I’m so excited to finally be writing this post about a project from Ayumi’s new book, Patchwork Please. I’m just so tickled for her to have this book out and be part of the sew along. I remember when she announced she had a book coming and I was itching to get my hands on it right away. And it does not disappoint. Just one cute project after another, all in that adorable Zakka style that Ayumi has such a great grasp of.
If you don’t know about it yet, there is a sew along just starting for the whole book. Which means you can make each sweet project right along with a bunch of other people…and of course there are awesome prizes and giveaways along the way. (Keep reading for details about the giveaways!) Sigh. I love sew alongs! You can catch up on the details of the blog hop/sew along in the Flickr Group (where you can also add your pictures!)
As you can see, my project for the sew along is the uber cute Polka Dot Cafe Apron. The concept is fairly simple, a simple mid thigh apron with a patchwork pocket and ties. But of course, the apron is made in the details.By far, the most work is making the patchwork blocks for the pockets. I believe that these finish at 6″ square…so that is a LOT of tiny pieces in those blocks. And as is the case for most Zakka projects there is a lot of fussy cutting going on to make each and every piece unique.
The main base of my apron is made from Essex Linen in Leather (just the color name, not actual leather). I carefully copied the templates so that I would be able to fussy cut my pieces as necessary. One thing I did to try to make things easier was cut my triangles from a square rather than cutting each triangle separately. A small thing, but it saves time.
Learn from my mistakes. Since these pieces are essentially all fussy cut, you use a nice little template to get just the right piece of the fabric. However, you need to pay attention to the orientation of the templates. Doh. The two pieces above are cut from the same template. However, the left square does not work because the squares in the blocks are oriented on point. I needed the one on the right side to use correctly in the block and have the image turned the correct way.
As I said before, each of the three blocks is quite small when finished. Also, all these pieces are cut on the bias. All of that adds up to a block that is easy to distort out of shape. I think perhaps I might try paper piecing this block in sections for more stability and accuracy. I made the three blocks and two of them turned out the same size as each and the third was a bit larger. Ironically the larger one was the ONE that was the correct size. It’s not a huge deal in this particular project, but the perfectionist in me wants my blocks to be the same size for construction purposes. I think that they are all really pretty darn awesome though.
As with any binding these days, I used my trusty clover clips to hold the binding in place while I hand sewed it. I love these guys! I got mine on amazon at one point for a great deal. I use them all of the time since I bought them though so it’s one of those items I would actually pay full price for.
The apron construction was simple once those three blocks were made. Those blocks are definitely where the bulk of my time went in making this. I followed all of the directions as written with the exception that I sewed down the pocket and subdivided it into three small pockets instead of one large one. Just more practical for how I use it. I also added some hand stitching around the center of each block instead of machine sewing around the little blocks.
Definitely a fun project that has just the right balance of detail and simplicity. Go ahead and use those special fabrics for this. You will be glad you did. It doesn’t use up very much fabric for a small block and you get to really make a feature of them. Picking the fabrics was one of my favorite parts of this project!