Upcycled shirt apron


When I was growing up my parents had some money problems. We weren't poor, per se, but money wasn't plentiful. Partly because of that, and partly because she grew up during the Great Depression, my mother was always careful about spending money.

Fast forward some decades. I had just finished a project that required green terrycloth, and a new towel was the only way I could get the right shade (because of where we live). It seemed a shame to throw out the rest of the towel. After thinking about it, I quilted the towel, covered it with cloth, and turned it into pot holders.

Fast forward again, and Wood was going to discard two white shirts that he didn't need any more. It seemed a shame to throw them out, so I held onto them.

Lately I have noticed a number of people who had turned old men’s dress shirts into kitchen aprons. That sounded like a good use for the shirts I had been holding onto.

I didn't have specific instructions for this project, so I just "winged it". I cut the sleeves off the shirt, with their accompanying seams. I left the collar on the shirt.

I wanted to shape the apron from the collar to the underarm seam. First I lined up the two side seams and straightened them with my ruler and rotary cutter. Then I drew a line from the highest underarm point to a couple inches from the back of the collar.

Pulling out my seam ripper, I opened the seam that attached the collar to the back of the shirt. After straightening the seam again, I folded up a hem on two cut sides. Finally I tucked the hem into the collar and sewed it up as well.

With the sewing done I looked at the fabric of the old shirt. I decided that the fabric was a bit thinner than I wanted it to be. I carefully cut some Pellon 950F to fit the shape of the apron. I realized that I really should have done that before the hems.) I fused the interfacing to the apron, and was satisfied with the body that it gave to the apron.

Finally it was time to decorate the apron. Going through my stencils I found one of a stylized crane. (See http://www.threadandwood.com/#!Update-November-2015/c1kw6/563914480cf275e9c596143b.) I decided to use my Sharpie markers to give color to the bird. Taking time away from the apron I traced the stencil onto a few sheets of paper. I figured I would have only one shot at the apron, and wanted to like it the first try.

I had originally planned to do a color gradation from the wingtips to the body of the bird. I just couldn't figure out how to make that work. Next my crayons and I tried figuring out a 5 color pattern, but that didn't look right - there wasn't enough contrast between two of the colors. Two attempts later, I was finally satisfied with the color pattern. Time to color the birds.

I used black, purple, berry, and red Sharpie markers. Each of the feathers has two different colors, starting with black on the longest feathers. I colored several complete images of the crane, a few partial images, and a number of single feathers as fill. The collar was looking less than lovely, so I colored it as well.

All in all, I'm pleased with the first apron. I had a second old shirt, so I did it a second time, but with different colors.

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