Friday, September 3, 2010


Do you have favorite dresses that are out of style, a little worn, or (ulp!) outgrown, but that you can't bear to get rid of? Instead of letting them take up closet space, be creative and recycle them into aprons! Half-aprons, full aprons, front-and-back aprons, any aprons! They are easy to make, useful and pretty.

I love aprons.

Here, now, are my two favorite aprons (above) that I made from an old 80's dress that was a little worn out and out of style. The white apron is made from an old piece of white sheet that I had used for a child's costume plus some left-over scraps from the flowered dress. So basically, I got two aprons from that flowered dress. They also make nice decorations on my hall tree.

(People know that I am a crafter using old clothing and drop of huge bags of old clothes on my doorstep.) I'm one of those people who, as they say, if they ever had an original thought, it would die of loneliness. Making aprons out of old dresses, however, was actually my own idea!!! Yes, I thought of it all by my self, and take advantage of every chance I get to crow about it!

Aprons are hard to find in stores these days (although they are becoming more popular) and can be expensive. I have several vintage aprons, too, that I bought in thrift shops for $1.50 apiece, as well as a plastic one that I bought in Belgium years ago, which is best for those heavy-duty kitchen chores. So, make your own aprons! Get a pattern and make some out of pretty material, or do like I did: make them out of favorite old dresses that you can't bear to get rid of!

Here's how to make them:

Ready? Let's go! All you need is an old dress or skirt, and a needle and thread or a sewing machine. Save the buttons, bows, or other decorative items to fancy-up your aprons. For a full apron:

Simply cut away anything on the dress that does not look like an apron! If it buttoned down the front, sew the front closed and anchor the buttons so that the apron has stability unless you don't mind an apron that unbuttons in the front. With a full-skirted dress, use just the front of the skirt and the bodice. With a slim skirted dress, you will probably have to use some of the back of the skirt to incorporate the skirt of your apron, so that it will not be too skimpy.

Use the extra material from the back of the dress to craft ties for the waist. You can make two waist ties and tack them to the sides of the apron, or make one long hemmed strip to go all the way across the front of the apron (piecing together several strips of material, if necessary), having an all-one-piece waist-band with ties, making a sturdier apron (see the flowered apron, above). On the bodice of the full apron, cut away the sides (at an angle), including the sleeves and armholes.

Leave enough material on the back of the bodice, at the top, to go around the back of your neck. Leave an opening big enough for your head, or cut the piece that goes around the back of your neck down the middle and make two small ties at the back of the neck. You may have to "tweak" this, to get the head-opening just the right size, sewing darts of tucks if the opening is too big.

Short sleeves from the original garment may be cut off and used to craft pockets sewn on the front of the apron. Use extra material from the dress to make waist ties and/or pockets. Hem all the way around. You can keep the armholes intact, if you wish, to put your arms through, hemming the apron around the back of the neck, and making separate ties at the back of the neck to close it.

For a front-and-back apron: Lay a long shift-type dress out flat and cut away the sides, sleeves and armholes. I made pockets out of the sleeves and waist ties out of the fabric from the sides of the dress that was cut away, two ties for each side, front and back. Make the ties any length you desire. Hem sides before attaching the ties, front and back, and sew on pockets crafted from the sleeves.

For a half-apron, simply use an old skirt, making ties to attach to the waist-band at the sides out of the extra material from the back of the skirt. Or, make two half-aprons, one from the front of the skirt, and one from the back (if there is no back zipper and the skirt is full enough), using extra material from another project, in a matching or contrasting color, for the waist ties.

If you are making a half-apron out of a full dress, you have to cut the bodice away from the skirt, and you will need to make a one-piece waist-band-with-ties to go across your body, since this cut away skirt will not have a waist-band of its own. You should attach the skirt to the inside of the waist-band before doubling it over, raw edges to the inside, and hemming.

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