Garden Frock

This easygoing double gauze garden frock will protect your clothes from soil and debris while you harvest the fruits of your labor in the garden. With its slightly Zakka side, the apron will fit women of all sizes with some modifications during construction.

Garden Frock Finished

For this project I chose double gauze for its double-sided cool but cotton twill would work all the same and create a sturdier apron. Regardless of the type of fabric you choose, make sure the width is over 50 inches wide.

Materials to sew the Garden Frock:

  • 1.5 yards to 2 yards of fabric depending on whether or not you want a pieced or solid pocket.
  • .5 yard of fabric for the front pocket if you choose a contrasting fabric
  • Regular sewing thread
  • A 1” button or larger
  • A sewing machine. I sewed on a BERNINA 780


Cutting Instructions for your Garden Frock pieces:

  • Body: one rectangle 50″ wide by 40″ long
  • I have factored in a lot of extra length for a wide hem or a longer apron.
  • Facing: 50″ by 4″
  • Straps:  2 strap pieces measuring 7.5 ″ by 21″.  This measurement also allows for plenty of length in the shoulder straps if you are tall.

Garden Frock Tutorial

Step one: Create the shoulder straps

Fold the 7.5″ by 21″ rectangle in half lengthwise right sides together and pin. Sew along the long side, turn the rectangle right side out and press. Topstitch you seams ¼″ from the edges. Topstitching makes your straps sturdier. Repeat for the other strap.

Garden Frock Tutorial - creating the shoulder straps

Garden Frock Tutorial - creating the shoulder straps step 2

Garden Frock creating the shoulder straps step 3

Step two: Secure the straps and sew the facing

Find the middle of your body piece on the 50″ side and mark it with a pin. You are going to pin the straps as shown 4″ on each side of the pin. Baste in place ¼″ from the edge. Note that the fabric side with squares is the “wrong side” for this project.

Garden Frock Tutorial - preparing the facing

Place the facing “wrong” sides together (for a contrasting facing in the front) along the 50” side of the body piece and pin well. Sew the top seam with a ½″ seam allowance with the straps sandwiched between the two layers.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sew top seam

Note: It is useful to engage the upper feed dog and fit your machine with a BERNINA Zipper foot # 4D foot if you are sewing on a 7 Series machine. This will prevent the layers from stretching as you sew.  Flip the facing up and over and press, topstitch the new seam making sure to keep the straps out of the way with a ¼″ seam allowance.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Facing

Garden Frock Tutorial - Top Stitch for Facing

Turn under ½″ of the raw edge of the facing, pin and press.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Facing - Pin and press

Sew the sew along the edge of the foot (the BERNINA Zipper foot # 4D is wonderful to prevent stretching) and again along the very outside edge of the seam,  use an edge-stitch foot for that step such as number BERNINA Edgestitch foot #10 or 10D.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing along the edge

Garden Frock Tutorial - Facing - sewing with the edge stitch foot

Step three: Prepare and sew your pocket

For this step I will let you decide how long and large you want your pocket to be and if you want it to have several compartments. It really depends on the use for the apron. If you want to be able to fill it with cherry tomatoes and basil you can use a nice wide pocket, but if you want to cook wearing the apron you won’t need one at all. I pieced my pocket to showcase the selvages and the two sided nature of the gauze.

For any pocket you decide to make I recommend pinning the apron straps in a crisscrossed fashion to the back close to the sides and deciding where you want your pocket to sit on your body. Once you have a rough idea of the placement make sure it is centered.

Garden Frock Tutorial - pockets

Finish the top and bottom by turning the fabric over ½″ twice and topstitching.  (I omitted this step as I am using the raw edges as a design element).

Turn the side over ½″ and pin.  sew along the edge of the foot and again along the fold this time with an edgestitch foot. You can divide your pocket in two parts by sewing a perpendicular line to the bottom hem anywhere on the pocket.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing the pockets

Optional Step: Front Tuck

You can make the apron more feminine by adding a front tuck. First find the middle of the apron and mark with a pin, fold about 1.5 to 2″ of fabric toward the pin, meeting at the center, pin well. Sew along the previous seam line at the top, making sure to come back and forth a few times on the meeting section.

Garden Frock Tutorial - optional front tuck

Garden Frock Tutorial - Front Tuck Pinning

Garden Frock Tutorial - Finished Front Tuck

Step 4: Hem the bottom of the apron

Pinning the  apron on again, decide the final length. I factored plenty of extra length in the pattern pieces that you can have a long apron if you wish. Fold up what is need and press, fold the raw edge under by ½″ and press. Pin and sew along the edge of the foot and then again along the fold with an edgestitch foot.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Hemming the Bottom

Garden Frock Tutorial - Hemming the Bottom of the Frock

Step 4: Hem the sides of the apron

You can hem the apron sides by turning under ½″ twice, pinning and sewing with the outside edge along the side of the foot.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Hemming the sides

Garden Frock Tutorial - Hemmed sides of frock

Step 4: Attach the straps

To attach the straps to the apron you will need to pin them first in the criss-cross fashion shown on picture. You can pin them to the outside or the inside it does not matter. You want to get a feel for the ideal length of the straps. They should be fairly short so that the front of the apron does not gape and get in your way.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Attaching the straps

The straps are pinned to the inside of the apron in the manner shown on picture.

Garden Frock Tutorial - Pin the straps

Sew ¼” from the raw edge and flip up. Sew again ¼″ from the strap fold as shown on picture.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing the straps

Make sure to keep the strap out of the way when you sew.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing the strap

Step 5: Make a buttonhole

Your apron is almost done, you can try it on and decide if you would like a button to hold it closed in the back. With the help of a friend use a pin or a safety pin to mark where the button should be and where the matching button hole should be. I recommend a vertical button hole. I also recommend using a small piece of cut away stabilizer beneath your work. Sew a button hole with your favorite method to the outside of the overlap, sew a button to the inside of the overlap.

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing the button hole

Garden Frock Tutorial - sewing a button hole

Garden Frock Tutorial - Back of Frock

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5 comments on “Garden Frock”

    • What a great project and wonderful instructions! I want to make this for my sister, who is an avid gardener. I don’t know what you are referring to when you mention dual feed. I only know of one set of feed dogs on my machine and they are located under the stitch plate. Are there other feed dogs?
      I like the suggestion for a velcro closure because it affords more flexibility in fit, especially if you are making this as a gift for someone and you don’t know their exact measurements.

  • Love the apron and will use it when our small garden bears fruit this fall. I just love all the teaching you do on social media and thru your web site. I am so glad I bought my L460, b77 & b79 machines through the Bernina company. The quality is excellent, but I have found you care so much for the person who purchases too. Love the attitude of this company!

  • I found the information about attaching the straps in back very vague. No matter where I put them, the top edge of the apron is floppy and saggy. Not at all flattering.

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