Hot! The “I Don’t Do Aprons” Apron

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image from tipnut.comThe Facts

Fabric: Black linen, $1 thifted, 4 floral napkins, $1
Patterns: Burda 02/2011 #101, $5.40; Apron, free
Year: Apron, 1940s; Dress, 2011
Notions: none
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: April 2011
Wear again? Dress, yes with a belt. Apron, unlikely.

Total Cost: ~$7.40

After last week's success, I knew I'd have a difficult time coming up with something that made me as happy as my "Mondo was Robbed" dress. I don't cook and, despite the complete naturalness of the above picture, I do not spend much time tending vegetables. But I know what you're thinking: "you look so comfortable in heels with that pitchfork!" Because of this lack of domestic tendencies, the notion of making an apron just didn't excite me. 

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For the apron, I decided to use a 1940s "hank-afore" pattern which I found at tipnut. I liked the idea of using some vintage napkins I had because (1) they were originally made from a feedsack and I thought it would be nice to give them life yet again as something else (2) it was an easy enough pattern to follow (3) I wasn't feeling apron sewing this week and the idea of already hemmed edges excited me the most.

The pattern was a breeze to follow.  The illustrations on the pattern page showed exactly how the hankerchiefs/napkins needed to be cut and put together. I was able to put it all together in about 20 minutes (minus the alterations I made to cut the top off when I didn't like it). I believe that if I had used hankerchiefs with more intricate patterns, I would have been much happier with the finished apron. 

For the dress, we are all sewing the same Burda pattern in black. As you'll see this week, we all had mixed results. I actually really liked the dress and could imagine making more of these guys in brighter colors (I don't really wear any black). The dress is a bit loose at the waistline so it really does require a belt to look more flattering. At least it's comfortable, I guess.

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Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. mena, love the Burda dress, do agree with clolour for you though. Your apron also looks good!!

  2. Lovely!! Looks amazing on you and the apron is adorable! So bummed to miss this week – it’s an amazing challenge!

  3. that burda dress looks fabulous on you. a was a little saddened by the challenge as i. oh. i. HATE. to cook…. but i think i have something up my sleeve!

  4. I love the apron! The black dress looks very nice as well! :]

  5. I love that apron, and I love that it was made from napkins. So crafty! Although I hope you change your mind about the apron, if it needs a good home where it will be used often and loved much, feel free to send it my way. I have an apron collection that dates back to my mother’s first 4-H project and a self-designed patchwork number from my great grandmother. I love wearing them when the girls come over for cocktails. Corny, I KNOW! But ya just gotta love a pretty apron.

  6. The Burda dress looks great, and the apron is very cute too. I quite like the nostaglia of aprons as my mum used to wear one a lot. Athough I don’t really see how half aprons keep you clean, all my mess seems to be on the top half!

  7. The apron is adorable–too cute for something as hateful as cooking.
    BTW, love this challenge. I’ve been hemming and hawing over buying this dress off burda for about three months now. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s turned out.

  8. Thanks, Charlotte! Yes, I just love bright colors way too much!

  9. Thanks, Sarah! I think it was a good week to sit out. Next week will be fun!

  10. Thanks, Oona! I hate cooking. My friend suggested I make an apron for my husband since he does all the cooking in our family.

  11. Hey Amy, I think I’ll take you up on that offer! If you don’t mind my sloppy stitching (since I wasn’t really feeling like sewing). Just contact me with your address and I’ll send it out your way!

  12. Thanks, Debbie! I do like the neckline of the dress a lot — that’s why I didn’t do a full pinafore apron. I agree with you. My chest the brunt of the mess!

  13. Thanks! You’ll see from the contributors this week that they felt like they had mixed results. I do like the pattern, however.

  14. Looks great Mena! The dress is definately a versatile pattern. I can see it working in lots of different fabric combinations… but I’m with you on colour! I don’t wear alot of head to toe black… and I can’t think of the last time I wore a black dress for day. Cute napkin apron! I considered making one from tea-towels… thought it would be good for drying hands. oh… and I’m sure the apron will look lovely on your husband while he cooks for you.. you lucky girl you!

  15. I’ll be buying the Burda mag in a short while (darn thing takes to long get to Australia – I could download, but I’m cheap) and so have only made the apron this week. Very much like the style of the dress and a LBD never goes astray. The apron looks so cool over the background of the dress – very cocktailish.

  16. I think both the dress and apron look great! For someone who doesn’t wear black at all, it’s a really flattering colour on you. I like the apron and how you’ve reused feedsack napkins. Fabulous!! I am a BIG apron-wearer, so I love all kinds. :)

  17. I LOVE this apron! That’s so great that you made it out of napkins! I love how colorful it is!

  18. Showcasing an apron against the background of a black dress really makes the apron seem more special, especially when it’s as colorful as this one. :)

  19. Now I have the perfect excuse to make an apron! I should wear them more often as I’m VERY good at spilling food on myself. I have made that dress, in fact I’ve just finished the 2nd version! I loved it but also found I had to take it in at the waist, but I say we claim it’s because we’re so tiny and feminine ;)

  20. I love this weeks theme! I love to make AND wear aprons. I have three already sewn up, but I think I’ll make a couple more for this challenge. I can always use a new one!!

  21. if you do, you must also make him the little black dress.

  22. The dress looks marvelous on you. Love that you used vintage napkins to create the apron!

  23. I love the thrifty use of napkins, how versatile was the vintage seamstress/homemaker?
    Personally, I love cooking and making a huge freaking mess of it, so aprons do come in handy in my house! Thank goodness Husbie is good at cleaning! xoxo
    The black dress looks AMAZING, I wish wish wish mine turned out like yours! Next time!

  24. Nice garden gnome. Will you be my seamstress?

  25. Thanks, Rebecca!

  26. Thanks, Casey! When I saw yours I got all discouraged because it was so cute and mind was a bit meh. But great work!

  27. Thanks, Sarah! I think I’m just so used to wearing colors that I feel like I’m robbing myself of a great print. :)

  28. Thanks, Debi! You really knocked it out of the park this week!

  29. Our original plan was to make white dresses, but black really makes the color pop.

  30. Yeah, the waist is a little high as well, which I think makes it look baggier than it should be. But belts fix everything!

  31. I’m glad! I hope you’re inspired by the ladies this week — there are some great aprons!

  32. Thanks, Adey. It was really interesting for us to all sew the same pattern and have difference experiences. Yours is so adorable!! I can’t believe out of all the aprons out there, I picked the same image to illustrate this week’s theme!

  33. Thanks, Veronica! There’s nothing wrong with a little cleavage, right? :)

  34. Sure, I’ll make you an apron. You and Sylvia can have matching ones. :)

  35. hahaha you’re too funny! My husband has been laughing about me ‘feeling the pressure of the inner circle’ this week. And the look on my teen brothers face when he came to visit and saw me standing there in my creation! priceless.

  36. A little cleavage is perfect! It’s when a little becomes a LOT (in my case!) :)

  37. after learning about this week’s theme, i decided to take up this challenge, for the first time, for myself. i heart aprons! although i can’t say i do much cooking.
    thanks for the link to tipnut. i might be using one pattern from there.
    very cute outfit and vibrant colours really suit you well! :)

  38. I want that black dress.