little things to sew: bias trimmed apron

My grandma (my mom’s mom) came from a family of 12 children. It seemed to me, when I was growing up, that my mom’s relations went on forever. Family reunions were enormous, and I couldn’t keep track of who was who. It’s still a challenge. But Aunt Edna was easy to remember. We saw her quite frequently, and she had a way of connecting with us even when we were very little girls. She didn’t play with us, but she talked with us and it didn’t hurt that she made us cute aprons.

If you grew up in the 1970s like I did, you’ll remember how wild prints were all the rage. The print Aunt Edna selected for our aprons included bold purple and black brush stokes in a wild print that spelled out “LOVE” every so often.

And love is exactly what we did with those aprons. They survived being handed down through all five sisters in my family, and they stood up to multiple adventures with baking, painting, and who-knows-what else.

So when I started thinking about projects I’d like to include in Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, I knew I wanted to include an apron like the one Aunt Edna made for me.

I always loved the shape and design of Aunt Edna’s aprons, but I wanted to improve on them a bit. For my version, I lowered the pockets, slimmed down the apron, and made the curve of the shoulders a little more gentle. These changes make the apron more contemporary looking. And of course we added sizes so it can fit toddlers as well as big kids.

But if you’re really into the retro-’70s thing, no one is going to stop you from sewing your own version in a wild green, purple, and black brush-stoke print that spells out “LOVE” every so often.

And I have to say, while I think all the children who modeled for the book did a wonderful job, I think the photos of the little girl who modeled this apron (she’s one of our friends and neighbors) turned out to be especially adorable. Don’t you just want to hug this little cutie?




  1. What a wonderful picture of you, Liesl. I look forward to sewing this apron for my kids and my friend’s kids, too!

  2. Growing up with a gramma that wore aprons/smocks all the time draws me to this. Sweet memories and a modern twist. Very cute!

  3. Your little model is indeed adorable. So cute. Love the apron too – I will definetly make this one up once this book is in my hot little hands. Maybe in a laminant fabric or coated cotton? I can also see making this for boys as well as girls.

  4. delightful. i remember the astonishing prints of my 1970’s childhood! and an apron not so different from this. very sweet. perhaps those prints are why i love classic, subdued, serene colours so much, i was saturated!! x

  5. Mine was printed with orange and lime daisies.
    I had completely forgotten about it!
    I would have thought you were a 80s’ baby.

  6. Marie-Michelle


  7. Teresa

    Oh my goodness… if you are the sweet, happy little peanut on the right, your little one looks so much like you!!! I love that! I grew up in the 1970’s and my mom’s thing was to make me and my nonna matching dresses…my grandparents lived together with us and it was wonderful! Thank you for making me remember!

  8. Teresa

    p.s. your book looks amazing!! Best wishes!!

  9. YES I want to give that cutie a big hug and YES I want to make one of these wonderful aprons for my very own tipsy toddler!

  10. Jennifer

    I received my copy of your book today that I had pre-ordered! I LOVE IT! I can’t wait to make the little explorer’s vest for my little guy!

    One comment, though, the patterns were very difficult to get out b/c of the type of glue/rubber cement used to attach them. Thankfully, I was able to get them out without tearing the patterns but the liner paper on the back cover tore a little….just something you may want to look into.

  11. Ann

    That indeed is absolutely the cutest, most huggable young lady in the world, except maybe for her sister. Cute photos!

  12. Bob

    Like daughter like mother.

  13. This is the project I am most excited about. My three year old is going to be thrilled. I plan on making her several. For whatever mood she is in. 😛

  14. Claudia T

    I love seeing old children’s photos! But.. I see a “R” on your 70’s aprons. Did they spell “LOVER”?!

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