The Costumes are Finished

Kroje titleI love to sew. It is therapeutic and rewarding to create something from nothing. My problem is that I always underestimate all the things that can go wrong. I ran out of lace trim and white thread, had to order fabric online and wait for its arrival, and then I got sick. These may seem like little things, but when combined with a deadline, it really puts a damper on progress.

I am happy to say that I am finally finished with the three kroje I was commissioned to make. I finished with a week to spare. Once the fabric I needed came in, I had two weeks to finish before I left on vacation and then just one day to finish the design on the vests. It was hectic!

I wanted to be completely done before I went on vacation, so I didn’t have to lug my machine to Kansas. However, their just wasn’t enough time and I had to finish the designs when I got back. Before the fabric arrived I was already done with the blouses. The vests were constructed, but needed the design and lacings. The skirts were half done and need waistbands and lace at the bottom. And I hadn’t started the aprons yet.

I was most excited and terrified to work on the vest designs. The photo was not clear, but I had a general outline of what it needed to look like. It was also exciting because I got to use some new functions on my sewing machine. It was terrifying because I had to be very precise in where everything was placed or it wouldn’t all fit. I also got to add sequencing, ribbons, and decorative stitching, some of which had to be done by hand.

The first thing I did when I got the fabric was to cut out the eyelet lace for the skirts, serge, and attach them, so the skirts would only need the lace added to the bottom. I also cut out all the pieces for the apron, making sure the pattern all faced the same direction. Once the aprons were constructed, I had to make sure they were the correct length in relation to the skirt. Then it was time to make sure everything was ironed and looked nice and crisp.

That whole process took more time than I anticipated because I had to serge and attach twice as many pieces on the skirt. Time was also affected by the fact that I had to order fabric and wait for it to arrive. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I didn’t find the right design for the apron fabric or an eyelet for the skirt. And on top of that, I was ½ a yard short on the lace trim. Luckily, I had a little leftover from the shirts, but I literally used the entire roll the store had.

vest1 vest2

I used a wax chalk to mark the placement of the designs on the vest. I then used my machine to make the zig-zag, curved lines, and embroidered hearts on each of the three vests. The next step was to hand sew on the sequence and beads. And finally, I had to add the grommets and lace up the vests. I put one of the completed projects on a mannequin to photograph and check fit and I was done.

It is freeing to be finished. These costumes had taken up over a month of every spare minute I had. There were many nights when I came home from work and started sewing and didn’t finish until after midnight, just to go to bed and do it again the next day. I really do enjoy sewing, but sometimes I need a break. I think I will read a book and get some stuff done around the house.final Back

If you missed the first part 1 about this Kroje, you can find it here. If you want to see how I made the apron, look here. And as always you can drop me a line below or on Facebook with any questions or comments.

How to Make a Vintage Apron

I am so excited to share with you my first tutorial! I hope you like it!

Apron Title*NOTE: You will need to know how to measure the length of your fabric, basic gathering, and turning fabric inside out once stitched in order to do this tutorial. I will do my best to explain how I did it.

Apron2The very first thing I did was to write out a plan. I’ve made this apron quite a few times, but I wanted to make sure not to miss anything when I wrote down the tutorial. So, the image above is the sketch. However, I got excited a skipped ahead. Right under the title is the correct order the steps that should be taken. *This tutorial does not have a pattern. Instead, I give you the measurements you need to fit anyone in this great vintage apron!

Apron1Now that you’ve seen an overview, you should gather your materials:

  • You will first need 1-1.5 yards of fabric, I used cotton, but brocade or light utility fabrics can also work well. I wouldn’t use any knits or stretch fabric for this tutorial.
  • You will also need a sewing machine (I have a Brother SE-400) that can do a basic straight stitch, back stitch, and increase stitch length.
  • A serger if you have one (or you can use a zig zag stitch to stop fraying, or just roll under the edge so their not exposed).
  • And scissors (or rotary cutter and self healing mat), ruler and measuring tape, pins, and thread.

