My dad has a talent for spilling things on himself, especially when he eats.  Instead of leaning over his plate and gently easing the food into his mouth, he uses his utensils to fling the food in his general direction.  ^_^  It’s actually quite funny and endearing (or at least I hope it is, because I’ve inherited the same problem, only I usually have a hole in my lip while drinking).

So for Father’s Day this year, I thought I’d make my dad something he could use (and that my stepmom would enjoy and appreciate, as well!)  However, my dad is also an avid green thumb and master of the BBQ, so hopefully he’ll get lots of use out of his gift.

Modeled by my ever-so-accommodating hubby.  Thanks babe!!

I know that it’s a little corny, especially that colorful print – WOWZA!! However my dad has always been a vivid, extremely fun, life-of-the-party kinda guy, so it fits him perfectly in my opinion.  I’m just hoping he agrees with my opinion…  And although it might be nerdoriffic, it’s better than an adult bib – that much I know he’ll agree with!

Before I decided what to give my dad this year, I found that tutorials for Father’s Day gifts are severely lacking on the net, at least compared to Mother’s Day gifts.  So when inspiration struck I knew I wanted to create a tutorial and share it with you.  Let’s get ‘er done then, shall we?

I’m still getting the hang of the “Materials Needed” pictures.  I always seem to forget one or two (or ten) things.  I know it might seem like a lot, but I want to tell you how easy this apron is.  I’m already thinking of who else I can make these for.

Oh, and before I forget: I was originally going to use tea towels for this apron, but all the ones I found were either to girly or too delicate.  My dad has a tendency of annihilating his clothing, so I needed fabric that would not only hide the stains, but also withstand an ambush from a pack of rampaging African bull elephants (just in case).

When I couldn’t find a tea towel to fit the bill, I settled on placemats.  Yeah… I know.  But it was either that or a plastic tarp, and these were a little cuter.  Whatever you decide to use though, the procedure is the same.

step 1: Lay one tea towel out horizontally (fat way) and lay the other tea towel on top of it vertically (tall way), overlapping it by about 8 or 9 inches (or a little less than half).  The overlapping part will eventually be the pocket, so you can make it at large or as small as needed.  I wanted my pocket to be on the large side so my dad could use it for holding gardening tools, BBQ utensils, or anything else he may need.

Once you’ve decided where you like it, pin the overlapping tea towel into place using your straight pins.

step 2: Sew your tea towel into place on all three sides, leaving the top part open to create a pocket.  And just in case you’re wondering, the placemats were surprisingly easy for the needle to go through.  No problems whatsoever, except when I couldn’t find my sunglasses to shield my eyes from a print as bright as the sun.

step 3: Easiest pocket in the history of sewing.  If you want to leave your pocket large like this, skip to step 7.  However if you want to divide this large pocket into multiple pockets, then read on, my friend!

step 4: Mark off where you want your new pockets to be using more straight pins.

step 5: Continue marking until you have as many pockets as you need.  The above picture was created to show you where my pockets were since it was impossible to tell in the original picture.  The green lines are supposed to represent the straight pins I added in this step.  Oh, and please pay no attention to the paws – my dog kept thinking this was his royal highness’s blanket every time I’d lay it on the carpet to take a picture.  He’s a dork.

step 6: Sew on top of the large pocket through the entire apron in order to create the smaller pockets.

step 7: I wanted the apron to have some shape to it instead of being so boxy, but I also wanted to give it a special touch.  So instead of cutting off the corners, I folded them down in the front and used straight pins to hold them down.

step 8: Get your buttons and sew them onto the corners, making it look like the beginnings of a button-down shirt with a collar!  Cheesy, but it’s expected because I’m the queen of cheese in my family. **NOTE: I found it was easier to leave the straight pins in place until I had sewn the buttons securely into place.  Simply remove them when you’re done with the buttons.

step 9: Set aside the apron for now.  Using your tape measure, measure out 2 pieces of ribbon that are 28” long (for the waist), and 2 pieces that are 20” long (for the neck).

step 10: Hem your ribbon by folding it over once, ironing it down, folding it over again, and ironing down once more.  Do this to both sides of all four pieces of ribbon.  ** NOTE: If you are attempting to complete this while the baby is napping, cut down on time by simply singing the edge of the ribbons with a lighter so they won’t fray and skip to step 12.

step 11: Sew the edges of the ribbon down.  I used a zig zag stitch thinking that it would be more secure, but I think it would have looked nicer if I’d used a simple straight stitch instead.

