Monday, April 9, 2012

Zig Zag Apron Tutorial

It's my day on the Festival of Half Square Triangles blog tour at Canoe Ridge Creations & I have a fun Zig Zag Apron tutorial to share with you! This apron is great for a housewarming or hostess gift because it doesn't use very much fabric and comes together really quickly.


As usual, this is a picture-heavy tutorial, since that's what helps me to learn the best. If you need clarification, leave a comment & I'll leave an answer in the comments as well - so everyone can see.


What you need:

- a fat quarter of a solid fabric (I used Kona sand)
- 4 1/2 yards bias tape (I made my own, but you can use pre-made)
- ten 4 1/2" squares of print fabric, to make your half square triangles

First, let's take care of your half square triangles. To make mine, I used Christina's method of pinning two squares (one yellow and one green) right-sides together, sewing around the perimeter, then cutting on the diagonal twice to make 4 half square triangles. She shows it very clearly at this guest post here on WhipUp.


You should end up with 20 half square triangles. I trimmed mine down so they were all the same size. Arrange them however you'd like - I went with a yellow zig zag. Sew them together into two strips of ten, then sew the strips together so you have one big zig zaggy rectangle that's approximately 5"x23". Press well, then set it aside & let's work with the fat quarter for a minute.


A fat quarter of fabric should be approximately 18x22". Cut yours into three pieces, 4x22", 9x22" & 5x22". Fold in 1/4" and iron both of the long sides of the 4x22" piece, then fold it in half & set aside. Piece your zig zaggy rectangle in between the 9x22" and 5x22" pieces, with the bigger chunk at the top. Center the zig zaggy rectangle in the middle of the two solid pieces as best as you can, it will be a little bit longer than 22". Here's a picture showing my 4x22" piece with the edges folded in, with the zig zaggy rectangle already sewn in place:


Sandwich the top of your apron in between the casing you made by folding the 4x22" piece in half, and pin in place. You can see in this picture how the zig zaggy rectangle is a little bit longer then the solid - don't worry, it will be trimmed up soon. Sew the casing onto the top of the apron with a line close to the apron, like a top stitch.


Round your corners of the two bottom sides of your apron. To do mine, I grabbed this lid I had in my sewing room, folded my apron in half, and traced a curve onto both corners at the same time. Then just zip around the curve with your rotary cutter.


Make your bias tape, if you're not using pre-made. I cut my strips at 2 1/4" and use this little metal doo-hickey that I feed my bias tape through to give me the folds facing the center. Then I just iron it in half myself.


Once the bias tape is ready, trim up the sides of the apron where the zig zaggy rectangle hangs over the sides, then top stitch right above & below the zig zaggy section to give it a nice finished look. You can see how it's trimmed up, top stitched & how I mis-laid one of my yellow zig zag sections in this picture (oops!):


One more picture of where we are at this point, all trimmed up, bias tape made, top stitching done, almost finished!


Starting at the top right corner, pin your bias tape all along the U shaped section of your apron: down one side, past the two rounded corners, and stopping up at the top left corner. Trim your bias tape off and set the remaining aside. Sew the bias tape on, taking care to catch the front and the back of the tape in one line from your sewing machine.

Because I didn't make TRUE bias tape (cut on the bias, causing it to be stretchy, and ease around corners better), I had to fudge my rounded corners a little bit and consequently have some folds in there. I'm OK with this because let's face it- this apron is going to be used to wipe boogers and clean up spills. If that bugs you, make true bias tape (cut on the bias) or use store-bought.


Almost done! We just need to attach the rest of the bias tape to the top of the apron, finishing the top & creating the apron strings in the same step. Find the center of the top of the apron by folding it in half and marking with a pin. Find the center of the bias tape by folding it in half - then matching that point up with the center of the apron, and pinning it in place, sandwiching the top of the apron in between the bias tape.


Now the fun part! Find one end of the bias tape, and start top stitching it together on the side that has the fold (not the open side). You'll sew all the way down one apron string, onto the top of the apron, securing the bias tape onto the top of the apron, then continue on all the way down the rest of the bias tape to the end. You can see what I mean in the previous picture (it's sewn on, I just haven't removed the pins yet).

Then find the end of the bias tape again, and sew the other side of the tape together (the open end this time), continuing all the way down one apron string, onto the top of the apron, securing it again to the apron, then all the way down the rest of the bias tape to the end. Trim your two bias tape ends with a zig-zag stitch, fray-check, or just clip them with pinking shears like I did, and you're done!



The back does have some raw edges, but they don't bother me. I made sure to sew carefully & press them well so they look as nice as raw edges on the back of an apron that's going to wipe up boogers should look.


That's it! Feel free to pin the title image in this post if you want to share it on Pinterest, and add a picture to my (brand new!) Two More Seconds Flickr group if you make your own! Make sure to visit the rest of the awesome posts on the Festival of Half Square Triangles blog tour - see them all here! In one week it's your turn to link up any half square triangle projects you've made for a chance at some great prizes!


  1. Fun! added to my queue of projects to do.

  2. It's really cute, Erin! And of course, green fabrics!!

  3. I really want to pin this... but it just says "image not available" - this is a GREAT idea for a gift!

  4. i love this. simple cute quick!

  5. too darned cute !! Thanks for sharing this - very much appreciated

  6. Erin, this is so cute! I need to make one?

  7. this is super cute! I'm not much of a sewer, but how adoreable!

  8. Great tutorial! You've been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

    We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

    Grab a brag button!

  9. So nice, thanks for sharing! What the actual name of the metal doo-hickey? I really want one :)

  10. So nice, thanks for sharing! What the actual name of the metal doo-hickey? I really want one :)



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