Sunday, November 24, 2013

A TARDIS apron to celebrate 50 years of Dr Who, plus, how to make it for you!

I have been a fan of Dr Who since I was a little girl. I was enthralled by the program, watching it on our B&W telly on Friday nights on the ABC. I have known all the Drs. and all of them have a soft spot in my heart.

I had two reasons to make the TARDIS apron. The first; to wear it to a friend's 50 Years of Dr. Who party.

The second; to have a costume for me and Astro my chihuahua to wear in the Lawson Dog Show owner 'look alike' competition last Sunday (17th Nov.). We had a fabulous time and won our section! Very pleased by that.

I thought others would like to know how I put my apron together, its pretty easy to do and I scanned the interwebs for other examples to get an idea of what was possible, you can see some of these on my Aprons Pinterest board.  I also used my TARDIS teapot as a style guide.

Time to make:
5 hours give or take.

Fabric and sewing notions:
I measured my waist width and decided on the apron length, I wanted it just above my knees. I also wanted a nicely gathered skirt to the apron that went right to the back. I then used these measurements to determine how much fabric I would need to purchase.

I then bought 2 metres of dark blue cotton and 1 metre of white cotton fabric. I used some black frabric and ribbon from my sewing stash, I used a Sharpie pen for the writing.

I used sewing thread from my stash, snap fasteners and  2 hooks & eyes.

Making up:
1. Creating the apron skirt
I cut two widths from my fabric (it was 110cm wide) and I stitched them together at the selvedge edge.

I then cut a curve at the unstitched end for a nice back effect.

I folded a 1/4" hem (yes I know, I mix my measurements up all the time, you can cope I know, sewists are clever!). Anyways, I folded the hem down with an iron, then folded it on itself and stitched it down with a decorative star stitch. You can see it further down, shows up better on the white fabric.

The stars represent the outside of the TARDIS travelling through the universe.

2. Creating the apron bib top

I just measured across my chest to get the width I wanted, choose the width you want, narrow or wide, I went wide. For the length I measured from my collar bone to my waist line.

I cut out two rectangles in the fashion fabrics and then curved the top ends of the bib front as shown, I wanted the bib top to be lined.

3. Adding the windows, black edge and writing on the bib front
I centred the top piece for the bib front horozontally. then eye balled a good distance for each of my white 'window's.

I cut out the windows from the white fabric after measuring the width and length that would work on the bib front and was pleasing to my eye.

I pinned on as shown.

I added some blue ribbon from the stash to represent the door edge and pinned in place.

I cut my scrap of black fabric to sit at the top of the bib front, pinned in place, I cut a piece of white fabric to size for the POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX sign. I wrote on it using the Sharpie pen. This was also pinned into place.

It really should be white writing on black but that was way too fiddly to achieve in the time frame available. Feel free to be more accurate.

 I stitched all these pieces on using the star stitch and as you can see caught myself on one of the many pins and bleed on my window, argh! However this allows me to teach you a vintage sewing technique to remove blood stains like this from your sewing fabric.

Spit on the blood, wet it thoroughly with your spit and rub the blood stain until it dissolves. Yes, the enzymes in your spit will remove your blood pin prick. How cool is that!

See, blood stain has dissolved, when this dries there may be a slight stain, but usually not.

Attach your bib front back. You can either 'bag it' as I did, or use a bias binding to go around the edge.

Don't forget to add your apron straps into the top of the bib front, regardless of the method you use.

Skirt sign pockets:
I created white skirt pockets for the POLICE TELEPHONE | FREE USE FOR PUBLIC | etc. and the ST JOHN'S AMBULANCE signs. Sadly no photos of doing this either! I used the Sharpie again to write and draw this up. These pockets were placed in a similar space to the windows on the bib front and stitched down with star stitch, before I did this, I turned under the seams and the hem allowance at the top of each pocket.

Attach skirt to waistband:
OK, not many pictures of this phase either, I forgot, too busy sewing!

I cut a waistband 3" wide and the width of my waist plus 2".

I gathered the skirt in two sections so I didn't have too long a gather to contend with when sliding to the right size to fit the waistband.

I gathered the skirt into the waistband and then attached one side of the waistband to the skirt. I didn't use any interfacing, yes, I know I should have, too lazy, I will regret it I am sure! Feel free to use some for yours though.

Next I folded over the waistband to the wrong side with a 5/8th (1.5cm) seam allowance and pinned in place. I pinned the bib front to the centre point of the waistband. Sorry no photos, le sigh! Make sure you fold your raw edges of the bib front in side it. I then stitched along the edge of the waistband next to the skirt with my star pattern again. Yes, this is 'quick & dirty' sewing! Avert your eyes, or do it properly should you attempt this TARDIS apron.


I added snap fastners to the waistband and neck apron strings to fasten them together. I use hooks and eyes at the waistband.

You could use buttons and button holes.

I love the way the skirt curves up at the back.
I turned my partner's top hat into my Police Box light by wrapping some blue lurex fabric around its rim (see photo below), also from the stash.

For the 50 Years of Dr. Who party I will wear the apron with a black tulle skirt, black stockings and boots or shoes (depends on the weather). Pictures soon.

Lawson Dog Show:
Here's the K-9 coat I made for Astro and my TARDIS Police Box 'light' top hat for the 'owner & dog look alike' competition. As I mentioned above, we won first in our category. Most chuffed!

This is the only photo of the Lawson Dog Show I managed to get as it was raining so hard and was freezing. All I was able to do was stay dry under the umbrella and keep our three dogs warm and dry as possible.

Its spring in Australia, so it should have been warm and sunny, last year it was too hot and a brown snake joined the show ring! I know the professionals took heaps of photos, so when they are available I will link to them.

Photos of the 50 Years of Dr Who will be added in my next blog post. Knowing my clever friends, there will be lots of costumes to astound and delight!

If you do make the apron, please let me know, I'd love to add your creation to my Pinterest board!


I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and an Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.

If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.

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