Here are my main pieces for the apron - the bottom ruffle (contrasting fabric 3 1/2 x 36)-see How to sew a ruffle, the apron strings (contrasting fabric 4 x 55), and the front and back (two pieces of main fabric 15 x 24).
Line up the raw edge of the ruffle with the raw edge of the front piece of your apron, leaving 1/4 inch space on either end. Pin into place.
This step is optional, but I sewed a running stitch to keep the ruffle in place.
Fold down the corners on both the left and right sides of the ruffle, so they don't get accidentally sewn into your seam.
Pin the back piece of the apron to the front piece, right sides together, and sew along the left, bottom, and right side but leave the top open.
Clip the corners and pull right sides back out.
Now you can see your bottom ruffle. Remove the two pins on the corners and using a seam ripper, carefully remove the visible running stitches in the ruffle. These are no longer needed since the seam has been sewed and is holding the ruffle permanently into place.
Press the apron flat. Now it is time to make your top gathers.
Sew a running stitch using a 1/4 inch allowance, and then sew a second running stitch 1/4 inch from the first one. Make sure you leave a trail of thread on each end.
Using the same technique as used for the ruffle, gently pull the bottom threads to make the gathers. Pull to your desired gathered look.
After completing the gathered top of the apron, make the apron strings. I had to sew together two pieces of fabric to get the desired length of 55 inches. I probably could have made this even longer, because there is not much to tie behind me...so if I made this apron again I would add about 8 inches to the length to make it easier to tie on. Stitch the pieces together and press the seams flat. Then press the fabric strip in half, and press each raw edge into the center. See the creases?
Here it is pressed into the center.
And then pressed in half.
Line up the center of the apron strings over the center of the apron front and pin into place.
Before you top stitch, please finish the ends of the apron strings so you don't have any raw edges exposed. Open up the ends so the fabric piece is flat and fold in 1/4 inch and sew a seam, then fold in half again and tuck the edges of each end into the center (see picture above) and then you can fold in half again and pin in place. Now when you top stitch the ends will be neat and finished.
Top stitch the apron strings, starting at one end, and sew close to the bottom of the binding. Now your apron is finished. But I decided mine needed a pocket.
I made a pattern for a pocket that I thought was the right size for my apron, and cut out two pieces of the contrasting fabric, sewed right sides together (leaving a two inch opening), carefully clipped into the seam, turned right sides out, pressed flat, pinned onto my apron in the desired location and top stitched along the left, bottom and right side of the pocket.If you leave your pocket opening along the top of the pocket that does not get top stitched, you will need to blind stitch it closed. Duh. Should have left the opening along the bottom. You can also top stitch the top before you pin and sew it onto the apron if you want.Here is the finished apron. I was happy with how it came out, and love the ruffled bottom. I enjoyed making the apron, and participating in the craft-along. Kelly completed her modern style apron already, and it came out great, check it out here.