Hot! The ‘Whippin’ Something Up’ Apron


Fabric: Black Linen bought in NYC $8 for 3 metres; 2.5 metres of polka dot fabric for £10
Pattern: McCall 917 for the apron and  Burda 02/2011 #101 for the dress
Year: 1941 for apron
Notions: Self-made piping (present wrapping cord: free)
Time to complete: 5 hours for the dress and 7 hours for the apron
First worn: April 2011
Wear again? Yes

Total Cost: ~£16

I love vintage aprons.  There are so many amazing styles.  So I was delighted to hear we would be sewing aprons as one of our themes.  I immediately thought of McCall 917 from 1941:

Isn’t it adorable? I love everything about this apron!  I fell in the love with the gingham version of the apron as shown on the pattern cover and thought a polka dot version would be equally as cute.

The apron was pretty straight forward to sew up.  Though I must say, if you think an apron from this time period is ‘quick and easy’ then you are in for a surprise!  There are so many edges to this apron that need facings or narrow hems–it can be quite time consuming.  I do really like all the details such as the bow in the back:


Or the adorable ruffled pockets:

I actually faced the bow with the same black linen fabric as my dress.  The instructions originally called for the bow to be narrowly hemmed but the back side of the polka dot fabric is white and it’s quite noticable.  I did the black lining for the shoulder ruffle as well.

This was my first time sewing an apron but this was also my first time sewing a Burda pattern.  I did struggle a bit with the different style of instructions.  I’ve been getting Burda magazines for awhile so I really want to learn how to make their patterns.  This was a good first try.  The dress was somewhat difficult to fit in the bodice.  I think this may be because I have fairly narrow shoulders.  Despite fitting it in the bust area, the shoulders and the back, there was still a bit of gaping in the bust area.  I decided one way to remedy this (without making a new dress) and to add an interesting feature would be to do piping in the same polka dot fabric as my apron.


The cord I used was the only thing we had around the house and that was a cord used to wrap presents.  I put the cord in the polka dot fabric and wrapped it up and sewed it up as piping to add to the neckline and armholes of the dress.  I really like how it turned out.  Though, I must say, this dress is a bit low cut…hahahaha..whoohoo.  Something for me to get used to.

Here’s a close-up of the finished piping:

I’m really pleased with how it came out.  I got the idea from Adey’s Blue Garden Frock.  I loved the idea of just sewing piping into a pattern and thought it could work just as well as the facing to this dress!

I’m quite spoiled as David does a lot of the cooking around here.  Of course, there is one type of ‘cooking’ that I really enjoy:


Cheers everyone! As my Grandma would say “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, which isn’t much!”



Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. dress and apron are fantastic! I have never been into the vintage apron with loads of frills but this seems to work. The trimmimg on toyr dress is very cute.

  2. Love the piping on your dress and what a lovely ruffle apron!

  3. Thanks Adey! I was inspired by the piping you used on your dress for the blue floral challenge. I think I am a convert!

  4. oh I love a good ruffle! Nice idea with the piping. Too cute!

  5. I know! I have a special place in my heart for ruffles! :-)

  6. Oh I love it, the whole ensemble is adorable! I was so curious to see what you would make for this challenge :) have fun ‘cooking’ debi style!

  7. the piping was inspired and the apron is very cute – dots worked beautifully. I am curious how the piping cord will survive the washing machine.

  8. Love the apron and love the dress, but HILARIOUS last photo. You could dive into that wine glass and swim about in it. Which would be nice.

  9. I have a collection of vintage aprons and that apron would fit right in!! So cute and I LOVE the piping on the dress, the entire ensemble is just perfect.

  10. I love the apron – it is gorgeous. I think the piping sets the dress off beautifully and makes it a little more interesting. If all goes to plan, my black dress will have some piping as well.

  11. The apron and this dress are adorable. I never wear aprons, just get messed up straight when cooking. But then, I wouldn’t want to spoil this one.
    And: Burda necklines. Yeah, that’s a thing to get used to, for sure. When I started sewing I would use only Burda patterns and started to think this was more kind of a body issue with me until I got some other patterns and compared them. Nothing wrong with me and I learned how to fix those necklines.

  12. NICE, go for the wine! love the polka dots you chose, and that apron has such wonderful detail. i agree about burda’s web patterns, the directions are a bit of a mess… i’d hoped that would’ve gotten better with the new prices for single patterns. ah well, but the magazine is clearer. i may cheat and find a similar dress in my burda mags!

  13. I love the piping on the “Little Black Dress” and I love the apron. In fact it reminds me that I have a UFO apron in my stash. I have cut it out but I have not sewn it up yet.

