I wear aprons all the time, and I'm not kidding when I say "all the time". My typical at-home outfit involves a bandana to keep my hair back and an apron to keep at bay all of the thread and fabric fuzz that follow me everywhere. When friends stop by unexpectedly they are always surprised by my house frau attire, but nobody wants a lint brush for a best friend!
As you might imagine, I have a good collection of aprons, many of them vintage and quite feminine. Some of my favorites include a pink one from the 50s made out of a feedsack and one with ruffles and a pie shaped pocket that my sister made for me. Even though I love them all, these fanciful aprons don't come in very handy when it's time to roll up my sleeves and get messy in the kitchen, nor does my husband really appreciate his options. So I decided to make a rugged, adjustable unisex apron for both of us to use in the kitchen. It's big enough to be worn by a 6 foot tall guy but can easily be folded up to fit a 5 foot 4 gal like myself. Plus the no-nonsense styling means neither of us will risk batter-splattered ruffles!
The Adjustable Unisex Apron is an update of a pattern I designed way back in 2008 called the BBQ Apron. Although this version is perfect for Labor Day grilling, its classic design and super simple construction make it useful well beyond the BBQ pit. I used some amazing new fabric, Kokka Canvas Ticking, which seems like it was born to be an apron. It's both soft and strong and will wear and wash beautifully. I love its classic denimy feel and its subtle colors. Best of all this apron is beyond simple to make. It's so easy that I think I might make two so my husband and I don't have to share!
(P.S. The beautiful wooden spoons in the pictures above can be found at Timber from Live Wire Farm right here.)
Update: February 2012
In February 2012 we made a a new version of this fantastic apron! For more images of the new version plus the pattern for the matching dishtowels, click here.
For the Original Adjustable Apron
- 1 1/4-yard Kokka Canvas Ticking in Navy Thick for the body of the apron. (This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current upholstery weight fabrics for some great alternatives!)
- 1/2-yard of Kokka Canvas Ticking in Navy Thin for the pocket. (This particular fabric is no longer available, but please check out all of our current upholstery weight fabrics for some great alternatives!)
- 3-yards Cotton Webbing in Natural
- 100% Cotton Thread in color 7400 (to match the apron fabric) and 1040 (to match the webbing)
For the new Adjustable Apron
- 1 1/4-yards of Ecrulet Herringbone in Grey
- 1/2-yard of Linen Blend Solid in Lavendar
- 3 yards of 30mm Twill Tape in Ecru
- 100% cotton thread in color 3260
Marking and Cutting
Press the main body fabric in half lengthwise, selvedge to selvedge. Trim the top of the fabric so it makes a clean 90 degree angle with fold.
Using tailors chalk or an erasable fabric marker make a 1-inch vertical mark at the top of the fabric, 6 1/2-inches from the fold. This is mark A and is shown in red in the picture above.
Place a pin along the fold, 17-inches from the top of the fabric. This is mark B.
Make a mark using the chalk 13-inches from the fold and directly perpendicular to mark B. This is mark C.
Make a mark on the fold 20-inches below mark B. This is mark D.
Make a mark 20-inches vertically below mark C. This is mark E.
Using the chalk connect these marked lines together with straight lines as shown in red above, going from the bottom of mark A diagonally to mark C, then down to mark E and over to mark D.
Cut the apron out following along these lines. Here is a picture of it cut out but still folded down the middle.
Cut a 17-inch by 10-inch rectangle, with the stripes running horizontally for the pocket.
Sewing the Apron
Unfold the main apron piece.
Using the darker thread hem the top and straight sides by folding them over 1/2-inch twice towards the wrong side and edge stitching the folds down.
Hem the bottom in the same manner.
Zig zag stitch along the diagonal sides.
Press the diagonal sides down 1/4-inch to the wrong side and edge stitch them down.
Press the diagonal sides down 1-inch to the wrong side and edge stitch them down. This will form a scant 1-inch channel along the diagonal sides that the cotton webbing will be threaded through later.
Attaching the Pocket
Hem the top of the pocket by pressing it down 1/2-inch twice towards the wrong side and edge stitching the fold down.
Zig zag stitch along the three other sides.
Press the right and left sides towards 1/2-inch towards the wrong side and then press the bottom edge up 1/2-inch towards the wrong side as well.
Tuck the extra fabric of the corners inside of the pressed folds forming little miters as shown above.
Press the pocket flat.
Pin the bottom, left, and right sides of the pocket to the main apron panel, 2 1/2-inches below where the diagonal sides start and 4 1/4-inches from either side. Make sure it's straight and centered.
Edge stitch the pocket on around the left, right, and bottom sides.
Using a Hera Marker or erasable fabric marker mark vertically along the pocket 3 1/2-inches from the left side and then 3 1/2-inches to the left of that mark.
Sew along these marks to form two pocket divisions for cooking tools.
Adding the Tie
Cut the cotton webbing to be 97-inches long.
Press the ends 1/2-inch to the wrong side twice.
Using the off white thread edge stitch these folds down.
Using a knitting needle or another long sharp opject pull one end of the webbing through the bottom left diagonal channel with the wrong side of the apron facing up.
When you reach the top of the apron turn pull the webbing out at the top and turn the apron to the right side. Being careful not to twist it thread the webbing into the opposite diagonal channel from the top, pulling it all the way through to the bottom of the channel.
Pull the webbing until both sides are equal and you're all done!