There haven’t been any sewing projects on my blog for quite a while. So I say we fix that right away.
This project evolved from my curiosity towards zero waste fashion. And from a need of an apron I had while working with fluffy fabrics. An apron seemed like a perfect first approach to zero waste patterns.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with zero waste fashion, but the basic idea is that you utilize the whole fabric without throwing any piece of it away. This causes some challenges in the pattern design, because the various pattern pieces need to fit together perfectly, like pieces of puzzle.
This being my very first attempt, the pieces are really plain rectangles and triangles. I threw in some folds and pleats to make the design a bit more interesting.
Materials and the pattern
To make this apron, you’ll need a 150cm x 50cm piece of fabric and 2,1m of bias tape. Notice, that the fabric has to look the same on both sides.
However, you can adjust the measurements to 140cm wide fabric, too. If you want the apron to be wider, you’ll need more than 50cm.
Here’s the pattern. You can draw it directly on the fabric with the help of a ruler. (No need to draw the dashed lines.) But if you don’t feel like doing that, there’s even a pdf pattern you can download. Just be prepared: it occupies 18 sheets of paper.
The central panel has a pocket and 3 pleats above it. The upper part will have folded angles.
The whole piece is 150cm long, but if your fabric is only 140cm wide, you can cut off that 10cm from the pocket for example. So instead of 25+25 you can make it 20+20.
In case you want a wider apron, just make the central panel wider. But remember, that it will be wider all the way to the top.
The other half of the pattern consists of the straps and the side panels. Those triangles are the reason why your fabric has to be the same on both sides. Otherwise your 2 side panels will look different.
You can either make all the straps the same width or, as I did, make the neck straps a bit narrower: I divided the area into 8cm-8cm-7cm.
If you’re using a 140cm wide fabric, you’ll have shorter straps.
Preparing the pieces
Whether you’re drawing the pattern directly on the fabric or using a pattern, clip notches where the pocket-, pleat- and fold lines are.
If you are not using a pattern, just measure on both sides of the central panel where the notches will go, following the measurements in the draft above.
Start from the top folds. First fold 1 cm seam allowance upwards (=right side) and then fold at 7,5cm upwards. Turn the angles inside and press.
Then pin the pleats and the pocket in place and press them.
Here’s how the pocket will be folded.
Stitching the sides at this point will make it easier to sew the side panels after.
Finally, I recommend top-stitching the pleats in place even horizontally. It’s better to pin them first.
Prepare the straps, too. There’s 1 cm seam allowance. Leave one side open so that you’ll be able to turn them around.
Before turning, trim the angles. Press and turn the seam allowance of the remaining side inside.
Putting the apron pieces together
Now you can attach the side panels. I preferred doing top stitching here, too.
Then it’s time to add the bias tape, starting right under the folds you did at the top:
After that you can stitch the top folds in place following the edge.
The last thing that remains now, is to attach the straps. Pin first to see how to place them.
I attached the waist straps at the edge by sewing a little rectangle on top like this:
The neck straps were a bit trickier because of the width of the upper part of the apron. I didn’t like them being too far apart as the centre then wouldn’t lay flat. But on the other hand, placing them more towards the centre left flappy things on the sides…
So I partly resolved this by adding an extra fold, which made the top part thicker.
The neck strap remains under. I stitched a little square shape on top.
The zero waste apron is ready
Here are a few pictures of the apron.
You can add a bias tape also at the edge of the pocket. Do this before attaching the side panels.
I hope you enjoyed my zero waste apron tutorial and maybe even feel inspired to create your own zero waste pattern.
To get you started, check out Zero waste fashion design, a book by Timo Rissanen & Holly McQuillan.
I also have a Pinterest board on zero fashion.
If you’re looking for other sewing projects, here’s a tote bag tutorial.