Hooked on Needles

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The making of the Halloween Apron

Yesterday I showed you the finished apron I sent for my Halloween Apron swap gift, and today I'm going to show you how I came to that finished design. It all started with the fabulous variety of fat quarters I received from Grace Full Creations this past summer. With so many fun fabrics and colors to choose from, I could create just about any scene I wanted, but this one of course would have to be a spooky Halloween scene. I had asked Micki what she liked about Halloween, then tried to incorporate some of that into the design. I knew she was very much into the spooky aspect of the holiday, so the graveyard scene seemed appropriate, and perfect for the bottom of the apron. Then of course there must be a full moon for a bat or witch to be flying in front of.

Here's how I started...

The making of the Halloween ApronJust as I had done with some of my other aprons, I cut the leg off a pair of old jeans and opened it up. The hem edge became the top and armholes were cut out. Then I began drawing the scene right onto the denim using my air-erase marker. I had printed out lots of different elements for this design so I could choose whatever I thought would look best as I went along.

The making of the Halloween ApronI had to get a skull in there somewhere because Micki said she liked them!

The making of the Halloween ApronAnd every graveyard scene needs a scary ghost or two just to set the mood!

The making of the Halloween ApronThen I went through my fat quarter collection and picked out fabrics for each element. None of these fabrics had a Halloween-specific theme, just great colors and interesting designs.

The pumpkins and the bat were traced from the graphics I printed out from various free clip art sites. I had planned to use a witch silhouette in front of the moon, but in the end decided I liked the bat better.

The tombstones and cross and ghosts were drawn freehand along with the sections of the hilly ground. The moon was drawn with my handy dandy school compass to get that perfect full-moon shape.

The making of the Halloween ApronThen all the fabric was cut into the appropriate shapes and fusible web was added to the backs to adhere the pieces to the denim. I've decided I really like fusible appliqué!

The making of the Halloween ApronI used a loose zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to stitch around the edges of all the shapes using black thread. I also added some details on the pumpkins and the leaf using the walking foot on my sewing machine.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe ghost faces were hand embroidered using black embroidery floss, along with the year on the cross tombstone.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe bat's eyes were just little straight stitches of white perle cotton...

The making of the Halloween Apron...and the RIP was backstitched using the same white perle cotton. The spider web was machine stitched using the walking foot, after I drew it freehand using the air erase marker. That is one of my favorite elements on this apron!

The making of the Halloween ApronI wanted to add a pocket to this apron because Micki said pockets are very important to her, so I found this darling fabric panel that had many different little blocks of Halloween scenery on them. I thought this one would make the perfect pocket for the middle of this graveyard scene. I lined it with the same orange fabric of the pumpkins, leaving just a little strip visible at the top edge of the pocket.

The making of the Halloween ApronThere's a cute little pumpkin just sitting there on that hill waiting to be scooped out and carved into something frightening!

The making of the Halloween ApronThe skull design was worked in backstitch using white perle cotton and a little piece of stitch and tear stabilizer with the design drawn onto it. I did not have a marker that would show up on this dark fabric, and this method worked great on the Irish Step Dancing dresses I used to embroider, so I used it here. It worked great!

The making of the Halloween ApronOnce the front of the apron was finished, I cut out strips of fall fabric for the neck and waist straps, and I made the fall apron for the reverse side to match the shape of the denim. Then I stitched them together with the straps in between and the right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Once the apron was turned, I pressed the edges and top stitched around the whole apron to close the opening and finish it off.

The making of the Halloween ApronThe reverse side of the apron was simply a piece of fall fabric cut to the same shape as the denim, with a pocket of coordinating fabric stitched onto it. This makes the apron useful for a whole season instead of just the time around the end of October.

Next time you want to decorate something with a one-of-a-kind scene, pick through your fabrics and start cutting out shapes. Heat up your iron, practice you zig zag stitch and get creative with your walking foot. You just never know what you'll come up with!

Happy Stitching!

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