Embroidery Library

Retro Ruffle Apron



Gathers and ruffles make any apron extra sweet! This apron combines trendy retro flair with contemporary colors for a look that will be a crowd-pleaser.

Read below for these free project instructions!


Supplies Needed:

**1/2 yard canvas for apron
   top and pocket

**1 yard print cotton for apron
   skirt and linings

**1 yard print cotton for ties
   and ruffles

**1 package double fold
   bias tape

**Medium weight
  cutaway stabilizer

**Temporary spray adhesive


To create the pieces for the apron top:

Use an air-erase pen or dressmaker's pencil to mark a 13 inch by 27 inch rectangle on the canvas.

Make a mark in the middle of one of the long sides, and mark 4.5 inches to each side of this mark. This 9 inch span is the upper edge of the trapezoid shape for the apron top. Connect each mark to the lower corner on the same side.

You should now have marked a trapezoid 9 inches wide at the top and 27 inches wide at the bottom, and 13 inches high.


Measure and mark the center of each side of the rectangle by measuring and dividing by two. Draw lines connecting the marks. Where the lines meet is the exact center of the shape.

Create a paper template of the design by printing it at full size using embroidery software. If you don't have embroidery software, you can cut a piece of paper the shape and dimensions of the design to help with placement and centering.

Poke a hole in the center of the template and align it with the center point on the fabric. Make sure the design fits well within the trapezoid - there should be at least one inch of space between the edges of the design and the edge of the shape.

Remove the template. Spray a piece of medium cutaway stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive. Smooth the fabric on top and hoop the fabric and stabilizer together by aligning the marks on the hoop with the lines on the fabric. Attach the hoop to the machine and load the design. Move the hoop so that the needle is aligned with the center point of the fabric. Embroider the design. When the design is finished, trim away the excess stabilizer on the back side of the embroidery.

Cut out the trapezoid.

Cut out an identical trapezoid for the upper apron lining.

To create the lower part of the apron:

Cut a rectangle 22 inches high by 44 inches wide. Most quilter's cotton comes at widths of about 44 inches, so you can keep the selvedges and just cut a 22 inch length of fabric.

To create the pieces for the pocket:

Mark a square 6 inches wide and 6 inches high on the canvas. Mark a center point for the embroidery. Affix stabilizer to the back of the fabric, hoop, and embroider as you did for the apron top. Cut out the square.

Cut out an identical square of the lining fabric for the pocket lining.


To create pieces for the ties and ruffles:

Start with a 1-yard cut of fabric. Cut the following strips parallel to the selvedge.

Cut five strips of printed fabric, 6 inches wide by 1 yard long. Three of these will be for the waist sash and two will be used to make the bottom ruffle.

Cut two strips of printed fabric 4 inches wide by 1 yard long. These will be used to make the neck ties.

Cut one strip of printed fabric 3 inches wide by 13 inches long. This will be used to make the pocket ruffle.

To make the waist sash:

Stitch three of the 6 inch wide strips end-to-end, right sides together, to make one very long strip of fabric. Press the seam allowances to one side.

Fold the strip in half the long way, right sides together, and stitch to make a tube.

Press the seam open. As much as possible, use just the tip of the iron to press open the seam allowance without creasing the entire piece.

Hook a safety pin to one end of the tube. Guide the safety pin through the inside of the tube to turn it right side out.

Press the sash flat with the seam along one edge.

Tuck the raw ends to the inside of the tube and press. Stitch across the end to finish.

Set aside the waist sash for now.

To make the neck ties:

Take each 4 inch wide strip and fold it in half the long way, right sides together. Stitch along the long edge and one end. Turn the tube inside out through the open end, and press flat.

To make the apron top:

Place the embroidered trapezoid right sides together with the lining trapezoid. Tuck the neck tie pieces between these layers, with the raw end of each in one upper corner of the trapezoid. Make sure the edge of each tie will not be caught in the 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Stitch around the top and sides and top of the trapezoid. Turn inside out as shown.

Set the top aside for now.

Fold under the left and right sides of the lower half of the apron, 1/2 inch and then 1/2 inch again. Stitch.

To make the pocket:

Fold the pocket ruffle piece (the 13 inch by 3 inch strip) lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch across the ends. Turn inside out and press.

Set your sewing machine on its longest stitch. Sew two lines across the raw edge of the ruffle, 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch from the edge.

To gather the ruffle, grab the top threads from each seam (leave the bottom threads free) and pull gently, scrunching up the fabric until the ruffle is 5 inches long. Be careful not to break the thread - you'll have to start over if you do.

Layer the outer and inner pocket pieces right sides together, with the ruffle in between them along the top edge. Pin in place.

Stitch around the edge of the pocket, leaving a gap on the bottom for turning.

Turn the pocket piece inside out and press, folding under the edges of the opening to match the rest of the pocket.

Position the pocket where desired on the lower apron piece. Pin and stitch in place.

To make the bottom ruffle:

Stitch the remaining two 6 inch wide strips end-to-end to make one long piece.

Fold the pocket strip lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch across the ends - as you did with the pocket ruffle. Turn inside out and press.

Gather as you did for the pocket ruffle, until the ruffle is about 42 inches long - the same as the bottom of the lower apron piece.

Pin the ruffle to the right side of the lower edge of the apron, and stitch in place.

To hide the seam allowance, wrap it in bias tape.

Stitch twice from the front side to hold the bias tape in place.

Pin the apron top to the apron bottom, wrong sides together, and stitch.

Trim the seam allowance at the edges so that it does not overlap the slant of the upper apron.

Center the waist sash over this raw edge, with the seam on the sash just covering the seam on the apron. Stitch around the top, bottom, and sides of the area where the sash and apron overlap.


You're done! Now grab your favorite 1950's cookbook, and start planning your ultra-cool dinner party. Send pictures to stitch@emblibrary.com!

Click here for a printable version (PDF) of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project:

Starlite Café $3.99 - $5.99

Available in 3 Sizes:

7.64" x 5.87" | 6.32" x 4.87" | 3.87" x 2.98"

Retro Kitchen - Coffee Corner $3.49 - $3.99

Available in 2 Sizes:

4.85" x 4.86" | 3.85" x 3.86"

A Retro Kitchen Design Pack $14.97 - $16.97

Available in 2 Sizes:

4.85" x 6.81" | 3.87" x 3.87"