Tudor Style Apron

This apron was designed for the
Elizabeth collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit
Fabrics, and owing to the collection’s name, our apron has a
certain Elizabethan flair. In researching the best elements to
add the flavor of this dramatic era, we came across an
interesting tidbit. In 1574, the Parliament of England passed
separate laws called “sumptuary laws” to govern the ways of
dressing. Clothes with gold were reserved for the Queen and her
relations. Only the royals were allowed to wear clothes trimmed
with ermine. And you had to have some level of nobility to
sport clothes constructed from velvet, satin, and silk or
trimmed with fox and otter. Peasants were restricted to dresses
made of cotton, leather, and wool. Today, you can make your
outfits from anything you’d like. With this apron, we of course
recommend the quality cottons of FreeSpirt Fabrics. We also suggest whipping up
some hot cross buns whilst wearing it.

Careful fussy cutting and renaissance style details give our
apron its unique design. Downloadable patterns are offered
below for the bodice pieces as well as the pretty oval pocket.

The bodice is designed in the style of a corset with an upper
ruffle, which mimics the Elizabethan ruff – that circular
pleated frill synonymous with Elizabeth I. 

Our two-part skirt is based on the Tudor fashion trend called
“slashing.” Both men’s and women’s clothing often featured long
cuts in the outer surfaces, such as on doublets, sleeves, and
gowns, which allowed the contrasting colors of the linings
beneath to be exposed.

We achieve the same effect with a striped underskirt overlaid
with two striking floral overskirt panels. 

If you love this apron, you might also like the set of Market Totes we did
in the same fabric. 

Although an older collection, Elizabeth was so
popular, you can still find it at some in-store and online
outlets. The links in our Supplies list below take you to the
selection at Hawthorne Threads. Of
course, you are welcome to choose your own unique set of
fabrics. We’re excited to see Tula’s latest collection,
Spirit Animal, which is due in September, and are
envisioning this pretty apron using the Spirit Animal
combination shown below (Re Tweet for skirt,
Arrowheads for underskirt and sides of bib, Otter
and Chill
for center bib, and Bear Hug for straps
and piping). 

      

As with store-bought aprons, our design is meant to be
one-size-fits-all. However, we realize you may still wish to
make yours smaller or larger. As a reference, this high-waisted
apron is approximately 17″ wide across the bottom of the
bodice, the waist ties are each approximately 29″ long, and the
neck ties are also each approximately 29″ long, the skirt
length is 25″, and the bodice is about 8½” high at the highest
point of the curve, including the ruffle. For particularly
full-figured wearers, you may want to consider darts in the
side panels of the bodice for additional shaping.

NOTE: All cuts include extra yardage to facilitate
the fussy-cutting.

  1. Download and print our three Apron Pattern pieces:
    the Pocket pattern, the Bodice Front pattern, and the
    Bodice Side pattern. These three patterns have been bundled
    into ONE PDF to make the download
    easier. 

    IMPORTANT:
    Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You
    must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the
    page. There is a guide rule on each page you can use to
    insure your final print out is to size.
  2. Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
  3. From the fabric for the underskirt, bodice ties, and
    bodice side panels
    (Tent Stripe in Tart
    in our sample), cut the
    following:
    Using the pattern, fussy cut TWO
    bodice side pieces. If using the recommended stripe as we
    did, the stripes should run parallel with the square outer
    edge of the pattern piece.
    ONE 39″ wide x 27″
    high rectangle for the underskirt (stripes running
    vertically)
    TWO 5″ x 30″ strips for the
    bodice ties (stripes running vertically)
  4. From the fabric for the for the overskirt panels and
    pocket
    (Astrea in Plum in our
    sample)
    , cut the following:
    TWO 21″
    wide x 27″ high rectangles for the overskirt
    panels
    Using the pattern, cut ONE pocket
    piece; it will become the pocket lining. For the front pocket
    piece, follow the steps below to fussy cut a match to the
    skirt panel. If you do not care to make the pocket an exact
    match, you can simply cut TWO pockets, using the
    pattern.
  5. Place ONE of the overskirt panels right side up on your
    work surface. If using a directional print, work with the
    RIGHT overskirt panel (right when looking down at the apron).
    Measure 10″ down from the top raw edge of the panel and 5½”
    in from the center raw edge. This intersection point marks
    the top left corner of the pocket. 
  6. Place the pocket pattern at this point to sketch in the
    motif. Bring the marked pocket pattern to the remaining
    fabric and use the sketch to find a matching motif. Align the
    pocket on the motif, using the sketch as your guide, and
    fussy cut ONE pocket front
    piece. 

