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A sewing apron

MerylEss | Posted in General Discussion on

I don’t know about you but my most useful thing in my sewing room is my sewing apron.  I made it for myself some years ago out of sheer frustration.  Always looking for my tools (snips, tapemeasure, chalk unpicker etc) made sewing as much a chore as a pleasure.  So I planned and made an apron that would hold the small things that get lost under fabric and projects.  Voila – I now have all my bits at hand.  It took a while to get into the habit of putting the gadgets back into my pockets but now it all comes naturally.  I even put my snips onto an elastic so that they are always by my side but can stretch to reach my sewing machine or project. 


  1. sewandquilt | | #1

    I teach sewing in Ad Ed settings and was in need of something similar and considered an apron, but then, inspired by seeing the belts that carpenters wear, with all their tools right at hand, I ended up purchasing a really nice waist-pack from a company that makes back packs (Eagle Creek). It's the perfect size, with 2 zipper pockets.

    I keep large and small scissors in the front zipper compartment, and my Clover seam ripper in the other compartment. I have each of those tools tethered to the inside of the pack with rubber coils, each a different color, which I get in the key dept of a hardware store. The front compartment has some little spaces, and there I keep a small cosmetic brush for lint removal from machines, tweezers, small flashlight, small screwdriver. The rear compartment has a small zippered section and there I keep a small box of my favorite glass-head pins and a fabric needle "books".

    1. Stillsewing | | #3

      That sounds an inspired idea. We should all have a belt/apron like this on our wish lists. I have tried tying my snipers to my sewing machine but it always seems to become undone for whatever reason.

    2. TrishyBob | | #5

      I was at a yard sale and found several of the carpenter aprons. I think that is what they are called. They are made from  canvas and have one large pocket across the bottom with stitching up and down the pocket, making individual sections. I added a couple of sections and keep my Gingher's, duck bill scissors, tape measure, chalk, small ruler, appropriate marker for whatever project I'm working on, plastic point for pushing out corners and anyother item I need for my project. It is great and I have everything I need on me. No more, trying to find lost objects under things.

      1. stitchagain | | #6

        Great thought

        I had to add to this discussion by saying that once on a expert guided bird watching hike- the expert had a carpenters apron to hold her bird book.  Kept it dry but was always in reach



        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #7

          Anyone use a Chatelaine? I mean the real old-fashioned type that you keep pinned to your sweater? I have seen several cross stitch patterns for similar ones, but they seem geared towards the stitching patterns, rather than actual use.

    3. User avater
      MerylEss | | #8

      Wow - you have really taken it seriously - well done.  Mine is made of black cotton drill and has long enough straps to be able to tie in the front and is much like a short kitchen apron.  I have a large front pocket to house my larger scissors and any larger tools that I am using for a project.  I use a safety pin to attach the end of my tape measure to a convenient place on the apron and then swing it around my neck.  This means that the smaller number is always on the free end and I don't have to search for the right end (I use both metric and imperial measurements which means my tape is only usable from one end). I made a small pocket on the apron to hold my 3B pencil which I cut in half when I purchase them and then sharpen them on both ends mainly because the longer pencil will prevent me from sitting comfortably at my machine and both ends being sharpened means less time looking for the sharpener when I am in the middle of a project.  And as I said the snips are attached with pantie elastic and which I untie to wash the apron.  You have given me some new handy items to pop into my pockets mind you - so thanks for that.


  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I would like to see your apron.  Have given this some thought in the past but did not follow through.  I guess it took too much imagination.  No matter how many pin cushions, seam gauges, scissors, etc. I have they are always in another spot when I need them.

    1. User avater
      MerylEss | | #9

      Since I have already described my apron (not sure how to include a photo) and I see you also have a gremlin pin cushion, I have another suggestion for you.  A friend made me the most wonderful wrist pin cushion some time ago.  She used wide elastic for around the wrist and filled a cushion with regular polyfill stuffing.  She threaded the elastic through a sleeve that she had sewn onto the bottom of the cusion. - with a bit of imagination you could concoct one of your own if you were so inclined.  Now that I have gotten into the habit of using it, I find it indispensable.  I love sewing but hate looking for things so I’ve made a real attempt to use my apron and wrist cushion whenever I go into my sewing room.  Sewing should be fun and not full of looking for things don’t you think?.   

      1. TrishyBob | | #10

        I make my own wrist pin cushions. Cut 2  rectangles (whatever size you want) from  a sturdy fabric. (double knit works great). Cut a small square to go on bottom for velcro strip to go thru.  Sew around all edges leaving a small opening to fill with sand. The sand keeps your pins sharp (also needles). Sew the opening  together. I use  strips of velcro to go around my arm and overlap on each other. I have used the wrist pin cusion for 30 years and am lost without it.

