Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Tessuti's Simple and FREE Apron

This make was pure pleasure. It has all the components for satisfying sewing:

  • 100% linen, the good kind
  • simple lines and shapes
  • loads of top-stitching

Yes, I made an apron. And, as it happens, I need one. I find myself cooking way more than usual within this corona confinement. I think it's lovely enough to wear whether I'm cooking or not.

Last summer, we spent a week in a resort in the French Alps. The trip was designed by our son and his family, and we were invited to tag along. Most activities were of the outdoor kind. But we ladies did find some sweet spots for shopping.

One nearby village had two shops of note. There was a little shop where the entrepreneur makes handbags out of bicycle tires and other unusual materials. She had her workshop set up as part of the shop. I was charmed.

The second shop contained various small items, housewares and hand towels and the like. I noticed some lovely linen aprons for about 70 Euro each. There was something about the linen in such a simple item that was attractive to me. My reaction was of course, wouldn't that be fun to make? What sweet memories.
As we are all more-or-less confined due to the novel corona virus, Tessuti has issued a free downloadable apron pattern that is exactly this basic design. I think of it as the French apron. Merci, beaucoup!

view from the back with no hips
It is considered one size. But, of course, it fits me a little differently than it does their models. You can see the difference in the wrap.

view from the back with hips
The linen is from a shop in the fabric district of Paris, a shop with tables containing beautiful linen cut into 3 meter pieces. If only I had brought an empty suitcase...

The instructions are pretty straight-forward, if maybe a little verbose. The pattern calls for fabric that is 60" wide in order to cut on the fold. I decided to create a center front seam so as to use my 55" width fabric more efficiently. I am inexplicably happy with that center front vertical flat-felled seam. I like the effect of the intersecting top-stitching, on the front pocket and elsewhere.

On the other hand, I got tripped up with one phrase. Late in the instructions, there is a reference to matching a *finished* edge to a *neatened edge.* In order to attach the straps to the front edge, you are to align the *neatened edge* of the garment armhole with the finished edge of the strap. Hmm. I figured out what needed to be done way before I figured out what a *neatened edge* was.

Most of the edges are finished with a shirt-tail method I learned from Pam Howard. This is the perfect technique for a cooperative linen like this one. The idea is to stitch 1/4" from the raw edge, and then use that line to fold the edge under twice, creating a neat narrow hem. Some recommend pressing it in place first, but I find that just creates a crease I don't want. Instead, I finger-press it as I go, edge-stitching the final hem. It is very zen.

So, back to the *neatened edge.* This is the edge created by folding over that line stitched 1/4" from the edge, and then folding again. I think.

In the above picture, I'm trying to determine how to attach the strap to the front bib. You can see that the strap edges are finished and the armhole is not. This picture shows the wrong way to sew it. Below you can see the correct way to place the straps on the bib.


I guess that *neatened* means folded twice but not stitched. Anyway, I figured it out. Below you can see how the bib facing looks right after stitching it to the garment top edge, sandwiching the straps inside. The top edge is stitched at 1/4". The armhole edge is stitched at 1/2". And the bottom edge of the facing is turned under prior to stitching.

This is really a simple sew. I promise. I do not know why I obsessed over the neatened edge. I do really like the result.

It was so very satisfying to make. You know how wonderful a really good linen can be to sew.


  1. Nice! I have the pattern - from the copy shop - it's about 3rd in line. But seeing yours it will move up! Thanks for sharing

  2. Too nice to get dirty cooking!

  3. Will you please send me the instructions? I am able to download the pattern but w/o instructions. I've contacted Tessuti and they say there's a separate link. I can't find it. I've e-mailed them again. Are you or anybody else able to send them to me or the link?