Friday, September 4, 2009

The Cap'n Bluebush Apron

My partner, Sewer Slut Mel, asked for an apron that was inspired by the pin-up pirate who was the hostess logo for our Pirate Apron Swap (and would a better name for the swap have been the "Yo Ho Ho! Apron Swap"?).  I tried to consider what elements from the hostess pirate would be best suited for an apron and I knew that I wanted to work a corset-like fixture into the apron and I wanted it to appear sort of like a one-piece pirate costume.  She could throw it on over jeans and still feel swashbuckly and piratey.

So I looked at my apron patterns and decided on the "Summertime Blues" apron designed by Joan K. Morris and  found in the A is for Apron book compiled by Nathalie Mornu.  I liked that the waist piece had the shape of a corset and that the bodice and skirt could pass as a dress.  So then I had to pick fabrics.  My mom made a pirate costume a while back and used a gorgeous cream and gold striped fabric that she later pawned off onto me.  I also had a nice, blue brocade-ish home dec fabric to use as the waist, so I decided that gold and blue would be the theme for this apron.

The first hurdle whenever one uses a pattern from this book is the fact that it needs to be enlarged.  No problem, right?  I had made two other aprons from A is for Apron and that was not a problem, because they each had maybe one to three pieces to enlarge.  Not so with this apron.  There were fourteen pieces to enlarge!  I could not remember how much the blueprint place charged and I was so gung-ho to use this pattern, that I just went and got them enlarged.  Yikes!  The bill was way too much for what an apron should cost.  I will definitely think again before enlarging multiple pattern pieces at the blueprint place.  Should I have considered this as an omen?  A curse by a witch of the high seas?  I was blinded by the booty under the X and so I plundered ahead with this apron.

So everything gets cut out and the first problem that I encountered was that the bodice pieces were not marked very well.  I needed to sew together the bodice edgings to the bodice pieces.  By sheer luck, I matched the first one correctly, but then I accidentally sewed the wrong edges together on the second piece and only figured it out after I had clipped the curves. Grrrrr. This really should have been marked in a more comprehensive manner. Continuing with the bodice, I pinned the lining pieces to the front and found that they did not match up evenly at all and I had to cut about an inch off from the shoulder to make them fit together. Also, when attaching the ties to the shoulders there were no marks to match up and that was also a bit of a pain.

For the most part, I was able to assemble the skirt pieces without issue, with the exception that the bottom layer was at least three inches longer than the pieces above it.  How did that happen?  I did a bit of a pleat and it all came together.  After they were assembled, I looked at the reverse side of the skirt and I was really disgusted that the instructions did not call for this to be lined.  Without a lining, we were looking at at least four ragged seams.  Not pretty.  So I cut out a bit of a lining and sewed it to the skirt.  There were three layers on the bottom and I only cut the lining to the second layer, because the third layer was a gold mesh that I wanted to leave exposed.

As I went to assemble the skirt to the waist, I realized that my waist piece was too short.  Ridiculous!  So I had to sew a little extra blue brocade patch onto the waist in order to make the skirt fit.  Argh!  So far this apron is on its way to walkin' the plank!

After the apron was all assembled, I just needed to install the gold grommets, some navy lace on the neck line, and I really needed to figure out what to do with that gold mesh.  The mesh was really pretty and with a straight hem, the apron really seemed too Renaissance-y to me, so I started chopping away with my scissors and gave it that jagged look of a pirate lass who's been wearing the same outfit for way too long on a trans-Atlantic voyage!  

After the navy lace was sewn onto the bodice, I decided that I needed to iron it just a bit and my iron was a tad too hot and the lace melted somewhat.  (Mel, you can see it if you really look, so don't look!!)  Otherwise, I think that is it.  Sewer Slut Susan talked me out of attaching bells to the apron...she thought it looked to court jester-ish and she was right, though it sounded really neat to jingle when I walked.  And so here you have it, Cap'n Bluebush's long lost apron:
I hope she likes it!  I also hope she enjoys the scurvy-preventing recipes that I included.  Argh!  And happy pirate sewing!

P.S. While typing this post, I started looking up reviews of this book on Amazon and a lot of people said the same thing about pattern pieces not fitting together properly or that the directions were poorly written.  I made "Deep Pockets" and "Twirl Girl" from this book and do not remember any major snafus (and you can view the results of these two aprons in our slideshow to the right).  This is the first apron that I have had trouble with, but I am definitely going to check reviews before I make another one.


Kricket said...

Love it. Can't wait to see it on Mel!!

Rachel Eloise said...

I just checked online and they have posted revisions to the Summertime Blues apron pattern as well as many others. If you have this book (or are thinking of purchasing it), you should check to see if there are revisions to the apron you want to make.