Our next official (i.e. complete with teacher) art quilt meeting is going to be a session of working with paints, inks and other messy things. I know it’s going to be lots of fun. I was thinking about what to bring along when I realized that I don’t own an apron. Well, that’s not completely true. I own several aprons, with varying degrees of frilliness, but those are for use in the kitchen (theoretically). What I don’t have is a craft apron to keep my clothes from getting splotchy.
My first thought was to make a trip to the local dollar store to buy a disposable plastic one. I took a couple of those with me to the Quilt Festival in Houston, and they worked out very well. They took up hardly any space in my suitcase, and I threw them out when I was finished with them. What they aren’t, though, is environmentally friendly. I also thought the store might sell a cheap cotton one, but before I got there to check it out I decided to make one myself.
I was pretty sure I had a pattern somewhere, and a quick check online of the indexes of various magazines led me to a simple pattern in the January 1996 issue of Threads Magazine (#62). That gave me the basic layout, but that pattern made it double layered and reversible, and I wanted to go even simpler than that. So I just used the pattern as a general guideline.
I had a big piece of artist canvas, so I decided to use that. What suits getting paint on it more than artist canvas? First, I ironed it (which got my iron dirty, which makes me think this canvas has some sizing in it). Then I cut out the basic shape (shown here folded along the centre-front):
The unhemmed apron measured 30 in. (76 cm) long and 24 in. (61 cm) wide, with the top neck 11 in. (28 cm) wide. The arm opening drops about 8 in. (21 cm) down from the top. I placed a selvage edge along the bottom so I wouldn’t have to hem it.
Because this canvas is thick and stiff, I didn’t want to have to fold the edges over double to finish them, so I sewed some commercial double-fold seam binding over the raw edges, then folded that back and topstitched it in place.
I dug into my bin of odds and ends and found some scrap pieces of inch-wide braided strap, and a pair of plastic D-rings, so I decided to make the neck strap adjustable. One straight piece of strap on one side, and a longer piece with the two D-rings on the other:
Two D-rings stitched together into a loop of the braided strap:
This makes the strap adjustable:
Then I stitched on a couple of lengths of twill tape that I also found in my bin of stuff, to use as ties. Here is the finished apron:
And here it is, with me inside. I’m all ready to play with messy things.
I’m quite happy with this, but I’m already thinking about how to decorate it. Perhaps its first role will be as painting surface rather than painting guard.
One nice thing about this project – everything I used was stuff I already had. One possibly detrimental thing: I am now convinced more than ever that I should never throw away my odds and ends, or my magazines. I might need them someday!