    NOTE:
    If you are new to pattern matching, check out
    our general fussy cutting tutorial, as
    well as our tutorial on matching a pocket to a
    background panel
    .
  7. From the fabric for the neck ties and piping
    (Ship Shape in Sky in our sample),
    cut the following:
    TWO 4″ x 30″ strips for
    the neck ties
    ONE 2″ x Width of Fabric (WOF)
    strip for the piping
  8. From the fabric for the bodice front
    (16th Century Selfie in Plum in our
    sample)
    , very carefully fussy cut ONE piece, using
    the pattern to center the
    “face.”. 

    NOTE:

    Our pattern is meant to cut on the fold. If you are new to
    fussy cutting, you may want to print two copies and butt them
    together to create one full pattern, allowing you to cut
    flat. 
  9. When the bodice front piece and bodice side pieces are
    cut, trim away the inner angled sides along the dotted seam
    line. Butt together the two pieces to create one full pattern
    piece that can be used on the fold. 
  10. From the fabric for bodice ruffle and bodice
    lining
    (Tudor Windows in Tart in our
    sample)
    , cut the following;
    Using
    the assembled bodice pattern, cut ONE full bodice
    piece 
    ONE 4″ x 35″ strip for the
    ruffle
  11. From the interfacing, cut the
    following:
    Using the pocket pattern, cut one
    piece. 
    Using the assembled bodice
    pattern, cut ONE full bodice piece.
    FOUR 2″ x
    14½” strips for the waist ties
    NOTE: If your interfacing is wider than 20″, you can
    simply cut TWO 2″ x 29″ strips.
  12. Cut ONE 45″ length from the piping cord.

Make the bodice and neck ties

  1. Find the two 4″ x 30″ strips for the neck ties, the two
    5″ x 30″ strips for the waist ties, and the interfacing
    strips.
  2. Fold each tie in half lengthwise, right sides
    together.
  3. With a see-through ruler and rotary cutter, trim
    one end of each folded tie at a slight
    angle. 
  4. On just the bodice ties, open the ties flat so
    the crease line is
    visible. 
    NOTE: The neck ties
    are thinner and are meant to be either knotted or tied in a
    bow. They work better without interfacing. 
  5. Center two interfacing strips along each tie, butting
    the pieces together if needed to create the full 29″ length.
    One side of the strips should be aligned with the center
    crease of the tie. Trim one end of the interfacing to match
    the angled end of bodice ties. There will be ½” of fabric
    extending beyond the interfacing along the raw edges.
    Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in
    place. 
  6. Re-fold along the crease line right sides together. Pin
    the long side and across the angled end of each
    tie. 
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the side and across
    the angled end, pivoting at the corner. Leave the opposite
    straight-cut end open for turning.  
  8. Clip the
    corners

  9. Turn both sets of ties right side out and press
    flat. 
  10. Set the ties aside.

Make the piping

  1. Find the 4″ x WOF fabric strip and the 45″ length of
    piping cord.
  2. Wrap the fabric around the piping cord, right side out.
    Align the raw edges of the fabric and pin in
    place. 
  3. Attach a Zipper foot.
  4. Secure the fabric in place around the cording with a
    basting stitch, running your seam as close to the cording as
    possible. Go slowly; it’s important the raw edges of the
    fabric stay even with one another.
  5. Set aside the completed piping. You’ll cut the three
    lengths to best fit as you assemble.

