I've been searching - in vain - for a pattern for a simple, crossover, Japanese-style apron. So I decided to give it a go myself. I copied the basic shape from an old barbecue apron, extended the sides and added a divided pocket. I used linen but calico or denim would also be good.
One size should fit most but I've tried to make the pattern a bit adjustable so you can alter the length of the straps and the apron itself.
To make one you'll need:
1.4m of 115cm wide fabric
1. Cut one apron piece on the fold, two straps on the fold and one pocket on the fold. All seam and hem allowances are included on the pattern.
2. Hem the curved sides of the apron - fold over a 1cm hem and baste. Fold the hem over again and stitch close to hem edge.
3. Hem the straight sides of the apron - fold over a 1cm hem and baste. Fold the hem over again and stitch close to hem edge.
4. Hem the top edge of the bib: fold to the inside a 1cm hem along the top of the apron and press. Fold again to make a 3cm hem. Stitch in place.
5. Make the straps: Fold the straps longways with right sides together and sew a 1cm seam down the long edge. Press the seam open and turn the straps right side out. Flatten the straps with the seam centered.
6. Attaching straps to front: Fold in 1cm on the narrow edge of each strap and hand or machine stitch across to close the opening. Place apron on a flat surface with the wrong side facing up. On each side of the bib pin a strap, seam side facing up. Match the long side edge of the strap with the outer edge of the bib and have the bottom edge of the strap lined up with the hem of the bib. Stitch in place.
7. Make the pocket: Fold under a 1cm hem (wrong sides together) along one long side. Fold again to to make a 3cm hem. Stitch. Fold under 1cm on the other three sides. Place apron on a flat surface with the right side facing up and pin pocket where you think you'd like it. To centre the pocket. Fold the apron in half longways and press. Fold and press the pocket. Match up the folds.
8. Pinning straps to back: Without twisting the straps, pin the end of each one to the inside of the opposite back corner. Try on the apron. Adjust the length of the straps. Keep pinning until it seems right. Take the apron on and off a few times to make sure the straps aren't too short. Also adjust the apron length and pocket placement.
10. Attach the pocket. Sew close to the edge all round. Top stitch if you like. Sew a seam down the middle of the pocket.
11. Attaching the straps to back: Mark where the strap meets the top edge of the apron and trim off any excess so that there is 5cm of strap extending beyond the back of the apron. Fold in 1cm on the bottom edge of the strap and hand or machine stitch across to close the opening. Pin the straps on the inside of the apron matching up with the edge of the apron. Try the apron on again just to make sure the straps aren't twisted. Sew the straps in place.
12. Hem: Cut the lower edge as necessary to correct length. Fold up the lower hem by 1cm and then again by 3cm. Stitch close to fold.
Alternative patterns at Purl Soho and Good Magazine.
Reading: The thin man by Dashiell Hammett. This is a detective story first published in 1934. Everything is "swell" and many Scotch and sodas are consumed. It opens with "I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street..."