Guys, I don’t know what has become of me.
Not only have I made something sensible, but I’ve also made something that hints at domestication. If my mother was alive she’d never believe it.
I’ve made an apron.
Let me start out by saying that I’m not known for my cooking skills (at least, not in a good way), or indeed for being a domestic goddess of any sort. Cooking and cleaning are not things I enjoy in the slightest. My Nan was an awesome cook (Nans always are the best though, amirite?), cherry pie and roast lamb being my personal favourites of her dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I lovvvvve eating the food, I just can’t cook it. I tried making an apple pie the other week and the pastry was so hard you actually needed Thor’s hammer to break it up. No lie. (Disclaimer: Aaron is celiac, so the pastry was made with gluten-free flour, which may have contributed to the outcome. That’s my excuse for it, anyway).
So for me to make an apron, it’s kind of a big deal.
I was fed up of the frying pan spitting at me and getting grease on my clothes, and apparently aprons are good for stopping that, so I thought I’d have a bash at making one.
I chose the fabric before I chose the pattern, because let’s be real – that’s the fun part. Apron patterns are really all pretty much the same thing, and on the scale of excitement they don’t rank very high. So fabric first. A normal quilting weight cotton would have probably been okay to use, but I wanted something a bit thicker so headed for the canvas section of Minerva Crafts. They stock canvas fabrics from both Art Gallery and Cotton and Steel, so there are lots of modern designs to choose from. I figured that a good choice for a kitchen item is always a food print (see also: paragraph above where I confess my love for food), and although an apple isn’t really my go-to snack (in fact it’s pretty much never that – who chooses an apple over delights such as chocolate? ??♀️), I like the retro-style print. It kind of reminds me of one of those fifties wives, with a tiny waist, and perfectly styled hair and make up. Which I am not, obvs, but ??♀️
The fabric I chose is a cotton and linen blend canvas made by Cotton and Steel, which i figured would be a good choice because we all know how cool their quilting cottons are (and if you don’t, go check ’em out). The canvas isn’t actually as heavy as I was expecting – I was kind of thinking it would be something like a thick denim, but it’s not, it’s more like a heavier quilting cotton.
Either way, it held a press reallllly well – which made making the apron a little bit easier – and it’s a pretty good weight for the job.
After browsing the selection of apron patterns available (honestly, it was so exciting I’m not sure how I managed to survive the experience and remain sane), I chose Kwik Sew 3247. There was no particular reason – it was an apron (this being the main requirement), it came in one adult size only (no time wasted faffing about what size to make, #win), and it didn’t have too many fussy pockets on it (which I was going to leave off anyway, so I guess that didn’t really matter too much in the grand scheme of things). I’m happy with my choice.
The construction method of the apron was pleasantly surprising (see above for lack of knowledge/interest around all things domesticated) – the neckband and the waist ties are actually one complete strip, and they slide through a channel down either side of the apron. This means that you can adjust the height of front bib by shortening the neck strap. I was a bit worried that the apron body would just slide down the straps, and that it would get super annoying super quickly, but I can confirm that this definitely will not happen. For starters, canvas isn’t a slippery fabric in the slightest (if you made a satin apron, it would be a different story), and you’ve gotta yank it quite hard to get the body to move up and down that strap. It’s quite a snug fit – when you’re making the apron, you’re gonna need something to help get the strap through the channel. I used a loop turner, which if you’re unfamiliar (as I was, before I had one), is a pointy metal stick that looks like this:
You use it to turn narrow tubes (think: spaghetti straps) inside out after sewing, but you can also use it to pull things through tubes (think: drawstrings). Super useful and really cheap to buy, you won’t regret getting one.
If you’ve got an overlocker, it will make the apron-making process a bit easier for you – there’s some exposed edges going on around the back of the apron, which you’re going to have to finish somehow. I’ve overlocked mine, but you could always use a zig zag stitch instead, if you’re better at keeping one straight than me. I’ve never quite believed that pinking the edge stops fraying (??♀️) but feel free to give that a whirl as an alternative. Let me know your findings ?
I’m pleased with the apron – it fits well and does the job. And it looks kind of pretty. You get a matching oven mitt pattern in the envelope as well, but I don’t really have any desire to make a mitt. The towel that lives in the kitchen does a fine job doubling as an oven mitt, but it’s nice to know that I’ve got the template ready and waiting if the urge to sew a mitt ever hits me.
The obvious place to photograph an apron would of course be the kitchen. If you saw my kitchen, you’d understand why I passed up on this and instead headed to the forest. It’s really not inspiring, as far as kitchens go, and it’s proper small. I did briefly consider taking the apron into work with me, and photographing it in the building’s canteen – which looks much more like a proper kitchen than mine does – but I thought that was still a little weird. And even then, it’s not a particularly pretty kitchen. It’s just a kitchen, all grey and shiny and oven-y. So yeah, the forest it was.
It’s kind of nice, now and then, to make things that aren’t clothing. I’ve dabbled in a few things recently, including a wallet (done – to be blogged soon!), a Bionic Gear Bag (almost finished, just need to put the main zip in), a knitting needle case (not even started) and some clear vinyl pouches. I’m about to start a backpack as well, for one of my Minerva Blogger Network makes, and I’ve also just bought the pattern for another backpack – the Raspberry Rucksack by Sarah Kirsten. Ah, so many projects, so little time.
