Hoarding Apron Tutorial

I’ve been promising this one for quite some time and it is finally here! Say hello to my toddler/preschooler hoarding apron pattern tutorial!My hoarding apron is perfect for preschoolers and toddler who seem to think they must carry all their stuff at one time. (Why they can’t play kitchen without every pot and pan on their person is beyond me.) This apron is unisex and makes an awesome gift. It is easy (if you can get past the complicated directions) and uses only 2 fat quarters of fabric. (Also known as half a yard.) You’ll be drafting a pattern for this one, so get ready for a long tutorial!

Grab your drafting supplies and let’s get going! (If you are clueless on what pattern drafting supplies would be, I’ll help you out: a ruler (mine is 18″ long and 2″ wide), a pair of paper scissors (not your fabric scissors!), paper (I use graph paper and I tape it together to make pieces large enough. You can use any kind of paper you want.), and  a pen (or pencil). I also use a variform curve ruler.)

You’ll be using the edge of the paper as the center of the pattern. (You’ll line the edge of the pattern paper up on the fold of your fabric.) Here are the measurements (though since you are the pattern maker, you can adjust it as needed!):

1. At the top of the paper, measure 4″ in from the edge. This will be the top of the apron.

2. Measure 8″ down from the top line. Mark it.

3. Across the 8″ down mark, measure 8″ in from the edge. This line will be parallel to the top line. This is the “hip” line.

4. Measure down 20″ from the top line. Mark it.

5. Across the 20″ down mark, measure 8″ in from the edge. This line will be parallel to the hip line and the top line.

6. Connect the two 8″ lines. This will be the bottom side of the apron.

7. Draw a line 2″ down from the top 4″ line, squaring the corner.

8. Connect the 2″ line to the edge of the hip line. I use my variform curve ruler for this, moving it around until it looks right.

Look at your pattern you’ve drawn, decide if it looks right. Chances are, if it looks okay, you’ll be fine. Make sure your corners are squared. And cut it out.

Make sure you mark everything on your pattern. You may remember when you make the pattern, but by the third or fourth time you pull it out, you’ll have no clue what all your markings mean.

For the sewing portion of this program, you’ll need two fat quarters. Yep, you’ll only need two fat quarters. You could also buy half a yard of fabric, if you’d prefer.

Pin your pattern onto your fabric with the edge of your pattern on the fold of your fabric. I don’t fold my fabric in the center, I fold it as far to the edge as I can, while still being able to fit the pattern. You’ll want nice scraps to make strips for the binding, so try to fit the pattern on there the best you can.

This is what it will look like unfolded.

Fold your pattern in half along the hip line. You’ll use the bottom half of your pattern to make your hoarding pocket.

Pin the folded pattern on the fold of the fabric. Remember, you’ll be making 2″ strips for binding , so you need to make the most of your space. (But don’t freak out about it! If worst comes to worse and you just can’t make it work, you can always use scraps for the strips.)

Now, cut as many 2″ strips of fabric as you can. This will be the binding for the apron. If you despise making binding, you can always buy double fold bias tape if you want to short-cut it. I was able to cut 5 strips from my contrast fabric (the pink) that were 2″ wide and about 18.5″ long. From the green, I got one strip that was 2″ by 21″, one that was 2″ by 4.75″, and two strips that were 2″ by 8.25″.

Take two of the longer strips and go ahead and make them into binding. (I used one of each color.) These are for the top of the pocket and the top of the apron. The rest of the strips will be sen together and made into one long strip.

To make binding- Fold and press the 2″ strip in half.

Now you’re going to tuck one edge in toward the center and press.

See what I mean?

Tuck the other edge up into the center, too, and press. Now, you have binding! Ta-de-dah!

Now, sew the binding onto the top of the pocket. Just sandwich the fabric of the pocket between the binding. Sew along the edge of the binding to attach it to the top of  the pocket. You’ll have too much of the binding and that is okay. Just sew to the edge of the fabric and cut the excess binding off. If you are short on binding in general, you can sew the scrap into the rest of the big strip if you want.

