The leaves are turning vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow, indicating it’s nearing the end of the harvest season. Pumpkins are ready for baking a few pies for the upcoming holidays, and while the chore can create a mess, the kitchen apparel need not be dull. A festive apron will keep clothes flour-free, and just the right print will cheer up the scene.
An apron panel “Beauty of Autumn” that also includes a square for making a pot holder, can be found with a quick online search. The print is obviously quite popular and understandably so. The colors are bright, the panel is easily assembled, and most inviting to the embroiderer, the print and fabric lends itself quite nicely to stitches.
So, in my quest to refresh my seamstress capabilities, I purchased my panel and found the perfect embellishment at EmbroideryDesigns.com from an abundant variety of pumpkin designs. I decided to embroider only the pocket, but there are plenty of areas on the apron to decorate, if your imagination insists. Depending on your skill level and preferred working speed, the complete project takes about 5-7 hours (or more if your imagination gets carried away) and all skill levels can consider it easy.
- “Beauty of Autumn” Apron & Pot Holder Panel Fabric by Grace Pullen for South Seas Imports
*More designs to choose from for your project at EmbroideryDesigns.com.
Stitch a sample to test the design, as well as the colors. My first run revealed that the light orange thread I had chosen for the highlights didn’t offer enough contrast so it was back to the editing software for a quick check of which color might be a better idea. I decided on a gold that matched the print in the apron. The sample also revealed that my bobbin was in need of clean-up, as seen at the bottom of the pumpkin where the bobbin thread pulled to the top.
Cut out the pocket square, leaving as much fabric as you can. This will help keep the fabric hooped taut during the sewing. Ideally, the entire panel could be hooped for the embroidery, but I find it best to work without the extra bulk when it isn’t necessary, whether it’s on a commercial single-head or my home machine. Hoop with a sheet of stabilizer and stitch.
I was very pleased with the results of this design, as it sewed smoothly and resulted in a beautiful, flexible sew-out and not a “bullet proof” embroidery. But I was not happy with the placement. The pumpkin seemed a bit detached from the printed vine, so I decided to add a couple of leaves.
If you want to do the same, but haven’t the editing software, you can search through EmbroideryDesigns.com for a similar leaf design, or you could sew a few “vine lines” manually to fill in the open space and give the pumpkin more of a visual connection, or you might simply place the pumpkin design closer to the printed vine loop at the top right.
I opened the design in Embrilliance Essentials and selected all of the colors of the leaf. Then I copied and pasted the leaf into a new design window.
I pasted the leaf element again and flipped it horizontally. After placing each pasted section, I deleted the top curl and duplicated a small curl to place near the center. I also decreased the size of the two leaves about 10% so that it would fit nicely in the space available. I didn’t bother adjusting the color sequence for each color to sew once, because it was for one run, but more important, it assures that the veins of the leaves will sew where they should. The veins sew immediately after the fill of the section they sit on. If they sewed much later in the design, the fabric could shift and the veins would sew out of place. I then saved the design, re-hooped the pocket square and stitched.
Remove the excess stabilizer or all of the stabilizer if you prefer. I used a poly mesh stabilizer that is as flexible as fabric, and with my history of wearing holes in apron pockets, I chose to leave most of it and create a layer of protection. I trimmed away the excess at the top and bottom to remove possible bulk and zigzagged the raw edges.
Stitch the pocket to the apron. The process of lining up the print on the pocket with the print on the apron is a bit tricky. Be sure to follow the recommended seam allowance, iron the fold before placement and pin in place prior to sewing.
Finish sewing the rest of the apron. I used my cutting mat grid as a guide while pinning to help keep a straight hem, and I cut a couple of notches in the curve to remove the stress; this allows the hem to lay neater. To turn the ties, I used a knitting needle by pushing the flat head against the stitched end and worked it through until I could pull it right side out.
And now to get at those pies! If you don’t want to flour up that pretty embellished apron, there’s plenty of pre-made pie crust options available at the grocery store that work just as well. Make the job even easier by using canned pumpkin puree and follow the tried-and-true recipe on the label. Whether or not you’re a pie maker, you can wear your new apron for other Autumn kitchen time, such as carving a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. After the ghosts and gremlins are gone, puree and freeze the pumpkin in ice cube trays for smoothies later, and don’t forget to roast those seeds! ~ Till next time, keep on stitchin’!
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2013 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger