Category Archives: Pattern Drafting

DIY Grill Apron: Tutorial

Crafty Little Secret Tutorial: DIY Grill Apron - www.craftylittlesecret.comWow. Kudos to all you out there who post detailed tutorials regularly. I always forget how long I take to edit all the photos and get the posts up! This one has been in the making for a month….which I guess isn’t so bad.

What you’ll need for this project…..
– 1 yard of fun fabric (quilting cotton)***
– 1 yard of backing fabric (like a duck or light denim weight)
– 16/100 denim needle
– matching thread
– chalk
– ruler/measuring tape
– scissors

**** You could actually get away with less depending on which way the pattern runs, but for most patterned quilting cottons, you’ll need the full yard.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comCut the following pattern pieces:

A (Apron) – 20″x36″
– Cut one of fashion fabric, cut one of backing fabric

P (Pocket) – 14″ x 9″
– Cut one of fashion fabric, cut one of backing fabric (or two backing fabrics if you want a solid pocket)

W (Waist Tie) – 36″ x 3.5″
– Cut two of backing OR fashion fabric

N (Neck Tie) – 24″ x 3.5″
– Cut one of backing OR fashionfabric

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comUsing chalk, make a tick mark on the apron pattern pieces 15″ down from the corner on the long side, and 6″ from the corner on the short side. Draw a line connecting the two pieces and cut the corners off.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial -

To make the waist and neck ties, fold and iron fabric as when making bias tape. Fold the tape in half lengthwise and sew it up as close as you can to the open edge (I kept my seam allowance about 1/8″).

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comCrafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comThis is where it’s very important to have that 16/100 denim needle. Once you start sewing through multiple layers of the heavy duck (or similar weight) fabric, needle shards go flyin’ if you’re not using the right size.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo finish the ties I just double overed the ends a couple times and sewed through the bulk of it….carefully. Watch for breaking needles and take it slow. No one likes a needle shard in their eyeball.

[ASIDE: The alternative method for making the waist ties is to fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together, sew all the way up the open edge then turn the tie inside out. I find this technique annoying enough on lighter weight fabrics that I didn’t even entertain the though on these heavy ones. But if you opted for a quilting cotton for your ties, it could be an option if you don’t like the futzing with folding and ironing.]

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comAttach the ties by sewing them into the side seams (I attached them at the point where the angled front of the apron meets the straight sides). Since the ties are so long I found it helpful to keep them contained by pinning them into a coil to keep myself from sewing them into the seams at wonky places.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo attach the apron front to the apron backing, place right sides together and sew with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Sew all five bottom edges together (I went back and forth over the spot where the waist tie joined to add a little extra strength) but leave the top open. This allows you to turn the apron right-side-out again. Which you should do now. Flatten the apron and adjust the seams so that the corners are nice and neat (you can use a pencil to help turn them) then iron all the seams so they’re nice and crisp.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial -

Sew the neck tie the same as the waist ties, but leave the ends open and unfinished. Fold the top edges of the apron pieces toward the inside about a half inch.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comPin the neck tie in place with about an inch of each end tucked between the apron layers. Top stitch the neck closed and all the way around the apron with a 1/4-1/8″ seam allowance. The top stitch adds a little extra strength and gives a nice finished look to the apron.

You can stop here now if you want to….but we’re having so much fun! Let’s keep going and add some pockets.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comWith right sides facing, sew the two pocket pieces together with a 5/8″ seam allowance and leaving a 6″ opening at the bottom.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTo help get nice crisp corners on the pockets, or any time you’re sewing right angles, it helps to trim some of the seam allowance off the corner. But be careful not to snip your stitches!

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comFold the edges of the opening that you left inward and iron in place.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comTop-stitch a decorative border along the top edge of the pocket piece. Again, this is just adding another of those little finishing touches that will help make your apron look a little more pro.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial -[ASIDE: This was a great project to practice my print matching skills. When I was cutting the pattern pieces I realized I didn’t want to cover this awesome print with a big solid colored pocket and it would look odd if the pocket print didn’t line up perfectly with the apron print underneath. So I took care to cut the pocket piece so that the prints on the two pieces would align.]

Center the pocket piece in the apron about 8″ from the bottom of the apron, or at whatever height feels comfortable for you. Top stitch around the bottom and two side edges leaving the top of the pocket open.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial -

The final step is to divide the pocket into small sub-pockets if you want. I found it easiest to draw a chalk line first as a guide to follow since my stitching has a tendency to get pretty wonky if I don’t have an edge to use as a guide.

Crafty Little Secret - DIY Apron Tutorial - www.craftylittlesecret.comAnd……………..done!!!



Oonapalooza: Tangerine Dream

Oonapalooza Sew AlongI’ve been on a really tight crafting budget lately and am trying soooooo hard to stick to it. When Oonapalooza came around I had just spent a chunk of change on some other projects. Looking at my stash full of solid knits I was bummed out and uninspired.

Then one magical day the San Francisco fog parted, the sky cleared and a beautiful ray of sunlight shone down on me illuminating a forgotten card in my wallet. What’s this?! A full Britex rewards card?! Worth $37 in free fabric?! How could I have forgotten such a thing?!!!!!

