This year I am deliberately rebelling against mass produced gifts. My good friend's birthday has just passed, so I've made her this apron from a retro sheet. It hasn't cost me much money, but it did take time and thought, and I really do hope she likes it.
All I did was to cut two aprons from the edge of the sheet. I used one of my aprons to cut around. For the ruffles I first calculated the length I would need if the ruffles were flat, then multiplied that number by 1.5 for fullness. So, in the example below (ha ha I really need to learn computer graphics properly!) I would need 4.5m of fabric strip for the ruffles.
I measured 10cm intervals along the side of my fabric, and then tore the strips off. Then all you do is hem one edge. The other edge you press with an iron, and then do a long straight stitch.
Pin the centre of the strip to the centre of the apron (because my apron was 60cm wide, each of my strips were 90cm long) and pull up the straight stitch to gather.
I made the apron ties out of the fabric, but you could use ribbon or twill tape to make it easier. Pin them in place, making sure the head of the pin is on the outside.
Place the second apron shape (remember we cut two?) on the ruffled apron with right sides together, stitch and turn out. You could bind the edge as well, but I just find it easier, and it means that the apron is thicker and all the rough ends are nicely enclosed.