Shirt to Apron

I’ve repurposed another shirt into an apron/smock (see the first one here), and whilst this one isn’t terribly different, I thought I’d give a brief rundown on how I did it.

You want a shirt that is a fair bit bigger than you, but not ginormous. This one is a man’s size medium. Look for one discarded by a family member, otherwise it’s a case of trawling the op shops. This one is quite a nice 100% cotton with interesting elements.


All the contrasting fabric was on the inside of the shirt , so I simply turned them over.

Cut off the collar, the sleeves and the yoke. You will be left with a body. This shirt had a strip of contrasting fabric down the centre back (sorry about the lack of ironing). I thought it would look strange down the front so I unpicked it and put it aside. IMG_6447

The first thing you want to do is to sort out the yoke. I cut off the shaping, and took off the label. The yoke was much too wide for me, so I cut off one side and resewed the felled edge back on. This edge is where the sleeve had been flat felled to the body and it makes quite a nice finish when cut around.


The bottom of the yoke was flat felled to the shirt so I turn it upside down and this edge becomes the top edge.

You will need to now gather or pleat the shirt back onto the yoke. I sew right sides together and overlock, then topstitch.  If you have a fun label, sew it back on to the outside. Not upside down like I did!


You can make the pocket out of anything, but my first one used the sleeve and cuff and I decided to do that again. The cuff was lined with plain black and the placket had a nice piece of contrasting stripe, so the sleeve was turned inside out. I cut down the sleeve seam and through the cuff so that it would all lay flat. I then laid the sleeve on what is now the front to get a nice shape at the bottom. Note that I took the photograph before I decided to turn the sleeve inside out.IMG_6453

Stitch the new pocket on, topstitching if you wish. Change out the buttons to make it all more interesting. Where I had cut through the cuff I turned in a seam allowance on one side, but on the other, which was joined to the sleeve seam already finished off with flat felling, I just zigzagged over the cut edge of the cuff.


I just noticed a massive thread attached to my leg! I considered cropping it out of the photo, but decided to keep it real!


To create the back I just crossed the two sides over until I was happy with the angles. I sewed round the top. I think I could have made the back a bit wider now that I look at the photos, but it feels fine. I struggled to get the back to sit flat for some reason, and even with a bit of help from Mark, I have a slightly distorted join. I decided to leave it.



The collar was also turned inside out and joined the front of the apron to the back, and that long strip which I took off the back was doubled over, zigzagged together and became my other shoulder strap. I zigzagged over some of the buttonholes with the red thread and basically fiddled around with finishing. When I went through my red button stash I found a large number of “buttons” that had circles punched through the middle. I found some red beads and sewed them into the middle of the circles anchoring them like buttons. I really like the effect.


Please note my little photo bomber. I think she thinks the camera remote is edible as she showed a great deal of interest in it.


This was a quick transformation, taking a couple of hours. It would be even quicker if I hadn’t done all the topstitching. It’s a really nice way to reuse old shirts that are too good for landfill, and I can attest to the fact that they really do protect clothing, and the enormous pockets are incredibly useful.


8 thoughts on “Shirt to Apron

  1. Brilliant pockets!

    In your post about the suit, you said something about not being good at reworking things. Are you out of your mind?

  2. I adore everything about this Sue! I love the imperfect perfection of it, its honesty in being a recycled thing, and also it’s pretty cute, to boot!

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