Make the ruffle

  1. Switch from the Zipper foot back to the standard
    presser foot. 
  2. Find the 4″ x 35″ ruffle strip. Fold it in half, right
    sides together, so it is now 2″ x 35″. 
  3. Stitch across both ends only, using a ½” seam
    allowance. 
  4. Trim the seam allowances and clip the corners
  5. Turn the ruffle right side out through the open bottom.
    Push out the upper corners so they are nice and sharp. A
    long, blunt-end tool is good for this, such as a knitting
    needle, chopstick or point turner. 
  6. Press flat.
  7. Gather the bottom raw edges of the ruffle strip. To do
    this, run one or two lines of basting across the strip,
    keeping the the basting within the ½” seam allowance.
    Remember, don’t lock either end of your seam.
  8. Pull the basting to gather the ruffle to approximately
    18″.
    NOTE: If you are new to this technique,
    take a look at our article:
    How to Make Gathers by
    Machine
    .

Assemble the bodice

  1. Find the bodice front and the two bodice side
    panels. 
  2. Pin one side panel, right sides together, with either
    side of the bodice front. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch
    together. 
  4. Press the seam allowances open and
    flat. 

    NOTE:
    If you have not already done so, transfer the
    marking dots (for the neck ties and waist ties) from the
    bodice pattern to the fabric. We used small snips into the
    seam allowance as our marks. Make sure you mark both the left
    and right sides of the bodice.
  5. Find the piping.
  6. Place the bodice piece right side up and flat on your
    work surface. Pin a length of piping along curved top edge
    and the flat bottom edge, cutting the piping to fit for each
    length. There is no piping along the sides. 
  7. The raw edges of the piping should be flush with the
    raw edge of the bodice.
  8. At each piping end, expose the cord and cut it back ½”.
    Then flatten the fabric back into position. This allows the
    piping to lay flat within the side seams.
  9. Attach a Zipper foot again.
  10. Machine baste the piping in place along the top and
    bottom, running the seam as close to the piping as
    possible.
  11. Find the ruffle. Place it along the top curved edge of
    the bodice. You are sandwiching the piping between the bodice
    and the ruffle. The finished ends of the ruffle should sit ½”
    in from each side edge of the bodice. Adjust the gathers as
    needed to fit and pin in place. 
  12. Baste the ruffle in place. It is not necessary to get
    super close to the piping with this basting seam, just keep
    the raw edges of all the layers even.
  13. Find all the ties.
  14. Following the marks you transferred from the pattern
    (remember, we used small snips into the very edge of the
    fabric), first place the raw ends of the neck ties at the
    left and right marks along the top curved edge. Pin the ties
    in place on top of the ruffle.
  15. The ties should be slightly angled in. To check the
    angle, flip up the ruffle. The angle of the ties should align
    with the angle of the bodice side seams. Use a yardstick or
    similar long straight edge to check the
    line.
  16. Place the two wider bodice ties at the left and right
    marks along both sides. Pin the ties in place, aligning the
    raw ends of the ties with the raw edges of the fabric. Gather
    up the ends of all four ties and lightly pin them in place at
    the center of the bodice so they will be out of the way of
    the outer seam. 
  17. Find the bodice lining and the bodice interfacing.
    Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing
    the wrong side of the lining.  
  18. Place the back bodice layer right sides together with
    the front bodice layer, sandwiching the piping, the ruffle
    strip, and all the gathered-up ties between the
    layers.
  19. Pin in place along the two sides and across the top
    curved edge. The bottom remains open.
  20. Still using a Zipper foot, stitch across
    the top and along both sides, pivoting at the corners and
    going slowly around the top curves. Both seams should be as
    close as possible to the piping. Down the sides, default to a
    ½” seam allowance. Be careful to not catch the ends of the
    ruffle in the side seams.
  21. Fold up the straight bottom edge of the bodice lining
    ½” inch and press in place.
    NOTE: If you
    are new or working with multiple layers and curved edges, you
    may want to consider stitching two seams. First, stitch all
    the way around with an approximate ¼” seam, concentrating
    only on keeping all the raw edges flush. Then, go around
    again, this time concentrating on getting as close as
    possible to the piping cord, creating a super sharp pivot at
    each corner, and maintaining a true ½” seam along each
    side.
  22. Clip the corners and
    the
    curve, being careful to not
    cut into your seam. Press the seam allowance
    open. 
  23. Turn the completed bodice right side out, unpin the
    ties, and press flat.
  24. Set aside.

