Feel your best in the kitchen with this beautiful vintage retro apron.
Summer is coming to a close, which means cooler weather and Fall baking. I don’t know about you, but I love baking pies, bread, cookies, and Thanksgiving dinner. This vintage retro apron will be a great addition to your outfit while you are baking away in the kitchen for your loved ones. Wouldn’t it be awesome to make one for every season! I made this one for the Fall season.
This is a beginner intermediate level pattern. You need to have a good understanding of how to use your sewing machine, iron, and how to pin fabric pieces together.
Are you ready to make your own? Let’s get started! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Quick links to information in this post
Material needed to make a Vintage Retro Apron
- 1 1/2 yard woven fabric for the skirt
- 1/2 yard woven fabric for the bodice
- 3/4 yard woven fabric for the straps
- Matching Thread
- Rotary Mat and Rotary Cutter (optional)
- Pinking Shears (optional)
- Wonder Clips or Pins
- Sewing Machine or Serger
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Free Vintage Retro Apron Pattern
Step 1. Wash and Iron your fabric
After you buy your fabric from the store and bring it home, wash it according to the washing instructions and then iron it really well. This will preshrink your fabric and having crisp ironed fabric will make working with your fabric easier along the way. If you forget to wash your fabric before cutting and assembling, it will become distorted when you go to wash it later.
Step 2. Cut your pieces
You can access the PDF pattern for the vintage retro apron below. Print and assemble the pattern pieces. Then use those paper pattern pieces to cut out your required pieces from your fabric. My favorite way to do this is to lay the paper pattern on top of my fabric, and then cut it out with a rotary cutter. You can also use scissors to cut out your pattern.
Step 3. Decide on finished seams
There are going to be some exposed seams. So you will want to decide how to finish them so they don’t fray over time. Here I have an example of three ways you can finish your seams. On the left, I sewed a straight line and then used pinking shears to trim the edge. The middle example is sewn with a straight stitch and then again with a zig zag stitch to mimic a serger. The one on the right is finished with a serger.
Step 4. Assemble the bodice
We are going to start by assembling the bodice. Take the main bodice piece and the side bodice pieces. Pin each side bodice piece to the main bodice piece with the right sides together. The raw edges will not line up when they are laying on each other. You have to line them up as you go, starting at the bottom, and clip it together. Sew these pieces together with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Finish your seams. I chose to finish my seams with pinking shears.
Take your neck straps and fold them in half long ways, with right sides together. Sew a 3/8″ seam allowance on one short side and one long side.
Turn the neck straps right side out. I use a tool called Fasturn that makes turning tubes of fabric really simple. Once the neck straps are turned right side out, press with an iron to give them nice crisp edges.
Now we are going to add the bodice lining and neck straps to the main bodice. But before we do that, fold the left and right edges of the bodice in 3/8″ and press with an iron.
Place the main bodice facing up. Put the raw edges of the neck straps at the top of the bodice, just poking above the bodice edges. Make sure they are about 1/2″ in from the left and right edges. Mine are not 1/2″ from the edge in this picture. I fixed it right before sewing. You don’t want to sew them into the side seams, just the top seams.
Not pictured: Finish the bottom edge of your bodice lining with pinking shears, a zig zag, or serger stitch (I forgot to do this before sewing it in place).
Place the bodice lining on top with the wrong side facing up. Clip or pin in place. Sew around the outside edges of the bodice lining with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Clip around the curves of the top of the bodice. At the point in the middle, snip as close as you can to your stitch, without cutting into your stitches.
Turn the bodice right sides out and poke out all the seams so everything looks nice. Press with an iron so you have nice crisp lines. As you are pressing, you also want to fold the left and right edges of the bodice one more time. They will naturally start to fold since you have turned the bodice right side out.
Top stitch around the whole bodice. I placed my needle about 1/8″ away from the inside folded edge.
Step 5. Make your straps
Now we are going to make the straps that go around the waist. You have two front waist pieces that go at the bottom of the bodice and two side waist pieces for the ties. Start with the two front waist pieces. You want to sandwich the bottom of the bodice into these two pieces. Find the middle of both front straps and the bodice. Line up the middles and clip them together.
The sandwich of fabric is going to look like this. One strap right side facing up, bodice right side facing up, last strap right side facing down. Clip this all together and sew along the raw edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
After sewing, fold those straps down and iron them in place. Open these straps back up and add a side strap piece to each end. You want the straps to be right sides together at the short ends, and then sew them together with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
Next, we need to iron all the long edges of the straps with a 3/8″ turn on the raw edges. This is where we are going to add the skirt.
And lastly, we need to turn the very ends of the waist straps inside out, so the right sides are facing each other. Sew them shut with 1/4″ seam allowance, trim the corners, and then turn them right side out again.
Step 6. Prepare the skirt
The skirt needs to have a hem around both sides and the bottom. In order to create a hem, turn 3/8″ and press, then turn another 3/8″ and press again. Then sew down this folded hem all the way around the skirt. Sew about an 1/8″ from the inside folded edge.
Step 7. Attach skirt to bodice
Find the middle of the skirt, and the middle of the bodice. Line up both middles as you place the skirt in between the layers of the front straps. Place the skirt edge just high enough that it lines up with the raw edge that is folded in on the strap. Continue lining up the skirt with the raw edge of the strap and pin in place.
Once the skirt is pinned in place, sew all the way across from the end of one strap, across the skirt, and to the other end of the other strap. Make sure you are sewing about an 1/8″ from the folded edge. Do this again with the top edge, so it looks symmetrical.
Step 8. Add pocket
If you’d like, you can add a pocket. You can have some fun here and embellish your pocket any way you like. I added a strip of different colored fabric in the middle and lined that with ric rac on the top and bottom edges. I sewed those on before adding it to my skirt.
Once you have your pocket embellished the way you want, fold the top over, following the paper patterns fold line.
Press this crease with an iron. Also, finish the raw edge that is being folded under. I trimmed mine with pinking shears. Then, fold all the raw edges a 1/4″ and press. You can make some snips around the curve, so it will iron flat.
Now, you can add it to your skirt. Place the outside corner 5″ down from the top of the skirt, and 8″ from the edge of the skirt. Pin in place and sew around the sides and curve, leaving the top open. I didn’t pin along the edge, I pinned in the middle and then used my fingers to make sure the folded edge was in place as I sewed it down.
Now you are all done! I love how this turned out. It is so cute and fashionable!
GET YOUR OWN FREE VINTAGE RETRO APRON PATTERN IN MY RESOURCE LIBRARY.
WANT TO REMEMBER THIS FOR LATER? PIN THIS VINTAGE RETRO APRON TUTORIAL TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
Fall themed sewing projects
I also want to share with you some wonderful fall sewing tutorials from my sewing friends.
- Fabric Pumpkin from Apple Green Cottage
- Fall Felt Sign from Jennie Masterson
- Pocket Handwarmers from Sum of their stories
- DIY Triangle Scarf from Heather Handmade
- Mug Coaster from Beginner Sewing Projects
- Mug Cozy from Life Sew Savory
- Fall Leaves Banner from Easy Felt Crafts
- Fall Pillow from Orange Bettie
- Fall Pot Holders from Sew Simple Home
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This is such a pretty apron. I love the ric rac and the shaped neckline. It’s the little touches that make it special.
I love the details on this vintage apron – all the fall colors!
What a beautiful apron!