Finding a natural solution
Do you have a pair of jeans that you out grew or have a hole in a ‘tragic’ area?
Do you wash dishes or craft and are tired of the leak-through?
If you said yes, then this craft is for you. This DIY jeans to apron upcycling project is easy to complete in one hour. I know I kept a pile of jeans around because it felt wasteful to throw them away. I also hang on to the random 1/2 yard of fabric left over from other projects. Over the years I’ve come up with a few great uses for old jeans and this DIY apron is one of my favorites.
1 pair of jeans with the knees intact. Mine were husband size 35-35
1/2 yard of fabric 45in wide or more.
Thread to coordinate with (or accent!) your fabric
Step 1 – Put your jeans on a flat surface and smooth them as much as possible. Cut diagonally from the groin seam up toward the side of the leg. See the photo below but think ‘short shorts’ as you are cutting.
Step 2 – Examine the cuff of the pants. If there is a bad section, like all my husbands pants have where he walks on them, you want to cut directly in the center of the worst part. If all things are equal go equidistant between two seams. CUT down the leg as straight as possible.
Step 3 – Unfold and refold the leg so the cuff is straight. The bottom will not be level, don’t worry, the top needs to be straight as possible.
Step 4 – Cut a ‘J’ curve into the fabric on the open side (not the fold). This will be the arm hole(s) and for me the measure was 7.5 inches long and 4 inches wide; measure on yourself but remember the top of the apron will not be on your shoulder, and, aprons tend to be one-size-fits-most style fit.
Step 5 – Cut 3 strips of accent fabric then finish the edges with a serger or a zigzag.
Step 6 – Finish all but the top edge of the apron. I used a serger; you could just as easily turn it under and zigzag. In this tutorial I do not show decorative edging around the side edges but you can do that too, however, raw jeans edge look frizzy after washing so choose your method to combat the fuzz.
These next steps sound complicated but they are really easier then it looks. Think about making a fabric sandwich; accent, jean, accent.
Step 7 – Choose what arm you want to start with. Take one of the accent fabric strips and place it 1/2 inch in from the arm hole cut out *Leave 4 inches ABOVE the top of the apron. On the FRONT of the apron pin the accent fabric strip, right side down, around the curve of the arm hole. You will see there is a long tail left over, that will become the tie on the back.
Step 8 – Sew the curve. Wrong side up. Do not stress if it is not perfect!
Step 9 – Pick up the fabric and wrap it around the armhole edge.
Step 10 – Flip over the apron.
Step 11 – Fold under the edge of the accent fabric and fold it around the apron.
Step 12 – On the back, sew down the accent fabric onto the apron. Try to sew on the inside of the first seam to hide the seam best.
Step 13 – Move to the parts extending from the apron; fold the fabric, raw edges in, and sew it to itself.
Step 14 – Take the (sewn) fabric on the top of the apron and loop it down to the apron. Sew securely. This is the loop half of the neck hole.
Step 15 – Sew the two remaining accent strips together end to end to make one very long strip.
Step 16 – Position the seam of the accent strip at the bottom of the unfinished arm hole.
Repeat steps 8-13. You should finish this with a long tail extending up from the top and out from the side.
Step 17 – Thread your long tail through the loop to make the adjustable neck, tie it where you like it. You can stop here if you want, continue to add a pocket or any other accents you would like.
I like pockets, and, you have a perfectly good back pocket on those jeans so unless you do want some short shorts (on my husband! Ack!) I took the pocket right off the back of the pants.
Step 18 – Cut out the pocket leaving a boarder you can easily sew around with your machine.
Step 19 - Position your pocket wherever you want it: top center, bottom right… pin and sew around using a joining stitch or a zigzag.
This is just one way to finish the apron. I have made many versions and for an easier kids apron I just added ribbon for the neck tie and back; that is a 20 min project—10 if you are fast!
Women’s jeans tend to work best for kids, men’s jeans work for woman. If you want to make a larger apron you can use the other leg for extra fabric, just join it to the center part. If you need it longer, add a strip of fabric to the bottom. For me, this size is perfect; I wash dishes and bake and it covers well enough that my shirt does not look like I have 3 little kids/work in a warzone when I go out.
I would love to see how you choose to accent the basic center shape; link to your post or picture in the comments. If you would like more projects from me, or my views on life and raising 3 little girls check out my blog Katy Stuff.
Kate Luthner is a mother of three little girls. Transplanted from Ny to MN, Kate began to blog about life to keep up with her family at home. Her blog, Katy Stuff is updated most every day with posts ranging from DIY projects to kid updates and an occasional book review or view on the news of the world. Kate thinks that if you can make it… don’t buy it.