Alice Apron commission!

So I have this apron that I made, using the pattern found in the Gothic Lolita Bible #9 (for sale in my Etsy store) and I received a request for a custom commission. My client loved the design, but hoped for a longer skirt and a floral motif in the lace. Her party isn’t until the summer, so there was no hurry to finish. But she paid right away, so I thought to work on it right away and finish as soon as possible.

It’s kind of a funny design, and so I thought also to take pictures of my work to do a sort-of tutorial for it. Perhaps I will digitize the pattern to make it available, too.

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Finished product first!

So my client asked for a floral motif in lace instead of the treble symbol I usually use, and because the lace I found was a natural or off-white color, we matched it with some natural/beige cotton fabric I had. This ended up being a perfect decision because her dress will also have a natural/beige accent. I am very happy with the result. The skirt I made just a few inches longer. The original design has a 14” skirt, and so I made it 21” to cover the hem of a typical Lolita dress length. Voila!

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I have lots of lace choices, and so I showed her pictures of various lace that are about 10 – 15cm wide, and she chose this one. It happened to be the only natural/beige color of lace in the selection, which turned out to be perfect for her needs! I quite liked it myself, so I was happy to work with it.

Sorry if some of the images look like a different color. Some pictures were taken under a very cool light during the night time, and others during the natural light of day. I tried to make them as uniform as possible.

First, I bring out my trust snipper lanyard. I had to make a new one because my previous one snapped. :( But it’s okay, because I like the colors on this one much better! I wear this when I work so I don’t have to keep looking for scissors to snip threads! And I have bunches of scissors. Some how they keep getting lost!

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I had already put together some of the pieces. Primarily the waist ties, and I applied the lace to the bottom hem of the apron skirt, and front panel.

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I serged the edges of the front panel, even though the sides are about to be attached to the shoulder straps and hidden inside. Sometimes serging makes things easier to work with.

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Sometimes I make snip marks to mark the placement of pieces. But I actually learned a neat trick from the manufacturers of Baby the Stars Shine Bright clothes, Tokyo Youth:

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Ironing placement marks instead! Brilliant. I’m sure it’s nothing new or special, but it is to me!

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So this is the placement for the shoulder ruffles and straps in relation to the front panel, which we put together separately from the skirt parts. I used a 1/8” narrow hem foot to finish the ruffle edges, and place them this way so I know which one goes where.

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Gathering the ruffles on the curved side of the edge. I place them on the bottom part of the shoulder straps on each side, so that when I fold over the top part, I can make a nice top stitch. Some magazines will tell you to do the opposite, to place ruffles on the top piece, and then fold in the bottom piece, but then your top stitch is a bottom stitch and does not look straight! You can control the way the top stitch works better this way.

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See? Then we sandwich the two shoulder piece with the front panel in between:

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Look at that beautiful top stitch! But how about those ends?

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I pressed the edges first, so I know where the lines will be. Then, I sew the ends before sewing the shoulder strap closed.

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To get really nice, crisp corners, you fold the edges in squarely as shown, then turn inside out! You can work out the points with a point turner, or a chopstick. Sometimes people use the ends of their scissors.

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Sewing the top stitch “a needle’s width” away from the edge. My favorite.

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Both shoulder straps done! So here’s the funny part of this pattern. On the pattern piece for the front panel, the bottom part has a stripe going across that’s shaded, about three inches wide. That’s where the front panel is covered by the belt piece. I will show you.

First, we gather the skirt and attach it to the waistband/belt piece. Attach the bottom right side front panel to the placement marks on the waistband. At the same time, over that, attach the skirt to the BACK SIDE of the waistband piece, with the wrong side of the skirt facing the right side.

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This way, the front side of the piece that will be showing when worn will have a nice and even top stitch.

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So now what? The whole thing will look a little funny. Kind of like this:

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We fold that belt piece up to cover part of the front panel, as is indicated by the shaded stripe on the pattern piece.

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Stitch this closed with a top stitch going across the top of the belt. DON’T STITCH THE ENDS! We need to attach the waist ties!

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Then comes my favorite part!

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Finally, we do the button holes and attach buttons. The pattern, as most Lolita apron patterns, says to put BUTTONS on the shoulder straps. That takes four buttons if you want it adjustable. Instead, I put the buttons on the waistband sides, and make four buttons holes for adjustment.

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Again, I use the ironing marking method and iron out the creases when I’m done!

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Open up the button holes using a seam ripper, X-acto knife, or scissor. And clean up those threads! I fold the button hole vertically and pull at all the loose threads to bring them up, then snip them.

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Then finally I attached the buttons. I don’t use knots! For the first string, I make an embroidery style anchor. It’s one long thread, folded in half, both ends threaded through a needle. The other end makes a loop! Bring the thread through your fabric, thread through your button, then catch the loop with your needle. Tighten, and make your stitches to fix your button.

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Again, instead of knotting when I’m done, I make a backstitch and then a vertical stitch to anchor the thread, then I push the needle though the core of the fabric all the way to the edge. I snip the thread very very close to the edge, and it should just fall back inside the piece.

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I still have a long piece of double thread, but this time no loop on the end.

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I still don’t use knots. I do the same backstitch anchoring method, but this time I start my needle through the middle of the fabric from the edge, and leave a little tail hanging out. I promise you, the thread will not go anywhere. Makes for a very nice clean start and finish!

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And there you go!

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I will make the pattern for this apron available upon request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and I’ll be happy to try to help you. Thanks for reading!

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