The apron for my Downton Abbey maid dress is finished! I made the bulk of it over the weekend, but decided to change the straps a little last night.
Although I am planning to use Butterick B6229 for the dress, I did not use a pattern for the apron. The Butterick pattern relies on ruffles and pintucks to add visual interest to the apron, but I wanted to use antique lace accents. You can see in the picture below that there is quite a lot of variation between the aprons on the show. There are different hem lengths, and different ways to arrange the lace on the upper part.
I sewed 3 strips of insertion lace into a V shape, then placed another strip of lace across the top, to make the center of the apron top. I then used 2 long pieces of wide lace to finish off the sides.
The bottom of the apron is about 44 inches wide. (I used the width of the fabric I had, which happened to be the same width as the lace left over from the top part of the apron). I added lace on the hem because it’s pretty, and to save me a few rows of pintucks! Pintucks aren’t difficult to do; I just avoid them because I’m a little OCD and it bugs me when they’re not perfectly straight and even.
Most of the aprons on Downton Abbey have plain, pintucked hems, but some have lace, like Ethel’s on the far right.
Instead of having two sets of ties (at the waist and upper back) I used one very long pair of ties. (They are about 2 inches wide, and 60 inches long, and probably too long). They come out of the shoulder lace, criss-cross on the back, go into loops sewn into the waistband, then tie at the waist. This way I only have one set of ties to worry about, and the straps across the back will hopefully stay more neatly arranged.
I wasn’t fond of the way the back looked in its first iteration . . .. . . so I pleated the lace where the straps meet, and I think it looks much better.
See Part 1 here.