This is Guest Blogger Mary Mulari’s second blog entry in the 10-month apron inspiration presentation. This time she’s featuring her best selling pattern, the Church Ladies’ Apron. She’s never content to make it just one way, so here’s her latest versions of this classic apron design.
Church Ladies’ Apron Pattern
By Mary Mulari
There’s something about the Church Ladies’ Apron Pattern’s popularity and I think part of it has to do with its name. It reminds us of our mothers and grandmothers who worked hard in church kitchens to prepare and serve food. On the back of the pattern I include a paragraph to honor those women, and the memory of my mother.
Beach Towel Apron
The first new version of this pattern is made from a beach towel. It’s intended to be a gift for a new mom who could wear the apron and use the apron skirt as a towel wrap, as she lifts her baby out of the bath tub. Unlike most of the aprons made from this pattern, this is a single layer of fabric and it’s not reversible. I made the apron longer than usual to allow more towel for the baby. After cutting out the apron, I serged the edges and then turned and topstitched the edges in place. Hint: You don’t want to be wearing black corduroy pants when you cut and sew a pattern from a beach towel!
The neck yoke of this apron is a little different from the one shown on the pattern. It’s made from two separate pieces of the towel and overlaps to close and adjust with Velcro, or hook and loop tape, the generic term we use on Sewing with Nancy.
From the leftover pieces of the towel I made extra washcloths and a bath mitt to add to the apron gift. If you’ve attended Rita Farro’s and my Midwest YaYa Sisters seminar in the last two years, you’ve seen this apron in the Baby Gifts section of our program.
I used creative cutting for the straps, placing the pattern stitching line on one finished towel edge. The bottom hem of the apron is the original lower hem of the beach towel.
Now for the second version of this apron, also a single layer of fabric and not reversible: Here I am in Nancy’s kitchen, showing off her cooking utensils!
I’ve been planning to try a single layer apron and bind it with bias tape, just as so many of our mothers and grandmothers made their aprons. I had a package of vintage bias tape and it was wide enough to cut in half and then press in half so I’d have enough bias to go around the entire apron.
The neck yoke sections for this apron are also cut as two pieces with hook and loop tape for a closure. Before I sewed them to the apron body at the yoke lines marked on the pattern, I inserted a piece of the bias tape as narrow trim.
Next came the sewing task of attaching the raw edges of the bias tape to the cut edges of the apron body and then folding over the edge to the back of the apron and stitching in the ditch to secure the back of the bias to the apron. It was a two-step process. If you find it easier to enclose the fabric edge inside folded bias tape, that would be a one-step project and hopefully you’d catch the fabric edge inside the bias. (I sometimes struggle with that method, so I used the two-step method I described above.)
I cut out two pockets from the pocket pattern, and I decided they were too large and would cover up too much of the border design. I made the pocket much smaller and fit it on the apron in an area where it would blend into the small floral pattern. I added only one pocket and placed it on the right side of the apron since I’m right-handed.
I think the apron turned out well and I LOVE the border print I chose from the “Early Birds” fabric collection designed by Jane Sassaman for Westminster Fabrics. However, I have decided that I prefer the two layer reversible aprons for both durability in use and construction ease. This was a test and I learned from it. I’m sure you learn from your sewing experiments and get creative as you try new twists of your own. Have fun as you sew your own Church Ladies’ Aprons.
It seems appropriate to include a recipe that might be served in a church basement or fellowship hall. This is my favorite cookie bar recipe. It always turns out well for me. Maybe that’s because it uses a cup of butter! “Bars” is the term we use in Minnesota for these rectangular pieces cut in a 9″ x 13″ pan…do you call them something else?
Chocolate Chip Coconut Bar
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. white sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. unsifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. coconut
1 c. quick cooking oats
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts
Mix butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30–35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars. Store in a covered container.
Thanks for your apron inspiration and recipe, Mary!
Thanks for letting me know your favorite designs and projects from part 1 and part 2 of the Machine Needle Felting series on Sewing With Nancy. The random winner of the Machine Needle Felting DVD is Margaret. I was very interested in how Isabella Hoffman used the blending marker on her machine felting project. The use of the fabric markers and the blending marker made such a difference on the finished flower.
Bye for now,