Sunday, 17 March 2013

Butterick 5506 - A present for a dear friend

I am very lucky to have some truly amazing friends (in real life), one of whom has recently had a birthday. This friend is the only person I know who shares my love of making things other than internet friends (she is primarily a very talented artist and jewellery maker, but also dabbles in some stitching:) ). Thank you for being such a fabulous friend, you know who you are!! I love that she was born in spring just as nature is awakening too, so I made her this apron with multiple pockets for brushes, tools or just for wearing when cooking, in happy spring colours:

The pattern I used is Butterick 5506, view C (below), which is still available to purchase at the time of writing. On reflection I should have photographed it on my tailor's dummy with paintbrushes in the pockets, but as I am new to this game it didn't occur to me!

The pattern was easy to cut out with a logical layout diagram, and would make an ideal project for a beginner who wanted to practice sewing in straight lines and (lots) of topstitching, and have something a little different from the typical beginner's apron at the end. (Confession: this apron was in my 'pile of shame' for some months. I knew I hadn't enough fabric to cut the ties as per instructions and would have to do some piecing at the end. This made me reluctant to complete it, and it was only as I realised my friend's birthday was approaching that I regained motivation! The piecing took 10 minutes in the end and was not traumatic at all! From henceforth I shall endeavour to finish what I start ;))

If you do make this pattern, the ties are over two metres long as they thread through the sides in one continuous piece, and the pattern suggests stitching and turning them through a small gap (!). I could see this would give nice square corners and started to sew according to the instructions. While I was sewing I realised this was not going to work (as least for me). My fabric was sturdy, so I  folded, ironed and topstitched the tie instead. Since the apron has so much topstitching already I thought it would look intentional. If this is my ignorance and turning a two metre+ tie is actually extremely simple bearing in mind my thick cotton fabric, please let me know!

To thread the ties I used one of these:

- a pinch type bodkin that came in a pack with a thread type bodkin from Hemline. It is like a hairgrip with a slide that you push up to make the ends grip the fabric. Maybe every person who sews had one, but I have been using a safety pin or thread type bodkin. This is so. much. easier. They are cheap (under £2!) - if you haven't got one, get one!

I have a definite leaning towards make do and mend but following  this revelation am now on the lookout for sewing gadgets I have missed! If you have any ah ha! gadgets you wish you had bought years ago, please share!

I would make one of these aprons again, maybe in a tough denim. It's many pockets make it suitable for anyone male or female who works with tools and it covers a lot of clothing when on. It would also make a good template for a plain apron if the pockets were left off, and if you didn't want to sew the ties a sturdy length of twill tape would make a good (and quicker!) alternative.

Happy sewing, 'til next time!


  1. Such pretty fabric and a cool and practical design. Your friend is lucky to have special handmade gifts made for her :)

  2. I love the apron, so cheerful and a lovely gift.

  3. Love the print you used for this gift!

  4. What a perfect Spring-crafty birthday gift!!!! It's so nice when you have crafty friends because they really appreciate the things you make them, eh?! xxx

  5. This is such a deeply beautiful apron. I adore the fabric that you picked (nothing beats a gorgeous, classic floral in my books) and can't imagine anything nicer than getting a handmade birthday present (lucky friend!).

    Wishing you an absolutely wonderful Easter weekend, dear Philippa,
    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Fear not, I didn't think you sounded like a "crazy dog" lady at all in your comment. I welcome all sound advice and stories of experience about raising dogs. ♥