Guest blogger: Darlene Persinger, Not just aprons

Tuesday 10th September 2013, 18.56



Darlene Persinger is the Queen of aprons from California. She has made many an apron, one using our Liberty Lifestyle fabrics. A long time ago, Darlene’s first Home Economics class project was to make an apron, since then she has grown up, started a family and worked in the Californian oil fields for 29 years. Now she has returned to making her beloved aprons, as well as running her website, ‘Not Just Aprons.’

We caught up with Darlene to find out how she got into this particular line of crafting and what makes her designs so special.


“I wish I had saved that apron (referring to the first one she made all those years ago in home economics); it would be a vintage piece by now. To make a long story short, I had kids, went to work in the oil fields for 29 years, and then retired!

I had this wonderful idea about making aprons for Christmas presents and a friend of mine jumped on that, bought me my first pattern and some material, then said ‘here you go make an apron.’

I made my second apron for my family reunion. My Aunt Lorraine was very impressed with my apron; she is a designer with her own fashion line. “Well,” she said “you have something here.” But my response was “Auntie, it’s just an apron!”  - hence the name “Not just Aprons”. Since then I launched my first boutique, attended art shows, and began selling on Etsy, and in January 2013 it was my my two year anniversary making “Not just Aprons”.

It takes me approximately 20 hours to make each piece. This has reduced in time from the original 40 hours it used to take when I first started, and includes all the details, perfect buttons, etc. It came to me, if I’m going to spend all these hours on an apron, I want the person that is getting the apron to really appreciate it. It should really mean something special to them – like bringing back a memory of a loved one, or something to start new memories with.

So, for my special “custom made” aprons, I like to take loved one’s mementos – sundresses, jumpsuits, blouses, etc., and make it into a “keepsake” apron to cherish for many more years to come. Combining mementos with new fabric helps to make the memories live on with a new lease of life.


Make and apron like Darlene’s

If you are looking to make something traditional with unusual details, Darlene’s apron design might be exactly what you’re looking for. We have used Lifestyle craft fabric, but this design would look fabulous in Tana lawn.


What you will need

Mackintosh A -  1.5 yards, for the main apron.

Leonard A – 1.5 yards, for the back lining, top ruffle, top ties, pocket, bib border and hankie

Cranston A – 1 yard, for the bottom ruffle, side ties, and hankie

Various trims to finish


Main apron and lining – Cut main apron which is 23″x14″on the fold and 23×28″ when opened. When cutting the lining, use the front pattern piece and add 1/4″ all around the edge.

Top ties – Cut 2 lengths of 4″ x 28″ using Leonard

Cut 2 lengths of 5″ x 36″ using Cranston

Top Ruffle – Cut 108″  x 3 1/4″ in Leonard

Bottom Ruffle – Cut 128″ x 5 1/2″ in Cranston

Bib border – Cut 14″ x 3 1/4 in Leonard


Decorate border with Ric Rac, lace, etc anything that you think would work

I added Ric Rac on bottom of apron front, made a pocket heart. Sewn on buttons on the top border and on the pocket.

Top ties

Add Ric Rac (or not, this is up to you).

Sew inside out, leave opening at bottom and cut the excess ric rac.

Turn to right side out and iron flat.

Side ties

Iron the side ties inside out, when sewing leave an opening at bottom.

Turn right side out and iron flat.

I have added a decorative stitch around tie.

Pinning back to front

Pin right sides together, leaving a 5” opening at bottom this is to make it easier turn the right side out.

Sew the back to front and cut excess material. Cut the corners before turning, this will make it less bulky.

Turn apron right way, remove the pins, tape, and iron flat.

Using scissors or a pointer tool at the corners, gently push corners out and iron flat.

Finish by hand sewing the bottom opening.

Bottom ruffle

Sew ruffle ends together and iron flat, also iron down sides and top as well.

Sew bottom of ruffle will have bias tape.

Add the bias tape to bottom of ruffle.

Iron down and sew, add ribbon or lace if you wish.

Find the middle of ruffle and iron flat.

Find the middle of apron and mark with a pin.

Pin down ties so they stay out of the way.

Pinning the Bottom Ruffle

Pin evenly around bottom of apron. When sewing the material be careful as it will be quite thick.

Sew ruffle on back side first, then turn and sew front side to reinforce the ruffle.

The Bottom Ruffle

Firstly sew on the back side, then turn and sew the front side.

2nd or Top Ruffle

Just like the bottom ruffle, sew ends together and iron seams flat.

I have used single fold bias tape for the top ruffle. Bias tape will be around the entire ruffle, not just the bottom like the other ruffle.

Top Ruffle Bias Tape

Find the middle of top ruffle and iron flat then find the middle of the apron and mark with a pin.

I have folded this ruffle differently than the bottom ruffle which makes it look like a double ruffle.

Pin evenly around the apron.

I added a flower trim to the bottom of the top ruffle and a black check ribbon to the top of the top ruffle, this is not necessary, but I like o add different trims to the aprons I make as it adds depth.

Also when adding the trim, it reinforces the ruffle onto the apron.

The Hankie

As I mentioned earlier when sewing custom aprons it is all about keeping memories alive, in honor of my Mother I always include a hankie in my aprons as she always had a tissue in her apron or item of clothing she was wearing.

Follow Darlene @darpersinger on Instagram


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