I actually have a few more ‘sensible’ things that I want to make – I need an ironing board cover, because mine is grey, boring, and a bit manky, and I also need some new cushion covers because the dog has ruined them by sitting her fat ass on them for 20 hours per day ?
But, I can only handle so much sensible-ness in one go and I think I’ve had my fill for a little while, so these are things that you might see here on ze blog a bit later on in the year.
In other news, I lost most of my Sewing Sunday last week ??♀️ Let me paint the scene: The sun is shining beautifully, so we take a few minutes to sit on the patio outside. We sit together, enjoying basking in the warmth, and Leela comes to sit with us. She loves the sunshine.
Then, a honeybee buzzes past us, and Leela dives at it to chomp it down out of the air. She succeeds, and then spits the mangled, drool-covered bee out on the floor. I’m quite concerned that the bee is sort of half-dead – but can’t bring myself to put it out of its misery – so instead we put it back on the bee-plant that all its friends are on in the hope they will help him, or take him back to the nest. Or something.
We’ve been here before with Leela. She loves to eat pretty much any flying object that buzzes round her – including flies (I know, don’t even get me started on how disgusting this is). She’s ended up with a puffy face before from taking on a wasp – and losing – but we managed to prevent catastrophe by removing the chewed-off stinger out of her mouth and giving her an antihistamine. We’re expecting this time to be the same. Oh, how wrong we were.
We look in her mouth to see if we can spot the bee sting, and we can’t, so we hope that she’s not been stung and keep watch over her.
The first sign of a reaction is the puffy eyes. They’re a little red and swollen, so we give her an antihistamine. Next time I check on her, her whole face has puffed up, her eye is swollen closed and she’s got massive hives all over her head. Time to call the emergency vet. You see, with allergic reactions the danger is that the swelling spreads to the throat and cuts off the airway – obvs not good. The nearest emergency vet that’s open on a Sunday is (thankfully) just a few miles away, and they book me in and say that the fee for an emergency out-of-hours appointment is £160. Ouch. But what do you do? We said we’d be there, and called an Uber.
For reference, this is Normal Leela:
And this is Lumpy-Head-Fat-Mouth-Squinty-Eye Leela:
We usually walk to our regular vets, or take the bus, but this emergency hospital was somewhere new and the buses would take too long. I was worried that the swelling was getting worse with time so wanted to get there as quickly as possible – and a taxi would be the fastest way. It’s up to each individual Uber driver whether they carry a dog though, so I had to check with them once the booking had been accepted. The first driver said he wouldn’t take us (‘I got stuff in the boot‘ he said – I wonder what would have happened if we’d had suitcases ?) but we got lucky with the second one.
I should mention that Leela hates the vets. With a passion. She’s very vocal about when she’s not enjoying things, or if she feels uncomfortable. She’s a bit misunderstood, bless her, and most vets think that she’s gonna take their hand off. So she normally has to be muzzled, which you can imagine she enjoys immensely. She’s unwilling to let the vet look in her mouth, to check the state of the swelling and reaction, so the next option is to give her a shot of anti-inflammatory – which needs to be put directly into a vein rather than into the back of her neck, like they do with normal vaccinations, so it’s absorbed quicker.
It takes three of us to hold Leela still (me around the middle, Aaron’s got the head and the vet’s assistant has the back end) while the vet shaves her leg for the injection. First the front leg gets a buzz cut, but the vet then decides against doing it in the front leg for whatever reason, and so then the back leg gets shaved as well. Leela seems to particularly dislike having her leg shaved, and I start to dread the actual injection. The vet seems to take an eternity to find a vein – all the while I’m trying to sing to Leela to calm her down (telling her that if she could just leave the poor flying insects alone, she wouldn’t have to go through this) and with every second, my heart is breaking that we’re holding her down and forcing her to endure something she’s clearly so distressed about. I know it’s for her own good, and in this case could actually be life-saving, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it and I hope she can forgive me.
She gets the shot, we pay the bill and find another Uber that’ll take us home.
Leela spends the rest of the day snoring on the sofa, sleeping it off, and by the following morning most of the swelling has gone down thankfully. She doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against me, which I’m happy about.
Because of the bee-drama, I lost sewing time on a rapidly looming deadline for a wedding outfit I’m making. The top is finished but the skirt is… ahem, a little too snug. Current plan of attack is to reevaluate the remaining seams that haven’t been let out yet (there ain’t many of them, let me tell ya), and/or consider Spanx. It’s the thighs where it’s tight, which funnily enough seems to be the area that’s bulked up the most since I started weights classes at the gym. There’s a slit up the skirt on the side-front which kind of releases some of the pressure, but if I raised the slit to where it’s tight on my thighs it would be… somewhat indecent. And definitely not wedding-appropriate, fo sho. Once I’ve figured out how to get the extra width, I’ve then gotta put the lining in as well – which I’m hoping doesn’t take up too much precious thigh-space. If the worst comes to the worst, I can actually get in the skirt – I just can’t move very much – so I’ll just stand really still for the whole night ??♀️?
Oh yeah – I almost forgot the pictures of the apron ??♀️ Here it is in all it’s apple-ness! ?
⭐️Fabric and sewing pattern was provided free of charge by Minerva Crafts, as part of their Blogger Network programme. All opinions are totally my own, and believe me – when I don’t like something you’ll know about it ?⭐️
Next week on the blog is my round-up of our trip to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia a couple of weeks back!
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