Wednesday, June 27, 2012


My latest sewing project for my granddaughters, Hallie and Sadie...Up-cycled Jean's Apron.  When my friend, Janice and I went to Jamesport recently, we saw these aprons for sale.  The woman who had made them had used blue jeans and khaki pants.  They were all so cute.  I carefully looked at them (there was a sign when we came in the store that said no picture taking was allowed) so I could see how they were made.  I looked at Janice and said, "I can make these for the girls."  I do this all the time so Janice is used to it.

Later after lunch, we drove out to the fabric store and found some material that we thought would make a cute ruffle and sash.  Also found some other material for more projects that I will be sharing when I find the time to get to them.

I needed some blue jeans that were bigger than what the girls wear so they would wrap a little ways around their waist AND that they can grow to also.  The aprons are too, too cute for them to only be able to use maybe one year.  So off to Hillcrest Thrift Shop I went to find some jeans with really decorative back pockets.  The first day I looked, I only found one pair.  I found a skirt that had cute pockets on the front that I thought I could use if I didn't find another pair.  But after I got it home, I decided it was just too cute to cut up so I will give it to Hallie for later.  I had to "work" the next day, too, so after my shift, I went back upstairs to check again....stuff is being "put out" constantly as the volunteers sort through donations, price, and then hang them on the racks for sale.  Well, I found another pair of jeans with stitching on the pockets for $3.  Since it was Wednesday and 55+ sale day (50% off clothes), I only paid $1.50 for them.  The legs are also stitched so I plan to cut them off and make a denim skirt for one of the girls.

These little aprons and so fast and easy.  Here is what I did:

The apron is made using the back of a pair of jeans. So, the first thing I did was cut on the front of the jeans as close to the side seam as I could. I cut down as far as the crotch went in the center and then just cut across to the other side.

Folding the jeans in half, I evened up the cut so that the distance was the same on the sides as the center.  This picture is before I evened it up.

I decided I would make the ruffle 2 inches finished and since I didn't want to do a narrow hem, I cut a strip 5 inches wide.  I folded the strip together with right sides facing and sewed the ends together with a quarter inch seam. 

To reduce the bulk in the corner, I cut diagonally across the corner with the fold as pictured.

I turned the ends to the right side and ironed them.

The next thing I needed to do was mark the half way point and the quarter points for the ruffle and the jeans.  This will make it easier to make the gathers evenly spread when I sew.  I just make a little snip. (on my tutorial for the patriotic t-shirts I have pictures showing this process)  Once I do this, I reset my sewing machine to the longest stitch length and sew the gathering thread 1/2 inch from open edge on the ruffle

I start the gathering process first by carefully pulling the top thread and make gathers just past the center point.  With right sides together I pin the ruffle at the center point.  This helps me see approximately how gathered the ruffle will be.  I also pin the quarter points and gather as I need to to make the ruffle fit the jeans.Then I go to the other half.  After it is all pinned, I sew the ruffle on using a regular length stitch making sure I backstitch at the beginning and the end.

Once I finished sewing and cut all my long threads off, I pressed the seam back toward the jeans.  Later I top stitched this so that the ruffle would lay flat after washing.

It wasn't necessary to do anything about hemming the side of the jeans because the side seam was left on the panel.  But I wanted to stitch close to the cut edge of the waistband where I cut it.  I backstitched this at the beginning and the end so it wouldn't come out.

All I had left to do was the sash for the tie.  I measured the opening with the belt loops and decided I would make the finished tie 1.25 inches.  So I cut a strip across the width of the material 3 inches wide.  I wasn't sure how long I needed to make the sash but I wanted to make it long enough that as the girls grew, the apron would still work for them.  I decided to make two strips across the width and sew them together  This made the length about 88 inches.  I cut off about 15 inches leaving the finished sash tie almost72 inches long.

I ironed the quarter inch seam open where I had sewn the two strips together and then folded the strip with right sides together and sewed down the open edge with a quarter inch seam.

Because the sash was soooooo long, I decided not to sew one of the ends together as you normally do when you are making a piece to turn.  So I started to turn one end by folding over the end of the strip.

I have these long handled tweezers I bought at an estate sale.   They work just great for what I need them.  (My husband says they are actually dental tweezers, but I don't care.)

I insert them down the "tube" and catch the material.  Then I pull the unturned piece with my left hand  and the tweezers in my right hand, pull out the turned piece.

Once I had the entire sash turned, I ironed it and top stitched a little less than a quarter of an inch all the way around so the sash will lay flat and look fairly good after being washed.

I threaded the sash through the belt loops and the apron was finished.

Here is a picture of both Sadie's (left) and Hallie's (right) finished aprons.  I wish I had gotten them made before our recent visit, because I would love to see their faces when they get them in the mail.

These were made for children, but you could make one for an adult using the same directions. I would probably make the ruffle bigger than 2 inches though.

The jeans that I made Sadie's apron with (the pair with the butterflies on the back pockets) continued the butterfly design on the legs of the jeans below the knee.  I decided to make Hallie an A-Line skirt using the two legs.  You can see how I did that and the results HERE.  

I would love to hear how your efforts turn out.


  1. Great- now they are going to want to cook with me... ;-) They are super cute and will LOVE them!!

    1. Thanks, Sara. Will get them in the mail along with some other things I got at a garage sale Friday in the next few days. With the fires, COS mail service is stressed enough.