(Un)fortunately, things have been a little hectic at the store plus the fact I am going through carpal tunnel surgery which means sewing has been put on hold.  But the making season is upon us so I did manage to whip up a couple items that I thought would be great gift ideas for family and friends.  As an added bonus, these are FREE sewing patterns that I found online since I know many people are trying to tighten their purse strings given the rising costs of essentials.

Since the lockdowns due to Covid, many people have picked up cooking and baking as hobbies so I figured that aprons would be a useful gift item.  Also, no fitting required!!  This first pattern I found is an easy project even for beginner sewists.

The Tessuti apron pattern is available for free on their website. One size only.

Here is the description from the Tessuti website.

“The Tessuti Apron is a tunic-style, cross-back apron that provides great coverage, is easy to sew and comfortable to wear. It features a square neck, wide straps and a large, practical front pocket. With neat yet durable, turned and hemmed edges – no fussy ties or fiddly binding – you’ll be able to whip this up quickly for yourself or someone special.”

I chose to make my sample out of this digital printed cotton canvas.  Perfect, no?

Here are a couple of suggestions that I found made it even easier for me.

  • Their instructions regarding the hemmed edges is to fold over and press 1/4″.  Then fold over and press another 1/4″ so the raw edge is encased.  I found that to be too fiddly for my tingly fingers (hello carpal tunnel!)  Instead, I folded over and pressed 1/2″ from the edge.  When I got to the sewing machine, I finger folded under the raw edge and sewed.  Same result, slightly different approach.
  • Depending on the weight of your fabric, consider clipping out any bulky seams such as where the straps meet the body of the apron.  Your machine will thank you.

  • Again, depending on the weight of your fabric, consider mitering the 2 bottom corners.  By the time you have the double hem layer of the side overlapping the double hem layer of the hem, there is a lot of layers for your needle to punch through.  Mitering those corners will eliminate the bulk.

Mitering the bottom corners will eliminate the bulk.

  • I would prefer a larger pocket.  The pocket size provided in this pattern is too small (21cm wide x 16.5cm tall).  And its centered position makes it awkward to use.  I would suggest making the pocket wider, say 50cm wide x 16.5cm tall.  You can always stitch down the middle effectively creating 2 pockets.

I found the pocket provided is too small and too awkward to use.


The cross straps means no fiddling with strap ends.


Cooking always brings the kitchen helper!

The next apron I found was Sam’s Apron from Helen’s Closet.  This is another free pattern (upon signing up for the Helen’s Closet newsletter).  This is fashioned after a traditional butcher apron/workshop apron.

Sam’s Apron is a free pattern when you sign up for the Helen’s Closet newsletter.

Here is the description from the Helen’s Closet website.

“The Sam Apron is the perfect everyday apron for cooking and crafts. This pattern includes sizes 0-34 and cut lines for heights from less than 5’ tall to over 6’ tall! No more “one size fits all” aprons that don’t fit properly. Sew one for yourself or for a loved one and make them something they will wear and love for years. The Sam Apron includes chest and waist pockets, towel loops, and two strap options! Make a modern cross back apron or a classic halter neck apron. This pattern is endlessly customizable and an ideal sewing project for beginners.”

If this was to be a workshop apron, I wanted to make it using a heavier fabric.  I chose this 14oz canvas which is the same weight and fabric used for some well known RTW work pants.  My sewing machine really worked its socks off with this weight and bulk of fabric!  I chose to make size 22-26 (chest size 48″ – 52″/122cm – 132cm) taking into consideration the larger size of my male relatives.  My proper size would have been 14-20 (chest size 40″ – 48″/101cm – 117cm).

This apron is not as quick to make as the Tessuti one as it has more features such as the multiple pockets and adjustable straps.  But for that special someone, they will love the rugged and timeless style.  Here are some suggestions for tackling this project.

  • Given the weight of this fabric and the multiple layers you will be working with, definitely use a heavy denim needle. Consider the size 100/16 or 110/18.

  • If you want to challenge yourself, use a contrast thread for top stitching.  It will yield a gorgeous result, but it will also test your sewing accuracy and patience because any errors are magnified. (Don’t look too closely at my top stitching!)
  • Hammer your seams to flatten them especially in very bulky areas such as where the straps meet the body of the apron.
  • The selvedge is your friend especially for exposed strap ends.  I found the selvedge particularly useful for the towel loops.

  • Because of the bulk from the multiple layers of fabric, consider investing in a hump jumper.  This is a device that you use under the sewing machine foot to level it as it goes over the fabric seams.  If there is too much of an angle as the foot goes over a seam, the pressure between the foot and the feed dogs is off so your fabric won’t feed through properly.  In a pinch, depending on how bulky your seams are, you can use a needle case. Or fold up a scrap piece of fabric.  Anything that will level your sewing foot.  Just be careful not to sewing into it!
  • Consider mitering the hem.  It doesn’t match up nicely since the hem is wider than the side hems, but the reduced bulk will make your life easier.

Mitering the hem on this apron is not the prettiest (because of the different sizes of the hem versus the side seam) but it does make it easier to sew.

After lots of top stitching, hammering and some cursing, here is the finished Sam’s apron!

This design could be a cooking apron or a workshop apron.

Check out all the pockets!

Make the neck strap adjustable with some metal rings.

The towel loop in action.

The towel loop doubling up as a hammer holder.

The apron doing double duty!


Now I’m off to see if everyone has eaten all the peanut brittle!