step 12: Pin your two shorter ribbons into place using straight pins.  **NOTE: If you are tweaking this tutorial to make the apron for a woman, sew the neck straps on the bottom of the diagonal edges so the corners don’t stick out around the chest area.

step 13: Sew the neck straps into place.

step 14: Make sure the straps are on securely. I ended up going back and sewing them on a bit more, sewing directly above my original stitches.

step 15: Repeat steps 12 through 14 for the waist straps.

step 16: I originally thought of sewing more buttons down the middle of the apron in order to make it look like a button down shirt, but it looked a little boring when I laid it all out.  So instead I decided to create a tie for the front.  After all, my poor dad has recieved more ties from me over the years than I can count.  Why break tradition now?  So for this step, print the tie template and cut out the pieces.

step 17: Before I say another word, I have a confession to make…  I don’t actually own an ironing board.  Between all the toys, furniture, and knick-knacks crammed into my teeny little apartment there was never enough room.  I usually just go to the kitchen and use a wooden cutting board covered with a thin tea towel.  It’s never been a problem until now, when I caught sight of that nasty-looking grout.  By the way, why are you always under the impression that stuff in your house is really clean, right up until the moment you start posting pictures of them on the web?!  Just wondering.

Ok moving on…

If you’ve never heard of Wonder Under before, then let me introduce you.  Wonder Under is a paper backed adhesive web which is designed to turn any fabric into a fusible fabric.  This basically means that once you iron the Wonder Under onto the back of your fabric, it gives that fabric the ability to fuse to any other fabric.  All you have to do is peel the paper off the back and use the iron – no sewing machine required!  If done correctly, the Wonder Under will stand up like a champ to washing, dry cleaning, and two-year-olds.

I’ll get off my soap box now and get to the actual step.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Normally what you’d do is iron the entire piece of Wonder Under onto the back side of the fabric and then cut out the template pieces.  But because I’m cheap conscientious, I can’t stand to throw away a whopping $1.50 worth of the fusible webbing.  I hate wasting money (even if it’s only $1.50), so I always trace the templates directly onto the smooth side of the Wonder Under.  That way I can make my purchase last for a few more projects.

step 18: Iron the rough side of your Wonder Under template pieces onto the wrong (or back) side of your coordinating fabric (which in my case was a sleeve from an old shirt in my fabric stash).

step 19: Your Wonder Under should now be stiffly fused onto the back of your fabric.  Cut around the template pieces once more.  I swear that grout is not so dark in real life.  Ew.

step 20: Peel the protective paper backing off your templates.  It will almost look like you’re peeling the entire Wonder Under off.  Don’t worry – you’re not.  If you look closely, you will see a thin, shiny layer of glue that will become sticky once you hit it with the iron.

Place your tie tail template piece glue-side down and start ironing for 10-20 seconds.  The tie is long enough that it will need to be pushed into the pocket in order to fit.  Go ahead and do that.

step 21: Flip the apron around and slip the iron underneath the pocket, securing the bottom of the tie.

step 22: Iron the knot into place at the top of the tie, between the two “collar” pieces of the apron.

step 23: Here is where it can get a little tricky.  But don’t worry; if my fried egg of a brain can figure it out, you can too!  Take the tie tail pocket piece and fold it over the pocket, tweaking it as necessary until it lines up exactly with the other tie template piece.

step 24: Once you’ve got it in the right spot, iron it down on the top side of the pocket.

step 25: Flip the apron over and iron the down the back side behind the pocket.

step 26: Sew all the way around the edge of the tie.  **NOTE: This step is optional.  But like I mentioned in the beginning, my dad has a talent for annihilating his clothing.  I’m sewing around it just to be safe and make sure it stays put.

After sewing many tie appliques in the past for all the little boys in our family, I have discovered a neat trick for stitching the entire thing in one shot:

If you follow this outline, you won’t have to continually stop and start.  Simply stitch, turn, stitch, turn until it’s all done!!  Oh, and do yourself a favor and don’t do this:

Yeah.  Duh.

So that’s it!!  You’re done!!  All you have to do now is beg the hubs to pose like a Sears catalog model so you can get some pictures.

Nothing manlier than an Architectural Digest and a meat mallet, right?  ^_-

Just in case this tutorial was clear as mud, feel free to comment your questions below and I’ll try to explain it a bit better.  I’d love to hear what you think!!  And if you end up making one for your dad, please link it up to Flickr!

In case you’re looking for even more inspiration, head on over to the Father’s Day Linky Party at Someday Crafts!  You’ll find some cute gifts and amazing tutorials there to walk you through creating them.

Thanks again for reading everyone.  Happy crafting, and an even Happier Father’s Day!