go on is the diagram on the graph and in order to find out inches we have to count the squared on the graph. I don't see any inch or metric measurements on the graphs or pattern peices. I am really bad at having to rely on counting the squares for the sizes! And I am not a beginner, but I just think it would be pretty easy to put the inch or metric measurements on the pattern peices (you know, like on the strap list 40 inches long by 3 inches wide and so on).
    Thank you for all of the great articles!
    I also agree with the others about having a picture of completed aprons!

  22. kmegamom January 20th

    To Crofthouse: To save the instructions, click on the veiw all button on the instructions page then highlight the written instructions and right click, when the options come up, click on copy, then open your Word program or whatever program you have for writing documents, and open a new page, then click any place on the page and select paste. That will paste the instructions onto your new page, then you just save as you would for any document that you wish to save. I have a folder just for the Threads articles and projects so that they are easy to find at a later time. Once you have saved it, you can go back any time and bring it up, print it, email it as an attachment or anything you would like to do. Copy and paste is a great option for any articles that do not exclude you from doing so (such as copyrighted articles).

  23. User avater 416 January 20th

    I think it is a wonderful idea to learn how to make an apron as your first project. The apron is useful and it will remind you of how well you made your first project. TEACH YOURSELF TO SEW is a great series for beginners and those who wish to brush up on sewing skills. I kept my apron that I made in the eighth grade for years and passed it on to my grandchild when I was teaching her to sew. She still has it.

  24. ladycher January 21st

    Aprons are a great first project. It reminds me of my first apron created in 4-H Club that my mother taught over half a century ago.

    Your site will be a referral on my monthly newsletter. Sewing education is in demand and needed as an in-school hands on activity for all students. So many necessary subjects can be taught through the a creative sewing curriculum.
    Way to go Threads!

  25. User avater Hilily January 24th

    Ahh, the apron.
    I do hope they are in men's sizes.
    As a feminist, I worked for years to get out from behind the apron and whilst they can be useful I am worried by the changes in domestic arrangements that may follow their re-introduction.

  26. Sewer2012 January 25th


    I quite agree. The resurgence in sewing interest, at least online, often is accompanied by a disturbing attitude of retro nostalgia for a past that didn't exist, and one in which women didn't have basic rights. I think the poor economy and the general mood of uncertainty are encouraging romantic fantasies of women being back in the home, barefoot and pregnant.

    Women sew. Men sew. Kids sew. It's an interesting skill to have. That is the basis on which sewing should be approached.

  27. Luv2Costume January 25th

    As a modern woman--you are only as oppressed as you allow yourself to be. With or without an apron.
    Wearing an apron, however cute it may be, does not infer that you desire to be barefoot and pregnant and without benefit of basic human rights and social equality. It is a functional garment intended to protect one's clothes while cooking. End of story. If you think the skirted or heart-shaped styles catapult you back 50 years, then make the chef's apron. Or don't make an apron at all.
    People living in every "modern age" have looked back on the past through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia and remembered only the pleasant aspects of those eras. It's easy to do and it's comforting. Remembering that those pleasant apsects were accompanied by horrendous inequities and social expectations does help to put things in perspective, though.
    But seriously, this website is about sewing.

  28. whoneedlesthis January 25th

    I totally agree with love2costume, I have never felt put down for wearing an apron, I even have a waterproof one to keep me dry while I wash dishes!!
    These two lovely patterns will be great additions to my apron wardrobe, especially as they can be cut on a single yard of fabric!!
    Also, great inspiration for teaching kids to sew!!!

  29. IrisMoon January 29th

    I adore aprons. Thank you so much for whetting the appetite! My great-aunt Mame gifted then First Lady Mamie Eisenhower with an apron (I believe for her birthday and every birthday for many years thereafter) and received orders from Mamie for aprons she then gifted. I saw many beautiful aprons in my childhood.

  30. Sewer2012 January 31st


    Would that it were that simple. Sewing is a cultural and historical practice that does not occur in a vacuum, so my comment and that of Hilily very much belong on this blog.

    Incidentally, the attitude that "It's just a sewing blog, no reason to discuss the larger world here" only underscores the stereotypical idea that sewing is for little women confined to the home with no larger concerns.