        Edited 6/8/2008 10:02 pm ET by TrishyBob

        1. User avater
          MerylEss | | #11

          Sounds like a go'er to me - will try sand next time - good tip, thanks

        2. SewFit | | #25

          I'm always looking for ideas for Christmas gifts for family and friends who sew.  This is an excellent one as are are the ideas here.  thanks!!!!

          1. TrishyBob | | #26

            You are quite welcome.

      2. sewelegant | | #12

        you are right!  gremlins it is.

        As for the wrist pin cushion I did have that plastic version several seasons ago and when I tired of the plastic I took it apart and made a covered elastic wristlet to glue the pin cushion part too.  It wore out and I never did replace it even though I vowed to do it, over and over.  At the end of my husbands career we were moving every two years and old habits took awhile to settle back in place.

        1. User avater
          CostumerVal | | #15

          The tool pouch is a Simplicity pattern using scraps of upholstery fabric and velcroed to a belt.  It has 3 pockets on the back of the main pouch, a zipper pocket on the other side of the main pouch, a "bucket" pouch containing a recycled zip bag with all my hand sewing supplies.  There's a small flat pouch on the front that usually holds band aids.  And the carbiner's got my flashlight.  My small scizzors are on a spring loaded leash that clips to my shirt.

          The pin cushion is a stuffed yo-yo, hot glued in a milk jug lid, (so I didn't stab myself) and the lid is then hot glued to a piece of waistband elastic.  I absolutely love it.  When not attached to my body, the tool pouch hangs from a hook on the wall behind my machine.

          1. User avater
            MerylEss | | #16

            That is amazing - packed with all you need.  Love the wrist pincushion so practical.  I see we have a kindred spirit with our tool "belts".  Makes you feel geared for production don't you think?  It is always nice to see what other people do behind the sewing doors.  Happy sewing.

          2. sewelegant | | #18

            I love the pin cushion.  But, why the yo yo?  Don't the pins hit the wood of the yo yo when you insert them?  Or (duh) it just dawned on me... do you mean a cloth circle gathered into a yo yo?  What do you stuff it with?  I had a wristlet something like this, but the elastic was covered with fabric that was longer than the elastic so it gathered and was so pretty.  You have inspired me to make a new wrist pincushion!  (I wasn't trying to be funny, I really did think you were talking about a toy yo yo)

      3. MaryinColorado | | #14

        oh yes!  I can't function without my wrist pincushion!  What a thoughtful gift from your friend.  Mary

    2. MaryinColorado | | #13

      Places that sell nurses' uniforms locally or online sometimes carry a fanny pack that I used when I was a nurse, it also is excellent for sewing notions.  Not your typical fanny pack as it's made to carry surgical scissors, notepad, pen, thermometers, etc.  They are great!  You could even attatch it to the sewing table if you added super strong velcro.

      Also you can buy some neat notions holders at http://www.nancysnotions.com that are shaped like a Tpee that I use next to the cutting table.  There are also table attatchments that you can buy to hold notions.

      I have alot of scissors and things hanging from one of those wooden flex hangers with dowels.  Don't know what it's called, but they sell them by the ironing boards at Target, etc.  and are inexpensive.

      1. sewelegant | | #17

        I didn't see anything on Nancy's Notions shaped like a teepee, but do remember seeing a fold up caddy made with canvas awhile back.  Let's face it... it would also be on the other side of the room when I need it.  OK, I know, it's good exercise.  Will have to look into an apron caddy.  That sounds like it would be right up my alley.  The fanny pack idea might also work, thanks.

        1. MaryinColorado | | #19

          Ha ha I know what you mean about things being across the room when you need them.  I finally had everything in my sewing studio organized perfectly, everything was within reach, even if it required a few duplicate notions.  I was so thrilled.  Even the tables were set up in an L shape so I could just rotate my chair to switch from sewing to serging.  Then due to health reasons, I need to move positions every 15-20 minutes.  To motivate myself to do that, I completely disorganized the studio!  Yes, deliberately!  It was a strange concept to be sure!  I also set an egg timer.  Crazy, huh?


