DIY: Turn a Tea Towel into the Simplest Apron

My cooking style is much like a cartoon: with ingredients flying everywhere, sauces spilling across every surface, and flour covering every inch of my clothing.

Aprons and abundant cleaning cloths are an absolute necessity. Since I like to cook my aprons need frequent washing, so I set out to make one to spare from a fun tea towel. (Before you ask, this lovely tea towel is from Seattle local Sunday Drive Designs.)



  • One pre-washed and lightly ironed tea towel
  • About 3 yards of fabric ribbon
  • Corresponding thread
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • A sewing machine or hand needles

This design breaks down very simply into a tie around your waist, and a loop around the back of your neck.

Start by holding the tea towel up in front of you, and marking with a straight pin where your natural waist is. (For me, it was about 1/3 of the way from the top of the tea towel, at about 9″.) Cut a length of about 2 yards from your ribbon, and pin it across your tea towel at the point you marked.

Cut two more lengths of ribbon, on 12″ long and one 24″ long. One each piece, fold about 1″ underneath, and pin to one of the upper corners of the tea towel.

Now to the sewing! I used a straight stitch on my machine to attach the ribbons to the tea towel (which I show below) but if you don’t have a machine, don’t fret! You can hand stitch these pieces on without too-much trouble, just give yourself a little time.

If you’re using a machine, follow the waist tie with a straight stitch, about 1/4″ from the edges.

Then tack the neck straps on each side. (I stitched an “X” shape across the tab for reinforcement.)

With all the ribbon ties attached, slip on the apron and tie the pieces.(The knot of the neck strap will be on one side, since one strip is longer than the other.) Check the length of all the pieces, and trim the ends off of any of the pieces that are way too long. Make sure not to trim any of the pieces too short! You might want to share the apron with someone who is a different size.

Once the pieces are trimmed, take off the apron to finish the edges of the ribbon.

Fold about 3/4″ of the ribbon under, then fold again to hide the raw edge of the ribbon. Pin it flat, and repeat on all of the raw edges.

Finish by stitching the fold down on each end. Bang! Done.

Super simple (and cute) protection from dangerous food-shrapnel.
No more will people know everything about you by the stains on your clothing. You can hide those stains on an apron instead.



  1. Joanna says

    Ooh! I love the look of tea towels but they’re often not very absorbent so I don’t like them as dish towels. Maybe this would encourage me to cook more…