UpCycled Denim Apron Tutorial

Up cycle denim apron
Oh goody goody a girly sewing project.  I think these aprons are fun to make and great gifts for gardeners, cooks, and crafters alike.  Who doesn’t want to have their favorite tools on hand all while looking cute?  As projects go….this can be simple or elaborate, making it great for beginners and advanced sewers.  This is a project that adapts as your skill set changes.
I think I spend more time picking out my fabric pondering the patterns and textures than anything, definitely my favorite part.  Mix and match the pieces for the ruffles and sash as much as you like. Prewash your fabric, especially the jeans if they smell of thrift shop.  Use whatever seam allowance makes you feel comfortable, I used a quarter inch unless stated otherwise.  Well….Let’s get started. 
Ruffles
Top ruffle: 2 strips, 4 inches x the width of the bolt (~44 inches)
Bottom ruffle: 2 strips, 4 inches x the width of the bolt (~44 inches)
Sash
2 strips.  6 inches x the width of the bolt (~44 inches)
note:   If you want a longer sash cut extra strips and piece together accordingly. 
Other
1 pair of men’s jeans, I prefer sizes 36-40
Embellishments (optional)
Denim sewing machine needle and other basic sewing supplies
optional – a rolled hem foot
Up-cycle
pin, mark, cut!
Let’s start by disassembling the jeans.  Lay them out flat, back pockets facing up, and kinda fold the crotch to one side so you can mark a straight -ish line across jeans just above the bottom of the crotch.  Mark this line, pin the fold in place, and cut! 

  

For the side seams you can either cut up the side, or use a seam ripper.  Sometimes I just get it started and rip by hand, but I have to use very sharp scissors or shears to cut through the waste.   If you want to embellish the pockets this the best time to remove them as well. Keep this waist button part; it has a secret purpose for later.   

Prep work
Just a little more prep work to keep things neat.  Sew a few stitches close to the edge to secure the “crotch fold”.  These stitches will be hidden later.  I also like to sew some stitches (sorry no picture) up both sides of the jeans, along what would have been the hip seams.  A simple blanket stitch looks nice and serves to keep the denim from unraveling.
secure the fold
Preparing the Ruffles
This is probably the most labor intensive part of the whole get up.  Obviously the goal for this apron is to have two overlapping ruffles, but make as many as you like, or as few as you like.  Match up the ruffle strips, right sides together and sew down one short side to make one long strip.  Press the seam flat.    
make two long strips
Sew a rolled hem on both short sides and one long side, if you want to serge the remaining edge do it now, but I never do.   Repeat for the second ruffle strip
you don’t need a special foot but it helps

rolled hem
 Everyone has a different method to the ruffle madness.  This is the method I use seen HERE in an earlier post.  The post would have been way too long to include all the options so I wanted a link outside of this tutorial.  After the strips have been ruffled in the manner you chose its time to attach them. 
Attaching the Ruffles
Select the bottom ruffle, find the middle, and pin the ruffle to the apron right sides and raw edges together, matching up the middles.  
middles matched

Pin the rest of the ruffle in place moving the fabric along to get the desired look.  Fold approximately a one inch “flap” over on each side, pulling the ruffle so there isn’t a gap. 
 Attach the ruffle by sewing between the basting stitches (from the ruffle tut).   Note: if you use the quarter inch rule from the ruffle tutorial for the basting stitches, attaching the ruffle with a 3/8” allowance should put you roughly between the basting stitches.   Its not the end of the world if you stitch over the basting it just makes them a pain to pull out.  
sew between the basting stitches if you can
 Now pull out the basting stitches (most hated job ever). Also don’t do like I did here and select a color for your basting stitches (red) that is hard to distinguish from your actual stitches ( hot pink). Fold the ruffle down, smoothing into place.  
See how the “flap” frames the edges nicely.  If there is gap, working from the wrong side, fold it  and sew it down, no big deal.    Steam press and top stitch the ruffle to keep it laying flat.  
top stitch to keep it flat
Repeat with the second ruffle attaching just above the first.   I usually eyeball the distance between the two ruffles. 
top stitching the second ruffle

looking between the ruffles with the top one folded back
Sash
Home stretch!   Cut one of the strips in half, making two shorter strips.  Attach one of the resulting pieces to each end of the longer remaining sash piece.   Iron the seams open. 

one really long strip
  Fold the resulting strip in half length wise, right sides together and sew the entire length of the long side. 
The next step is confusing but hopefully the picture will help, with the sash still wrong side out iron the seam open and centered
 and then turn right side out. 
 Tuck in the ends, iron well again and top stitch.  

top stitching makes it pretty!
This makes it look nice and neat, hides the long seam on the back and closes up the ends.  
Put it through your belt loops and you’re done!
Secret purpose: attach the waist button piece for a tool holster – ingenious!
Optional embellishments – This really is my favorite part, makes all the time I spend on the ruffles worthwhile.  Embroider a design on the pockets or apron.  Sew on bits of drapery fringe for a little fluff.
see the fringe on the bottom
  The easily distressed nature of denim makes a reverse appliqué eye catching. 

 Buttons!  
buttons, and a nifty utility holder
Whatever you choose – just have fun!

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