May 27

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Old to New: Tough Apron!

apron before after

My live-in chef / partner is a big guy, and it’s usually tough to find clothes that fit him. It’s even tougher to find an apron for him. Thus, he often cooks sans apron, getting food spatters all over his hard-to-find shirts. We have amassed quite a collection of different laundry stain removers as a result.


However, I came across one of his pairs of old jeans that were ripped and too short in the leg (did he grow again?!), and I decided to try my hand at revamping it into a hard-wearing apron, custom-made for him. It turned out really well, and it seems to be doing its job in protecting his clothes!


I’m a bit groggy today and am finding it hard to be clear in my instructions, but I gave it my best shot anyway! :)


– old jeans, preferably ones from the same person that the apron is for, for size purposes
– sewing machine with denim needle
– sewing scissors
– sewing machine thread
– seam ripper
– tailor’s chalk
– embroidery hoop, thread, and needle (optional)
– surgical forceps or other turning tool (optional)




Step 1.

apron web 01

apron web 02
Iron jeans. Cut off waistband right under the belt loops (I forgot to do this until later). Snip the jeans down the inside seam all the way up one leg, through the crotch, and down the other leg. The jeans should now be kind of a flappy skirt. Fold it across the crotch as in the photo, dividing the two back pockets. Cut through crotch seam, leaving you with two matching pieces. Use seam ripper to remove back pockets.


Step 2.

apron 04 web
Take waistband and sew across belt loops to secure. The waistband will be repurposed as the neck loop, and the loops and details make it visually interesting.


Step 3.

apron 03 web

I used another slightly-too-small apron as an approximate pattern to check if the pant leg is wide enough for the pattern (it wasn’t). If you don’t have another apron around, you can draw your own pattern based on the person’s measurements. It should be roughly a big square with a smaller rectangle on top with two corners cut off.


Step 4.
Using your pattern, cut out the apron shape, leaving hem allowance. If, like me, your pattern is wider than one pant leg, you can take the second pant leg and use the fabric to add to the first one. When the desired shape is complete, iron, then hem all the edges on the sewing machine.



apron 05 web

apron 06 web
If you would like pockets on your apron, take the pockets you removed earlier and draw a chalk outline of where you want them placed on the apron. If desired, the pockets can be embroidered. I did a very simple “plus and minus sign” design as a nod to the Swiss flag.

apron 07 web


If you do embroider the pocket, remember to attach a piece of scrap fabric to the back to keep the embroidery securely attached. Then, attach pocket to the apron, at the chalk outlines.apron 08 web


Step 6.
Cut off the section of the waistband containing the button hole, together with about 4 cm of the waistband. Sew to one side of the neckline of the apron. Take the rest of the waistband and pin to the opposite side of the neckline, according to neck loop size needed. Sew it on.


Step 7. (AKA The Pain in the Butt Step)
If you have ribbon, webbing, or some other kind of tie-able material you would like to use for the waist straps, you can attach them directly and save yourself a lot of trouble. I was stubborn and decided to use every part of the “animal” and cut the remaining pant leg into long strips (about 6 cm wide each) and sewed them into one long strip. Then, I ironed and folded the strip lengthwise, inside-out, and ironed again. Next, I sewed a straight seam all the way down the strip on the open side, still inside-out, thus making a tube. Now, for the painful part– I have a pair of very long forceps, and I used them to turn the tube right-side-out again. You can also use tweezers or pliers, but I find that with denim, it’s hard to do without forceps. When you’re finished, a thousand years later, iron flat, then sew straight seams through the middle of the strip, then to each side of the centre seam. This makes the “tube” become a flat band. Cut this band in half.


Step 8.
Attach each waist bands to the apron. Make sure you check the height of the waist on your model and mark it before attaching. Snip off any loose threads on the back side, then iron. FINISHED!

apron 09 webapron 10 web

Permanent link to this article: http://project-aika.com/2014/05/old-to-new-tough-apron/

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