Hi everyone, it’s Gabriela from Pour La Victoire, and today I’m going to make a late Victorian, early Edwardian apron. For this apron, I looked at pattern catalogs from the 1890s and early 1900s from Mccall’s and Delineator, and I was actually surprised that there’s not a lot of resources in those pattern magazines for aprons. This could either be because people just already knew how to make aprons so it wasn’t worth selling a pattern for how to make an apron, or maybe they weren’t big sellers so they weren’t included in the catalogs. I’m not sure, but I tried to get as much detail as possible in order to extrapolate how they would have been constructed and what the proportions would be.
The style of apron that I’m going to be making today will have straps, a bib, and then a full skirt and ties to tie it in the back. Please stay tuned if you’re interested in seeing how I make this! I found this great example in the 1898 edition of the Delineator which said that quot;the ends of the skirt almost meet at the back and the upper edge of the skirt is gathered and finished with a belt to which the pleated ends of the tie strings are joined and the ties being bowed at the back. quot; It also mentioned that the straps are quot;joined to the sides of the bib and the bib to the belt are carried over the shoulders and crossed at the back and buttoned to the belt. quot; I couldn’t find a source for this image, but the drawing was really helpful in figuring out how deep the hems were and where the seams were placed.
This image from the McCall’s spring and summer catalog of 1907 was also very helpful in showing what the proportions of the ties, straps, and bib were to each other and it’s great in that it shows a version of the apron that’s plain and what it looks like with the bretelles and lace insertion. This 1892 Home Dressmaking book also mentioned that the hem should be three inches wide. I’ll have all my sources linked down below if you want to explore them in more detail. I took all of these clues and created the pattern for the apron.
you’ll find the pattern and the full directions linked down below. I’ll be using a one quarter of an inch seam allowance throughout this project. The first step in assembling our apron is to stitch together the skirt panels. You might not even need to do this step if you’re using a wider fabric.
Sew the panels together wrong sides to wrong sides and press. We’re going to fell the seam towards the back of the apron; trim the seam allowance and fold the fell towards the back of the apron, press, pin, and stitch. Next we’re going to make our hem. Press up a quarter of an inch at the bottom of the apron, then press up three inches to make our three inch wide hem.
Pin, press, and stitch down the hem. Next we’re going to hem the sides of the apron by folding up a quarter of an inch and folding a quarter of an inch again, pressing, pinning, and stitching in place. You can sew this hem by machine like I did or you can whip stitch it down by hand. Fold in and press a quarter of an inch on the short ends of the waistband.
Mark the center front of the apron, then run two gathering threads along the top of the apron. Match up the center front of the apron with the center front of the waistband and match up the side hems of the apron with the folded edges of the waistband. Adjust the gathers to fit the waistband then pin them in place and stitch. Press open the seam and trim the seam allowance of the gathered portion of the apron.
Now it’s time to work on the top of the apron and we’re going to start by hemming the top of the bib. First, fold down one quarter of an inch on the top edge of the bib, then fold down one and one quarter of an inch. Press, pin, and stitch the hem. Line up the straps, wrong side to wrong side, on the bib.
Pin and stitch, securing the straps to the bib. Press the seam towards the straps and then press under a quarter of an inch on the long edges of the straps. Then fold the straps in half, matching the folded seam allowance. To finish off the short ends of the straps, fold up a quarter of an inch and press.
Continue folding the strap in half lengthwise, pin, and stitch all along the edge of the straps. Sew a line of top stitching along the folded edge of the straps as well. Mark the center front of the bib and then sew two lines of parallel gathering stitches along the bottom of the bib. Gather the bottom of the bib to your desired width; I gathered mine to be six and a half inches wide.
Find the center front of the waistband and match it up with the center front of the bib. Pin the bib to the waistband, matching right sides to right sides, and distribute the gathers evenly across the bib. I concentrated the fullness of the gathers on the portion of the bib that wasn’t covered by the straps. Sew or baste the bib to the waistband.
Press, and trim the seam allowance. Sew a narrow hem on the long edges of the ties. Then make a small pleat on one of the short ends of the ties so that the tie will fit into the short end of the waistband. Match up the pleated end of the tie to the waistband, right sides to right sides, and pin.
Then stitch the ties to the waistband and press. Match up right sides together the waistband facing to the waistband enclosing the bib. Pin them together and stitch. Press open the seam, then trim the seam allowances.
Fold the facing down towards the apron. Press down the seam. Fold in a quarter of an inch on the long sides of the facing, and encase the gathers of the apron underneath the facing seam allowance. Fold under and press a quarter of an inch on the short ends of the waistband facing.
Place this over the seam with the ties to fully encase the seam. Using a whip stitch, sew the facing to the apron. You could also top stitch this area with a sewing machine, but I like the extra control that hand sewing gives me. Next, we’ll finish off the ties by hemming them.
Press under a quarter of an inch and then another quarter of an inch to make a quarter inch hem on the ties. You can hem the ties by hand, like I did, or by using a sewing machine. Lastly, try on the apron to mark the placement of where the straps should attach to the waistband. I ended up sewing two antique porcelain buttons to my straps and I made hand sewn buttonholes on my waistband.
I love using my heat soluble pens to mark the placement of things like buttons and buttonholes! Alternatively, if you don’t want to use buttons and buttonholes, you can sew your straps into your waistband when you’re applying the waistband facing. To wear your apron, first fasten the ties in the back in a bow. Then bring the straps over your shoulders, crisscrossing them in the back, and fastening each strap underneath the corresponding buttonhole. I am so pleased with how this project turned out! It was fun and it was easy to make.
I made the whole thing in about a weekend using white cotton that I already had in my stash. I can’t wait to wear this apron in my 21st century kitchen and when I do historical cooking demonstrations. My favorite part about projects like this is they’re such a blank slate for customization and creativity. You could do so many things! You could add a pocket to the front, you could add tucks or lace or embroidery to the bib, you could add ruffles to the straps, you can add those square lace-trimmed bretelles to the straps like one of the inspiration images had.
I just love that there’s so many possibilities to customize an item like this. If you enjoyed this video, please leave a like and comment down below, and if you’d like to see more content like this, please subscribe to my channel.