In our church, it’s quite common for the youth (and sometimes whole families) to go on a Pioneer Trek during the summer. I went right before my senior year of high school, and it was a truly wonderful experience. We went to Martin’s Cove in Wyoming, and it really helped me feel more connected to my ancestors who walked from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah in the 1800s, as well as very grateful for their sacrifice.
Part of the fun of it is how authentic it is. Everyone wears simple pioneer clothing, you pull handcarts, and you camp. When I went, I made my skirts and bonnet. My little brother is going this year, and my parents are going along to help prepare the food. My mom asked if she could borrow of my skirts (which, of course, she could – they’ve just been hanging in a closet for about seven years), and then she asked if I could possibly make her an apron. It seemed like a simple enough project, so I agreed.
It turned out to be super simple! This easy pioneer apron tutorial could easily be done at a youth night before a trek (or just in one evening – obviously there are different events where a person might need a pioneer skirt, beyond a trek. I loved Pioneer Day in elementary school.) I looked around at different patterns online, and I realized – I didn’t need one. So hopefully I took enough pictures so you can follow along pretty easily.
I added lace – just because my mom and I thought that would be a fun finishing touch – as well as some pockets, but you could easily leave those off if you want the project to be as simple as possible!
1.25-1.5 years of sturdy cotton or other material. Thicker is better
Lace if you want it
A rotary mat and rotary cutter makes it a lot easier!
Measure how long you want the apron band to be at the top of the apron and how long you want the apron to be. Then, multiply the band length by 1.5. Write these measurements down.
Cut out a large square/rectangle that is the length that you want the apron to be and the width as long as the band (times 1.5).
Create the band for the apron – cut a strip of fabric that is the length you want it to be, and the width to be twice as thick as you want the final product to be.
Fold this piece of fabric in half length-wise. Feel free to iron it, and then sew along the open edge (length-wise) from one end to the other.
Gather the top of the apron to be the length that you will end up making the apron band. Take your apron band and line it up with the apron to make sure you get it right. Gathering can be done by hand or with a sewing machine. Here are some instructions on how to gather using a sewing machine.
Take the apron band and place it with the sewed seem lined up with the ruffled edge (see the picture below) on the front of the apron. You don’t want the rough edges to show on the final project, so making sure you sew it this way is very important. Sew from one edge to the other until the band is secure in place. Then, iron the band once it’s attached so it lays flat.
Next, cut two long strips of fabric for the apron strings. You’ll want to make these to be twice the width of the sewed on apron band, and the length should be about 1.5 times the length of the apron band.
Fold the strips in half length-wise and sew along the rough edge. Iron, and then turn inside out so there are no rough/sewn edges being shown.
Sew one strip to the end of each end of the apron band, right sides together.
At this point, you can be done – just make sure you trim off an extra thread! However, if you want to do pockets or add lace, continue on.
Measure out a square to be about 1 inch longer and wider than you want the final pockets to be. If you want the pockets to be square, cut them out at this point and then skip to step twelve. If you want them to be rounded, continue to step eleven.
Place a small cup or bowl on the fabric so you can easily draw a rounded edge along the two bottom corners of the pocket, and then cut it out.
Fold in the edges like demonstrated below. It is easiest if you press these in place with an iron, but you can finger press them as well
Sew along just the folded edge that is at the top of the pocket. Make sure when you sew, it sews over the top of the two folded edges attached to it for the sides of the pocket.
Pin the pockets to the front of your skirt where you want them to be place (wrong side/backside of the pocket the right side/front side of the apron.)
Sew along the edges, removing pins as you go and making sure the folded edges stay underneath and sewn. This can be a bit tricky, which is why pressing them with an iron makes it a little easier!
Sewing Lace on Bottom
This is totally just for fun and to make the apron look a little prettier. All you need is to cut a piece of lace (about two inches wide) that is the length of the bottom of the apron.
Sew the top edge of the lace to the raw edge of the apron and then turn it out and gently press with an iron.
Enjoy! Please let me know if you have any questions or think that any step needs to be clarified further!