Oonapalooza Sew Along

This is the smug smile of a lady who made it work!

Obviously, I had some shopping to do.

I first had it in my mind that I would do a 70’s inspired denim skirt, maybe a Miette or something similar. But for some reason Britex had next to nothing in stock in their denim collection and time was of the essence. And heck, this was my excuse to experiment with color and prints! I kept searching the shelves and kept landing on the same fabric over and over.

Oonapalooza FabricOrange? Oh no, Eileen. You don’t do orange.

So I would go up and down the stairs, exploring the four floors at Britex, messing up the fabric bolts and sighing heavily. Then I’d come back to my tangerine dream.

Orange? Oh no, Eileen. You don’t do orange………but wait, what was Gillian’s advice again? Oh yes, to imagine Oona’s voice urging us on. So when I said “I don’t do orange” I heard a whisper from across the continent….”Oh yes you do!!!”

OonapaloozaI got it home and fretted about what to make. I was shocked that my husband approved of the print but when I told him my ideas of either a skirt or a dress his hat was thrown mightily into the skirt ring. “That would be a little too much on a dress”, he suggested.

Oh. Would it now? Are you sure it wouldn’t be just bold enough for Oonapalooza?!!! And so, a dress was born.

OonapaloozaBelieve it or not, this is actual the same pattern as my tie-dye maxi (a dress that Oona herself had emphatically supported), Vogue 8469. But in the spirit of fearlessness I decided to tackle my first ever major pattern alterations.

I did a full bust adjustment adding 2″ total, then altered the back piece to meet up with the now lengthened front bodice. Since I had the bare minimum amount of fabric to squeak this dress out I made a muslin first and found that the neckline and shoulder straps were a bit heavier than I’d wanted so I narrowed the straps and dropped the neckline by about an inch. I also added a random dart to close up the gaping armscye.

Oonapalooza: Tangerine DreamAnd for some strange reason I decided to lower the back neckline to that exact point on the back that you Just. Can’t. Reach. This dress is nigh impossible for me to zip on and off by myself, folks. Also, it’s not totally evident in this photo but there’s a bit of weird sagging happening on either side of the zipper. I’m thinking about dropping this into a V and lowering it by a couple inches. Especially since I already perfectly placed the neckline so that my big ugly back scar is visible anyway.

Oonapalooza: Tangerine DreamAnd I glossed over it a bit there, kids, but can we just pause for a moment and focus on how proud of myself I am for the bodice alterations! Baby fits like a glove now! As a busty lady, it can be tough to find clothes that fit over the girls but still hug your rib cage where it should and if one isn’t careful, one turns into a bit of a tube. With this dress, there is no mistaking the clear distinction between bust and waist. Heck, with the gathered skirt it even gives me a wee bit o’ hip!

My only regret with the dress that I will have to figure out some way to fix is that I managed to botch attaching the lining on one side of the bodice front, resulting in some serious twisty gapage.

Oonapalooza: Tangerine DreamI hand stitched it down which helped a little but there’s still definitely something wonky happening there. I just don’t, at this moment, have the energy to rip so much out. Especially since I chose the worst ever most slippery scrap bits for the lining.

Oonapalooza: Tangerine DreamSo there you have it kids. My answer to the question; What would Oona do?

Re-Sew-lutions 2014: Drafting a Pattern

We’re halfway through 2014 and I’ve only got one of my three 2014 re-sew-lutions under my belt;
1. Sew a jacket
2. Participate in Me-Made May
3. Draft a pattern

I’ve got the fabric for a jacket (a nice blue twill), so that counts as started. Right? That left me with figuring out what pattern I wanted to draft. With so many amazing indie pattern designers out there, I feel like there’s an already existing and easily adaptable pattern for most things I’d like to make. So stop being so awesome, fellow sewists! Sheesh! I also have a lot of trouble imagining clothes out of thin air.

I’ve definitely constructed clothes without a pattern before, but I’ve never made a paper pattern. Which is a bummer because sometimes my self-drafted garments turn out well I’d like to actually replicate them. And sometimes those self-draft garments don’t turn out so well and taking the time to draft something thoughtfully would have likely done me some good.

Anyhoo, I think I’ve found my inspiration piece. Introducing……the Ask the Anthropologist Dress!

Ask the Anthropologist dress


This dress has a few things going for it that I think make it a good inspiration for my first self-drafted paper pattern;
1. The dress is out of stock (and wasn’t available in my size to begin with) so I can’t just buy it
2. More forgiving shape than something very fitted
3. Sleeves – Simple sleeve style – won’t need to worry about facing or fitting sleeves into an arm scythe.
4. Experience – I’ve sewn a cowl neck before.

So far, the tools I have in my arsenal are;
Patternmaking (Portfolio Skills) by Dennic Chunman LoPatternmaking (Portfolio Skills) by Dennic Chunman Lo….annnnnnnnnnnd……that’s it. What, not enough? Well, that’s where you come in.

Can anyone recommend some great starting places for me? Craftsy classes? Bare essential tools? Awesome blog tutorials?

Sometimes I just blindly run headfirst into things like this and this time I’d like to slow down a little and really try to learn a new skill.