Tutorial:Make an Apron from a Vintage Tea Towel


Yes this is me. And this is my favorite whisk. And those are my favorite ballet flats. Well actually the brown ones are my favorite but I digress…

Having just finished up a series of posts on fall gardening, I thought I’d shake things up a bit and talk about sewing on my unofficial “Gardening Post Day”.

We are after all transitioning from the warmer growing season to the cooler weather and it doesn’t hurt to begin focusing on doing things inside, so here is a quick and easy tutorial on converting a vintage tea towel into an apron.

Growing up my family was adopted by an older couple who had no grandchildren.  On several occasions we frequently gathered in their home for holiday celebrations and the like.  Often times she would answer the door fresh from the kitchen with a hug, a kiss, and a tea towel tucked into an apron and pinned to her blouse.  Working on this project reminded me of her, the lovely meals spent around her table and her practical approach to things.


A tea towel is after all a sturdy, absorbent, excellent material for an apron.

I originally saw this featured in a magazine article entitled “Make Your Own Christmas Gifts”.  While this is a great idea, I can’t say that I would wholeheartedly recommend going out and buying a bunch of vintage towels to make aprons for all your friends and relatives.  As  you can see from the photo, the results aren’t exactly crisp, professional, and what you would want to give as a nice gift.

This is however a great project for using what you have and being resourceful without going to great expense.   If you collect vintage linens like I do, but are reluctant to wear them out, an apron is a good way to put them to gentle use.

That being said, if you have  littles in your household (say ages 7-10) this would be an excellent adult supervised (some sewing is required) project for them and would make an excellent gift for them to give someone special in their life. If you don’t have a vintage tea towel a flour sack towel printed with their hand prints will make something a grandma or an aunt would treasure for years to come.

For this project you will need:

A tea towel

2 yards of coordinating ribbon

Craft glue (optional)

Scissors, pins, and a yard stick

You will also need access to a sewing machine and an iron.  A serger is optional.

Note: In choosing  your tea towel you will want to make sure to use an all over random pattern, or one that just goes in one direction.  A mirrored effect won’t work here.  I was fortunate to find a vintage Tammis Keefe Christmas print at a second hand shop.  I. love. all things Tammis Keefe.  So fun.

1. Cut three strips of ribbon.  One at 20″ and the remaining two at 24″.

2. If you want to finish off the edges of your ribbon, run a thin bead of glue across the raw edge and allow to dry OR serge the ends.

3. Using straight pins, pin the 20″ length of ribbon right sides together to the top corners of the towel.  This forms the band across the back of the neck.

4. Sew in place using a reinforced zig-zag stitch.

5. With the tip of the iron, press the ribbon away from the towel.

6. Try on the apron to determine where the waist ties should go.  Mine fell 10″ from the top edge of the tea towel.

7. With right sides together   pin the edge of the 24″ length of ribbon to the side edge of the tea towel.  Repeat on the other side.

8. Sew in place using a reinforced zig-zag stitch.

9. Iron in the same manner as above.

10. If you wish, decoratively notch the ends of the ties.

Enjoy your apron!

Your efforts have earned you the right to bake something lovely!

Print Friendly


Tutorial:Make an Apron from a Vintage Tea Towel — 11 Comments

  1. I really like your vintage tea towel apron. It really is pretty, and thanks for showing us how! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

  2. Pingback: DIY Apron Tutorials and Patterns (a roundup)