Attach your other piece of binding to the top of the apron. Do it the same way as before. And like before it will be too long and you’ll just cut the excess.

Now, you’re going to attach the pocket. Lay the pocket behind the apron body. You’ll want the right side of the pocket facing the wrong side of the apron body.

Sew around the edge, using about 1/4″ stitch.

Flip the pocket right side out and press.

Topstitch around the edge of the pocket. Use about 1/2″ seam. It will encase you previous inner 1/4″ seam. This is also known as a french seam. (Now you can do something fancy!)

Sew all the rest of your 2″ strips together. You can arrange them in any way you would like. Just put right sides together and sew them end to end.

Press all the seams in your now very long 2″ strip to one direction. I usually press away from the center. You can press the in toward the center, haphazardly, open, whatever. Just press the seams.

Now, press all the strip into binding. You’ll do the exact same thing you did before, just more of it. This is not a difficult process at all, it is just a process. Fold in half, press. Tuck one side toward the center, press. Tuck the other side toward the center, press.

Position the center of the binding so that it makes the neck loop of the apron. I generally just eyeball this. How big your neck hole needs to be really depends on the kid. Err on the side of slightly too big, because you can always tie a knot in the neck to shorten it a bit if you need to. If you make it too small for a fat head, you’ll have far less options of fixing it.

Put a pin to mark the binding where it will meet the top edge.

Here is where you are going to start sewing your binding on. (You’ll finish the rest of the tie on that side later.) Starting at the hip, sew the binding (that is encasing your edge) to the main apron body. The first little bit will be a bit difficult because you’ll have quite a few layers there in that corner. You’ll want to make sure the apron body stays within the binding. It will seem a little strange sewing binding to a curve the first time you do it, but you’ll get used to it in no time!

When you get to the top of that side of the apron, you’re going to keep sewing the binding, making the neck loop. Just keep sewing until you reach your pin, then check and make sure your apron body is well inside your binding and continue sewing. Sew down the other side of the apron.

When you reach the hip on this side, keep sewing to the end of the binding.

Flip your apron over, sew the binding closed on the other side, creating the tie on that side. You’ll want to start about 1/2″ before your initial start place there on the hip seam, overlapping the seam a bit. Sew to the end of the binding.

This is what your end ties will look like. Line up the hips on your apron and cut the ties to make sure they are even. If they seem unnaturally long, you can trim them shorter. If they seem short, you can just pray it will fit around a toddler (and chances are it will).

Tie a knot in each end to finish the ties.

And you’re done! Clear as mud, right? Hopefully once you make it once, you’ll realize it sounds a heck of a lot more complicated than it really is. Seriously. Enjoy!

As usual, you can do what you want with this pattern. Make it for yourself, your kids, your friends, your neighbors. Sell it. Give it away. They are your skills, my friend. I do ask that you not take credit for the pattern and feel free to direct inquiring minds back here! Share the free.

You can see a few of these (with fancy rounded corners) in my store, Moose and Wormy.

Burpies & Wipies

Well, as promised, I’m giving you my burp cloth talk. And since it has taken me so long to round up photos and get to it, I’m throwing in wipies.

So, first things first. A “burpie” is a burp cloth. A “wipie” is a cloth wipe/mini burp cloth/cloth Kleenex- you get the point.

Now, how do you make them? Here are the dimensions:

Burpie- 10″ x 18″

Wipie- 10″ x 6″

So, the wipie is about a third of the size of the buttie.

To make a burpie or wipie, simply cut two rectangles of fabric (we’ll discuss fabric selection in a minute) and sew them together with right sides together, leaving a hole to turn the item right side out.

(You can see the hole in the above photo on the upper edge.) Clip the corners so when you turn your item right side out, you’ll have corners rather than rounds.

Flip right side out, pushing the corners out. Sew around the edge again, all the way around. Sew close to the edge to close the hole. Overlap your stitches where you began.

(This entire process is very simply termed “turned and topstitched” or “T&T.” When you see this, you know the whole process is sew, flip, sew.)

Now, let’s discuss the arduous task of choosing fabric! So, you can clearly use whatever you want, but I have tried several things and used them personally, so I really do know what works.

