We like to keep our crafts fairly simple around here, but every once in awhile we come across an idea that we just can’t keep to ourselves! Hallmark Creative Librarian and upcycled craft maven Kerstin K. is with us today sharing a nifty DIY apron pattern perfect for all you advanced seamstresses.
Before I had a house and kids, I liked remaking vintage and secondhand clothes I found at thrift stores. Through trial and error, I made a lot of unique pieces that I sold at a vintage market shop. My favorite reuse for a basic collared, button-down shirt is this apron pattern I came up with. Three great things about this pattern: it’s repeatable, it comes together quickly, and it requires minimal sewing (but you will need to know your way around a sewing machine).
You will need:
- Two coordinating collared, button-down shirts (cotton/cotton blend)
- Pins, fabric scissors, and a seam ripper or embroidery scissors
- A sewing machine threaded with thread/bobbin to match your fabric
Shirt #1 will be the skirt portion of the apron.
Shirt #2 will be the trim. The collar and buttons/buttonholes from this shirt will be the waistband and the ties of the apron.
If you prefer a tailored look, allow extra fabric for hems and finished edges.
If you feel like winging it, play with serged, frayed, or unfinished edges. Your preference will determine how much fabric to allow for hems and finishing when deconstructing both shirts.
Let’s get started!
Cut along the side seams, armholes, and across the bottom of the yoke on the shirt back. Once you have this piece detached from the shirt, you can size it and shape it the way you like, allowing fabric for hems on the sides and pleats or gathering along the top edge. Stitch raw edges into hems along the sides of the apron skirt.
Measure the fabric to allow for a hem, then make little cuts and rip the fabric along the button side and the buttonhole side. You can cut with scissors if you prefer. Use scissors to cut away the collar along the seam, preserving the finished look of the collar edge where it was attached to the shirt.
Using a seam ripper or embroidery scissors, open up the stitching of the collar where it was cut away from the shirt to create an opening from the button to the buttonhole. Once you’ve cleared out the bits of fabric and thread, you have a nice little pocket for your apron skirt fabric to slide into.
The strips of buttons and the buttonholes will be the apron ties. Use the collar’s button and buttonhole to fasten the ties to the collar. For a tailored look, stitch a hem along the ripped or cut edge of the apron ties.
For a pleated skirt, determine how much excess fabric is available after measuring against the collar “pocket,” and divide it evenly into small pleats pinned across the top of the skirt. (Tip: change the direction of your pleats in the middle to create a symmetrical look. You can also gather the top of your skirt.)
Now fit the top of the skirt edge into the collar “pocket” and pin into place. Sew the skirt into the collar on the sewing machine: straight stitch, medium length.
The bottom of the apron can be finished with a ruffle, a fabric trim, or a simple hem. You can add pockets, applique, or any other unique element to the front of your apron. Play and have fun! You’ll create something unique and one-of-kind.
Try it with a child’s sized button-down shirt—everything is cuter in miniature!