How to make vintage aprons

Vintage aprons are one way for today’s woman to reconnect with the fond memories of mothers and grandmothers. Images of home-cooked meals, family and friends gathered around the table, and sweet aromas filling the air are all associated with vintage aprons. A popular trend among women today is thinking of a vintage apron as a symbol of motherhood and being a good homemaker. The advantage of making your own vintage apron is that you can choose fabrics and decorative notions to express your own style. To make your skirt apron look more authentically vintage, choose fabric that resembles the prints common during the 1950s, ‘60s or ‘70s.

Make the skirt pattern piece. Draw a rectangle on the old newspaper that measures 32” X 18”. Cut it out. Fold this rectangle in half, short ends together. Measure five to six inches from the outside corners toward the centre and mark this point with your pen. Draw a curve from the outer edge of the paper through this point to round off the edges. Cut along your curved line. When you open the piece, you should have an oval measuring 32 inches from top to bottom and 18 inches from side to side. Label this piece “skirt”.

Make the tie strap pattern piece. Draw a long rectangle on the newspaper that measures approximately 60 inches long and five inches wide. Label this piece “tie strap”.

Make the pocket pattern piece. Draw a square five by five on the newspaper. Cut it out. Label one edge “top” and the opposite edge “bottom”. Fold the paper in half (sides together) and draw a curve around the bottom corner. Cut off the corner. When you open the piece you should have a straight top and a curved bottom pocket piece.

Pin the pattern pieces to the fabric and cut the fabric.

Prepare the pockets. Fold the straight edge down one inch with the right sides together. Machine stitch ¼ inch from the edges. Turn the folded piece back so the right sides are out and press. Continue to press the edges all around the pocket under ¼ inch.

Prepare the tie strap. With right sides together, fold the tie strap piece in half lengthwise. Machine stitch the ends closed. Turn right sides out and press.

Apply the ruffle to the bottom and sides of the pockets. Pin the ruffle to the underside of each pocket along one side, around the curve, the bottom, and up the other side.

Mark the pocket position on the skirt. Bring the sides of the skirt together, right sides together, and fold the skirt fabric in half. Measure six inches in from the centre fold line and six inches down from the top. Mark this point with a pin or your fabric marker. Make sure you mark the same position on both sides of the centre line.

Line up the top centre of each pocket with the markings you just made. On the outside of the skirt, pin the pockets in place. Make sure the tops of the pockets are parallel with the top of the skirt. Machine stitch.

Prepare to gather the skirt. From the top centre of the skirt piece, measure nine inches in both directions. Mark both points with a pin or your fabric marker. Baste stitch on the machine close to the edge between these two points. Baste stitch another row close to the first one.

Apply the ruffle to skirt sides and bottom. In the same way that you pinned the ruffle to the pockets, pin the ruffle to the rest of the skirt edges from one end of the basting stitches around to the other side. Press the seam toward the ruffle.

Attach the tie strap to the skirt. Match the centre of the skirt top with the centre of the tie strap and, right sides together, pin this centre point. Measure out nine inches from the centre of the tie strap and pin this point to one end of the basting stitching. Do the same for the other side. Pull the bottom threads of the basting stitches to gather the skirt. Make sure the gathers are evenly spaced across the tie strap. Pin all along this section. Machine baste. Press seam toward the centre of the tie strap.

Finish the tie strap. Fold the tie strap lengthwise, wrong sides together. Turn under the unfinished edge and pin to the skirt-tie strap seam. Machine stitch.

Trim all loose threads.


When drawing the curve for the skirt pattern piece, you may want to fold the rectangle again, so that you only draw the curve on one corner. When you cut it then, you will be sure that all four corners are exactly the same. You can make the pockets bigger or you can change the shape. Simply draw the shape and size you want and then add ½ inch on all sides for stitching. You can add decorative appliqués or embroidery to personalise the vintage apron.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen or fine tip marker
  • Old newspaper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Cotton fabric (1 yard)
  • Straight pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric marker
  • Pre-ruffled trim (3 yards)
  • Iron and ironing board
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About the Author

River Lin is an independent writer and consultant. With a Master's degree in teaching English as a second language from Ball State University. She lived in Japan for 15 years teaching and editing. Now based in the US, she works for a variety of clients. Published work can be found in print and online at various websites and