One of the projects my beginner students make is a half apron. While also being very hip to wear and to give as a gift, this project is a wonderful way to learn a couple different hemming techniques (topstitched hems and blind hem stitch). It also gives students the opportunity to use a rotary cutter and mat to cut their fabric pieces (for many it is the first time using this cutting system) and I have them use a zipper foot to stitch close to the edge on the side hems and to sew in the waist band/tie. For many beginner students, they have never gathered anything before so this is also good experience for them.
Above is a half apron that I made recently. I used Moda fabric that I purchased from a wonderful quilt shop in Indian Trail called The Overall Quilter. I also added some pockets and did a decorative topstitch on them. This project takes 2 class sessions to complete and only requires (two) 1/2 yds of fabric to complete. Many students have made one and have decided to make them as gifts for folks on their Christmas list this year. I hope to add some pics of ones my students have made to my flickr account. You can view my flickr account by clicking on the link on my sidebar.