Friday, February 01, 2008

Sewing a Lined Apron with Bias Binding Trim

Hello Everyone! I've noticed tons of people find this post by googling info on bias tape, etc. I just thought everyone might find it very helpful to know that I've written a little booklet about making your own bias tape and using different kinds of binder feet to apply bias tape to your projects. I wrote it about five years ago and offered it for sale by having it printed myself, but it was quite expensive, at $25.
I've recently discovered that Cafepress offers publishing services, and am very glad to reissue it through them for only $10.95.
You can check it out here.
Good luck with your sewing and rock those binder feet!
-Bethany 7-1-08

Here are some step by step pictures of the process of sewing the apron I made this week. This a very straight forward and pretty simple sewing project. I used a pattern for a standard apron that was from the seventies or eighties that was given to me at some point. It is a McCall's pattern that is collection of gifts to make, like pillows, hats, ties, and dog beds. The apron pattern included pieces for ties and pockets, but I used only the main piece since I was following my own construction techniques and made my own pocket shapes.

When starting a new project, you want to be sure to wash and dry your fabric just the way the finished product will be cared for. Since I won't be the one washing Adam's friend's laundry, I used high heat to maximize any shrinking. That way, the fabric won't shrink and pull at the seams or hang crookedly. You also want to straighten the ends to make sure that they are on grain and are at a right angle to the selvedges.

To cut out most patterns, you fold the fabric in half lengthwise, matching the selvedges and having the ends even. Then you lay out the pattern pieces according to the pattern layout guide on the instruction sheet. Many patterns, this one included, are placed right along the fold of the fabric, so that they are whole when opened out. I did not mark this pattern since I was figuring my own pocket placement, etc, but usually you want to mark all pattern markings before removing the pattern from the fabric.

I made a couple of changes to the pattern. I lenghtened it about an inch because Adam's friend is a tall guy, and I rounded the corners to make them easier to bind. I used this empty can to trace around and make a nice rounded corner.

A round corner is better when using bias tape, because then it doesn't have to be mitered or otherwise finished at the corner.

I used the main fabric as the guide for cutting the lining, placing it on the fold in the same way as the pattern piece.

For the pocket, I measured a 6X8 rectangle and used a jar as a guide to mark rounded corners on the bottom. I just guessed about the size by measuring my own hand and making it slightly bigger to account for guy hands.

Here is the bias binding I used. Wrights is a good brand, and I've never had any problems with shrinking or dye leaking when using their bias tape.
My frugally minded readers will be happy to know that you can make your own bias tape for much less money than this costs. I've actually done an ebook with instructions for making bias tape and using a bias binder foot on your sewing machine. I should probably get that back on my site sometime.

To start sewing, I used my edge finish stitch to sew around the pocket and the pocket lining held wrong sides together.

This is one of my bias binder feet for my sewing machine. These are not very expensive and can be found to work with most machines. They make sewing binding onto things, so much faster, neater, and easier. I'd say they're definately worth the investment if you're planning much sewing with bias tape. I like mine so much, sometimes I change construction methods to get to use bias tape.
You don't need one of these to sew bias binding, though. There are lots of other ways to apply bias tape. Check out the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing for some others. (A great book for learning to sew and a wonderful resource for experienced seamstresses.)

The binding foot folds the bias tape in half (or holds it in place for pre-folded bias tape) and has a channel for the fabric in the middle of it. This way the binding and the fabric are held together and run under the needle all in place. I like it because it keeps my stitching much straighter and I can be sure I'm not missing the binding layer on the under side.

After binding the pockets, I tested for placement and measured and marked so the were even from the middle and directly across from one another. I pinned them in place and then sewed with my regular sewing machine foot and a normal straight stitch around the outer edge of the bias binding. I did this because I thought it would look neater than trying to sew directly on the stitching already on the inner edge of the binding.
At the top of the pocket before I started stitching and as I finished I added a bar tack. A bar tack is a wide zig zag set with a very short stitch length that will reinforce places were there is more stress on the stitching, like pocket tops, or bag straps.

After I sewed on the pockets to the black layer, I placed the black and the hound's tooth plaid lining wrong sides together, pinned them carefully and basted them to make sure they stayed in place while I applied the binding with the binder foot.
I bound the bottom sides and edge first in one piece of bias tape, then did the very top edge next. I trimmed the binding even with the raw edge of the fabric in both cases, since the binding's unfinished edges were then covered with the binding that became the ties, the neck loop, and the underarm finish.
To correctly place this, I tried it on, measured for a neck strap, then pinned the bias tape place for the underarm.
The I started at the end of the long strip of bias tape, sewing it closed as long as the waist tie needed to be. Then I added in the fabric, binding one curved apron side, then I sewed off the edge, sewing the tape closed for the neck loop. When that was the correct length, I bound the other curved side and continued to the end of the binding to create the other waist tie.

The fabric for this project is decorators' fabric from Joann's. It's a nice weight, and normally I wouldn't line an apron like this, of this weight, but Adam wanted a particularly nice apron, so I thought a lining would be appropriate to hide the back side of the embroidery and such. And the hound's tooth is very sharp looking as a lining.
Without the embroidery or the lining, a project like this would cost about $6-$10 or even less depending what your fabric costs and whether you make your own binding, and would take me about an hour. It will take a first timer without a binding foot longer of course.
The machine embroidery could easily be replaced by hand embroidery or applique as well. Or even fabric paint or stamping. Or the whole thing can be made with a fun print, and it would need no extra embellishment.

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Hadias said...

Bethany I added a link to my sidebar (which I had forgot to do)
If you click on it you will be taken to the first post of the blogger craft club where you can add your updated progress and new crafts.

Everyone has been continuing to add new links daily. I love the way that the apron is turning out.

Julie said...

very cool

Hadias said...

The finished apron looks great.

Amy Caroline said...

WOW! I wish I could sew. Sigh.
That is awesome!

Bethany said...

Jules, maybe we should say that this apron is cewl?

Thank you ladies, I'm glad you think it looks good. I'm concerned it might be a big large, since this a fairly skinny guy it's for, but that just means more coverage, I guess.

Amy, I know you've got a busy life, but I'm sure you and you're girls could learn together. It's a challenge, but not frustratingly so if you pick beginner projects, and it's so much fun!

Elaine said...

It looks fabulous! Can I ask a question about your bias binder foot. Can you only use pre-folded tape or will it also fold and sew pre made strips in the one step?

Elaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Karina said...

I had no idea there was a binding food attachment. I'm certainly going to look for that after my failed attempt at sewing pot olders. I just knew there had to e ta way to get a neat rounded corner. Thanks

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