Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Regency Project: Apron ~ Bib and Bands

It is a bit disheartening to go from grand plans of a sheer and elegant white gown to the lowly apron. However, this month, it was just not practical to do the gown I had in mind. That will have to wait for a different month. (maybe September? Likely not til after the baby arrives.) The days are flying away from me and with other commitments and projects and many hours spent outside every day my sewing time has not been excessive lately.

So, an apron seemed like a good idea this month as it would require very little by way of materials and would not take long to stitch up. 

I have found it rather difficult to find much information on aprons during the regency era. I liked the ones I've seen in several Jane Austen movies (like Sense and Sensibility) but movies aren't documentation, obviously. I found Bethany's post about regency aprons quite helpful. I especially liked this painting, which shows a long, ample apron that appears to have a bib front, and shoulder straps and a waistband that fastens in the back. 

As Bethany pointed out in a later post showing her gorgeous reproduction apron, this style of apron really does look quite a bit like the aprons from Sense and Sensibility!

Since I felt guilty that this project was going to be so quick and simple I tried to think of a way to dress it up a bit. I decided to take some inspiration from the 1798-1805 gown from Patterns of Fashion 1. I have always admired the tucked bib on this dress and so decided my apron needed a tucked bib, too!

The bib from the original dress is cut on the bias, with the tucks being sewn on the straight. I was using scraps of linen left over from cutting out the last batch of baby diapers for the bib and bands so I didn't have a piece of linen big enough to cut the bib on the bias. So I cut it on the straight and made the tucks on the bias. There are three groups of three tucks and I am not totally happy with how they came out since obviously, bias stretches and it was hard to get everything to lay flat and be crisp and even. However, it is just the nature of bias to be slinky like that so I will have to live with it. 

I made a narrow band for the top of the bib and two side bands, which, although it corresponds to the aprons in Sense and Sensibility, is also seen on the bib of the original gown. I like the framing qualities of the bands. It helps improve the wobbly uncertainty of the bias tucks. 

The apron skirt is up next. It is cut to be quite long and will have some fullness across the front, although I'm not sure if I will take up the fullness in pleats at the side and leave the center front flat, or if I will use tiny pleats or gathers all the way across. I have to hem the skirt first and hopefully by then I will know what to do!



  1. It's looking very nice so far. Pin tucks are just lovely :)

  2. It's beautiful, Sarah! The pintucks really add alot to the bodice. I've always wanted to make a Regency apron (being an apron fanatic, you know) but don't know wear to start. Did you you "wing it" with cutting out and making the bodice and straps, or??

  3. Thanks Cheri! You are my super-hero when it comes to aprons so I am so honored that you like my attempt at this one so far. And I do hope you may make some regency aprons so I can see and be inspired by what you do!

    Anyway, yes, I pretty much just "winged it" for the bib and bands. I just measured myself to see how wide I wanted the bib to be, and how tall, from the waist up. It's all rectangular construction. The straps will be sewn to the waistband in the back so that they almost meet, but not quite. On Bethany's apron, she crossed the straps in the back but my shoulder straps were too short to do that with this particular apron. Then the skirt is about 35" wide and long enough to reach below the knee, again, just winging it. ;) I am going to make the waistband button in the back instead of tie since my waistband is not long enough to tie. That's it! Really the simplest apron I have ever made.

  4. WOW. I am breathless at the sewing technique, Ms. Sarah Jane. I might have to subscribe to this blog. Some of your ways I am incorporating into my own life.

    Thank you for sharing.

    A fellow S & S Forum participant.

  5. what fabric did you use?

  6. I used 100% linen from Love the stuff!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!