Baker's Linen Apron
The apron has crisscrossing straps in back, which gives fuller coverage on top and a snugger fit. Martha made hers with French baker's linen. (The word "Panimatic," the name of a French company that manufactures industrial bread-making equipment, runs down the length of the fabric. If using this linen, be sure the word appears on the front of your apron.)
Baker's linen is a coarse, stiff fabric that comes in the perfect width (29 1/2 inches before washing, about 27 inches after) and has finished sides. The yardage needed for this project will cost you only about $20 and will produce a sturdy, long-lasting apron.
Baker's linen will shrink, so it is important to preshrink it by washing and machine drying it before measuring. Washing also softens the fabric and makes it easier to handle on the sewing machine. For length, measure the preshrunk fabric from under your arms to midcalf; cut the piece 3 inches longer to allow for hems. If using fabric other than baker's linen, measure width to 27 inches (after shrinkage).
Finish both top and bottom edges: Fold each edge over 1/2 inch; press. Fold over 1 inch more; press. It is helpful to use a transparent acrylic ruler to ensure that the hem is even. Pin; sew hem.
Cut two 30-inch lengths of 7/8 inch or 1 inch linen-twill tape. (Linen twill costs about $5 to $6 per yard, but you can also use cotton twill, which is less expensive.)
Fold the end of one piece of twill tape over 1/4 inch; sew to the back of the fabric's top left edge. Fold the other end of tape over 1/4 inch; sew 16 inches in from the top left edge. Repeat on the right edge with the remaining piece of tape.
Cut two 39-inch pieces of tape. Fold the end of one piece over 1/4 inch; sew to the back of the left edge at waist level. Repeat on the back of the right edge with the other length of tape.
Put the apron on by slipping your head through the middle of the crossed straps and your arms through the sides.