How to make an Alice in Wonderland style apron

Hi, I’m Saskia from She Who Sews and I’m guest blogging today about my task to make an Alice in Wonderland costume for World Book day for my daughter.

Looking for patterns for the apron, I couldn’t find one in my collection that entirely fit the bill, but there were several I could use to mash together.

Looking through inspiration pictures from the original Disney cartoon, Alice does not have a pinafore that extends to the back over the shoulders, at all, in true cartoon style! She has a big white bow securing the waist in place, but the top of her white apron magically holds itself up. Clearly this would not work in real life, so I chose to add discreet straps in the back, the same colour as the dress to blend in, to give the illusion of nothing holding up the white apron. I started pinning some Alice pictures here.

Alice costume 25.2.18-3044

To make the apron you will need the Pretty Pinnie, Petit Four and A La Heart patterns (you could always make your own back straps if needed).
Pieces:

  • Pretty Pinny, you will need the front bodice and the cap sleeve pieces.
  • Petit Four, you will need the apron, front waistband and sash pieces.
  • A La Heart, you will need the strap piece.

Preparation:

First off, I put a notch in my cap sleeve pieces in the centre top and bottom. I then measured 1/2″ from this centre point and cut the fabric, giving me a half size cap sleeve plus seam allowance. I sewed these right sides together leaving the bottom edge open, clipped the corners and used pinking shears for the curved edge, then turned right side out and pressed.

1 Cap Sleeves

The back straps were cut and sewn as per the instructions in the A La Heart pattern. The apron bottom was also cut and sewn as per the instructions in the Petit Four pattern, then I ran two rows of gathering stitches across the top and set aside. I also added a centre mark/notch to my front waistband piece, the bottom of the front bodice piece and the top of the apron to aid lining up at the construction stage.

Construction:

Line up the back straps in the centre of the front bodice shoulder. I basted them in place (yes, this was crooked basting!).

Baste the cap sleeves to the outer armscye of the bodice, right sides together. You will want to align them 1/2″ from the top shoulder, to account for the seam allowance.

4 Add cap sleeve less seam allowance

Lay the bodice lining right side together with the main bodice. You’ll enclose the cap sleeves and the straps between the two pieces of bodice. I sewed the shoulders and neck together first, ensuring that I didn’t catch either the straps or the cap sleeves in the seam. Then I sewed each side up.

Clip the corners of the shoulders, and notch/snip into the curve of the neckline, then turn right side out and give your bodice a good press. It should look like this:

7 Bodice turned out

Align the centre notches of the main waistband piece and the bodice, right sides together, pin and then baste. You will want to lay the lining waistband on top, sandwiching the bodice between. Then sew along the long ends of the sash and waistband as per the instructions in the Petit Four pattern.

I then added in notches to the lower waistband to line up my apron bottom with the bodice top (because the bodice piece from the Pretty Pinnie is much narrower than the waistband from the Petit Four apron, you can’t align with the side seams). I pinned the apron in between these notches and basted into place.

Re-fold the memory pressed seam allowance, pin in place, and then top-stitch around the whole waistband and sash.

12 Fold down and pin waist over sewn in apron

Your apron is now ready to try on for size. The straps at the back will be too long and will need to be trimmed down, but don’t do this until you are sure on the length they need to be. I sewed the blue straps on at an angle to the sash at the back, and then trimmed the allowance down with pinking shears. This should give an extra 2″ of growing room in the length should it be needed.

13 Sew back straps to sash

I made the bow by following the directions in the Free Bow pattern, but enlarging the size somewhat. I used a 21″ x 11.5″ rectangle for my main bow and a 4.5″ x 5″ rectangle for my bow centre.

14 Bow

To tie the bow and sash

Create a half knot in the sash pieces

15 Waist sash half knotted

Place bow on top of the half knot, bring the lower tail up and over the bow centre, then fold it behind the bow and original half knot.

I then tied another knot to back of the bow, the bow then hides this knot and holds the sash and false bow in place nice and neatly!

18 Half knot behind bow

Here is the final version of the apron bow at the back, worn with the whole Alice outfit.

Alice costume 25.2.18-3052

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