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The Strap & Facing Tutorial – the Maria Apron

Oh wow! This photo tutorial has turned into a monster tutorial on how to sew the straps and facing for The Maria Apron!

You will need to have followed the instructions included with the pattern so the side seams are closed and neatened, the pockets attached and the facing is made.

Contrast | I have cut the UNDER STRAPS and the FACING in a contrast fabric so it is easier to see in the photos and that’s a good option to consider if you are making an apron in a heavier denim.

Interfacing | The facings are BLOCK FUSED as described in the pattern. I haven’t put any interfacing in any of the straps for the aprons I’ve made to date, and the pattern doesn’t suggest it, but if you are using a lightweight fabric you can BLOCK FUSE the understraps so they have a little more body and are a little more robust.

Abbreviations |

SA | seam allowance         RS | right side      RSU | right side (of fabric/garment) up      RST | right sides together          CB | centre back

Make the straps | 

You will have cut one pair of TOP STRAPS (has a single notch) and a pair of UNDER STRAPS (has a double notch). The under strap is slightly narrower than the top strap so that the seams roll to the underneath and not show on the front and give a professional finish!For each strap: Place one under strap and one top strap with RST and stitch together along the longest seam with a 6mm SA. (it doesn’t really matter if you stitch the other seam first, but do try to be consistent!)
Press the seam flat and then press SA towards the under strap.

Understitch on the under strap, close to the seam line and through all the seam allowances.With RST close the other seam and press flat.Turn the strap through to RS.

Press the seam so that it rolls towards the under strap. I haven’t topstitched this apron as I’m going to do some hand stitching on it later, but if you wish to topstitch your straps now’s the time!

Attach the facing |

With RST pin the facing to the apron body at the armholes only and stitch the seam closed with a 6mm SA.

Press the SA towards the facing and understitch. Gently press the armhole without stretching.

Place the straps |

This bit can be a smidge confusing, so first of all, we will just roughly pin the straps in the correct place and make sure they are not twisted. After, we will go back and pin them in exactly the right place to sew them.

*a little side note | in the booklet instructions I have illustrated the apron RSU, below I’ve photographed it WSU – it doesn’t really matter which way you do it, it’s just to get those straps placed and laying correctly (it would make sense for you to follow one set of diagrams though!). The key point is to ensure they are not twisted and when they are finally being stitched in place the straps and apron are RST.

Lay your apron body on a flat surface and place the straps as in the photo above. Make sure you use the double notches (marked in pink) to get the correct strap to the correct back.Use one pin to hold each strap in place.

Take the strap on the right and pin to the opposing front position.

Repeat for the 2nd strap. At this point, you can check the straps are not twisted and are crossing over at the back.

Sewing the straps |

The important thing to realise when placing the straps ready for sewing is that you have to think about where the final stitchline will be.

I’ve marked in the SA with chalk as it helps to get the strap in exactly the right place – everything needs to meet at those intersecting SA/STITCHLINE points. Because the straps are on an angle it can be tricky to get your head around making everything line up, but all you have to do is to work to the FINISHED STITCHLINE when placing the straps – if you don’t get that point snuggled right up against the facing that’s when you can get a step or a lump.

Back straps |

 Place the straps to the apron with RST (check your notches are still at the same end).Place the strap right next to the facing – make sure it is at the 6mm stitchline point that you are concentrating your effort on (SEE THE RED ARROW ABOVE!). Pin to hold.

The other end of the strap needs to be placed on the point where the 1.5 cm SA/CB line (marked in white) intersects with the 6mm SA / STITCHLINE on the UNDERSTRAP (the red line). (See the RED ARROW again!)

Tip | Unless you have been super accurate with cutting and sewing so far your notches may not exactly match up – that’s OK. Their main purpose was to get the strap placed the right way around, so if they are a little bit out don’t worry – concentrate on placing the end of your strap to the CB line. (If they are a lot out- go back and check against your pattern as you may have stretched the top edge or taken the wrong SA somewhere.)

Pin or machine baste in the SA to hold.

Wrap the facing around the end of the strap, so the SA and stitching will be to the wrong side of the finished apron.Pin the facing to the body.

Front straps |


Take one of the front straps you had temporarily pinned previously, unpin and take the strap around to the front of the apron, so they will be RST.

Place the front straps and apron body RST, slide the strap underneath the facing and keep the facing out of the way! Nestle the front strap right up to the facing at the 6mm SA/stitchline point and pin or machine baste strap in position.Wrap the facing tightly around the strap. Pin, keeping the SA and stitching on the same side as the facing so it will be to the inside of the finished garment. Repeat for the other front strap.

