DIY Style: How To Make Homemade Aprons From Existing Clothing

sewing apron

Growing up, my mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers always wore homemade aprons when cooking and even cleaning around the house. All of the women also sewed all of their own aprons as well as clothing for the whole family.

Unfortunately, I did not inherit the gene for cooking (or cleaning for that matter) so I only wear aprons (all made by my mother) when I bake which is on rare occasions. I also do not sew, but that’s only due to lack of time. My goal is to someday sew quilts, maybe in retirement!

Needless to say, this post could not be possible without my mother’s creativeness and sewing craftiness as she personally made all of these aprons.

Apron Made With Blue Jeans Denim

Background story: My daughter and I were making Christmas cookies a few years ago and she asked if I was seen in public that day. I respond, yes, why? I had a huge rip down the back seam of my jeans with my backend exposed! I was so upset as these were my favorite Silver jeans, and they were now unrepairable. I gave them to my mother thinking she may be able to use the denim for patching or crafts (and of course I told her they were my favorite), so she surprised me by making an apron out of them.

blue jean apron

To make this denim apron, my mother cut open one of the legs of the pants and used the bottom of the hem as the top of the apron. She took the back pocket from the other leg and added it to the bigger pant leg side as it looked better. The pocket comes in quite handy for storing Kleenexes and my phone while cooking, or in my case baking! Note: only one pant leg was in the making of the apron, so you could potentially make two aprons out of one pair of blue jeans.

Kim wearing denim apron

My mom even made her own bias tape (she has a vintage bias tape maker) out of a flower printed fabric to trim the apron with and use as the apron strings to tie in the back. You can definitely buy bias tape instead of making your own.

Apron Made Out Of Ties

I sent the following post from Facebook to my mom about someone who took a collection of Christmas ties and made an apron out of it simply saying this was a cool idea.

tie apron

My mother never responded to that Facebook direct message and I actually forgot about it until she gave me my very own apron made out of ties for Christmas:

apron made with ties

I asked my mom where she got the ties as we don’t have any family member that wears ties, and she thinks she got them at an estate sale as she’s bought several odd boxes of fabric at estate sales, and these ties were amongst her fabric stash.

kim in tie apron

Is this tie apron adorable? I also look like I’ve gained a tad bit of weight since the photo taken of me wearing the denim apron!

Apron Made Out Of Collared Shirt

My main business is liquidation arbitrage which is basically buying items at low prices and selling (or trying to sell) them at higher prices. I buy pallets and even truckloads of liquidation items from name-brand retailers. One of those retailers is Costco and I ended with hundreds if not, thousands of Kirkland Signature Men’s Traditional Fit Dress Shirts. These shirts do not come in conventional sizes such as small, medium, large, etc. but instead, come in tailored sizes that include neck sizes and sleeve lengths.

Well, most men have no idea what their neck size and sleeve length sizes are. Even professionals that wear dress shirts every day do not know (trust me, I polled many), therefore these shirts did not sell well. I donated hundreds of these shirts to Orphan Grain Train that ships donated clothing, medical, and other needed items to people in 69 different countries. But I kept a few garbage bags full of these collared shirts asking if my mom could work her magic to make them into something. She does make the cutest memory bears* out of collared shirts as a remembrance for loved ones, but these Kirkland collared shirts are brand new and have no sentimental value whatsoever.

shirt apron

So my mom made some super cute aprons out of the shirts by cutting off the sleeves and back, but leaving the collar as the opening to go over the head. Although I think this apron is super cute, it didn’t go over well at craft fairs where my mom peddles her goods. But you know what did sell well that is similar…

shirt bib

Adult Bibs! My mom made adult bibs out of some of the collared shirts that turned out to be a hit seller amongst those with elderly loved ones.

*Since I mentioned the memory bears that my mom makes, I figured I needed to share a photo of those as well:

memory bear
The memory bear my mother made for my friend whose father passed away (the shirt was her father’s).

Homemade Vintage Apron

My mom devotes most of her time to helping friends and family, and I’m pretty sure most of the clan has received a special handmade apron from her, sewn with love. But my mom rarely spends any time or money on herself, including making herself a new apron. She tends to wear her aprons out until they are worn and ratty.

Grandma Pam fabric

Years ago, I had the opportunity as a blogger/influencer to order and review some customized fabric from Zazzle, so I picked out some hot pink fabric with white polka dots and added some white text saying “Grandma Pam” as that’s what everyone calls her.

McCall's Crafts 2132
McCall’s Crafts 2132 Vingate Apron Pattern

When my mom first saw the fabric, she knew immediately what apron pattern she wanted to make.

Grandma Pam Apron

This particular apron pattern took much longer to sew than the normal aprons that my mom makes as this vintage pattern required a lot of hand stitching and was more complex. She did not wash the fabric ahead of time but wishes she would have to make the fabric less stiff.

Grandma Pam Apron

Here’s my mom modeling the finished product – complete with pockets!

Grandma Pam retro apron

And here’s the back of the retro-looking apron. Cute, eh?

Another Grandma Pam Apron

There was enough fabric leftover, so my mom made another “Grandma Pam” apron for another lady also named “Grandma Pam”. She washed the fabric first this time and used an easier pattern.

Grandma Pam apron

This post is dedicated to Pam Halsey, shown above in her “Grandma Pam” apron who lost her battle with cancer in 2021. Rest in peace Pammy Jo.

homemade aprons

If you have any leftover fabric after making aprons, check out this cute printable free hobo bag pattern to use up your scrap fabric. This would make a great handmade Valentine’s gift idea.

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