Saturday, March 21, 2015

How to Make an Apron from an Old Dress Shirt

In preparation for an upcoming Aprons & Pearls party I wanted to come up with an easy and affordable way to make an apron.  Because I'm a junker I really wanted to create it from a thrift store find.  I couldn't think of a better start than with a men's dress shirt.

To begin, select a men's dress shirt that has reinforced side seams.  I choose one with long sleeves, so I could use the removed sleeves for another project. Select a shirt sized a bit larger so the length will be suitable for an apron that will provide you adequate coverage.

Remove the sleeves by simply cutting them off at the seam.

Set the sleeves aside until you have time to repurpose them as wine bottle gift bags.
Instructions for this project can be found here.

Separate the shirt front from the shirt back by cutting along the seams on both sides. Be sure to cut so the reinforced seam remains on the front of the shirt.

 Remove the shirt back by cutting a few inched below the back collar.

At each shoulder, mark with a pin about 1/2 inch from the base of the collar,

Using a straight-edge ruler, mark a line from the pin at the shoulder to the bottom of the armhole.

Cut along this diagonal, but be careful not to cut into the base of the collar.

Carefully cut around the back of the collar just under it's base. Stop just before you get to the other side.

Now fold your apron in half so the sides match. Using the side you just cut as your guide, cut the second side. Remove the rest of the back by continuing to cut along the base of the collar.

This is what your project to look like so far. Set apron front aside as you work on the apron ties.

If necessary, press the discarded men's shirt back.


Cut two 2 1/2 inch strips from the discarded back.
With right sides together, fold each strip in half horizontally and stitch along the long side and one end.  Turn right side out and press. 

Create a rolled hem on each side of the apron front. Fold over 1/4 inch and press. Fold over again 1/4 inch, press, and sew.  The hem becomes very thin as you get near the top by the base of the collar.  Work it in as best you can.

Pin each apron tie to the side of the apron front just under the diagonal. The raw edge opening of each tie should line up along the sides of the apron.  This may seem counter intuitive, but when you finish the next step you'll see why I did it this way.

Sew each tie in place.


Now, fold each tie over the seam you just made, press, and top stitch it in place.
The apron ties now have a neat finish.

You may wish to sew the front placket (down the font where the buttons are) closed. If you do so, be careful not to sew over any of your buttons, and do not sew it closed to the top.  Remember, you still have to be able to open the top couple of buttons, so you're able to get it over your head.

Your apron is now finished and ready to wear.

Bon Appetit! mes amis!

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

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