Tutorial Tuesdays: The Apron Top Tutorial

Isn’t it funny how a project can morph into something completely different and unexpected? This top started out as a dress. I had it all drawn out on my pretty paper. I even colored it with my brand new markers (Ha! Ha!).¬† It wasn’t until I cut out all of the pieces and started assembling everything that I began to rethink things. There was something about the extra long straps in the back that I thought would look much better draped over a pair of jeans than a puffy skirt bottom. So, I went with it. Plus, it’s almost summer time, and I have a strong suspicion that my girls will spend a lot more time outside chasing their brothers than they will inside having dainty tea parties. So, a summer top it is! The skirt pieces will definitely be used, just not today:)

There are 18 pieces (!!!AHHH!!!), but don’t let that scare you. Almost all of them are rectangles . Once you get your pieces cut out, it doesn’t take much time to put together. ¬† I made this one for my girls that are 9 years old, but you can easily adapt this top to any size child using the formulas below.


Sewing level: Advanced Beginner

Material: Medium weight cotton fabric for main fabric and contrasting color.

Amount: For standard sizes 6-9 expect to use approximately 1 yard of fabric total. If you plan to use a contrasting fabric color for the ruffle, band and top straps the fabric split will be closer to 3/4 yd (main color) and 1/4yd  (contrasting). 

Suggestion: ***The suggested fabric amount is only an approximation. Take your measurements first and then purchase your fabric. You may need more or less than a yard depending on the child.

Before starting, you’ll need four measurements. Your child’s:

w- (waist measurement)

c- (upper chest measurement)

sc- (top of shoulder to upper chest measurement)

mb- (top of shoulder diagonally to center back measurement)



*NOTE: If you are using a contrasting fabric in your apron top, cut the front band (not back), ruffle, and front straps in the contrasting color.

Cut out your pattern pieces. The front panel is cut on the fold like so:

Front Panel

¬†Starting with the ruffle. Fold your ruffle piece in half lengthwise (right¬† sides facing) and iron.¬† Stitch both short ends closed. Flip the ruffle piece right side out and iron flat. Sew two rows of gathering stitches at the opening (don’t back stitch!) Next, gather your ruffle piece by gently pulling on the two threads on either end of your ruffle spacing your gathers out as you pull. Your ruffles final measurement will be the same as your front panel measurement in the diagram above.

Pin¬†1 side panel to each side of the front panel¬†(right sides facing) and stitch using 1/2″ seam allowance. Do this for both front panel pieces. Press open.

Straps: Fold front and back straps lengthwise (right sides facing) and sew along length of strap and 1 end. Trim.

Turn the strap right side out and iron flat.


Attaching Ruffles and Straps to Front Panel

Lay out one panel piece with the right side of fabric facing up. Place your ruffle piece in the center of your panel matching raw ends to top of panel and sides of ruffle to side seams (where front and side panels meet)

Next, place each top strap on the inside of the panel seams on top of the ruffle. Pin layers in place.

Lower Straps: Find the center point of your side panel. Pin your lower strap (open end)  here,  angled upward toward the center of panel. Do this for both lower straps. The strap should fall slightly outside  front panel. This will be trimmed off after sewing your pieces together.

Place 2nd panel piece on top (wrong side up) and repin all layers together (both sides of panel and top). Instead of using additional pins, I  reuse the pins that are already in place by holding the layers together, removing pin, and then repinning the extra layer in.

Sew along top of panel and down sides¬† using 1/2″ seam allowance connecting all layers. Trim. Turn garment right side out and iron flat.

Attaching Waistband and Skirt

Preparing the skirt: With right sides facing, pin short ends of skirt pieces together. Sew. Trim. Iron. Fold a 1/2″ hem (or more if desired). Sew. Turn right side out. Sew two rows of gathering stitches on raw side of skirt.

Preparing the waistband: With right sides facing, pin short ends of front band and back band¬† together. Sew. Trim. Iron. (Do this for both sets of waistbands).¬† Iron 1/2″ seam allowance on 1 side of waistband only.

Your skirt and waistband should look like the picture below:

Gather skirt piece. Place the waistband (without 1/2″ folded seam allowance) over the skirt panel (right sides facing), and adjust gathers to match width of waistband. Pin raw edges together. Sew. Trim. Open up and iron right side out.¬† (*Note: Please ignore the center crease on the band in the pic below. I forgot to cut 2 waist band pieces and had to go back and cut the band below in half .¬† Your skirt piece should be longer than your waistband piece :).

The next part (attaching the front panel to the waistband and skirt) is the tricky part and, of course, I forgot to take pictures, hence the diagram.

Lay waistband and garment piece flat with front band centered. Attach the front panel piece upside down centered.  Pin.

Place  second waistband on top of both pieces (right sides facing) matching the seam lines to front waistband. The raw edge of the second waistband should be at the top. The side with the ironed seam allowance should be at the bottom. Pin Pieces together. Sew. Turn right side out, tucking inner waistband inside of skirt. Iron.


Use the following formula to determine elastic size.

Step 1. Lay garment flat and measure waistband. Multiply number by 2 to get total waistband measurement. Subtract child’s full waist measurement from this number (The difference =amount of extra fabric)

Step 2.¬† Take 1/2 of¬† the apron top’s total waistband measurement and subtract the extra fabric amount from Step 1.

Step 3. Take to total from Step 2 and add (SA x 2) to get your elastic size.

Finally turn your garment inside out, iron inner waistband down. Pin turned under seam allowance to garment and stitch down back waistband only. Feed elastic through casing. When the back end of elastic is outside the side seam approx. 1/4″, sew elastic to waistband along side seam. Continue feeding the elastic through. The band will gather. When the front piece of the elastic is outside of the side seam approx. 1/4″, sew elastic to waistband through side seam. Pin the front of the waistband down and sew to garment. (Make sure your under thread matches your fabric. It may show through on the other side ūüôā


That’s It!

You made it through the longest sewing tutorial ever! Yay!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Keep doin’ what you love!




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