Stitch Craft Create Blog

Give Water Apron Tutorial by Jen Osborn

Jen Osborn, author of the fantabulous book, Mixed and Stitched, is here with us today. We are so happy to feature her beautiful book, as well as a brand new project tutorial created by Jen! 

For this week only (through Sunday, March 11), you can buy your own copy of Mixed and Stitched for 50% off (a savings of over $12) here at the Martha Pullen store.

A quick peek at some of the awesome projects in Mixed & Stitched!
Give Water Apron

by Jen Osborn

My longtime friend, mentor, and constant source of inspiration, Jenny Doh, is doing something wonderful this year with the help of my new friend Cynthia Schaffer. She’s raising money by wearing a little black uniform Cynthia made until Valentine’s Day 2013 to raise awareness to the world’s water crisis. I think she’s doing it in an incredibly creative way, and got really excited when I found out she’s also including those who donate in on the fun. You see, with a minimum donation of $25, you can send Jenny an accessory to wear with her little black uniform. In return, she’ll take a photo in your accessory, and blog about it over on Philanthropy has long been dear to my heart (as has Jenny), and my mind instantly started churning with accessory ideas. I know that Jenny loves aprons, and since I have some really cool fabrics right now in just the right colors, I decided to whip a new one up for her! It’s super-duper simple, and you really only need basic sewing skills, and a few decorative stitches on your sewing machine to create it. Here’s how:



   20 x 18 IN white muslin or thin cotton (backing)

   43 x 3 IN black w/ white polka dot (sash)

   38 X 4 IN red pattern (sash)

   13 x 4 IN black & white pattern (selvage still on one long side)

   13 x 4 IN aqua solid (selvage still on one long side)

   3 pieces – each 5 x 10 IN

   2 pieces – each 17 x 5 IN

   1 yard 1/2 IN grey grossgrain ribbon

   1 yard aqua rik-rak

   grey thread


   hot iron

   sewing machine

   heart button & chain



I like to start by making the sash and working down when making aprons. So, start by taking your long strip of black & white polka dot fabric, and press each long side under 1/2 inch with a super hot iron. Lay this over the top of your red pattern strip, and sew down the middle and both long edge with four straight rows. Set aside and “dry run” your apron body.
Step 1

I always like to do a dry run with my projects so I have a vague idea of what they will look like beforehand. This gives me a chance to move things around if a certain fabric doesn’t look right next to another one. The easiest way to do this is to lay your white backing fabric on a flat surface, and arrange your fabric cuts on top of it. Once you have everything where you want it, you just have to start piecing everything together patchwork style (Just like in my book Mixed and Stitched). 
Step 2



I chose to have two long panels on either side of my apron, and kinda sash-in the center busy-ness. This also allows me to use the selvedge of the left and right fabrics to be my apron edges. This means you don’t have to hem either one, saving time; plus I think it looks kinda raw and wonderful. All you have to do is:
  • With right sides together, sew all three 5″ x 10″ fabric pieces together into a long strip, long side to long side. 
  • Step 3a: Sew together long sides
  • Press your seams toward the outside fabrics (the pin print & gray print here). Trim the panel down to measure 13 x 10 IN.
Step 3B: Press toward the outside

Building the inner panel is ridiculously easy. Just take the 3-panel piece you just made, and sew your black & white print to the bottom edge (right sides together). If you are using a one way print like I did here, don’t forget to turn it upside down or you will be pulling out stitches. To finish off the inside panel, all you have to do is sew the aqua solid strip along the bottom edge. Basically, you’re doing the same thing you did in STEP 3, just assembling from top to bottom instead of left to right. Press your seams toward the middle this time, and you will end up with a 17 x 13 inch panel that should look like this:

Step 4

Step 4 (from the back)


I have a thing for recurring patterns in my patterns, and this apron is no exception. To create the body of the apron, simply sew one of your 17 x 5 inch panels on either side of the inner panel you just created—just like in the previous two steps, but make sure your selvedges are facing outwards. Press your seams toward the outside, and lay your white backing fabric wrong sides together on your apron body. You’re going to “quilt” these two layers together, and turn this patchworked apron into something almost Japanese in style. Cynthia and I share a love of zakka (everything and anything that improves your home, life and appearance), and adding simple and decorative stitches to your solids gives this apron a zakka flair.
Step 5

By adding straight stitches 1/2 inch apart down the grey panel on the right, and alternating the same stitch with the baseball stitch (I think they kind of look like vines), I was really able to alter the overall look and style of my apron. It instantly changes from something raw into something quilted, and almost orderly.
The finishing touches are just as simple as everything else, but continue working their magic as you sew them on. Grab that waistband you stitched in STEP 1, and lay it over the top edge of your finished apron body. I don’t ever pin anything, but you may want to pin these two pieces together so they don’t shift while sewing. Using a zigzag stitch set to 2, sew halfway between the polka dot part of your waistband and the bottom raw edge of the waistband. This will “stick” your two pieces together, and you can take out all your pins now. Straight stitch halfway between your zigzag and the bottom raw edge to secure your two pieces together. Fold the top raw edge of the waistband under 1/2 inch and press with your hot iron. Straight stitch your hem down, and you’re ready to sew on your apron tie.

Step 6

Take your yard of rik-rak, and straight sew it right down on top of your grey grossgrain ribbon. Lay it over the middle-ish of your waistband, and sew it down with your sewing machine, going back and forth down the full length a couple times. This makes sure your tie is really secure, and hides anywhere you veered off course.
Step 7

Now, my friend Jenny is a bit sassy, so I wanted to hand stitch on a little bit that would allow her to strut her stuff, and add a bit of sparkle to her step. I’ve had this vintage chain laying around forever, and by sewing it to right at the hip I’ve allowed it to swing with her every sashay. The cute little bow at the bottom will swing back and forth, but shouldn’t get caught on anything and snag her up. I just set my zigzag to 0, and went back and forth over the chain until it was firmly attached. A heart sewn lovingly over the top hides how you attached it, and gives it just that little extra punch of love.
Step 8
Step 8
All finished!

I want to thank everyone over at North Light & Stitch Craft Create for giving me the chance to offer you guys this amazing pattern for free, and to Jenny for always inspiring me to create more incredible things to share with all of you. If you have any questions of want to show off YOUR apron you can find me over on my blog: we’re all mad here!


Please share photos  of your finished creations here at our Stitch Craft Create Flickr Group pool.


Jen Osborn is a third generation artist, writer, illustrator and stitcher who lives in the heart of rural Michigan. To learn more about her and her whimsical, imaginative and tactile art, visit her at

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