Thursday, March 12, 2015

Menswear in the Kitchen

I'm back talking about aprons again. Maybe it's like shoes: you can never have too many pairs, one for each outfit, season, etc. I keep finding cute ideas for making aprons and the latest is using men's shirts. There are all kinds of ways you can do this but I like the idea of making a memory. If you have a grandpa, dad, husband, or boyfriend that you would like to either honor or remember, you can take one of their button down shirts and refashion it into a half-apron, the kind that is like a skirt. It's an easy sewing project and could even be free if you are using something right out of their closet. Here are the steps:

1. Start with a shirt, preferably size large on up (but there is a way around that, too), and measure from the bottom of the pocket to the hem.Tthat will be the length of the apron. Too short? You could add on a piece at the top of the apron. Too narrow? You could add on from the back.
Men's shirt: unsuspecting its new life

2. Cut the sides straight up from the hem to the underarms. If you are using a plaid or stripe, this is easy; if not, use a yardstick to draw a straight line. Lay a yardstick from left to right side about 1/2 inch under the bottom of the pocket and draw a straight line. Cut across. This is the base of the apron.
Measure, mark and cut
Hem sides with a small narrow hem; you can press the cut edge first to make it easier to sew.
Top shows side pinned for hem, underneath shows hemmed side

3. Cut around the pocket, leaving about 1/2 inch all around.
Pocket from shirt with half inch for turning under

Press cut edge to the back. Place it on the apron front, matching stripes or plaids if possible. Flip pocket up so that the top edge is exactly where you want it aligned and sew across.
Pocket top edge sewn in place (where's the green pocket?)

 Flip it back into place and pin around edge being careful to turn all raw edges under. Sew closely to the edge, backstitching at the top corners.
Pocket sewn onto shirt/apron skirt
4. Remove collar carefully using a seam ripper or small scissors. This will be the waistband. Lay it carefully up to the apron base, centering collar with the button band down the front. Pin a few pleats on both sides.

Pleats pinned and collar/waistband ready
Insert the apron into the bottom band of the collar and adjust pleats to make it fit, side hem to side hem from the collar button to the buttonhole. Baste first if possible. Sew across with all layers: front and back of collar band with apron layer sandwiched in-between.
Pinned and ready to sew

5. Cut ties from the back or sleeves, about 28 inches long and 3.5 inches wide. This might take some piecing, especially if you used a short sleeved shirt.

Sleeve cut open with ties cut from longest length. Top 2 are for the ties.
 Put wrong sides together and pin, sewing length with one short end left open. Reverse these 2 tubes so finished sides are out: press.

Top tie is sewn, bottom tie is sewn and turned right side out

Sew open edge at the collar edge, tucking raw edge in and sewing a sort of square to keep raw edge hidden.
Tie sewn down with raw edge inside of stitches

6. Press and you are done!
Ready to tie on and get cookin'

So what happened to the other shirt parts? I made this same apron in reverse:
Look familiar?
There's even enough from the backs and the other sleeves to make two more aprons. It would be a neat idea to combine dad/grandpa's shirt with mom/grandma's dress to make aprons to commemorate your parents or grandparents. I've got a project going for a bride where I've asked for dad and fiances shirts to make an apron for a shower present. You can get creative and add rick rack, ribbon flowers, buttons, or whatever suits your style. So which sewing machine did I use to make these aprons? I'll let you guess!

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