Lets get started:

  1. Measure your waist and length from waist to calf to get the numbers you need to cut the correct size of apron.
    • To measure your waist you need to wrap a flexible measuring tape around the smallest part of your waist (the area between your chest and hips.) That number in inches is W.
    • For the length measurement you may need help. You need to use your measuring tape to find the distance between your waist and the center of your calf. This number in inches is L.
  1. Use the following equations to find the correct lengths to measure the fabric:
    • Piece 1 is the waistband: (½ W +2”) x (2.5 x desired width of waistband). In my example: my waist is 29” and my desired width is 2”. So ½ 29 +2 =16.5 (I used 16”) and 2.5 x 2= 5.
    • Piece 2 and 3 are the same because they are the ties: W x (2.5 x desired width of waistband). 29” is the length and 5” is the width. However, if you want the ties to be longer you can do 1.5 or 2 x W.
    • Piece 4 is the main piece of the apron: 1.5W x (length +1”). So 1.5 x29 =43.5 or 44” and the length with extra inch is 25.5 or 26”. (I would rather over compensate.)
  1. Cut the 4 pieces to the proper lengths.
  1. Serge the edges so the don’t fray and look more professional.Apron16
  1. Sew tails (piece 2 and 3) to either side of waistband with right sides together at ¼”. Set aside.Apron3
  1. Turn under the edges ¼” to the wrong side on the 2 long sides and 1 width side of piece 4.Apron4
  1. On the other width side run a 4 length stitch about ¼” from the edge. Run another 4 length stitch just short of ½” from the edge. Make sure not to back stitch and leave thread tails.Apron17
  1. Before pulling to gather, fold piece 4 in half and mark the center, fold the already folded in half piece in half again mark center (so there are 3 marks: ¼, ½, and ¾). Do the same on piece 1 (waistband), don’t include the tails.Apron6
  1. On one side of the center grab the top two tails and pull at the same time until all the fabric is gathered on that side of the center. You may need to push the fabric back away from the tails as you pull to get the gather. Do the same for the other side of center.Apron7
  1. With right sides together line up the center marks on both piece 1 (waistband) and piece 4 (main). Do the same with the 1/4th marks and 3/4th marks.
  2. Now even out the gathered fabric so it lays flat on the waistband. Sew at the standard 2.5 length ½” from the edge.Apron8
  1. Now with all the pieces attached, fold only piece 2 (tail) in half long ways, right sides together. Start sewing with standard 2.5 length 1” from the waistband at ¼” from the edge until 2” from the end of the fabric.Apron18
    • Put the needle down into the fabric and turn it 45 degrees to the left. Sew to end and backstitch, which will make the triangle on the tail. Do the same for piece 3 (other tail).Apron9
    • Snip off the triangle.Apron20
  2. Take one of the tails. Grab the opening where the tail is attached to the waistband.Apron21
    • While holding onto the fabric with your thumb and middle finger on either side, use your pointer fingers to push the fabric from the tail in side (just like turning a pair of paints inside out).Apron22
    • Continue until you’ve push all the fabric in.Apron23
    • Now, on the other end, pull the fabric out, so you see the right sides of the fabric.Apron24
    • Continue until you get to the triangle.Apron25
    • You will need something pointed to help make the point (I used a pen).  This may need finessing. You can use a chopstick or skewer to help push the fabric in if you need. Do the same for the other tail.Apron10
  1. On the long edge of piece 1 (waistband) that’s not sewed to piece 4, fold under the edge 1/4” wrong sides together and iron it down. Also iron where piece 1 and 4 meet so that the seam is flat as possible. This seam is also what I will call the “ditch.”Apron11
  1. Line up the folded-under side with the backside of the gathered “ditch” seam. Let the folded-under piece cover the “ditch” and go over it by about 1/8”. Pin in place.Apron12
  1. Flip the apron over to the right side and stitch in the “ditch” across (piece 1) the waistband. You will need to start your stitching about 1” from the waistband where you left space and continue to the other side about 1” past the waistband.Apron13
  1. Flip to the backside and check that the back is stitched all the way across and there aren’t any holds. Whip stitch any missing spots.
  1. Flip back to the front and check for there is any thread below your stitching line (the ditch), if so, seam rip it out gently. The thread is from gathering.
  2. Finally, iron the entire apron so that the seams are all flat and crisp!Apron14_Apron15
  3. Yay! You’re done! Now wear that bad boy!

Send me a picture of your finished product or with any questions or clarifications along the way! I would love your feedback and thoughts on future tutorials as well! I welcome constructive criticism and suggestions on what I can do better in future posts below and on facebook.