Teaching Children to Make Aprons from Men’s Shirts

I went to the Texas 4-H Center in Brownwood, Texas, to teach a sewing workshop.  The young 4-Hers did very well!  It was a lot of fun.  And earlier in the day, I was able to go to the local thrift shop and I finally found two men's shirts in different fabrics but the same brand and size.  Results:  2 great half-and-half aprons!

This is such an easy and fun project for new sewists. Find a men's button up shirt, short or long sleeves will work. I would recommend a cotton or cotton blend shirt, or a heavier weight rayon.

Intact men's button up shirt

Cut carefully up along the side seams to the armhole. Then, draw a chalk line from the armhole to the side of where the collar meets the shoulder. I have found, through making several of these aprons, that a slightly curved line is more comfortable to wear than a straight line. Last, cut very closely around the back of the collar along the base of the collar.

Apron front ready to be finished

Now, you'll have a front ready to be sewn into an apron and arms and a back that can either be used for makng the straps, or put into your scrap bag for a later project!

Tips for finishing:

  • The raw edges can be rolled and pressed and topstitched
  • The raw edges can be rolled and pressed and use a 3 stitch ziz zag or scallop stitch for a decorative effect
  • Pre-made bias tape can be curved to fit the apron, pressed, then top stitched. It can also be extended to use as the ties.
  • Use grograin ribbon for the ties if your sewists are very new to sewing as it's less overall stitching with a cute finished appearance.
  • If you have 2 identical shirts with different fabrics, cut out each as instructed above. Then, cut the two parts of each shirt apart at the back center of the collar. Stich the contrasting shirt to it's partner along that cut edge, then button them up together. It's such a cute look!

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