Earlier this year I began a new job as a family and outreach lay worker at my local church.  I had already been volunteering at the playgroup there for over a year, so when the job came up it seemed pretty logical for me to apply for it.  I couldn't be happier.  It's part time, so I still have time for running the family home, sewing, and whatever else takes my fancy.  It's flexible, so I don't have to pay out for childcare, and I can still be there to take my kids to school, pick them up, and ferry them around to all their after-school activities. It's fun: I get to do crafts with babies and toddlers at play group, organise fun activities for families who come to Messy Church, and organise holiday special events, for example so far this year we've put on a family fun day, a teddy bears' picnic, a light party and hot cooked lunches during half term for those who usually get free school meals.  It's good to be doing something in my local community that benefits families, and I get to be involved with the local schools too, but without being a teacher - which is what I did before but I found it super stressful!
When I began my new post, my line manager suggested I use my sewing skills to make myself a 'tabard' or some kind of jacket to wear at work.  My first idea was to make a traditional sort of tabard thing but pieced, with a heart in the middle and rainbow colours radiating out around it.  I still think that would be pretty cool, but novelty prints have always been a weakness of mine, and when I saw this hand-print Cotton Fabric I thought that would be perfect for the job.  The hand-print seems to be a childhood rite of passage - surely every parent has at some point had a print of their child's hand done.  It's also very definitely evocative of 'Messy Play' - something that we try to incorporate into our plans as much as possible.
I decided to craft-it-up to the max for this project.  No boring tabard for me - instead I chose a really lovely Dottie Angel Sewing Pattern for a Wrap Apron.  These patterns are great.  Pretty, functional, unusual.  Plus, giant pockets.  I like how they can be made almost utilitarian, say in a plain denim, or pimped to the max, like mine.  More is more.
As well as the hand-print fabric, I decided I wanted a black and white Gingham Fabric for a contrast pocket, bound with Gingham Bias Binding, and I also wanted Giant Ric-Rac around the neckline and pocket edge.  Oh my, they're not kidding when they say 'giant' ric-rac!  No regrets though.  The outside ties are made with the main fabric but the inside ties are black and white Gingham Ribbon.  The hand-print Buttons aren't the best match in terms of colour - neon orange - but at least they stand out!  I added the 'Messy Church' logo that I found in the cupboard at work.  Someone must have cut it out from a sweatshirt, but after establishing that no-one really knew where it had come from or whose it was, I decided to applique it onto the pocket, along with a bee patch, which I made with two different bee fabrics I had, because the name of the play group is 'Busy Bees'.
I love the finished apron!  It also looks good with my Tilly Coco top which I happened to be wearing when I was trying it on for photos.
Thank you Minerva for the fabrics and haberdashery. This apron is going to get a lot of use!