Upcycled Denim Apron Tutorial
I'm always looking for cute sewing projects for all of the old jeans that I have sitting around the house. For some reason the length of the jeans is never quite right on my husband, so the hems get ruined and I can't donate them.
I don't like throwing them away because it seems like such a waste.
So I try to come up with things to make. I've already made a cute denim throw pillow cover and now I've made this apron.
Aprons are always useful in my house. I use them while cooking and cleaning, and now that my daughter is old enough, she uses them too. That means I need more, and that is why I came up with this project.
I love that this apron has pockets in the front, and I think that the addition of the pink fabric really makes it shine. I included the fabric to brighten up the denim a little bit, and to add a whimsical touch. Luckily I'm a quilter so I have lots of fabric around to choose from.
This apron is easy and fun to make. With adult supervision, an older child could make one for themselves, or as a special gift for someone. I know that my mother would love to have something especially made for her by her granddaughter.
Below you'll find all of the instructions and photos that you'll need to make this project.
What do you do with your old jeans?
Supplies you'll need
- One pair of jeans - These were larger men's jeans
- One yard of cotton fabric
- Good scissors
- Seam ripper
- Quilter's ruler
- Strong rotary cutter
- Strong sewing needles
- Pins (you'll need a lot)
Measurements for cutting the jeans
Need denim sewing needles?
Upcycle the jeans
The measurements for the denim are in the photo above. The following instructions will show you how to disassemble the jeans. (As shown in the photos below. Click on the thumbnails to see each photo)
- Choose a used pair of jeans that is free of any noticeable tears or stains. (Photo 1)
- Cut off the legs just below the seam between the legs. (Photo 2)
- Cut out the front center seam and zipper. (Photo 3)
- Open up and lay out the jeans flat. (Photo 4)
- Using good scissors, cut off the front two panels of the jeans. Use the side seam as a guide. Before cutting, remember that you'll need 20 1/2" on top and 23 1/2" on the bottom, so you may need to keep part of the front of the jeans. Measure before you cut just to be sure. (Photo 5)
- Remove the belt loops. (Photo 6)
- Trim the denim to: Top waist = 20 1/2", Bottom hem 23 1/2", Sides will measure approximately 15 1/2". Before you cut, mark all 4 corners with a pen. These marks will serve as your cutting lines. Using your ruler, cut from mark to mark. (Photo 7)
- Fold under and pin down both sides, making a 1/4" finished edge. (Photo 8)
- Sew down the hem on both sides. (Photo 9)
Note: This apron fits a medium to extra large adult. To make it smaller, just adjust the length of the waist and hem accordingly.
Measurements for the sash
Suggested sash lengths for various waists
20" to 30"
30" to 40"
40" to 50"
50" and larger
Making the sash for the apron
Making the sash is the most time consuming part of this project. Use the measurements noted in the photo above, or use the suggestions listed to the right. You can also follow the photo instructions provided below.
- Cut two strips, 5" by the width of the fabric. The standard width of fabric is about 42" from selvage to selvage. (Photo 1).
- With right sides facing each other, sew the two strips together on one of the short ends. This will give you a strip about 5" by 82". Trim to the desired length. (Photo 2)
- Hem the edges. Fold and press each end of the strip down approximately 1/4". Sew down to secure. (Photo 3)
- Fold and press the strip in half, lengthwise, right sides together. Sew down the entire length of the fabric using a 1/4" seam. This will form a long tube. (No photo available)
- Turn the sash inside out. This takes a while, and a lot of patience. I use my fingers and the eraser end of a pencil. Just keep working the fabric by pushing with the pencil and pulling at the top. Don't use anything sharp or the sash will tear. (Photo 4)
- Press the sash and attach to the top of the denim by pinning the center of the sash to the center of the top (waist side) of the denim. Match the raw edge of the denim to the seam of the sash and pin along the top. Sew the sash on using a 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end for security. (Photo 5)
Measurements for the ruffle
Video showing how to pin a ruffle to fabric
Making the ruffle for the apron
You may not think so, but adding the ruffle is easy. Just get your pins ready. The measurements in the photo above are for a subtle ruffle. If you want a fuller ruffle, just add a few inches to the length of the fabric. If you'd like more information on how to pin a ruffle, see the video I made on the right.
- Cut a piece of fabric 10" by 27 1/2". (Photo 1)
- Hem both of the 10 inch sides by turning the fabric in about 1/4" and pressing. Then sew down. (Photo 2)
- Fold in half, wrong sides together, long edge to long edge. (No photo available)
- Lay the fabric on top of the denim, lining up the raw edges of the folded fabric and the raw edge of the bottom of the denim. The fabric will be longer, but that is ok. (No photo available)
- Start pinning the ruffle onto the bottom edge of the denim. Pin the center of the denim hem to the center of the fabric. Then pin the corners, matching up the corner of the fabric to the corner of the denim. Pin on both corners. (Photo 3)
- Find the center of the fabric on the smaller sections and pin. (Photo 4)
- Continue finding the centers of the sections and pin. (Photo 5)
- Pin like this along the entire edge until you are happy with how it looks. (Photo 6)
- Using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew along the edge, beginning and ending with backstitching. (Photo 7)
Recycled jeans make a great apron
Anyone who cooks can use an apron, and most people don't go out and buy one for themselves. They usually have one in their kitchen drawer that has been washed one too many times or has lots of stains. Why not make someone, or yourself, a new one.
I've always liked to wear aprons. Not only are they functional, they look cute, especially this one. By making it with old jeans, you are also doing a small part to help the environment.
This apron only takes about an hour or two to make, and the results are awesome. Who wouldn't want an apron like this? Next time you have an old pair of jeans sitting around, why not try this project.
Ready to start cooking in a new apron!
© 2014 Claudia Mitchell