  14. O. My. Goodness. You are so adorable! The piping on the dress is lovely – it adds so much character to the dress! The apron is stunning – the amount of time and work you put in paid off very well – the finished project is fabulous and the fabric is perfect! Very well done :)

  15. LOve this! I’ll be sewing up some vintage inspired pieces soon and have had aprons on my mind for awhile. I definitely could use them, I tend to make such a mess in the kitchen, haha.

  16. I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! Polka dots! Ruffles! Fabulousness!! :D

  17. I love everything about this! The apron is super adorable: ruffles? Yes please! And what a great color on you. The piping is also very cute and a really professional touch, and the neckline looks great: don’t worry!

  18. Thanks Molly! Oh yes, I really enjoy my version of cooking ;-)

  19. Me too! It should be ok as it’s just cord wrapped in some silver wrapping..but just in case, I’ll put it on the gentle cycle!

  20. I think I did dive into that wine glass…or at least that’s how it felt after two of those..hehehehe :-)

  21. Thanks so much Jessie. I had my doubts along the way but am really happy with the way it turned out in the end!

  22. I think piping may be my new favorite thing! I can’t wait to see your dress!

  23. Ohhh..I must get pointers from you on the necklines!

  24. hehehe…I knew you would appreciate the wine :-) I definitely have to try out the burda magazine next time…there is a dress I’ve been wanting to try out!

  25. Fabulous! This is the week to finish up that apron! They are surprisingly satisfying to sew up…and super fun to wear!

  26. Thanks so much Meg :-) I had fun with it!

  27. Thanks so much! I just checked out your blog—LOVE it! Your singin’ in the rain post was fabulous!

  28. I know!!! How could one go wrong?? :-)

  29. Thanks Elise! I love it too!

  30. You’re so funny! That’s neat how the polka dots swirl around the cording, since it is bias cut. Most folks just ditch the burda instructions and use the pictures, by the way, because no one can seem to figure them out!

  31. Debi this outfit is insanley cute! That apron rocks and I love the idea of the piping on the dress.

  32. Thanks Lisette :-) Funny how the burda instructions don’t make sense…It’s good practice for eventually making a marfy pattern (they don’t come with instructions)!

  33. Wow! The hair, the apron, the wine – this is cementing in my mind your status as an old-time movie star! Way to go Debi!

  34. Love the red on the black, great colour choices Debi (my total fave!) and such a great idea for the piping!
    If it wasn’t breakfast time right now I’d love to join you for a glass of that wine! DELISH!

  35. Totally adorable! I love the apron and the dress is super cute with piping. The dress seems like a great “date” dress with your sweetheart. I love it!

  36. You look very cute! I love the whole ensemble – and I like your style of ‘cooking’ too!!

  37. I LOVE aprons, and that apron is ADORABLE! So stylish and cute. :]

  38. Thanks Sarah :-) I should turn one of these pictures into black and white! We’ll miss you this week!!

  39. Definitely! He’s such a sweetie and we did indulge in the wine after taking the photos! :-)

  40. Thanks Rachel! You must be getting close, no? Sooooo exciting!

  41. judy roberson

    I love is my favorite color..and I love how you put the red dot binding around the little black dress.Just a completely different look..tooo cute.

  42. So classic – I love it! And the polka dots are just perfect.

  43. Thanks Judy! You are sooo sweet!

  44. Hurray for cooking husbands – nothing like coming home from work and sewing until dinner! I love your apron – such amazing detailing. Ruffles and corded piping are probably the two things that drive me the most insane! I love the victory rolls in your hair too!

  45. Oh yes! A big huzzah to cooking husbands! They are awesome :-) I enjoyed doing the victory rolls….too much fun!

  46. I miss ya’ll too! And yes – BW one of these babies up, print it and leave it at a vintage shop – someone will thing they stumbled on a lost photo of a 1940s model!

  47. The pipping was so clever of you and the perfect accent. I agree, aprons are such fun and yours is adorable! Fun and inviting photoshoot too!

  48. That is one of my favorite apron patterns. I have it, but have never made it up. I may have to soon. . .the dots are so cute!

  49. Thanks Cathe! My first photoshoot indoors!! That was fun!

  50. Oh! You should definitely make it up! It’s fun to work with. This would be a really fun apron to make reversible (like Adey’s creation this week)!

  51. ha! That would be funny! ;-) I had often thought what happens when I eventually make so many clothes that I end up donating my less favorite pieces to charity and then they think they are some sort of handmade garment from the 40’s!!

  52. Oh ching ching sweetie well done, this is just faaaabulous. The vintage pattern is great. Love It.

  53. OMG – what a lucky find at the thrift shop! I would be freaking out to find a handmade item – especially a totally awesome vintage style one!

  54. You look lovely in both the dress and the apron. I love the polkadots! I should start making aprons too. I certainly could use them, because I always make a huge mess in the kitchen :-D