Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Apron Project

Pumpkin inspired apron

This term my textiles group up at The Heathlands Project have been working on making aprons. The group decided they would like a project that would enable them to make something useful and practical for themselves whilst improving their existing textile skills and hopefully learning a few new ones too. After some discussion we decided making aprons would be the ideal project.

Original apron design and screen print designs

The screen printed characters

The group started off by looking through books and magazines for different designs and styles of aprons. They then did their own designs and made their own patterns. This was a very interesting process as most of the group had no pattern making experience, this meant that they were less constrained in terms of trying unusual shapes than a more experienced group would perhaps have been as they were not familiar with basic pattern drafting and pattern blocks so less aware of the conventions.

Appliqué with fabric

Appliqué with felt

Once the patterns were drafted we got to the really fun part; choosing and decorating the fabric. Different members of the group chose to embellish their aprons in different ways including screen printing, embroidery, appliqué and fabric pens. This is always my favourite part of a project as it allows people's creativity to really shine and it means I get to do fun things like screen printing demonstrations. 

This apron was hemmed and embellished with buttons

Pocket detail

Once the guys had finished decorating their aprons we had the finishing to do, some people chose to hem their aprons whilst others experimented with bias binding. We used cotton twill tape in a range of colours for the straps and once these were sewn on the aprons were ready to wear. 

Floral apron with appliquéd flowers

Screen printed apron with pockets

Apron with large pocket and bias binding

I think this was a very successful project, it was good seeing people come in each week ready to crack on with their aprons and full of ideas. It took some people just a few weeks and others closer to two months but everyone has worked hard and displayed great commitment and determination. The incentive of having something to wear at the end seems to have been a strong motivating factor for some people.  For me the best bit was seeing how proud the guys were of their finished aprons and how keen they were to wear them and show them off. I liked this project as it was complex enough to give people a challenge and allowed quite a lot of scope for developing embellishing techniques but it was also simple enough that even people new to textiles could complete a useful item that they could be proud of.

Apron with appliquéd hearts

Pocket detail

Appliquéd fish apron

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