I very much appreciated having a long weekend due to President's Day on Monday. I was quite productive--finishing my swap quilt and its twin for me, doing three loads of laundry, and, on Monday, making the apron that's a belated birthday gift for a friend. The good news is it's done. The bad news is I did not like making it, nor do I enjoy the final product--but I also am not going to do anything about it.
This pattern is from A Is for Apron, a book I've used before and liked. However, this pattern, the Lemon Meringue apron, is flawed. Here's what happened: The pattern says 1/2 yard of the focus fabric is required for the skirt, but that's not right. I have a bunch of 1/2 yards of fabrics, so I pulled these out to use. The pattern in the book is scaled down, so I scanned it, placed it in Quark, and blew it up the required 400%. Then I tiled and printed it, taped it together and cut it out. I measured the line that's placed on the fold of the fabric and, sure enough, it was the length it was supposed to be. So no errors in making the pattern.
When I went to cut the fabric, I realized that even though I had a generous 1/2 yard of fabric (nearly 20" wide, I think) the pattern wouldn't fit. I had two options: 1) cut two pieces and sew it with a seam down the middle of the front, or 2) move the pattern down, crop an inch or so off the bottom, and re-grade the curve. I went with option two because the apron's recipient is short, so I didn't think an inch or so would be a problem.
The next problem was the pocket. It's supposed to be U-shaped, but as you can see above, mine has more of a tear-drop shape. I omitted the rickrack from the pattern, so that's probably part of the problem. I made a 1/4" turn-under on the outer pocket and closer to 1/2" (turning under a scant 1/4" two times) for the inner pocket. That's where the main problem was. Even with seam clipping, even with stay-stitching, I could not get it to turn under and stay under. I considered throwing them out and making new pockets that opened on the top, but by that point I was swearing and just wanted to be done with it. When I attached the pockets to the apron, I let them go where they wanted to, which is how I ended up with this shape instead of the U in the pattern.
So, although I am unsatisfied with the overall quality of this project, there are still some bright spots. I think the fabrics worked well. I didn't hem the apron skirt but used some double-fold bias tape I had on hand and I really like that effect. I used a contrasting red thread throughout and I like that effect, too. I think the waistband turned out well. It's interfaced, and that little bit makes it feel sophisticated to me. I feel a little bad that I'm giving this as a gift and the craftsmanship is not at my usual level, but I also don't think my friend will notice or care. Thankfully, a lot of my friends appreciate handmade gifts, human errors and all.
For some good craftsmanship, check out this tea set on Ric-Rac. It's amazing!