Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Notes on Purl Soho Cross-back Apron pattern

Purl Soho Cross-back Apron, regular sized,
 front view

Purl Soho Cross-back Apron, regular sized,
  back view

by Linda Theil

This is the Purl Soho Cross-back Apron featured on their website at

Their page includes complete directions for making this one-size-fits-most apron with large, side-pockets and cross-back straps. This retro apron is so nicely made and looks so much like the apron my grandma wore in the Nineteen-fifties that I had to make one for my friend who appreciates the nostalgia and the beauty of this design.

Although this apron pattern, as published, can adjust to several sizes from 2-10; I also made a larger option, adjusting the width of the pattern pieces to accommodate up to size 16 and up. Size adjustment may also be made by varying the length of the straps.

These notes are a record of my experience with the pattern, and should only be viewed as commentary; your results may vary.

For both layouts, I used cotton fabric with an all over pattern -- meaning there is no up or down, left or right, direction of the fabric.

Standard, basic-sized Purl Soho Cross-back Apron

For the standard size, I used the pattern pieces as indicated on the Purl Soho site. I cut six 8.5-inch cuts the width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge and one 13-inch cut the width of the fabric selvedge to selvedge. 

This layout takes a little less than 1-7/8 yards of fabric. Cutting across the grain is not standard procedure for clothing layout, but I thought the ease of cutting made this choice an acceptable option for me — especially since the drape and fit of the apron was not a major consideration for me.

To cut the pattern pieces, I used two of the 8.5-inch cuts for the straps, and I used the other four 8.5-inch cuts to lay out the pocket/sides and back using the diagram on the pattern that indicates the measurements of each pattern piece. I cut the front piece to the length indicated in the cutting diagram on the Purl Soho site.

For the straps, the standard pattern uses two 8-inch wide pieces cut from selvedge to selvedge across the width of the fabric, or about 42-inches long. The instructions indicate that the apron should be tried on and straps fitted to the wearer, varying the length of the straps as appropriate. In general, they cut the strap to a finished length of 28.5-inches, plus adding about 3.5-inches for the insertion method they use for a total of about 32-inch long straps. They indicated in the comment section of the post that sewists could add about one-half inch to strap length for each size up from this basic length for a size 2-4. If possible, the straps should be fitted to size the apron, but it may be useful to sewists to have a general idea of the standard strap length, especially since those 42-inch-long straps seem mighty long at first glance.

A note on the pockets

These pockets are cute, but are a little tricky to assemble -- mostly because you are making seams but really can't picture what you are sewing. I've made this pattern twice, and both times have made errors in the pocket construction and had to rip out a seam. You have to be vigilant! 

Rule number one is you must label the pocket pieces. I safety-pinned a piece of paper with the letter name on each piece as I cut it. The Purl Soho pattern shows how each set of pieces: A, B, and C, should look before you assemble them. The angles are mirror images of each other, so you need to assemble the proper set of pieces to complete each side pocket properly. 

That is one of the things I like about this apron: it looks so pure and simple; yet the design is full of intrigue and complexity. Like those crazy wide straps! Who needs two-inch-wide straps! Yet their width is necessary to their function; and the look is so iconic. And don't get me started on all those wonderful flat-felled seams!

If you want to do some fancy color blocking, or work with panel prints, it is helpful to know that pocket-pattern-piece C is the side panel of the apron that lies closest to the body. Piece B is the inside of the pocket. And piece A is the outside of the pocket that shows on the outside of the apron.

Layout for large-sized pattern

Purl Soho Cross-back Apron large sized,
front view

Purl Soho Cross-back Apron, large sized,
back view

Since I wanted a larger apron, and several people on the Purl Soho site asked about a larger-sized apron, I created a layout for an apron the should fit up to size 16 comfortably. This layout takes 2-1/8 yards of fabric.

Layout for Purl Soho Cross-back Apron, LARGE size
I cut the straps to the standard 8-inches wide across the width of my fabric. The fabric I used is "Sugar Rush" by Dan Morris for RJR Fabrics in 2012.

I also cut four 10.5-inch widths for the back and pocket pieces, and one 15-inch width for the apron front -- as shown in the diagram above. 

I then followed the Purl Soho instructions exactly as published, using a 29-inch finished length for my straps.

This went together fine and kept the proportions of the apron as created for the original pattern. It also fit just fine.

This proportion apron fits a pretty wide range of larger sized cooks!

UPDATE Jan. 6, 2019

Purl Soho Cross-back Apron in white cotton with border print: "In the Garden" Double Border #7148 designed by Carol for Daisy Kingdom, Inc. Printed with Pride in the USA in 1994.


Kathy said...

I've looked at this patterns before but didn't want to take time to make size adjustments. Thanks for help!

Linda Theil said...

Thanks so much for saying that! Makes me so happy!

Ann said...

Thank you so much for explaining how to make this apron and how to make it larger. Though the original pattern may fit "most," it definitely does not fit "all."Thanks again!

Linda Theil said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I hope you will post a photo of your apron 😊