The best option based on absorbency is woven cotton on one side (quilting cotton) and terry cloth on the other side. You can buy the terry cloth by the yard, but the best absorbency is to buy cheap towels from the mega mart which shall remain unnamed. (No joke, I only go to the MegaloMart – name changed- for these cheap towels!) You go to MegaloMart and buy their cheapest towels. (They cost $2.50 a towel and you can make at least 4 burpies out of one towel!) Cut the end strips off (unless you like that line across your burpie) and cut them into appropriate sized rectangles. I have tried both terry by the yard and cheap towels and I can tell you that cheap towels make fluffier, more absorbent burpies. (And you’ll have a broader range of colors.) Burpies made out of cotton and terry are cute and functional. They catch the biggest messes from the biggest spitters! They are awesome! The drawback is the bulk. They are pretty hefty and don’t fold up very small, which makes them boogers to stick a few in your diaper bag. There are also limited colors available. Yes, towels come in many colors, but you may have trouble finding exact matches.

The next best option is flannel. You can use a woven cotton (quilting cotton) on one side and flannel on the other, or you can do both sides in flannel. Flannel is soft, thin, and absorbent. Flannel/flannel make awesome wipies! They are the best wipies in the world. (Well, flannel/bamboo velour make some super awesome wipes- but that can be expensive!) Solid flannel comes in more colors that terry and even more than towels. Cotton/flannel burp cloths are perfect for stashing several in your diaper bag for emergency use. They also work well if you have a frequent spitter that doesn’t spit a lot each time. They fold down so easily. You can also use flannel on one side and terry on the other side, if you are so inclined. Flannel is much softer than the terry.  Flannel is also really cheap! (I buy mine when JoAnn’s has it on sale for $2.49 a yard!)

You can also use a cotton knit in place of woven cotton. I tend to use woven cotton because it comes in so many prints and patterns. I can find so many cute fabrics. Knit on one side and terry on the other do make some awesome wipies, though they can be a little rough (especially on little noses), but can clean poo off little butts like nobody’s business. You can also use knit on both sides, but they are hard to sew and are not my favorite. But if you have some old tees and need wipies, go ahead and use them! (If you have a serger, you can just serge two layers of knits together instead of T&T.)

You can use whatever you like, but there are a few things that I thought might be nice, but really suck when made into something you need to actually function! Don’t use minky. It sounds like a nice idea. A burp cloth with cotton on one side in an adorable pattern and super soft minky on the other. Well, it is gross when a kid pukes on the minky and it isn’t absorbed at all! It just sits there and you touch it and it is cold, then the baby rubs his face in it and he has puke all over his cute little face because minky does not absorb! Yes, the burp cloth is cute as can be. Yes, before the baby is born you run your hand over it and feel the softness and you get all mommy-eyed thinking about your soft, sweet baby cuddling up on your shoulder with this divine burpie. Then you use it once, have puke smeared everywhere on you and adorable baby, and you never pick that burp cloth again. Until your mother-in-law visits. *laughing* (That was a joke. I am not at all responsible for mothers-in-law getting covered in icky baby puke from a non-absorbent burp cloth!)

The next fabric not to use is fleece. It seems like it’d be a nice choice. Many baby things are fleece. Fleece is soft and fluffy. Fleece comes in bazillions of colors. But let me inform you. Fleece repels water. That is not a good feature for a burpie or a wipie. (If you need liners for cloth diapers to keep diaper rash cream, bacitracin, or petroleum jelly off your diapers, fleece makes a good liner. Other than that, keep away from the fleece!)

(3 wipies made with cotton/terry on left next to 3 wipies made with cotton/flannel. All are folded in thirds- my usual way of folding things- and the terry ones were pushed down so they’d stay for the 2 seconds it took to snap a picture!)

So, go sew! Go ahead! Make burpies and wipies for yourself, your friends, your neighbors, that person across the country that you don’t know but paid you to do so!

Need burpies and/or wipies but don’t have the time/energy/resources to make them? Let me know! I take custom orders! (Visit MooseandWormy or contact me any other way you know how!)

