I always find that the most time consuming part of sewing is washing, drying, removing frays, steaming and pressing the fabric. When it comes to the pinning and actual sewing, it is a breeze, but all the prep is what kills me sometimes. Just to warn you, this is one of those projects (at least it was for me).
I selected four coordinating fabrics for my sister's apron, starting with the multi-colored dot pattern. I then pulled out colors to accent them and liked the purple, turqoise and pink best. Since I only had to purchase a quarter yard of three fabrics (the purple, teal and pink ones) and 5/8 yard of the dot fabric, for a ruffle and the ties, it can easily be a very cheap project. The Christmas fabric I bought for my apron was all on sale 50% off so the materials cost less than $7 (sneak peak of my fabric below)!
I then started the process of pinning, pressing and sewing each ruffle onto the solid back fabric, pressed into thirds so the ruffles were evenly spaced. You place the ruffles from the bottom to the top. The bottom ruffle (dot fabric) was pinned with the top of the ruffle along the bottom of the solid panel, right sides touching. Once you sew it in place (I used a straight stitch) you need to flip the ruffle over so it looks like it is laying the correct way. Press the top of the ruffle and then sew again to help hold it flat (I used a zigzag stitch). Pin the next two ruffles on the appropriate "pleat" on the backing, sew, press, and sew again so the backing lays flat. You will be sewing the top ruffle to the top of the backing with the wrong side of the ruffle touching the backing. If you do this correctly, the top raw edge of each ruffle will be hidden, except for the fourth one.
To read more detail about the process of pinning, sewing, pressing, etc of each ruffle layer, please visit the original post because it is a little bit "involved," but not as complicated as it seems.
Now, go back to the fabric you want to use for the band across the top of the apron which should match your ties and bottom ruffle. I must admit that I did try to take some shortcuts so I improvised along the way. I folded the band in half, pressed it and then pressed it at about 1/4 of an inch on all four edges. Then I pinned it into place, over the top ruffle to hide its raw edge.
I planned on using a single zigzag stitch to hold it in place, but it wasn't enough, so I added another row. at the base of the band.
I also modified the size of the ties because my fabric length wasn't quite right. They ended up being 3.75" x 36" which made the ties more narrow than the band, which I think looked nice. Copying what I did to prepare the top band, I folded each tie in half, pressed it and folded under each raw edge about 1/4 of an inch. I then closed up each band with a single straight stitch around three edges (not the folded one). Now to attach the ties to the band, I inserted them a little bit into the pocket that was created by the band being folded in half (seen below), pinned and then used a zigzag to close it up. Although I might not be explaining it the best way, this was easier for me than the original instructions which suggested turning the fabric inside out, etc.
My final product was ready to be sent to my sister in time for her birthday!!! If only she'd send me a picture of her wearing it.... :)