One Yard "Use-it-all" Apron Pattern and Tutorial

One Yard Apron 01

Talk about vintage, this apron project is old school, for real! The pattern is cut from exactly one yard of fabric with hardly any waste (minus a little seam trimmings), and was often used as a first-time school sewing project during the 1950's.

One Yard Apron 03One Yard Apron 02

Check out my post about this popular apron for some nostalgic photos of this pattern from old school books. And here it is boys and girls!

The One Yard Use-it-all Apron Pattern and Tutorial

  • One yard (36") of 45" wide 100% cotton solid or print (like quilter's cotton)
  • Trimmings (optional, like ric-rac, ribbon, or other trim)
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine with straight stitch
  • Fabric cutting shears
  • Fabric marking pen or pencil
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread snips
  • Yardstick or other long quilter's ruler
Please note that ALL seams are 1/2". Click on any photo to see a larger view.

Cut your fabric following the measurements on the cutting chart below. 
*Note that if you fabric isn't quite 45" wide, cut the apron ties and waistband pieces first, and then see how much fabric you have left for pockets. If you don't have much left, you can make just one pocket instead of two.

Step 1
Beginning with the largest rectangle (the apron body), press up 2 1/2" to the wrong side along the bottom long edge of the apron to mark the hemline.
If you are applying trim to the apron, use the pressed hemline to align trim along bottom edge, and stitch in place.

Step 2
When finished stitching trim, hem the sides of the apron body. On each side of the apron, press over 1/2" to the wrong side. Fold under the unfinished edge to create a 1/4" hem and pin in place.
Stitch close to the folded edge to finish hem.

Step 3
Finish the bottom hem. Press under 1/2" of bottom edge to the wrong side, then fold up along the creased hemline and pin.
Using a needle and matching thread, use your favorite hem stitch to finish the edge (I am using a blind hem stitch).

Step 4
Create the pockets. Press one short side of each pocket 1" over to the wrong side, then fold over again and press another 1".  Stitch across the folded edge to create the top hem. If you are adding trim to the pocket, add it now! Then, press under 1/2" along the two sides and bottom of each pocket. Pin one pocket to each side of the apron body, 4 1/2" down from the top unfinished edge and 6" over from the side hem. Pin in place.
Topstitch apron pocket in place along the sides and bottom, backstitching at the top edges of the pocket.

Step 5
Pin the two waistband pieces together along the top long edge and stitch. Cut seam allowance to 1/4"
Press seam open, then fold waistband along stitched edge, wrong sides together, and press well.

Step 6
Fold each apron tie in half lenthwise, right sides together, and pin. Leave one short end open for turning, and mark the other with a 45 degree angle that ends in a point at the folded fabric edge (I used a quilter's ruler and blue fabric marker to mark the angle for stitching, see photo below). Stitch down the long edge and across the angle with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Trim seams to 1/4" inch and clip corners. Turn the apron ties right sides out and press. Top stitch along seamline close to edge to help apron ties keep their shape during laundering.

Step 7
Line up the unfinished ends of the apron ties, folded edges at the top and seam at the bottom (see photo below). With a ruler, find the center of the tie end, and mark 1/4" above center and 1/4" below center. Do this on both tie ends.
Fold the tie end up so that the marks meet, and push the fabric fold down to the back.
Pin to hold each pleat in place, and stitch across the tie end with a 1/2" seam allowance to secure each pleat.

Step 8
Sew two basting rows of stitching across the top unfinished edge of the apron body. Sew with the longest stitch length on your machine, once about 1/4" from the edge and again at a little less than 1/2" away from the edge. Be sure to leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of the basting stitches to help begin the gathers.
Fold the apron body in half along the top raw edge, right sides together, and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with the waistband along the raw edge of what will become the FRONT of the apron waistband.
Match the pinned center of the waistband with the pinned center of the apron body, right sides together. Secure together with a pin. Remove pins used to mark centers.

Pin each end of the apron body 1/2" in from each end of the waistband. Make sure you have a full 1/2" sticking out on each end of the waistband.
Now that you have the center and ends secured, it is time to pull up the gathers. Beginning at one end, pull the top two basting threads with one finger while pushing the fabric gathers together with the other hand.

Pull the gathers from each end until the gathered part of the apron fits well to the waistband.
Great! Now, take your time evening out the gathers across the waistband, and start setting pins in place when things look good.
Take your time, and re-arrange gathers as needed. The more evenly distributed your gathers and the more pins you use to help it all stay in place, the nicer your finished apron will look. Sew the gathered apron body to the waistband using a 1/2" seam, taking care to remove pins so as not to sew over them.

