DIY Apron


I love aprons. I always wear one when I am in the kitchen, they are so handy. I am not much for lace and frills, atleast not on an every day basis. Sometimes, a girl feels more comfortable in flannel than lace, you know? Inspiration struck when I spotted this Duluth Trading flannel shirt in the thrift store. This men’s shirt was XXL HUGE but I loved it. Duluth makes a great quality product and I knew this item had lots of life left in it, a good candidate for an Upcycled project.

I began by pinning a piece of bias tape to the shirt on the dress form. I knew I wanted to remove the arms, shoulders and upper back of the shirt. I pinned the tape on the shirt into the desired design, then removed the shirt to cut it.

When cutting a ready made garment, it generally works best to match and pin seams together. Start by folding it in half matching side seams, neck, shoulder seams and hem. This is important to get two exact copies of your design. Cut along the bias tape, leaving 1/2″ seam allowance.

I also cut the shirt at center back to make the sides of the apron.

This is how it turned out! I love it! This is my DIY Apron for when I do all my messy projects!

Here are some tips:

For the neck area, I left the collar intact and cut away the shoulders, upper back and back yoke. I removed the Duluth label at the back of the inside collar and stitched it onto one of the breast pockets. I love reusing “designer” labels, it makes a homemade item seem so authentic and genuine.

The shoulder and underarm areas were finished with a 1/4″ rolled hem.

I used the leftover sleeves (and upper back parts) of the shirt to cut 2 1/2″ strips for the waist ties. I got 4 or 5 long pieces from one sleeve which was enough to make the ties.

Sew the strips together into 2 long ties, mine measured 30″ which was long enough to have them cross in the back and tie in the front. Fold in half lengthwise with right sides together, sewing across one end to secure. Turn right side out and press. Attach to the back corner of each side of the apron. Double stitch for maximum strength.

The last step was to take a small dart over the bust on each side near the armhole area. My dart was about 1/2″ on the double at the widest point, then tapered down to nothing over a 3″ area towards the pocket. Even with the plaid design, you can’t barely tell its there. This little step make up for the differences in male/female anatomy and keeps the armhole area from being too baggy.

That’s it! An easy project you can finish in an afternoon, and a great use for an old shirt. Who knew?

Happy sewing!


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  1. Beth says

    Hi Jessica, this is a great idea, such insight to be able to see an apron from a men’s flannel shirt. I love Duluth items, total quality clothing. Thanks for sharing! Best Regards Beth Luedeman


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