But back to aprons. I've been eyeing the simple cross-back "pinafore" aprons, but with an ever-growing belly bump, that's not the most practical style for me at this stage. I needed something bump-friendly, but none of the empire styles I saw were quite what I was looking for. At last I remembered a picture I'd saved from The Vermont Apron Company, and the solution was clear:
Here's the apron that inspired my design (obviously very strongly!):
This was a multi-purpose project -- not only did it solve my need for a new apron, it also used up the grey Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend, which was still in my stash because it wasn't quite the color I'd expected.
I adjusted the design for my needs -- first of all, I added several tucks to the bodice (I measured these carefully with a ruler and a disappearing fabric marker, knowing that they'd be very visible!). This creates some extra fullness in the center front, perfect for "the bump." A few wooden buttons seemed right, somehow:
The hardest part was figuring out how to drape the fabric! My dressform, "Yvonne," was invaluable for that bit. After perusing the Vermont Apron Co. pictures, I cut my yardage straight across the grain, added my tucks to the center of the fabric, and hemmed the top edge. Then the issue was draping the apron without cutting too high up under the arms (that didn't sound comfortable!). However, when I'd solved that to my satisfaction, it created the perfect pleats for the bodice "sides" -- my favorite part of the original apron! I sewed up the sash (making it long enough to wrap around and tie in the front), as well as the neck ties. The sash is top-stitched, which holds down the pleats and provides a "waist" for the apron.
At this point I picked the length I wanted for the apron (again, Yvonne was so helpful!) and marked a hem with pins -- I didn't want the pointed handkerchief hem of the original apron. I curved it up around the sides, cut, pressed, and stitched.
Here's a better view of how the apron looks untied -- for the record, I did not measure or exactly match those side bodice pleats. I evened them out by eye, and they seem fine. This whole project was a bit improvised, so I didn't see the need to get too technical at that point!
This apron is perfect for maternity wear, and should still work well afterwards! I would say my one dislike are the neck ties. I just don't like aprons that tie around the back of the neck! I may stitch the neck ties to the back of the apron (where the sash "leaves" the bodice; my fingertips are just there in the picture above), either straight or in a criss-cross. Oh, and I didn't have enough of my fabric to add pockets, so I may do something about that...
But those are nitpicks. For now I'm content to have something that keeps me a little tidier!