Friday, June 28, 2013

Patchwork, Please! :: The Polka-Dot-Cafe Apron

There was a time years ago when I took a part-time job. On my first day, I slipped on the apron I was given and thought to myself, "This is a dream come true." For the next 8 years, I worked as a pastry chef. Which in that quaint little town meant I baked pies, tarts, cakes, brownies, and the like. My work bench was in front of a picture window, there where industrial ovens a few feet behind me, and a tall Hobart stand mixer on the floor to my side. Bins under my bench held bags of flours and sugars, which I dipped into continuously throughout my shift. And just steps out my door were walk-in refrigerators that kept my butter and eggs and more. Every day, my "office" was full of good smells, and tasted even better.  And as I thought of this week's project, these memories of my time in the bakery came rushing back, and it dawned on me. I needed to make a baker's apron.

I took the easy way out by purchasing one just like the ones I used to wear when I baked. I'd never had one since, and I confess I always loved how they felt on, how the long strings wrapped around to tie in front. If I had it to do over, I might have enlarged the blocks for the pocket just a tad. But those blocks - well I really enjoyed them! I don't have many fussy-cuttable prints in my stash apparently, so I decided to use a fq stack of Jeni Baker's "Color Me Retro." What happy fabric! There were basically three palettes, which worked great using one for each pocket. I did fussy cut the large squares, and added in one coordinating stash fabric per block.
Instead of using templates, I opted to use my rotary equipment - cutting 2 1/2" Big Squares (and actually 5, not 4 as written, 1 being the center motif) and 1 1/2" Small Squares. For the Corner Triangles, I cut 2-2 1/2" squares, then cut them in half diagonally, and similarly, for the Small Triangles, I cut 4-2" squares, again cutting in half diagonally. In doing it "my way," my blocks, trimmed, were slightly smaller than Ayumi's, measuring 6 1/4".
I didn't have twill on hand and opted to back my block strip with pellon's Thermolam Plus 971F, a nice basic fusible quilting interfacing. And quilt I did - simply, in diagonals through the center of each block. I backed it with another piece of "Retro" (the large teal and green flowers), and I then followed the binding instructions, though I did the final stitching by machine.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed these blocks, this fabric, indeed every step of this project. And don't you doubt it. Pretty or not, this apron is going to get used!

Project adapted from Patchwork, Please!: Colorful Zakka Projects to Stitch and Give as part of the Zakka 2.0 :: Patchwork, Please sew along. Linking with Finish it up Friday.

30 comments:

Patchwork and Play said...

Ah, now I see all of it, you have made a much more practical apron! Wonderful!

Toni said...

It is pretty and I have no doubt that it will get lots of use! Love your fabric choices, too.

Molli Sparkles said...

Ah, Color Me Retro, such a great choice for this! It is so bright and cheery!

Liv Aagot Syse said...

What a lovely apron! I really like your retro blocks! I wish you a great summer! Greetings from Norway :)

Trudie said...

What a great apron idea. I always wear an apron in the kitchen. I am going to try this.

Christine said...

Beautiful apron. I enjoyed reading about your dream job. I love to bake and hope to live in a home someday with two ovens.

Ellyn said...

gorgeous! I finally got this book, can't wait to make some of the projects. the apron is on my list...

Marci Girl said...

I love it and I so enjoyed hearing about your baking days! I love your fabric choice, so pretty and now such a functional apron. I did the exact same method for cutting out my pieces, except I rounded up, so my blocks were slightly larger.

Leanne said...

Your baking workstation sounds like a movie set. How wonderful to have whole bins of flour and sugar and to just make yummy food all day. I love the apron, maybe it will inspire some summer baking and fun.

Katie B said...

Love your fabric choice! And what a great idea to refashion a premade apron!

beth said...

What a FUN apron!

Carla said...

Fabulous apron Debbie! Love Jeni's fabrics. My very first job at 15 was in a bakery : )

Liz DandeliondD said...

Gorgeous apron.
What a great use of those fabrics.
... now I just fancy a brownie - wish I was a better baker

Cat said...

LOve it all and THANKS for the apron link! I need one sooooooo bad!!!!!
Cat

A Quilter's Mission - Vicki said...

Very, very adorable!!

Heather D. said...

So cute! Love the patchwork blocks on a plain apron.

A Girl said...

What a great idea. I love how you adapted this to a full size apron.

OPQuilt said...

Fabulous!

I use my aprons to death--those of us who cook really need them--and think that yours is so beautiful. I haven't yet made a batch of macaroons; have you?

Elizabeth E.
opquilt.com

Heidi Staples said...

This is wonderful, Debbie, and how great to hear about your past life as a pastry chef. What fun!

Stephanie @ Quarter Incher said...

Your apron turned out very cute! I love how you opted for the longer apron. It was so great reading about your days as a pastry chef!

Ginny said...

Love your apron and thanks for sharing your pastry chef past. Great story, reminded me of my best friends in high school who ownd a family bakery where we all hung out - happy days and warm doughnuts lol!

Katie said...

I adore what you've done with the apron! It makes me want to do something similar for my plain old boring aprons. The wheels are turning......

claudia said...

What do you mean..."pretty or not"? I love that apron!!! It's very pretty!

The domestic Groove said...

I absolutely love this!

Kirsten said...

This is so beautiful - really love the pretty fabrics you have used for the pocket!

felicity said...

Debbie, you always have such a way with words. Your posts just exude warmth and kindness. I have an old baker's apron that was my grandma's and I adore it, in all its stained glory.

Mickey Hunacek said...

Fun! We have a couple of Grandpa Gerald's Navy cook aprons...great idea for giving them a little update for the great-grandkiddos! Thanks! :) You are always such an encouraging source of ideas!

trish said...

How cute! :o)

CitricSugar said...

This is so cute!! Great job!

Katy Cameron said...

Nice alternative. I might have to make something like this for my mum for Christmas