Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Apron for Teacher Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Have you thanked and hugged a teacher?

My son Ben is in first grade and I'm class coordinator this year, which is a fancy term for "room mom".  For teacher appreciation, I orchestrated a week-long celebration for our fabulous teacher with the help of many other parents from our class.  It's been so fun, and truly wonderful to see her getting all this love and appreciation.

The first graders helped with a couple of things, including making an apron.  Their teacher loves to cook and loves birds.  Their school follows a project-based curriculum, and their current project for Spring is "Birds".  It worked out beautifully!

The first step in this project was to prep bird templates. I searched for "bird silhouettes" in Google Images and printed a few. I transferred the outlines to recycled cereal boxes and cut them out. I also ironed fusible web to a whole bunch of fabric scraps in a "Spring-y" color scheme.

Next, I sneaked into their art class (with the art teacher's approval!) and had the kiddos take turns at picking their favorite fabric scrap and favorite bird template. They traced their bird on the paper backing of the fabric and wrote their name.

Back at my sewing table, I cut the birds out, making sure to respect the imperfect tracing of each child. It gave each bird some personality.

Using one of my own aprons as a template, I made an apron with green linen. I made binding and ties out of a happy floral cotton print.

I played with the placement of the birds, trying to balance the colors and shapes. When I was happy with the layout, I took a digital photo to have a reference. I also drew a rough "map" in my sketchbook with the name of the kid belonging to each bird.

Time to fuse and stitch each bird onto the apron. I actually brought my iron to the floor to quickly half-fuse the birds before picking the apron up and moving it to my ironing table. It doesn't look like it messed up our horribly scratched hardwood floors any more than they already were! I stitched with a regular straight stitch rather than a zigzag one. The birds may fray a bit with washing, but they should hopefully hold up.


I wrote the name of each child under their bird in fine-point Sharpie and heat-set it with my iron. From my brief research on the internet, I found that this should withstand a few washes.

I am so happy with how it turned out!

To accompany the apron, I embellished a wooden spatula with stripes of colorful paint. This is an OXO spatula and I love how substantial it feels. With the embellishment, I can see it being used to serve salads at summer barbecues or picnics.

The spatula was unfinished wood so I didn't need to prep it before painting. The stripes are painted freehand with several coats of acrylic paint. I finished them with a couple coats of clear water-based varnish.


To round out this cooking lover's gift, we got the teacher the school cookbook.

The kids were so excited to give their teacher this handmade gift. Judging from the tears and hugs, I think she was happy!


  1. What a cute and thoughtful gift!

  2. oh what a wonderful gift! I wouldn't worry about the edges fraying or the sharpie coming off, I bet she will treasure it and it will be very gently used!

  3. Thank you all so much for the kind comments. :)