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How to Make A Shop Apron That Works As Hard As You Do!

Shop Apron

Whether it’s cooking, woodworking, painting, or any other do-it-yourself pursuit, it’s always a good idea to have a trusty apron in your arsenal of “tools.” Today Britta is sharing the perfect shop apron for any project.

Britta writes………….

Before I wrote a tutorial on making your own grommet curtains, I had never really wanted to get involved with sewing. I just couldn’t see the appeal of putting a lot of effort into sewing something you could just go to the store and buy! But over the past couple of years I have really come to understand and appreciate the satisfaction that comes from creating something from scratch, whether that be through gardening, DIY projects, and yes, even sewing!

So when my husband approached me a few weeks ago and suggested that we make an apron for him, my initial apprehension about the project quickly turned into curiosity and excitement. Since Neil is a cook, he wanted a durable “manly” apron that he could wear while cooking. He also wanted the apron to be versatile enough that he could wear it while working on his various projects and hobbies too. So with little more than a few pictures for inspiration and some vague measurements, I set about creating his “dream” shop apron.

Shop Apron

It turned out better than I could have ever dreamed of, and he LOVES this apron (especially the crossed-back design!) I think this handmade apron would make a perfect Father’s Day or graduation gift, both of which will be here before we know it!

To make this apron, you’ll need the following materials:

  • 1 yard of denim or other sturdy fabric
  • 1/2 yard of other fabric (for pockets)
  • 5 yards of lightweight 1″ cotton tape
  • 2 D-rings, 1″
  • a sewing machine

Shop Apron

Start by making a template for your apron. I pieced several pieces of paper together, sketched out my desired measurements, and cut it out. Since I wanted the top width to be 10″, the bottom width to be 28″, and the length to be 31″, I made my template 5″ at the top, 14″ at the bottom, and 31″ in length.

Shop Apron

Fold the denim fabric in half and line up the long end of your template along the fold. Then you’ll want to measure and mark a 1/2″ allowance on all sides for the hem, except the top, where you’ll measure a 1-1/2″ allowance.

Shop Apron

Remove your template and cut the denim along the lines you marked.

Shop Apron

Time for everyone’s favorite part… hemming! ;-) Measure out a 1/4″ fold along the sides of your apron, and press (make sure to do the curved parts as well). Then fold that over a 1/4″ as well, and press again. You’re making a 1/4″ double fold on each side. Once those are pressed, stitch them down using your sewing machine.

Then do the exact same process to the bottom hem. A 1/4″ fold, press, 1/4″ fold, press, then stitch.

For the top, you’ll fold 1/2″ and press, then fold over 1″, press, and sew. The main part of the apron is done!

Shop Apron

Now it’s time to make the straps. Measure out and cut two 80″ pieces of the cotton tape. On one end of each strap, fold over 1″ and press.

Shop Apron

Attach the pressed end of each strap, folded side down, to the top of the apron by stitching a box with two diagonal lines through it, as shown above with the red dotted lines. This will make sure the strap is super secure!

Shop Apron

Now you’ll create some tabs for the D-rings. From your leftover cotton tape, cut out two 3″ pieces. On one end of each piece, measure and press a 3/8″ hem. Then slide a D-ring onto each piece, fold the tape in half so the straight side of each ring is in the middle, and tuck the opposite end under the 3/8″ pressed hem. Stitch the tab closed.

Shop ApronAttach the D-ring tabs on each corner of the apron where the curved armholes meet the straight sides. Use the box stitch again with the diagonal lines running through it.

Shop Apron

And finally, let’s create some pockets. Using the template sizes of your choice, mark and cut out your pockets from your secondary material. Here are the measurements I used for my pockets:

  • 2-pencil pocket – 4″ x 6-3/4″
  • medium-sized pocket – 6″ x 5-3/4″
  • extra-large pocket – 13″ x 9-1/4″

Shop Apron

For the top hem of the pockets, measure a 1/4″ fold and press, then fold that over 1/2″ and press. Stitch the top hem down, then measure a 1/4″ fold on remaining three sides, and press. Repeat for all pockets.

Shop Apron

The final step is to sew the pockets to the apron, by stitching the sides and the bottom, and leaving the hemmed top open. (Helpful hint: Before sewing the pockets down, it helps to position and pin your pockets to the apron while someone is wearing it, so you can be sure that the pockets are in the right place!)

Putting It On

The point of a crossed-back apron is to put the weight on your shoulders and back, rather than your neck. The strap over the wearer’s right shoulder gets fed through the D-ring on their left side, and the strap on the left shoulder gets fed through the D-ring on the right. You can then bring the straps to the middle of the back and tie it closed there, or you can wrap the straps all the way around the body and tie it closed in the front.

Shop Apron

That’s all there is to it! This apron looks like a million bucks, and it isn’t very hard to make at all. The handy-man or handy-woman in your life will love it, and they’ll definitely love that you made it for them!

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  • I didn’t make an apron, but this good thing reminded me of a small pillowcase I made for a small pillow my grandkid’s used at our home. I made it from my Mom’s nylon nightgown and left the small pocket that tied. When the grandkids took their naps, there was always a tissue tucked inside. They loved it and so did I. They’re nearly grown now, but I still have that little pillowcase.

  • I used to make theese for hubby when he was working.One thing I did different was the top pocket for the pencils & gauges is complete in itself & left loose to hang straight down when he leaned over those items didn`t fall out. Love your blog, thanks, Barb

  • Great pattern – Love it! I think using one of my guy’s favorite old flannel shirts for the pocket fabric would work well for this. Thanks for the excellent directions & pictures!

  • I love this idea! Can you create a post on lining jeans with flannel? I live in the NE and we have COLD winters! Flannel jeans are expensive and also hard to find that fit well, esp for the kids. If I could take a pair that fit well and line them myself, that would be awesome!

  • I have seen a similar apron made from opening up a pair of old jeans and using them for the bib part. Looking at your first photo of the fabric with the pattern lying on it, imagine that as your folded jean leg. The crotch area of the jean becomes the armpit area of the apron. Pretty similar, and you don’t have to buy fabric!

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