Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tutorial: Turn an old skirt into an apron

I love recycling old things. Do you have an old skirt that you can’t bear to part with? Turn it into an apron and give it a new life! Today I will show you how. The pictures today are smaller than normal. Please click on them to enlarge them!

Old skirt to apron

The skirt I have is perfect because it doesn’t have zippers or buttons, just an elastic waist. I based the waist ties part of this tutorial on the “Italiano Kitchen Mama Apron” from Sew4Home.com. If you don’t know this website, you should check it out! Lots of wonderful sewing projects with super detailed instructions. I am a big fan.

Apron skirt: First of all you need to undo your skirt’s side seams, or cut really close to them. You will then have 2 pieces. Grab one of the pieces and decide how long you want the apron to be from the waist down. Fold the skirt piece in two lengthwise and mark the spot where you will need to cut with a pin. Make sure the middle crease is straight (a cutting mat works best for this).


Make a straight cut. Open the skirt and serge the side seams. You can finish them with a zig-zag, too.

Fold the side seams 1/2” and press. Then stitch with your machine. The bottom is already hemmed for you, how practical!


Neck ties: I don’t have pictures of this step, but they’re easy to make. Cut two 3" x 24" strips. Fold each one in half lengthwise and stitch with a ¼" seam allowance along the length of the tie and across one end. Trim the corners, turn right side out through the open end, and press flat. Note: If you don’t have tube turners, then you should consider investing in a set. They really make turning tubes a breeze!!


Apron bib: Decide how big you want the apron bib and what shape you would like it to have. I made mine rectangular, but you can opt for a trapeze or maybe curved sides, for which you can use another apron as a template. Lots of choices here!

For my bib, I cut a piece out of the second skirt piece measuring 11” in width x 12” in length (almost a square). Then I cut another piece to cover the neck ties, 2-3/4” wide. The length should be 1” less than the width of the apron bib top. In my case, then, it should be 10”.

Fold the bottom edge 1/4” towards the wrong side and press. Now place the apron bib right side up on the table. Mark the middle point with a pin and then place the neck ties 3/4” from either side, aligning the raw edges.


Now place the smaller rectangle on top, wrong side up, making sure to align its middle point with that of the apron bib. Pin everything and stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance.


Now press and then fold the smaller rectangle towards the apron bib’s wrong side.


Topstitch both along the top and the bottom, close to the edges.


Now we’re going to hem the sides of the apron bib. Fold the sides twice 1/4” towards the wrong side. Press, pin, and sew. Your apron bib is ready!


Apron assembly: Place the apron bib over the apron skirt, right sides together, aligning the bottom of the bib with the top of the skirt. Also make sure to align the middle points of both pieces. Stitch with a 1/4” seam allowance, press and fold the bib away from the skirt.


Waist ties: Decide how long you want the waist ties to be. I think that 60-70 inches is a good length. Let’s suppose you want the ties to be about 70” long. You will need to cut 4 strips 35.5” long x 2.5” wide. Sew 2 strips together along the 2.5” edge and repeat with the other two. Press the seam open. Now match both strips right sides together.

Measure how wide the apron bib and the apron skirt are. My bib is 9” wide and the skirt is 18” wide. So I will leave a 10" opening along the top of the waistband and a 19" opening along the bottom of the waist band. I made this very primitive drawing to show you how you’re supposed to sew (obviously, not to scale). The black line is the seamline. Using a 1/4” seam allowance, I started sewing 5” from the middle of my waistband along one side, across the end and along the bottom long side. I stopped 9.5” from the middle. I repeated this on the other side.

Once your waistband is sewn, clip the corners and turn it inside out. Press the waistband and also the opening seam allowances in ¼" so that the raw edges are flush with the sewn edges.


Now insert the apron through the waistband from the bottom up.


Make sure that the waist ties are perfectly aligned and sew the openings shut.


Your apron is ready!


You can get creative and add a ruffle at the bottom, a pocket, etc. The possibilities are endless! I was just content with a little appliqué.


Please let me know if you have any questions. Now go salvage an old skirt!


  1. What a fabulous tutorial...and a great way to reuse old clothing!

  2. This is great! Lovely result and a nice straightforward tutorial!
    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    I also have a page dedicated to clothes upcycling projects with a long term linky list on. Please do take a look, I'm getting lots of great projects and tutorials there and would love if you added yours too!
    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. Welcome, Jill! And thank you for inviting me to participate in your linky party. I added this tutorial to both lists. Great blog! I will check out the other "round tuits" :).

  4. Saw this on the Whimsy Couture link and wanted to say NICE WORK! Looks great!

  5. Thanks so much, Kristy! Glad to have you here. :-)

  6. What a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial!

  7. You're welcome! Hope it inspires you to use an old skirt ;-)

  8. Brilliant! love this idea!

    great blog title too! :)

  9. Thanks Maria! And thank you for stopping by!

  10. Just wanted to let you know I featured this on my post today, as I'm doing a month of clothes upcycling projects!
    I also upgraded to picture links so if you wanted to resubmit this to the linky list with a picture, you are most welcome to!

    Thanks again for linking up!

    skirt upcycling
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  11. I love this idea, Ana. Great project. The little applique is adorable!

  12. Hi! Loved your Schoolhouse Tunic tutorial/sew along. I just dusted off my sewing machine (retired) and I'm enjoying the ride... I can't find your current blog, and am hoping you are still in blogland! (I keep finding "don't fear the reaper". Annoying.)

    I hope this email finds you! Melody mmsrygley@gmail.com


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