  31. Sewer2012 February 1st

    I wanted to add that when I read criticism of retro nostalgia in sewing it's usually directed at clothing from the era of the 1950s.

    Why? Because the period was not retro, it was retrograde. Women were actively directed back into the home after making a major contribution to the war effort during WW II. In addition, I personally don't think the silhouettes are attractive, comfortable-looking, flattering to contemporary women, and if you're concerned about fabric use, they consume a lot of yardage.

    No one ever complains about gauzy nostalgia for:

    The Edwardian era (suffragettes, "Downtown Abbey");

    The Roaring 20s (voting rights, the flapper era, Clara Bow);

    The Thirties (the Pre-Code era in Hollywood, Jean Harlow, Garbo);

    The Forties (Rosalind Russell in the Front Page, Katharine Hepburn, Rosie the Riveter).

    Those were periods in which women were moving forward (and the clothes were cool). The 1950s are different. Now, no one's going to turn into Harriet from "Ozzie and Harriet" just by tying on a little apron with hearts on it, but it is important to understand why some people object, especially if they see sewing pitched just to women. Sewing is not an activity limited to women.

  32. Serral February 16th

    What is refreshing about Threads, for me, is that there is a forum for creative and talented people to share ideas, techniques and craftsmanship.

    This derogatory commentary about what "women think" is petty, and demeaning. Every era has its issues for women. In the 1600's in Salem it was tough to be a woman. In the 2000's it was tough to be Hillary Clinton running for president.

    Whatever issue an apron connotes for you politically or emotionally is personal. Transforming your feelings into a rant about what the rest of us think is something I'd rather not have to read here.

  33. spicegirl1 February 29th

    I make aprons, I wear aprons. They help keep the clothing clean when crafting, cooking, cleaning, & gardening.

    Enlarging the view of the pattern selection on-screen indicates the obvious...the grid is 1".

    When comments turn to drama, I want to shout "shut-up and sew!"

  34. Barbyj March 26th

    this is so cool!
    I think it's a great idea as a gift for friends, where you can really play around with them!
    I am a beginner, are there any photos? that would really help me,
    especially for the hearts one that seems like a fun idea

  35. damutt September 15th

    I was hoping to see a picture of each one completed but have not found any pictures yet. If they are posted somewhere please send me the link to them. Also, all this talk about women and aprons....the men in our family wear aprons while they are cooking on the grill, they do have a purpose rather than just looking nice, that is to protect your clothing. With that said, when choosing an apron keep in mind that it is protecting the clothes under it, or skin, choose the best one that covers the most amount of clothing.

  36. Sarahruth May 22nd

    My husband wears aprons whenever he cooks in the kitchen or on the grill. We've even developed a small cottage business making chef's aprons. We both enjoy making and wearing aprons!

  37. Corrales May 28th

    I've never seen so much drama over an apron!
    Threads is nice enough to give us free patterns,
    if it's that difficult to figure out buy a pattern.

  38. gjstl May 31st

    People need to chill out a little about the social and political impact of an apron. I'm an old school feminist. Fought hard to climb to the top of the corporate world in a very male dominated industry. And I always wear an apron when I cook. I'm messy. I don't want to ruin my clothes. Aprons are practical and much cheaper than buying new clothes. Can't wait to make a couple new chef's aprons.

  39. KittyF July 23rd

    I choose to have a minimal basic wardrobe to minimize costs, storage space and overthinking/worry about my clothes. the whole thing would be a waste if I have to worry about stains so aprons keep me from ruining my clothes. Mine aren't fancy but they do the job and I do like to choose cheerful prints for them when I have the opportunity. love aprons for the memories of my mom, aunts and grandmas also. they were loving, cheerful and giving and always wore and apron to help them out.

  40. User avater theambassadorroom July 26th

    Thank you so much for amazing free patterns. I will appreciate having fun with the finishing of each. I was disappointed that I was unable to download the heart apron pattern as it was not available with an error message. I think it should be no problem to transpose it to paper from the diagram on your site.
    Thanks again!

  41. EvamarieGomez July 27th

    theambassadorroom: Please accept our apologies. The link has been fixed and you should now be able to download the heart pattern. Thank you for visiting Threads magazine!

    Evamarie Gomez
    Web Producer

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