And pin across the front facing.

Stitch & trim the facings |Use a 6mm SA and stitch across the front facing. Trim at each corner to reduce bulk.

Use a 6mm SA and stitch across the top of the back facings. Close the CB seam with a 1.5cm SA. Trim corners to reduce bulk.

Tip | if you are using a heavier fabric and the corners are really thick, you can gently bash them with a hammer to soften. It’s a good idea to sandwich your garment between a layer or two of spare fabric for a bit of protection first!

Now you just need to turn through to the right side and press.

The facings and understrap should not be visible from the front.

Finish the facing! |

While you’re here I may as well show you a picture of the final facing stage!

Once you have pressed your facing, pin through the SA at the underarm so the body side seam is directly on top of the facing side seam. ‘Stitch in the ditch’ of the seam to stop your facing poking out while it’s being worn. I’ve used a contrasting thread but in a matching colour it will completely sink into the groove of the seam and disappear.

Now you should be ready to hem your apron – we have a handy tutorial here!

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The Original Maria….



This really is the most delightful Maria Wrap Apron I’ve seen. Let me tell you why…It’s made by THE actual Maria that the apron is named after! Oh, yes…my very inspiring friend Maria of Maria Thomas Textiles is a textile artist, screen printer and a very generous teacher. She wore the very first incarnation of the Wrap apron in her studio, where this image was shot, and you can see some of her work hanging behind her apron. As you can probably see, Maria works with found objects and recycled materials, often recanting the daily rituals of life within her work.

Her apron has been made from an embroidered table cloth, that she has rescued and hand-dyed indigo and given careful consideration to the placement of the embroidery. The edges have been bound as a facing wouldn’t have been a suitable finish in this case, and she has stitched all of that binding down by hand, because she is, in fact, a demon hand stitcher! She has worked with the fabric and squared off the back at the hem to make the most of the embroidered edge.


I met Maria by chance, our eldest children in the same year at school, me also with a 2-year-old in tow & Maria with one a year younger – we discovered we had a mutual love of denim and a hatred of cooking the tea so I think the friendship was meant to be! She talked me into doing a screen printing course that she was teaching, just 2 or 3 days, where we met Wendy (of the smock), who had coincidentally worked with my other friend from college that I had dragged along at the very last minute to cheer her up…funny how you meet your tribe isn’t it!? Well those 2 days, turned into a 4 year, 1 day a week print course, a couple of exhibitions and some very good friends. She is also the reason why I have paper spoons hanging in my kitchen, the occasional hangover, more fabric than is strictly necessary and the knowledge that making stuff is a way of life and I didn’t know I was missing it. Like I said…good friend.


Maria is currently working on her next exhibition and will be at the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham, 17-20 March 2016 where you’ll be able to chat to her about her art, her inspiration and find out more about the amazing workshops that she runs.

Work from a previous Maria Thomas Textiles exhibition, nothing to do with me…I just wanted to share it! Now go be inspired!

Maria Thomas Textiles

Maria Thomas Textiles


Maria Thomas Textiles: The Blog

Maria Thomas Textiles: Facebook

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The Maria Wrap Apron Reversible Tutorial

How to Make a Reversible Maria Apron

I’ve seen some lovely reversible  Maria Wrap Aprons appearing by way of the growing band of happy #mavenmakers. I’m so delighted to see your makes and you’re a very creative bunch!

I’ve had many-a-request for a tutorial of how to make a reversible version. It’s not too complicated, and as with most things there is always more than one way to do it, but this is the method I found the easiest.  Do feel free to share your process…I’m all about an easy make!

The Maria Wrap Apron Reversible Tutorial

Arm yourself with the original instructions – to keep this tutorial shorter you’ll need to refer back to them for the full maker instructions.

Be sure to use the seam allowances as stated in the instructions.

CUTTING OUT: we are making Version A of The Maria Apron in this tutorial.

  • Use the FRONT (pattern piece 1)
  • BACK (pattern piece 2),
  • POCKET (pattern piece 7) 
  • TOP STRAP PATTERN (pattern piece 3)
  • DO NOT cut understraps or facings.

CUT 1 set for body A in fabric choice 1 (I’ve used a striped ticking from Ditto fabrics)

Cut 1 set for body B in fabric choice 2 (ideally equal in weight and density to fabric A, so one fabric doesn’t show through the other when reversed.)