Tiny Hostess Apron Tutorial

My little princess is always wanting to play “hostess.” Even when it is just our little family around. So, I designed this quick little (frilly) hostess apron for her. She NEEDED it! (My poor boys rarely get Mommy made stuff. But they don’t NEED this kind of cuteness.)

You’ll need two fat quarters (and you’ll have some scraps leftover). With your “main” fabric, you’ll just want to cut your fat quarter in half (making it 18″ wide by 11″ long). The other half of that fat quarter is scrap. Take your contrast fabric, and cut it as follows. You’ll cut three 3″ strips (3″ x 18″). (If you would like a wider waistband, you can cut 4″ strips if you wish- you’ll have enough fabric for it.) Then you’ll cut two 5″ strips (5″ x 18″)- those will make your frilly little top!

Sew the 3″ strips together end to end (you can sew them on a diagonal if you are concerned with bulk- I just sew mine straight). You now have one long 3″ strip that will be your waistband and ties.

Sew the two 5″ strips together. This seam will not be hidden, so you’ll need to finish it. I did a french seam. It just “seamed” like the right thing to do. (ba- dum- ching!) Now you have a 5″ strip that is twice the width of your apron front. Finish the side and bottom edges of this strip. (Either do a double fold hem or serge and sew them to a nice finish.)

Finish the sides and bottom of your main skirt body. Do it in that order- sides then bottom. You can do a nice double fold hem. I serge my edges (because I have to use my serger for something) then fold the under and sew close to the edge.

Put a basting stitch into the top edge your ruffle (that 5″ strip that now has finished sides and bottom) so you can gather it.

If you’re new to sewing and don’t know what I’m talking about- a basting stitch is just a temporary stitch. Set your straight stitch on your sewing machine to the longest length you’ve got. You want to put it about a quarter of an inch from the top edge of the ruffle. Leave a long “tail” of thread at each end of the stitch. Pulling on just one string, slowly pull the thread to gather the fabric.

Pin your ruffle to the top on the apron body and sew together. You want your ruffle the same width as your apron body. This top unfinished edge will be encased inside the waistband- so don’t worry about finishing the edge.

Take your 3″ strip and press it in half (long ways). Tuck the unfinished edges into the center and press again. (Think- double fold bias tape.) In the picture above, I am opening the creases so you can see.

Line the apron body up in the center of the waistband/tie. (You can use your seams as guides. The middle section should be about the right size for the apron body.) Pin the top of the apron body to the waistband. You’ll slip the upper unfinished edge of the apron body into the middle of the waistband, sandwiching it inside. Sew close to the lower edge (the one toward the apron body) of the waistband. Sew past the apron body to the end of the tie. Flip your apron over and finish the tie on the other side.

Tie a knot in the end of the tie.

All done! Now your little princess has her own hostess apron!

As usual, you can do what you like with your finished product of my design. Sell it. Swap it. Gift it. Keep it. I don’t mind. Just don’t take credit for the design itself. And for the love of free- share the design!

Visit my shop, Moose and Wormy! Want a tiny hostess apron but don’t sew? Contact me here or via my shop and I’ll make a custom apron for your little hostess!

Plastic Bag Holder Tutorial

A friend of mine asked if I could make her a plastic bag holder. Of course, I accepted! I looked online for a tutorial or something. But none of them fit what I wanted it to look like. Most of them were just tubes with elastic at the top and bottom. Very basic. I usually like basic, but I thought it needed a little extra oomph! So, I did what I do. I sat down with my graph paper and sketched out a plan. This is another fat quarter project! Yay! (Fat quarters are 18″ x 22″ pieces of fabric, sold at fabric stores that sell quilting fabric.)

I use reusable bags, but always end up with plastic grocery bags anyway! You could also use this bag to store other things. (I stuffed on with fabric scraps!) And, as always, if you want one of these, but don’t have the skills, time, or desire to make it yourself- you can always contact me! (Check out Moose and Wormy on Etsy!)

To make a plastic bag holder, you’ll need one fat quarter, a 4″ strip of a contrasting fabric, 2 small (4″ or so) pieces of elastic, and one small piece of ribbon (6″ or so). (You can also make a fabric “loop” to hang the bag by. It is up to you!)