Make and place the pocket

  1. Find the two pocket pieces and the pocket
    interfacing.
  2. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the
    interfacing to the wrong side of the front pocket
    piece. 
  3. Pin a length of piping along the top raw edge of the
    interfaced pocket. As above, cut back the piping cord ½” at
    each end.
  4. Still using a Zipper foot, machine baste
    the piping in place.
  5. Place the pocket lining and the front piped pocket
    piece right sides together. Fold back the top raw edge of the
    pocket lining so it is flush with the top of the piping. Pin
    in place along both sides and around the bottom. The top
    remains open.  
  6. Stitch the layers together along both sides and around
    the bottom. Go slowly to maintain a smooth
    curve.
  7. Clip the curve
  8. Turn the pocket right side out through the top. Press
    flat. 
  9. Stitch in the ditch of the piping seam to secure the
    folded top edge of the pocket
    lining. 
  10. Following your original markings from the pocket fussy
    cutting, place the pocket in position on the right overskirt
    panel (right looking down at the apron). Align the motifs and
    pin in place along both sides and around the
    bottom.
  11. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and
    around the bottom. Lengthen the stitch and go slowly to
    create a smooth and pretty line of
    topstitching.

Skirt

  1. Find the main 39″ x 27″ underskirt
    rectangle. 
  2. Re-attach the standard presser foot.
  3. Along both sides and across the bottom, fold and press
    into place a narrow ¼” double turn hem with clean corners. To
    do this, fold back all the raw edges ¼” and press, then fold
    an additional ¼” and press again. Create an aligned diagonal
    point at each corner.
    NOTE: If you
    are need to narrow hemming with these pretty corners, we
    have
    an easy, step-by-step tutorial
    you can review
    .
  4. Using a ¼” seam allowance and thread that best matches
    the underskirt fabric in the top and bobbin, stitch along
    both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the
    corners.
  5. Repeat to create narrow hems along the outer
    edge and bottom of each overskirt panel. Along the
    inner edge of both panels, create a wider hem. Fold
    back ½” and press, then fold and additional 2″ and press
    again. 
    NOTE: This wider hem allows the overskirt panels to flip
    up slightly without revealing the wrong side of the fabric.
    This is particularly important if you like to twirl in your
    apron. 

  6. Change out the thread to best match the overskirt
    panels. Stitch all around, staying close to the inner folds
    and pivoting at the corners.
  7. Place the underskirt right side up and flat on your
    work surface. 
  8. Place the overskirt panels right side up on top of the
    underskirt. The top raw edges of the panels should be flush
    as should the bottom hemmed edges. Along the sides, the
    overskirt should overlap the underskirt by the width of the
    hem. This will create a center gap between the overskirt
    panels.
  9. Pin the layers together along the top
    edge.
  10. Gather the top raw edges of both layers. To do this,
    run one or two lines of basting across the panels, keeping
    the the basting within the ½” seam allowance. Remember, don’t
    lock either end of your seam. The close-up below shows a
    better view of how the side of the overskirt panel extends
    beyond the underskirt panel by the width of the
    hem.
  11. Pull the basting to gather the skirt to fit the bottom
    of the bodice.

    NOTE: Remember, as above, if you are new to gathering,
    take a look at our article:
    How to Make Gathers by
    Machine
    .

Attach the skirt to the bodice 

  1. Pull the folded bottom edge of the bodice lining up and
    out of the way. Place the piped bottom edge of the bodice
    front right sides together against the top gathered edge of
    the skirt panel, aligning the raw edges. Adjust the skirt
    gathers as needed to fit the against the bodice. Pin in
    place.
  2. Stitch across the top of the skirt through all the
    layers. We switched back again to a
    Zipper foot to make sure we
    are staying as close as possible to the piping. This seam may
    be slightly larger or smaller than a traditional ½” seam
    allowance
  3. Press the seam allowance up towards the bodice.
  4. Bring the folded edge of the bodice lining down into
    place, covering the seam you just made. Pin in place.
  5. Hand stitch the folded edge of the bodice lining into
    place. We used a
    whip
    stitch
    .

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructions: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever

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