I just finished Zelda's apron over the weekend and have finally found some time to post the tutorial for it.
Just out of curiosity, I started out trying to dye the same material that I used for the underdress (casa satin). No luck. The navy blue RIT dye turned the satin purple, instead of blue...no matter how long it was submerged in the dye bath. **shrugs** So then I tried dipping some white canvas fabric (which is especially made for paints and dyes). Of course, it worked out perfectly! I imagine 100% cotton fabric would've also work fine.
When making a dye gradient, it's crucial to submerge the fabric as quickly as possible, at first. That way, you can tell how fast the fabric will absorb the dye and what the lightest shade will be. Do this until you achieve a color similar to sky blue (rinsing with cold water in between dips). Once the base shade is there, you can slowly dip 3/4 of the fabric, until you get a deeper shade of blue (medium blue). Then dip 1/2 of the fabric for an even darker shade. The last 1/4 of the fabric should be the deepest blue.
It can be a bit tricky to make the transitions between the various shades of blue look seamless, so you could practice on scrap fabric first, if needed.
The next thing I did was print out the pattern, which I made in Adobe Illustrator. If you're good at free-hand drawing, then you could draw the design directly onto the fabric, but I'm not! I have trouble even drawing straight lines (pathetic, I know).
Next, I cut out the shape of the apron design and laid it over the newly dyed fabric (after it's dried, of course). I traced the basic shape onto the fabric, giving myself a 1/2" seam allowance, then folded under the seams and sewed.
Once that was accomplished, I taped the pattern to a well-lit window and layed the fabric over it (which I also taped to the window). Following the backlit design, I traced over all the lines onto the fabric using a pen. You could also use a water-soluble fabric marker if that makes you feel safer.
Note: If you intend to use paints and not fabric for the designs, then don't trace it with a permanent pen.
Once the pattern was drawn onto the fabric, I decided to affix the triforce emblem first. This was made from 40mm brass triangles that I purchased from an Etsy seller (General Bead). I used a small hand drill to make holes in the corners of the triangles so that I could sew them on. Be sure to use thick thread for this (or even fishing line) because regular thread will snap against the metal edges. I used clear FireLine bead thread for the task.
The next thing I did was sew green seude fabric along the bottom of the apron as depicted by reference pictures. I also sewed purple seude fabric over the top design. (Some parts, I just used fabric glue.)
Once that was finished, I had the long and grueling job of cutting out the pattern from the vector I printed and taping it to 2mm craft foam. I then traced it all onto the foam and cut it out.
Note: I had originally intended to use fabric for the main design/outline, but I couldn't find any that was the right shade of gold or thick enough (I like the dimensional look). Buying leather was too expensive for my budget, so foam was what came to mind. Also note, if you do choose to use fabric for this complex design, you'll have to fold under all the edges and sew, unless you use fray-resistant frabric or cover all edges with Fray Check.
Phew! Once the main design was all cut out, I laid the foam over the apron to make sure that everything matched up and that the foam covered all the lines I drew. Then I took the foam piece out to my garage and hit it with 3 coats of PlastiDip to seal it. Once that had dried, I gave it a couple coats of gold metallic spray paint.
In the meantime, I sewed plain muslin fabric onto the back of the apron. I did this to protect my white underdress from any dye, glue or paint incidentally rubbing off on it. (Better to be safe than sorry!)
The final step was gluing the foam onto the apron. I used Aleene's Fabric Fusion for the job. I belatedly realized that I forgot to add the flower petals to the design, so I used some gold fabric for those and glued them on as well.
I hope this tutorial was helpful!
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