Measure your fat quarter. It should be about 18″ x 22″, but sometimes they are slightly larger. You’ll want to cut your 4″ strip of contrast fabric so you have two 4″ strips to go across each 18″ side. If your fat quarter is 19″, then cut your strips 19″ to fit.

With the right sides together, sew the contrast strip to the main fabric along the 18″ edge. Repeat for the other side.

I serge all my edges, since I am usually selling what I make. If you’ve got a serger, go ahead and finish those edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can omit the finishing if you want, or you can pink or zig-zag the edge. Since this is not a wearable object, or an object that will get much washing (if any) it isn’t necessary to finish the edges at all. So, don’t feel bad if you choose to skip that step!

Pin your ribbon loop (or fabric loop) a couple inches from the top of the main fabric along the 22″ side. (Which is not a 30″ side, since you just attached two 4″ strips to the ends!) If you put your loop too high, you’ll be fighting it while you sew the elastic casing or it will end up on the ruffle. So, try to put it low enough it will be out of the way, but still at the top of the bag. (You can turn the top ruffle down and see where it will hit if that helps you. I just eyeball it and hope for the best!)

Fold your fabric in half long ways (with your contrast fabric on the top and bottom) and sew with right sides together. Serge or finish the edge as you did with the other seam!

Serge the top and bottom edge of your contrast fabric (you can see above that the edge of the pink fabric is serged). If you want to skip that step, go right ahead!

Now, press the contrast edge in. (See above!) You want to leave about 1/2″ or so of your contrast fabric showing on the front.

(In the photo above, I am showing you the contrast fabric showing on the front.) Repeat for the opposite end. Press it down, leaving about 1/2″ (maybe a little more) showing on the front.

At this point, you’re bag is looking something like this. It reminds me of the cat tunnel project in In Stitches by Amy Butler. (Don’t know what project I’m referring to? It is a tube, much like this, lined with faux fur for your cat to play in.)

Now, we make our elastic casing! Yay! Sew along about 1/2″ from the edge of the contrast fabric. Sew all the way around, sewing back over your first stitches.

Sew all the way around again, this time sewing as close to the edge as you can. Also, you’ll need to backstitch the ends and leave a small opening (preferably near the back center seam) to guide your elastic through.

Repeat for the other side! Now, you are almost done!

Grab your two pieces of elastic!

Here is how I thread my elastic. I put a large safety pin along the back end. It keeps the elastic from slipping all the way through. (Believe me, that is a pain!) I attach a small safety pin to the front end (the end I’ll be pushing through the casing).  Make sure your safety pins are firmly attached. It really sucks when a pin slips off because you put it too close to the edge.

Thread your elastic through the casing.

Sew your elastic together by overlapping it and sewing it with an “elastic” stitch. (The awkward looking zig-zag stitch on your machine that is more “lighting bolty” than “zig-zaggy.” If you don’t have that stitch, a small zig-zag will work. (You may have to reset the width of the zig-zag so it fits on the elastic.)

Repeat for the other side!

Flip it right side out an you’re done! I know, you’re wondering why I didn’t finish closing off those elastic casings! Well, to be honest, it is a pain in the butt and it serves no real purpose. You can fight through it and close them up if you’d like, but I see no reason to. I backstitched the ends, so I made sure it was nice and secure. The elastic is so tight, You’ll find great difficulty stretching it out to sew that little bitty hole closed. And I see no point in closing it. You can if you’d like, I don’t.

See the lovely loop on the back! You can hang it in your pantry or, if you’re like me, you can hang it on your kitchen wall! (Use some snazzy fabrics and you’ll liven your kitchen up!)

This is my favorite aspect of the design! The top and bottom “mouth” of your bag holder have a nice little flirty splash of contrast! I love it!

Go! Make some as gifts, for yourself, or sell some! (Yep. You can feel free to sell anything you make from any of my free designs.) As always, I just ask that you not take credit for the design and that you’d share the free tutorial with others! (No hoarding freeness!) Have fun!