*Please forgive my fabric choice 2…I’m currently working on a ‘use fabric from the stash policy only’ or I end up wasting days looking for the ‘perfect’ cloth. So my reversible apron is less reversible, more lined and without pockets in calico.

FACINGS: do not cut in fabric, ONLY cut 1 set in fusible interfacing (I made mine 2cm narrower than the pattern)

UNDERSTITCHING: in the instructions when it tells you to understitch, DON’T – doesn’t apply to a reversible one.

OVERLOCKING/NEATENING OF SEAMS:  They’ll all be enclosed between the two layers so don’t bother. YAY!

Don’t forget to press as you go, that’s my very TOPPIEST TIP for a professional looking garment.

Test your topstitching tension, it’s going to need to look good on both sides of your garment.


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

Fuse the interfacing onto the wrong side of one of your fabrics, doesn’t matter which one, but I’d advise doing a little test first to make sure it doesn’t show through on your fabric (it really showed through on my calico).

Follow the instructions and make up bodies A + B of the Aprons, complete with pockets. Don’t overlock or neaten the seams, they’ll all be enclosed so as I said before, there is no point!


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

Make up the straps (one A + one B for each strap) and turn through. This is where we deviate from the instructions…don’t understitch the straps. Normally you’d want those seams to sit to the underside of your strap (that’s why there is an understrap pattern, it’s slightly smaller so the seams roll to the underneath) but as we are doing a reversible one it needs to look good from both sides, so our seam is now going to sit exactly on the side, neither to the front OR the back. Practise on your straps – you’ve got to do the same on the armhole in a minute. Topstitch your straps, neatly does it, remember it’s going to show on both sides.


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

Place body A + body B with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (RST), use a 6mm seam allowance and stitch together at the armholes only. Turn back to the right side, so the seam allowance is enclosed and press.


Follow the instructions and attach the straps to body A. Just check they’re correct before you continue, you’ll thank me if you’ve got it wrong. All good? Great, let’s carry on then…


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

With RST pin and then stitch A + B together. Cut off the bulk in the corners (as described in the instructions), turn back to the right side and press neckline flat.


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

With RST again, pin the backs together at the top edges (where the straps are placed) and then continue to pin down the back and all around the hem, make sure you line up the side seams.

Here’s the (not-so) secret to bagging out a fully lined/reversible garment, leave an opening to turn everything through – you are literally going to pull the whole apron through it after stitching to turn it to the right side. If you are just lining a garment (rather than making it reversible) I’d suggest leaving an opening on the side seam as it won’t show at all when you are wearing it. But, as this is reversible and has pockets that sit over the side seam, I’ve gone with leaving an opening on the back seam. It’s a personal choice thing…I could have just as easily left an opening at the hem.

Machine stitch A + B together, use the seam allowances stated in the instructions. Don’t forget to leave the opening on one side – mine is about 12cm long. Press your seam.


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorialTrim away the excess seam allowance at the hem and around the curve so it will lie flat when turned through to the right side.

Turn the apron to the right side by pulling it through the opening. Now take your time and press the seam where you have joined A + B together, again you want that seam to sit exactly on the side so it neither favours A or B.


Maven Patterns: The Maria Wrap Apron reversible tutorial

Close the opening with a slip stitch, you shouldn’t be able to see your stitching when you’ve finished. Now you can topstitch around your Apron (all in the instructions). Personally, I left that stage off…

A: because I liked the look of my apron without it and

B: because my machine was in a bad mood, and I hate ropey topstitching so quit while I was ahead.

So that’s it, a fully reversible (or just fully lined) apron!

Off you go then….get stitching!

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Instagram first for Maven!

#mavenmakers Salt_of_the_North

#mavenmakers Salt_of_the_North


















I’m so excited to share this with you all…The first Maria Wrap Apron has appeared on Instagram! YAY!!

Maddy posted her apron on her lovely Instagram Salt_of_the North. She has made such a beautiful job of this one. I was very intrigued to see she is going to add some red line embroidery to the front, I can’t wait to see it completed. I just love the idea of everyone personalising their Aprons.

You should go and check out Salt_of_the North, it’s a wonderfully curated collection of images – very inspiring. A big thank you to Maddy for sharing her apron and I hope it’s not too long before her dream of being a shepherdess is fulfilled!

Don’t forget to add your own Maven Makes to Instagram by tagging us @mavenpatterns and with the hashtags #mavenmakers #mavenpatterns