Have you ever brought out a stack of seed packets, only to have the wind start plucking them, one by one, out of the container youíre sorting them in? Have you ever set down your trowel in favor of another tool, and when you need the trowel again, it seems to have blended in with the scenery? Or you brought out a bucket of tools, but left them on the other side of the yard. Solve these annoyances with a comfortable gardenerís apron.
There is a pocket specifically shaped to hold standard-size seed packets, and a loop for hanging bulky tools. This design also includes an easy-reach cell phone pocket.
This tutorial assumes basic sewing skills. I've done this apron in contrasting colors, so you can see how it comes together. It is fairly basic looking (honestly, it came out looking a bit utilitarian), but could easily be embellished with stampwork, iron-on transfers or sew-on patches. You could add snap closures if you are worried about things falling out of the pockets.
You will need a small piece of decorative fabric (I've used quilting weight cotton, but anything works) for the cell phone pocket (fabric A).
You will also need two heavy fabrics (fabrics B and C). Broadcloth, upholstery fabric, canvas or denim are all good options.
From Fabric A: Cut one 4 ½" X 10" strip to make the cell phone pocket. (this size works for a flip phone. If you have a Blackberry or other large phone, measure the pocket to be at least an inch wider than the phone, and an inch and a half larger than the height (which should be doubled).
Iron the pocket piece from Fabric A and fold in half, with right sides together. Iron in a crease. Sew around the edge of the pocket, leaving a 2" gap. Pull the fabric right side out.
From Fabric B: Cut one 23″ x 8″ rectangle for the main pocket plaquette . Cut a 4″X50" strip to make the mitered binding (If your fabric is not this tall, cut two strips and sew together).
Iron the main pocket plaquette and fold in half, right side out with the folded edge at the top. Pin the Fabric A pocket to the plaquette half an inch from the fold and three inches from the edge. Make sure to pin the raw edge of the Fabric A pocket under. Sew around the pocket, leaving the top open.
Turn the Fabric B pocket plaquette so that it is right sides together (sandwiching the pocket you just sewed on inside). Sew around the edge of this piece, leaving about a three inch gap, and turn it right side out. Fold the strip you made for the binding in half, and iron a crease down the middle. Unfold the strip. Fold each side in to the crease you just ironed into the fabric, and iron this down. Fold the strip in half lengthways on the original crease. You should now have a strip that is 1"X50", four layers thick.
From Fabric C: Cut one 24 1/2″ x 12″ rectangle for the body of the apron. Cut a 3"x8" rectangle for the loop. Cut one 8" x 25″ rectangle for the waistband. Cut two straps 6 ½" X 25" (30" for plus size).
Iron everything you just cut.
Pin the binding you cut from Fabric B around the body of the apron, mitering the corners as you go. One of the folded-in sides goes in front of the apron body and the other in back, sandwiching Fabric C. You should have enough binding to cover the raw edge on both short sides and the bottom long side of the apron body. Sew this down, and trim off any extra.
Fold the straps in half longways, right sides together. Sew around the edges of each strap, leaving one short end open. Use a safety pin dropped into the bottom of the strap "tube" and fastened from the inside to work the fabric around and turn the straps right side out. Tuck the raw edge in on itself and sew down.
Fold over the short edges of the waistband by ¼ inch and pin. Sew down. Fold over the long edges of the waistband by ¾" and sew down. Fold the waistband in half and fold over the raw edge of the apron body, making sure you have covered the raw edges of the binding. Pin in place, and make sure this is the same width as the straps. Shift the fabric to match the straps, if necessary. Sew down.
Pin each strap to the front of the apron, lining it up with the edge of the binding. Sew down. (I like to do the stitching in the shape of a box with an "X" in it, for extra sturdiness).
Place the pocket plaquette on the front of the apron body, making sure it is centered between the binding edges, and that the folded edge is at the top. Pin. Sew around the sides and bottom edge of the pocket plaquette. Divide the pockets using vertical lines of stitches. I made one pocket 6" from the left of the plaquette, and one three inches from the right of the plaquette. I divided the remaining pocket space so that one pocket was 2/3 the size of the other one.
Fold the loop pice in half, wrong sides together and sew along the raw edge, leaving one end open. Turn right side out, tuck in the raw edge and iron down. Attach the loop where the waistband meets the strap on the opposite side from the cell phone pocket.
Once you trim off the threads, your apron is ready to be loaded up with the gear for your next gardening project. Of course, you may still need your wheelbarrow or your hedge clippers, but all the small things will be close at hand.
About Amber Royer
As a librarian turned freelancer, I like to research the history and botany behind the modern garden. My true plantly love is the herb garden.