Whether you’re a gardener, a cook, an artist or anyone who gets messy, an apron can come in handy! Aprons take a small amount of fabric and are great for using up your mix-and-match scraps. Here’s how to sew an apron that you can customize to fit any activity.
How to sew an apron step by step
Step 1: Draw the apron shape
Aprons are a standard design, and you can make the shape in a few different ways. If you have an apron that you already like, you can use that to trace the shape onto your fabric.
Luckily, you can still learn how to sew an apron without a pattern. We’ll use simple measurements to create our own pieces.
First, fold your fabric lengthwise and then mark as shown. Here we are planning for ½” seam allowances.
Mark a straight 6″ line perpendicular to the fold. Move down from that 10 inches, and then mark the fabric 13″ from the fold.
You can use a dressmakers ruler to create the side curve of the apron, or mark it with a straight line from the apron top to the waist. You can even draw it freehand — no rules when it comes to making aprons!
Along the fold, measure 32″ down from the top of the apron. Draw another 13″ line perpendicular to the fold. Draw the side edge of the apron by connecting the two 13″ lines. Now you can cut it out.
Step 2: Finish the curved edges
There are lots of choices for finishing the curved side edges of the apron. You can fold the edge toward the inside of the apron, press, fold again and then stitch.
Here I decided to add some color with bias tape. Apply the bias tape on the inside and then fold it toward the right side, press and stitch.
Step 3: Add a pocket
Aprons with big pockets are so useful — you can have your kitchen timer, gardening tools or other supplies right at hand. You can also play around with accent fabrics or use your scraps to embellish.
Here I used the selvedge edge of the fabric at the upper pocket edge for a clean finish. In this example I cut a piece of fabric 13″ x 12″. Press the top edge under by a ½” then fold again another inch and stitch across the top of the pocket. Press the other edges in ½“.
Step 4: Attach the pocket
Center the pocket right side up on the apron, about 4″ down from the top edge of the side of the apron. Stitch around the sides and the bottom with two rows of stitching to secure your pocket. You can also stitch down the center of the pocket to make it a two-compartment pocket.
Step 5: Finish remaining edges
Double fold and stitch the top, sides and bottom of your apron to finish those edges. If you want to embellish or add some accent fabrics, you can use bias tapes or other trims to add more texture to your apron.
Step 6: Make apron neckband
Here’s a neckband idea for your apron that will make it easy to put on and eliminate the need for a closure or tie at the neck. Cut an 18″ length of 1″-wide elastic, and then cut a length of your apron fabric 22″ by 3″.
Stitch the apron neckband fabric into a tube with ¼” seam allowance. Leave both ends open, turn it right side out and press flat.
Pull the elastic piece through the fabric tube, keeping the end of the elastic even with the fabric tube at both ends.
Step 7: Sew neckband on apron
Tuck the ends of the fabric tube in about ¼”, keeping the elastic covered but also at the end of the tube. Stitch the neckband on either side of the top of the apron, making sure that it is flat and not twisted when you attach it.
Step 8: Make waist ties
Here’s another spot where you can use accent fabric or even ribbon or twill tape. I like an apron where I can wrap the tie around the front so I make the ties long but you can choose any length you prefer.
Cut and sew lengths of fabric into waist ties. Here, the ties are 1″ wide.
To start, cut two lengths of fabric 3″ by 43″. Sew both tubes wrong sides together with a ½” seam allowance and turn right side out. Finish by tucking in the open ends and stitching closed. this makes turning the tubes easier.
Step 8: Attach the ties
To attach the waist ties to the apron, fold under the raw edge of the tube and attach as shown, enclosing that edge and creating a clean finish inside the apron. Give it a few rows of stitching to make it really secure. Now you’re ready for the kitchen or gift giving!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published December 2016 and was updated in January 2018.