Before continuing on to the next step, flip the waistband over and look at the seam to make sure there are no big puckers or folds. Re-stitch if needed. Trim seam allowance to 1/4" when finished.

Step 9
Place the apron on a table, right side up with waistband opened. On each end of the waistband, pin the pleated end of one tie. Place the end of the tie, raw edges aligned with the raw edge of the waistband end, so that the seam is at the bottom and the folded edge is at the top seam of the waistband.
Fold the waistband down over the tie end and pin on both ends of the waistband.
Stitch straight across both waistband ends with a 1/2" seam. Trim seam to 1/4" and clip the corner. Turn waistband right side out, pulling the ties to help pull out corners.

Step 10
Turn the apron over, so that you are looking at the inside of the waistband with the raw edge of the back band facing you. Starting at the very corner of the raw edge, press over 1/2" to the wrong side.
Continue pressing 1/2" over across the entire raw edge.

Fold the pressed edge over to the back of the apron and pin in place.
Finish the edge with your favorite hemstitch (I am using the same blind hem stitch as in Step 3 above).

And there you have it, your very own half-apron to wear with pride!


This is exactly like the one I learned to make in homemaking, many years ago. Thank you so much for this. I couldn't remember exactly how it was that we did the apron. Now, I just need to go to the fabric store. I would love to find some fabric like the one you made!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Deborah, I'm so glad you enjoyed the tutorial! I bought that chicken fabric at a Jo-Ann's a long time ago, it has been sitting in my stash for years. Doesn't it make a perfect apron?
Sandra said…
Thank you so much for making this pattern I was starting to think that I must have dreamed that it existed. Exactly what I have been looking for each time I have sat at my computer, This time I looked and found you YAY

Diamond Harbour New Zealand
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Sandra, I'm so glad you found what you were looking for! I hope you enjoy the pattern and make many a happy apron with it. - Erika
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have never made one of these aprons before and it turned out great.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey Anonymous, thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed the project! :-)
Unknown said…
Thank you so much! I have been looking for this pattern. This was my very first sewing project and I was hooked! I'm more of a quilter now but as a cook I love aprons. I can't wait to get this apron done! Thank you!!
Pam said…
I made one of these in school when I was 9 years old, it was in lilac gingham and we had to decorate the pocket with cross stitch, we also made one with a bib and put ric rac on that one, this was in the 50,s.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Thanks Lisa! I'm glad you found the pattern and enjoy it - and I love that this was your FIRST sewing project! Happy stitching - Erika
Junassicpark said…
Very cute! Your apron would be perfect for my kitchen, which has been done in chickens for nearly 15 years.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey, thanks Junassicpark! I love this cute chicken fabric, I've had it for years and finally figured it needed to be an apron!
Anonymous said…
Love this pattern, I went out and bought some fabrics so that I could make my 6 girls and sister in law an apron. As soon as I finish closing up the waistband, I will have finished my second one in one week!
IMHO, they look very professional!