          1. sewelegant | | #20

            I feel for you with needing to move!  I do not wish to minimize your pain as I remember you have mentioned back problems in a previous post.  My main complaint is arthritis.  Mainly osteo with a bit of rheumatoid thrown in and swimming is my main exercise.  One of my children gave me a nice little gift... a pedometer.  I put it in my pocket.  I think the goal is to take at least 1000 steps per day.  The other day I checked it at the end of the day and it said: 9.  I know!  NO ONE only walks 9 steps a day, surely.  But, the sad part is I rarely reach that 1000 steps so I know I need to get moving.  The good news is I discovered I was in the wrong mode... that was the time.  If the rest of me was as busy as my hands I would be thin as a reed!  I don't mind being 69, but I wish I had taken better care of myself so I could sew for a smaller size.  Altering a pattern used to never be much of an issue; now it's the "only issue" and I have yet to master it.  I did finally draft a pants pattern last month following a method I took a class in and I think it worked!  I have yet to hem them and wear them, mainly because I rarely wear pants anymore and there is nothing in my closet to go with the old knit fabric I used.  My plan is to make a pair from some purple slinky I got and this was my test fabric.  I really need a good bodice sloper and I'm working on that.  One has to have tops for a co-ordinating outfit and my plan is to make a shell and a jacket from the same slinky fabric using a Coni pattern.  

          2. Digi | | #21

            What is a "coni" pattern?  I've not heard of that before.

            So sorry to hear about your arthritis.  Whatever you do, don't take ibuprofen.  It will completely destroy your kidneys.  That's what happened to me when my doctor prescribed it, and now I'm on dialysis 8-10 hours every day.  Too many doctors recommend it without keeping track of the side effects (affects?)  Anyway, take good care of yourself, because the doctors aren't always watching what they should.

            Edited 6/13/2008 4:33 pm by Digi

          3. MaryinColorado | | #22

            I am so sorry this happened to you.  I wondered what had caused your renal failure.  That's just terrible!  It is so true, all those nonsteroidal anti-inflamatories are extremely hard on your organs.  Motrin, Ibuprophen, Aleve, etc.  I'm surprised they can still give it to infants and children, let alone that it is still available over the counter.  Then the doctors often tell us to take more than the recommended dosage and also often deny saying so when it causes liver or renal or cardiac illness.  Tylenol is not good for us either.

            I'll get off my bandwagon before I start complaining about prescriptions too, our FDA is not looking out for our best interests any longer! 

            I am blessed to have ergonomic chairs and the tables set up at below 30" so that helps alot in the studio.  Now, if I could just get the little fairies and elves to do the fabric cutting and finish my quilt tops for me! 

            I walk at least 2 miles a day when the weather permits, it has really helped me so much.  It's also taking off inches really fast now that I'm used to it.  Mary

          4. Digi | | #23

            Thanks so much for your message, Mary.  Ironically, he had given me mega doses of it, which I kept questioning, but he kept saying:  "no problem".  It was discovered when I had a TIA (mini stroke) at work one day when I collapsed.  They found that I had gone into kidney failure when I was taken to the hospital.  Needless to say, I lost my job, which was devastating but ...

            The good part about what happened to me is that I've been able to help so many others avoid the same problem.  It's amazing how many doctors do this to their patients without any reservation whatsoever - and most folks just don't know about it until it's too late.  I don't think it's ever intentional though; they just don't pay attention - or - they are simply over-worked.

            I'm doing great now, all things considered.  And I have my home arranged so that I can sleep, be on my computer, get to my cutting table, sewing machines, ironing board, etc and still be hooked up to the dialysis machine.  I had a decision to make early on as to how I would respond to this challenge - and like many folks, I wasn't about to let it ruin what time I've got left.

            The fact is, we all have challenges in life, and there are many who are much worse off that I.  So my dear, I will put your hands on my prayer list.  If I were closer, I'd come over and cut your fabric out for you.

          5. sewelegant | | #24

            Coni is Coni (or Connie) Crawford and she has a line of patterns on the web as well as several in the Butterick catalog.  http://www.fashionpatterns.com/   I have made several of her patterns since I wear a 1 or 2 x and have a bosom and have problems with the huge neckline in ready to wear.  She also designs her patterns on a 3X model so they are a better fit for me with very little adjusting.  I have not made any of her Butterick patterns and there was a thread some time ago where someone was disappointed because the pattern was not as it was described and was way too big or something.  You can look through the blogs and find it, I'm sure. 

            Also the advice on ibuprofen is probably good.  Tylenol arthritis is my drug of choice and I take it in the am and the pm hoping that it will be OK in the long run.  If I forget to take it or forget if I took it I will wait until the next dose time and sometimes that is not good.  The arthritis is funny.  It is a constant but not always as painful as at other times.  However, the "use it or lose it" axiom is always on my mind so I try to be as active as I can.  The swimming is a double edged sword.  You feel so much better after doing it, but then everything seems to hurt that much more later on, but all in all it does keep me mobile.  I usually only go two to three times a week.  I did quit cross stitching and crocheting because it just hurt too much.  I miss that.

            I feel for you having to suffer the kidney problems as it can't be easy.  I hope you have lots of good family support.

  3. GailAnn | | #4

    What a great idea!

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