A few months ago, Sam mentioned that he wanted an apron to wear while painting his models. He spends hours sitting at his desk in our bedroom painting his minis, and his dedication to his hobby is very similar to my obsession with sewing. I love that he has something he is so passionate about and that we can share our love for our hobbies and encourage each other. This idea of an apron stuck with me and I decided to whip one up as a Christmas gift for Sam!
PS: Sam is the producer behind the Love to Sew Podcast. He edits the show and creates the amazing show notes for us all to reference! Needless to say, this apron is well-deserved.
I have been eyeing the waxed canvas from Blackbird Fabrics and this project was a perfect excuse to try it. A little bird told me that more colours will be available on Jan 25th – yay!
Waxed canvas is just that – canvas with a coating of wax on it! It is waxy (duh) to the touch and folds and crinkles as you would expect. The end result is a fabric that is durable and has a wonderfully worn-in and textured look to it.
I had never worked with this textile before and I was pleasantly surprised. It is really easy to cut due to its rigidity, it is fun to press and to sew, and the fabric softens so much over time. Even just in the process of making the apron, the crinkly lines started to soften and the wax seemed to get worked in to the fibers. For an apron, this fabric is amazing. You can also use it for bags and it even makes a cool, water-resistant jacket!
Hot tip: use a press cloth when pressing waxed canvas. It will leave some residue on your iron. You can also forgo the press cloth and clean your iron after you finish your project. For more tips on working with Waxed Canvas, check out this article from Colette.
Now, about this apron! I kinda made this up as I went along. Using Sam’s Measurements I figured out how wide and tall to make the body of the apron. I then decided on a shape for the top portion. I settled to do slightly curved angles down from the narrower top of the apron to the side ties. I like this scooped look (as is evident from my York Pinafore design). The curved parts are finished using blue bias binding.
The top, sides, and hem of the apron are straight lines which I finished using mitered corners and a 1″ hem all around. The ties were tucked into the folded edge and then flipped back out and secured. The neck of the apron has a double D-ring for adjusting and the back is secured using ties. The ties are made from cotton webbing, which you can find at most fabric stores.
That is all the basic construction, but you are probably wondering – what is that weird flap on the front? I’m glad you asked! This was my favourite part of the project because I love a unique design challenge.
A big part of Sam’s modeling work involves actually building the models before he paints them. They are made up of impossibly small pieces that arrive on spreues and he assembled them using teeny-tiny drills, glue, and modeling putty for filling in gaps. He had mentioned that his dream apron would include some kind of system for catching small pieces because it is easy to drop them and they are really hard to find once they hit the ground. Challenge acepted!
I had several ideas for this, including velcro or grommets on the apron that attached to the underside of his desk, but that seemed cumbersome. And imagine if he stood up quickly and jostled his whole painting station! Once I began working with the waxed canvas I realized that it holds its shape SO well. Maybe I could just create a fabric ‘bowl’ that he can use when needed, but is otherwise not in the way.
I created this bowl by making a simple rectangle of fabric. It has a 1″ channel with mitered corners, and I ran cording along the sides and bottom. When I attached the panel to the apron, I also secured the ends of the cord on the top corners. I then added little spring cord locks to help cinch up the fabric into a bowl shape.
When Sam is seated at his station, the bowl sits under the lip of the desk and catches anything that falls. When he is not using the fabric bowl, he can flatten it down and it acts as extra protection in his lap in case he spills glue or paint. I could tell you about the Hudson pants that he spilled rubber cement on, but that’s another story…
Sam said he didn’t need any pockets on his apron, but that felt wrong. What is an apron without a pocket!? I decided to add a chest pocket with spots for pens and a place for his phone. The leather patch and rivets were just for fun. I think these details really add something to the overall feel of this maker apron.
I had so much fun making this project and really want to work with waxed canvas again! I’m dreaming of a jacket or a backpack. Let me know if you have any questions about this project. Happy sewing (or painting)!