Courtesy of Moose and Wormy! (visit my shop at mooseandwormy.etsy.com)

Cowboy Bib Tutorial

Once my children got the concept of “baby” and “big boy (or girl)”, bibs were out the window. The thing is, toddlers still need bibs! Our many Sundays with Imogene eating egg drop soup at House of Lu can attest to that! But try to get a bib on her and she’s in the floor, because you’ve offended her. You have just called her a baby without words! (The same melt down occurs when you try to suggest perhaps the newly potty learned girl wear a diaper for whatever reason!) We were eating out one day, and Aidan really needed a bib (spaghetti!). He refused to wear a bib, but happily wore the cloth napkin tied around his neck, because he said he was a cowboy! Ahh! So, that is how we accomplish this?! The cowboy bib is born!

Now, this bib is multi-functional. If your kids are like mine, meal time is not the only time they’ll want to wear this bib. They’ll want to wear it ALL THE TIME! You’ll have to pry it away for washing when they go to sleep! You’re going to need several of these babies, so go ahead and cut out a few! (An added bonus, if you use a warm lining fabric, you’ve got a built in neck warmer when they refuse to replace it with their scarf.)

Here is how to make your own: (Compliments of Moose and Wormy!)

You can easily make a cowboy bib out of fat quarters! (I love things that can be made with a fat quarter! You can avoid buying full yards of that oh-so-cute-but-expensive designer fabric!) One fat quarter is enough fabric for two bib fronts. If you are using yardage, you need at least half a yard of fabric, which will make 4 bib fronts. For the bib back, you’ll need half a yard of something nice. You can use flannel, chenille (my personal favorite), minky, terry (my least favorite option), or fleece. A half yard of backing fabric will make 4 backs.  You’ll also need closure of some sort. I use plastic KAM snaps. If you are not so fortunate to own a snap press or pliers, you could do a button closure or velcro. You could also add some ribbon into the ends to make it tie. I like snaps because they are easy for a kid to use. Easy on and off. And in the event their sister traps them by the bib in the door jam of the closet, they can get free. (Velcro would have a similar advantage, only with the added disadvantage of being velcro and snagging everything in reach.)

The first thing you are going to do is cut your fat quarter in half. You’ll end up with two rectangles that are 18″ x 11″. (If you are using yardage, you’ll need one 18″ x 11″ rectangle for the front of the bib. I cut my yardage into fat quarters, then go from there.) **If you’ve never used a fat quarter before or have no idea what I’m talking about, a fat quarter is a piece of quilting fabric (usually cotton) sold at fabric and quilting stores. A fat quarter measures 18″ by 22″. It is half a yard of fabric, cut halfway between the selvedges- thus it is the amount of fabric in a quarter of a yard, but in a more usable amount- since it isn’t a long, thin strip.**

Pick one 18″ side to be the top of the bib. (If you’ve got a directional pattern, this will be important.) Fold the bib in half (right sides together). From the top, on the open edge, mark 3″ down. (Just a little line at the 3″ mark.)

Now, use a ruler (or straight edge) to draw a line from your 3″ mark to the center bottom of the fold. (In the picture above, my top is to the left and the folded edge is to the top.)

Cut along the line from the 3″ mark to the corner.

Open it up and it looks like this! Go ahead and press it to make it look all nice and get that center crease out as much as you can.

Cut your backing fabric to match. (You can either mark and cut as you just did, or you can use your bib front as a template.)

With right sides together, sew around the edges- leaving a hole to turn the bib right side out. Trim the corners, so when you turn it they’ll be corners, not rounds. Turn your bib right side out, using a pointy object to push your corners out.  (If your using ribbon to close your bib, you’ll want to pin it in place between your front & back and sew it in during this step.)

Topstitch around the edges, overlapping at the ends.

Add your snap (or button closures) and you’re finished!

Want a bib made for you? Contact me! Or see my store for bibs ready to go!

This pattern was made by me. You may use it if you want, but don’t sell the design- that’s just wrong. You may sell bibs you make from this tutorial, I just ask that you give me credit for the design. Thank you. And you’re welcome!