I toyed with the idea of letting them decorate the aprons themselves as one of the party activities but realised early on that this wouldn't work: paint and glue-on decorations wouldn't dry in time for the girls to wear the aprons when they were decorating their cupcakes; fabric markers wouldn't do either as the ones I have are too fine and it would be an extra (expensive) cost to buy new ones; and the girls are not old enough and it would take too long to sew anything onto the aprons. So that left me with creating the aprons myself before the party.
I also toyed with the idea of actually making the aprons myself. There are lots of very cute and apparently simple-looking designs out there but as my sewing skills are limited and it would take me a long time to make 10 aprons, I resorted to buying ready made aprons and concentrating on decorating them. I searched around and found some very simple plain unbleached cotton ones from Crafty Crocodiles which were inexpensive and perfect.
Next step was to create the design. I found a simple cupcake picture that I liked and used this as a template to cut some foam stamps, one for the case and one for the cake. I taped a triangle of cardboard to the back of each stamp to give me something to hold as I stamped them onto the fabric. I used some sparkly acrylic paint that I already had (diluted with water to make it less stiff on the fabric once dried) and stamped a cupcake onto each apron. I separated the case and cake and stamped the cupcakes in various combinations of colours. Once dry, I outlined the design with a fabric pen and added the swirl at the top of the cake.
The finishing touch was to write each girl's name in 3D glitter fabric paint. I found a font I liked, then printed the names onto plain paper before tracing them onto the apron (the aprons were thin enough that I could see the writing through the material). Once dry, I ironed the reverse of each apron and folded neatly, ready for the party.
For each brooch, I cut the ribbon into shorter lengths and took a selection of colours which I pushed onto the pointy end of the safety pin, then twisted the ribbon around the loop of the pin onto the opposite side (so that it doesn't fall off when the pin is opened and the pointy pin part can then be used to attach the brooch to the apron). This can be quite tricky to begin with but once you get the hang of it it's very simple.
I finished off each brooch by sewing on a sparkly flower bead to the middle of the curly ribbons; the beads came from a pretty bracelet I found in Claire's Accessories and subsequently dismantled.
Since the ribbon was from my stash, the colours weren't as coordinated with the cupcake design and writing as I probably would have preferred, but in hindsight I think that the complete mix of colours adds a brightness that works well and stops the aprons being slightly too sickly!!
So another thing done on the party preparation list, and I hope the girls like their personalised aprons (and don't get them too messy when they are decorating their cakes!).
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