Apron Pocket – Personal Canvas

I had this apron for quite some time before I realized it needed a minor makeover. Don’t get me wrong for as aprons go it was “stylish”. Still, when I used it for it’s intended purpose – to keep me clean, dry and looking fine – it fell short of the goal by one important point. Whenever I went to work at the sink, I always managed to soak myself. My hubby would tell me it was merely my psychosomatic aversion to washing dishes, along with a deep-seated resentment for having to do something that took me from my sewing studio. All I gotta say to that is, “Maybe.” Still, I brought my A-game to the table and turned this utilitarian yet stylish garb into a fully functional apron by adding a pocket to the front, large enough to hold a folded hand towel. last spring but found that even with it on, my stomach still gets wet when I’m in the kitchen working with water. I decided to add a pocket over my stomach area that would hold a regular size hand towel folded into quarters and placed inside. Of course, anyone can stitch a pocket to an apron, but doing it with panache is where we separate the women from girls.

I started with the simple question, “How big a pocket?” The answer was simple enough. I just grabbed a hand towel and folded it into quarters.  Since we use standard terrycloth bathroom hand towels in the kitchen, I figured that was a safe bet. A plug terrycloth hand towels: They’re pretty darn good at drying dishes and wiping up counter tops and cook surfaces. Once folded into quarters, just one towel makes a very nice water barrier. Laid my folded towel atop my cutting mat and got the dimensions of 7 x 12 inches. I added an inch to the length, to allow for loft in the towel, but opted not to make the pocket too deep because I didn’t want to dig around inside my beautiful new apron pocket with my dirty, wet hands. Home delivered pizza, paper plates and plastic forks are sounding really good right now. In short, the finished pocket is 7 x 13 inches.

Since fashion was – is –  as important as function, I needed a coordinating fabric that would serve as not only the pocket but also as the canvas for my unique fashion statement. I opted for a matching piece of blue cotton linen that I’d found in my stash. Don’t panic ladies, as there’s plenty more where that came from. What’s more, with a little help from my friends and fans, I get to top off my fabric stash periodically so that neither my cats or I notice any significant change in volume.

I cut the fabric canvas 9 x 14 inches. These dimensions allowed for a seam allowance of ½ inch on three sides and the top hem ½-inch turn under, plus a 1-inch hem.

Now, I struggled a bit with this next part. What would I put on my pocket canvas? Thought about putting Bill the Cat from Bloom County on there, blowing a big ol’ raspberry kiss. Then I thought, “Maybe Grumpy Cat!” Eventually, I decided that in the interest of domestic tranquility, I’d focus more on the fashion and less on the statement. To make the pocket look more like it was an original part of the apron, I decided to add embroidery that would complement the existing apron fabric. For my canvas’ embroidery I selected a design from my Victoria’s Quilt Collection, a 5×5 quilt-block series that fits together to make a myriad of larger patterns.

In this instance, I stitched two of the No.7 Block onto my canvas, since I didn’t feel that the color stops in the No. 1 Block would benefit this color scheme. This one decision allowed me to stitch the design very quickly, all one color, which I matched the background of the aprons design. I stitch No. 7 Block twice, rotating the designs 90 degrees from one another to create the pattern shown here. The resulting design complemented the apron’s fabric pattern beautiful and the two stitchouts fit together perfectly…if I do say so myself. Of course, there’s more to the story.

First, I had to make the pocket. At the iron, I pressed ½ inch under on all four sides of the pocket fabric.  Once I had nice, crisp edges, I folded down another 1 inch along the top and pressed it with the iron. The trick to keeping these folds in place when you sew is to have good, crisp edges. If your fabric won’t hold an edge, try a bit of spray starch. You know the more you use the iron when you sew the better your project will turn out and it will be a lot easier to sew. But you knew that.

With your edges pressed in place, sew along the 1 inch folded top hem following close to the folded edge. Now, pin the pocket in place, where you think it ought to go on the apron. We’re not talking voodoo doll pinning. You just want enough to hold the pocket in place, like maybe four – one in each corner. Once it’s pinned in place, this is the most important part: Try the apron on and see if the pocket’s in the right place. There’s nothing more disappointing than stitching it all in place only to realize you’ve got yourself a boob sling or kangaroo pouch, instead of a pocket for protecting you from those vile, dirty dishes. Don’t ask. Just remember that seem rippers are your friends and even Victoria’s Secret model have gotta demo what little they wear before they go struttin’ it out on stage. Once placement is determined , adjust all the pins it to the apron, while avoiding any unnecessary bloodshed. Take this time to demo a towel in the pocket. Yes, it’s okay to find a mirror at this time. Just remember to brush your and wash your face first. You’ve been warned.

Once you’ve got the perfect placement, it’s time to stitch your apron pocket and personal fashion statement in place – whether it be more fashion or statement. To apply the pocket, stitch around the two sides and bottom with a straight stitch 1/16th inch from  the folded edge. Then, do it again but at ¼ inch inside of the first stitch line. Now you have two rows of stitching holding down both layers of pocket fabric. That’s it! You are done, sista!

Now, grab a hand towel, fold it into quarters and tuck it neatly into the pocket. If you find your dishes particularly aggressive when washing them, simply remove the towel and allow it to dry separately from the apron. If you prefer, use it to dry your dishes and finish any last minute clean and replace it with a fresh, clean one in your stylish, new apron pocket addition.

I’ve been using my apron for a while now and my tummy hasn’t gotten wet since, from those vile, dirty dishes. Still, delivery pizza, paper plates and plastic forks have their allure.

Got some functional apron embellishments you’d like to share, I’d love to see them.