Thank you so very much!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey Suzanne, thanks for visiting and I'm so glad you love the apron pattern! Happy stitching!
Jubilee said…
How exciting! I wear aprons a lot and look forward to seeing what pattern shows up each month.
Unknown said…
Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial! I've made a cute version for a friend who loves to bake & it all went wonderfully; really great instructions. Thanks again!
Abigale Clarke said…
Great tutorial Erika, thank you! The first one I made last night turned out well - I am looking forward to knocking out a few more of these as gifts. Really clear instructions and great pictures :)
Shirley said…
I came across the tutorial while doing research for an apron how to round up blog post I'm working on. This is such a pretty and fun apron. I hope you don't mind if I link back to your post.
Shirley from
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Shirley - thanks for visiting my blog and checking out my apron project - please, share away! ~ Erika
Catherine said…
I've made two aprons today. Your instructions are terrific. Its hard to find excellent instructions on the Internet. I am a reasonable sewer and my aprons turned out "awesome". I'm sure the recipients will love them.
Unknown said…
Love the pattern! I don't know if any other ladies making this ran into the same trouble I did, but I thought I'd post my little edit. I had an issue getting my blind hem at the bottom to line up with the trim I had already put on (Without stitching through it) so I started over and did the bottom hem very first thing, and then used the trim to cover the straight seam. It worked like a charm! I LOVE this apron!! I will definitely be using this pattern many more times, I'm filling my hope chest and I think a few of these are in order to go in it :D Thanks so much!
Anonymous said…
I'm just not understanding the part where you add the ties to the waistband,,,,,can anyonr help me?
Unknown said…
Anything specific you don't understand? You need to have the waistband all the way open, then line up the tie end with the waistband edge, with right sides together. Then let the top part of the waistband fold down at the seam from step 5, and stitch through all the pieces. So open the waistband, pin the tie, close the waistband, and stitch through the layers.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Thanks for the great tip RVBagel for attaching trim after making the hem!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Anonymous, I see you are having a bit of trouble attaching the ties to the waistband. Looking at step #9, the waistband is open here before folding it over, right sides together, and stitching the two ends closed. The raw edged side of each tie is tucked into this seam before sewing. Line up the raw edge of each tie (that you've added a bit of a pleat to) with the raw edge of the band just like the photos show.
Alana said…
Hi, I was hoping someone could help me. I'm a bit stuck on the width of the Apron ties. I cut mine 3" like the pattern, and when I fold them in half they are at max 1.5", but from your picture in step 7 I can see on the ruler that yours are more than this. Does the width matter that much?
I just don't want to get this wrong and ruin the whole thing. I'm still learning to sew but this project has been really helpful for me. :)
Unknown said…
That is funny! When I did mine I didn't notice that the picture showed they were 2 inches wide, I just folded mine in half the way the pattern said and didn't really pay attention. My finished product looks like hers though, so I'm really not sure. Unless someone has an answer as to why they look wider in her picture, I'd say just fold them in half and go with it, like I said mine turned out fine.
I am curious to know why the picture looks that way though!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Alana, the apron tie pieces are cut 5" x 36", and when sewn as in step #5 end up being about 2 1/4" wide. Then, in step #7 a pleat is added to the end of the tie to make the width smaller to fit in to the waistband.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi there RVBagel! I'm not sure if you're talking about the apron band or the ties? The band is not cut as wide as the ties. Although, even if you make the band wider, the project will still work fine! In fact, you can use this basic pattern and change the dimensions a bit to create your own apron. Happy stitching!
Unknown said…
OHH YES! When I just glanced back at the pattern I was looking at the band piece, not the ties! My bad!! Hope I didn't confuse anybody! But yes, now I remember, I did do it correctly then lol.. Sorry for the confusion!
Mabe Stern said…
Thank you SO MUCH for posting this!!! I, too, made one of these in 9th grade "Home Ec"--back in the 60's. The thing I absolutely LOVED about the ones we made was a variation the teacher had us do: we chose a 'dish towel' to match our apron fabric, Folded it in two, with the 'fringe' sides together, then cut it in half, and stitched one half of it to the top of the apron BEFORE gathering it, so that the apron actually had an 'apron'--the dish towel that was always there to wipe your wet hands on! And that's what I am going to make :-)
Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing the pattern! I just finished my first self-drawn, cut, and sewed project. Love it!!!
Unknown said…
Oh, how pretty! I have an unquenchable thirst(!) for aprons for reasons I know not why! Perhaps it's because both my grandmothers always wore them and they spelled "comfort" to me as a child. What a pleasure to find you! I was searching for the Singer 201-2 for a friend traveling in West Virginia who spotted one in an antique shop - I found both the machine and the apron - that was a gift to me!

Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Janet, thanks so much for visiting Miss Sews-it-all! I love your story about finding a sweet little 201 and a pretty apron at the same time! :) Happy stitching - Erika
Unknown said…
Just made this by hand, took quite a while without a machine but it's stunningly lovely for an apron. Thank you for the instructions
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hello Unknown, that is fabulous! This is a perfect hand sewing project! Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy stitching to you. - Erika
Poppy said…
Thank you for this great apron pattern! It’s just like the ones my grandmother had. I’m making these for my mom and sisters as a fun surprise!
Avraham Chaim Kerendian said…
this tutorial is amazing thank you from Avraham Chaim Kerendian
TwofortheRoad said…
Thank you very much for this pattern and tutorial:) It is perfect and well thought out however the selvage edge is indicated on the wrong edge. Very happy to see it hasn't confused anybody other than me!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey @TwofortheRoad, you're right! Good eye, that illustration has been posted for years and that's the first time I noticed. 😲

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