How to sew an appliqué apron

The latest do-it-yourself project from Country Homes & Interiors shows you how to stitch a pretty apron with a fun cow motif.

Our easy iron-on applique technique creates the look of patchwork.

You will need

  • Main striped fabric (we used Elm Spring, ref ELM/814/ME, £35.99 a metre, Voyage)
  • Patterned fabric for patchwork (we used Bantam Trail, ref PP50325, cols Terracotta, Aqua, Leaf, Cobalt, £29 a metre, Baker Lifestyle)
  • Paper for patchwork templates
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Double-sided fusible web sheets (such as Steam-a-Seam 2 Fusible Web, from £7.50 for 5, 30cm by 23cm sheets, Fireside Fabrics)
  • Matching thread
  • Tacking thread

Illustration Michael A Hill

Step 1) From the striped fabric cut one 96cm by 75cm panel for the main apron piece and one 173cm by 15cm strip for the tie (joining pieces if necessary).

Step 2)
For the applique pieces, use the illustration as a guide to make two
cow templates. To do this, draw two cow shapes on to paper, one of just
the main outline of the cow; the other the main outline including the
patch shapes. Make the full cow shapes as large as your fusible web
sheets will allow (they come in a range of sizes). Cut out the main cow
shape from one template, and the patch shapes from the other.

Step 3)
Pin the cow and patch templates to the patterned fabric, alternating
between colours, draw around them with tailor’s chalk and cut out
leaving a 1cm excess all round. Remove pins and templates.

Step 4)
Hem along each short edge of the main apron piece by turning under 1cm
then 2cm, pinning and machine stitching. Remove pins and press.

Step 5) Hem along one long edge of the apron, by turning under 1.5cm then 2cm and pinning and machine stitching. Remove pins and press.

Illustration Michael A Hill

Step 6) Take a sheet of fusible web
and remove the paper backing from one side. Lay tacky side up and
centre the main cow fabric piece on top. Cover with a sheet of
greaseproof paper and press with a steam iron. Remove greaseproof paper
and, once cooled, use finger to roll of any excess adhesive. Allow
fabric to cool slightly then cut out along the tailor’s chalk lines.

Step 7)
Remove the second paper backing from the reverse and position the cow
piece centrally on the apron. Press to secure once you’re happy with the

Step 8) Repeat step 6, this time with the patch
fabric pieces, fitting as many on to one sheet of fusible web as
possible. Then repeat step 7, carefully positioning each patch in place
on top of the main cow fabric piece (check against the step 2
illustration) before ironing to secure.

Step 9) Right sides
facing, fold the tie piece in half along the length and press. Taking a
1.5cm seam, stitch along the two short edges and part way along the one
long edge, leaving a 60cm unstitched section in the centre. Trim seam
allowances, turn through and press raw edges under.

Step 10)
Work a line of running stitch 1cm from the top raw edge of the main
apron piece and gather evenly to a width of 60cm. Tie the thread to
secure the gathers.

Step 11) Lay the tie out flat and
insert the gathered edge of the main apron 1.5cm into the opening (see
illustration). Pin and tack in place. Remove pins and machine stitch in
place 1mm from the waistband edge. Remove tacking and press.

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