Luana is a vintage-inspired apron dress that screams summer! Reminiscent of country living, picnics and sea. With its bare back, soft pleats and gathers, it is both relaxed and feminine, showing just the right amount of skin. For this project, we chose our bestselling medium weight linen in this gorgeous clay color. Named after the red rocks of Sedona, it is true to its name!
Luana features adjustable straps that cross at the back, lined bib bodice, two large inseam pockets and softly gathered midi skirt. This pattern falls into the “intermediate level” category due to its complicated pocket construction. But this should not scare beginner sewists as we really go through every step with detailed explanations and lots of pictures.
For our sample US size 6 pictured in this tutorial we used 2 yards of IL019 SEDONA Softened Medium Weight Linen. For other sizes, please refer to the yardage table in the PDF pattern to determine the required amount of fabric.
Matching sewing thread, eight 1/2”-wide buttons
Scissors, pins, ruler, chalk, measuring tape, fabric marker, seam ripper, needle, sewing machine
You can access the multi-sized printable PDF pattern by following this link HERE. All seam allowances are included and are 3/8” (1 cm) unless otherwise specified. The model is wearing US size 6.
Remember to transfer all the notches onto your fabric.
Note: Prewash your fabric and tumble dry it until it is still slightly moist, dry at room temperature. Iron the fabric so it is easier to work with.
1. Start by forming the pleats on the outer and inner bib pieces. Create four ½”-wide pleats following the directional arrows indicated on the pattern. Press and baste in place ¼” from the waist.
2. Pin the two bibs right sides together at the top edge and stitch at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance.
3. Turn right side out and press. Topstitch 1/8” from the seam.
4. Prepare the button loops. Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise wrong sides touching. Press to mark the crease in the center. Then press each long edge into the center fold line.
5. Fold in half again lengthwise, pin and edgestitch along the long edge of the strip.
6. Cut your long strip of fabric into eight equal loops each measuring 2”.
7. Align the two straps with right sides together and pin. Insert one button loop (aligning its raw ends with the raw edge of your fabric) at the placement mark along the bottom portion of the outer edge of the strap.
8. Stitch the two layers of the strap at a 3/8” seam allowance starting at the bottom of the outer edge, all around the strap end and stopping at the notch on the inner curve. Clip the corners and grade the seam allowance down to ¼”.
9. Turn the strap right side out and press rolling the seam line slightly to the inside. Press the unstitched raw edges to the inside.
10. Repeat steps 7-9 to sew the other strap. Remember that the two straps should be mirror images to each other.
11. Insert the bib into the openings of your straps (just 3/8” in) and pin.
12. Topstitch around all edges of the strap (except the bottom/waist edge) to attach the bib and to prevent the strap fabric from shifting in the future.
13. Take your two front waistband pieces and pin them to the waist of the bib aligning the raw edges and matching the center front notches. The right side of the outer waistband is placed on the right side of the bib, and the right side of the inner waistband is touching the wrong side of the bib. Make sure that the waistband side seam allowances are extended beyond the finished sides of the bib.
Stitch all layers together at a 3/8” seam allowance. Press the inner waistband seam allowance a tin smaller than 3/8” to the inside.
14. Insert two button loops into each short side of the front waistband. One at the top corner and one at the bottom, just before the pressed seam allowance of the inner waistband. Pin to secure.
15. Stitch the short ends at a 3/8” seam allowance and clip the corners to reduce bulk.
16. Turn the waistband right side out and press.
17. Take the back waistband pieces and pin them right sides together along the sides and the top edge. Press the inner waistband bottom seam allowance to the wrong side (a tin less than 3/8”). Stitch the two layers together along the pinned edges at a 3/8” seam allowance.
18. Grade the seam down to ¼”, clip the corners to reduce bulk, then turn right side out and press rolling the seam slightly to the inside.
The most complicated part of the construction of this dress is the pockets. Just like with the inseam pockets, the pocket bags are sandwiched between the front and back skirts, but part of the upper side edge is left unstitched and the top edge is inserted into the waistbands.
19. To start, serge or zigzag along the curved edge of all of your pocket pieces.
20. Pin pocket bags to the side seams of your front skirt right sides together and aligning the top/waist edges. Insert one button loop between the pocket and the skirt at the mark indicated in the pattern.
Stitch pocket to skirt at a 3/8” seam allowance, then finish the entire side seam edge with your preferred method.
21. Press the pockets and seam allowances away from the skirt.
22. Attach pocket bags to the back skirt, finish the raw edges.
23. Pin front and back skirts right sides together at the side seams. Pin pocket bags together.
24. Make sure your pocket seams match. Stitch 1” in between the two notches. Then stitch from lower notch all way to the hem. Stitch the pockets bags from notch to the side seam along the curve.
Repeat with the other pocket.
25. Press your seams folding the pocket and the seam allowances towards the front skirt.
26. Run two lines of basting stitches along the waist edge of your skirt (back and two fronts separately). Use contrasting color thread and leave long tails. Make sure you run basting stitches on skirt fabric only, not the pockets.
Please check our detailed tutorial if you don’t know how to gather fabric.
27. Take your bib and pin the outer waistband to the front skirt right sides together matching the center notches and the sides. Gather your skirt fabric evenly between these pins and pin. Pin the front pocket bags to the wrong side of your front skirt sandwiching the skirt in between. As you can see in the picture, the back pockets are left loose, they will later be attached to the back waistband.
28. Stitch all layers together at a 3/8” seam allowance. Remove basting threads. Press waistband and seam allowances away from the skirt.
29. Pin the inner front waistband to the wrong side of the skirt covering the stitch line by 1mm .
30. Working from the right side of the garment, topstitch along all edges of the waistband securing the inner waistband in place and creative decorative topstitching.
31. Repeat the same steps to attach the back waistband. Pin the outer back waistband to the gathered back skirt and back pocket bags right sides together. Fold your pocket seam allowance 3/8” to the outside.
32. Stitch at a 3/8” seam allowance, press away from the skirt.
33. Pin the inner waistband to the wrong side of the skirt and pocket bags, topstitch the entire back waistband from the right side of the dress.
34. Finish the hem of the skirt by folding the fabric twice to the wrong side (first 3/8”, then another 1”), press and pin in place. Edgestitch.
35. Lastly, attach the buttons at the side seams onto the back waistband extension, then try the dress on, cross the ties over the back and decide where to place a button on each strap.
Et voila! Now you have a beautiful open back apron dress for the hot summer days ahead!
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