Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"A" is for Aprons

This is officially my first post for the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge. I'm really excited to get things going for the month. I'm even more excited that I've actually been planning ahead so my posts are all started...that means more time for blog reading. I've already found a few blogs that are going to be fun to visit during the month.

For those of you not familiar...a little background before we get started with today's project.

The A-to-Z Challenge is a blog challenge that runs each year. The challenge is to write a post every day of the month (except Sundays) and have those posts correspond with ascending letters of the alphabet. Today is day 1...so it's "A" day.

Throughout the month, I'll be posting craft projects based on the letters of the alphabet...that's my theme. It's been amazingly productive getting ready for the month and I'm excited to show you the things I've been working on. There is a huge range of projects in store...everything from sewing to scrapbooking to ModPodge messes. Some of it is stuff that I've made for past presents...some of it is new. There will even be a couple of throwback posts. It should be fun! Ready to get started?

First up? A...is for Apron!

This is one of my favorite projects to make. Why? Because they make a great gift, they're fairly simple to make, and they don't take a lot of expensive components. All you need is a little bit of fabric, a pair of jeans, and a sewing machine. (I suppose you could do it by hand, but...umm, no thanks.) Oh...and an iron. As much as I hate to admit it, an iron is a necessity for this project.

The first thing I'm going to start with is how to make the bias tape for the edging. Most of the time when I make these I do a solid bias all the way around the apron, but you can fancy it up like the one above and piece the strips together. The directions will be for the easier solid bias tape.

You can make these aprons for any size. If you're making an apron for an adult, you'll obviously need more bias tape than for a child. I will typically make extra and then keep it in a stash for future use. To make one adult apron, you need to plan on a total length of about 120 inches. It sounds like a lot, but it really doesn't take that much fabric. Depending on the length of the bolt, you will typically use less than half a yard.

Start by cutting out about four 3" wide full length strips of your fabric.

Iron your strips flat. Then fold in about 1/4-1/2" on each side and iron those pieces down.

Fold the whole strip in half and iron the wrong sides together. Tada! You just made bias tape. Good job!

Now let's get to the meat of this project.

Pick out your pair of jeans depending on the size of the person you're making it for. For a child, use a size of jeans close to the size they actually wear. For an adult...same thing. Easy peasy. I typically use jeans that would otherwise get tossed due to wear or having Darian grow out of them. You could pick up some a few pairs from a thrift store to keep this project inexpensive if you don't have any extras laying around the house.

Cut off one leg of the jeans just below the butt pocket. Then (starting at the top of the leg) cut down the middle of the backside of the jean. We'll be using the finished hem of the pants as the top of the apron, so once you cut, it should flare out like a trapezoid. (If you're using wide flare pants, you may need to use your hemmed edge as the bottom.)

To create spaces for the arms, you'll cut out a curve from each side, starting at the top of your apron (bottom of the jean leg). I typically aim for 1" past the side seam for my starting width and then eyeball between 1/4-1/3 of the total jean length for the bottom of the curve. When you're done cutting, your jeans should look like the photo above.

Now you'll sew your bias tape onto the edges of your jeans. I typically start at the base of the arm curve on the right side of the jean and run clockwise. I usually use one to two strips for the bottom and sides of the apron, two for the neck loop and ties, and a small cut off section for the top edge. I use a TON of pins to keep my edges together. Pins are a must.

I use a zig zag stitch because I like the look of it, but a straight stitch will do just fine.

To sew my corners, I fold the strip into itself around the corner of the jean at a 90 degree angle and pin it down to create an "L" shaped piece.

I eyeball the length of the neck and ties. The length of the neck at it's longest point will be about the length from the top edge to the bottom of the arm curves, give or take 1-2 inches. The length of the ties will depend on if you want to tie in back or have the ties loop around to tie in front. When in doubt, longer is better.

Now...you could technically be done at this point. But...I like to fancy it up just a little bit. I like to add a pocket.

Go back to your original pair of jeans and cut the pocket off. You just want the pocket front, so get rid of the backing if you cut the whole thing off as one big chunk.

Using my leftover bias tape, I cut off a piece long enough to line the top of the pocket. I sew the ends shut to create an envelope of fabric.

Trim the corners at an angle to make it easier to flip and fold flat.

Flip your fabric and you're ready to roll.

Slip it over the edge of your pocket fabric and pin in place.

Sew the fabric down to the pocket. I fold any extra fabric around the edge of the jean...it will get sewn in place when you attach it to the apron.

Sew the pocket onto the apron where ever you like. I put it at the side near the bottom. On the little girls' aprons, I sometimes put it up in the chest area.

And there you have it! A nice pretty apron all ready for use.

They're even cuter when they come in mini sizes. (The one above was for my niece...who was 2 at the time.) Adorable.

Thanks to all of you stopping by from A-to-Z Challenge! I love new readers. Make sure to leave me a comment below so that I can return the favor by visiting you. Let the games begin!


  1. Hi Elle - well that was a thorough post on how to make an Apron .. I had a friend who used to make kitchen items with cats on them .. she had quite a thriving business for a while and I still use some of her things years later!

    Cheers and enjoy the A-z ... your instructions would be so useful to a new seamstress .. congratulations - Hilary

  2. That is a cool apron. My granddaughter would have a blast making one. Thanks for the instructions

  3. Great idea! I love these kinds of projects. I'm certain I'll love more of your posts! Thanks for checking out my site:) www.thingsmymothertaught.com

  4. Great project! Enjoy A-Z!

  5. Cute! Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

  6. So cute - and the mini one is even cuter! Everything is always cuter when it's a 'mini'!

  7. Too cute! Definitely a keeper! Love all the photos and easy to follow directions! Thanks for sharing

  8. Loving the comments! Thank you to all of you for stopping by. Hopefully some of you will be able to use these directions to make aprons of your own. I promise that they're not too hard.

  9. Great idea for the A to Z Challenge. Looking forward to seeing your other projects.

  10. What a great idea for A-Z. I look forward to the rest of your projects. I love crafty projects.

  11. What a cute apron and it even sounds like something I could make. I can not wait to see all the other crafts you come up with.

  12. That is soooo cute!!!! I would want one, except I don't really cook. We actually have one at home but it never gets used...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I like the apron with the orange & yellow flowers. I could see myself wearing that (and it speaks to my love of fall). I can see how these aprons would make fun gifts. And the colored fabric would make the apron fit the personality of whoever you gift it to.

  15. These are just adorable! I have a ton of jeans saved as I use them for bags and other little craft projects. I will have to try and make one of these with my old jeans, too. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Super cute aprons! I really love the mini apron you made for you 2 year old niece.

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party


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