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Everyone needs an apron and this is the best one

A jean apron being worn with the words Baking is my superpower ironed onto the front.

Let’s just start with the assumption that everyone needs an apron. Because whether we like it or not, most all of us cook, grill, craft or just in general do things that could make a mess of our clothes, right? And if you want to keep your clothes looking nice, it's extremely useful to have an apron. I have some in my kitchen and also some in my craft room because when there is paint or Mod Podge or other messy crafting happening, an apron is vital because I'm a slob when I craft.

These are my absolute FAVORITE aprons. They are heavy duty so they stand up to any mess you can throw at it. I love the pocket on the front because it’s perfect for holding your cell phone while you work. The best part though is that the neck straps are ADJUSTABLE so the apron is going to fit whoever is putting it on really well without any ties hanging down and getting in the way.

You can use any cotton fabric to make the binding and straps so the apron can be personalized with fun fabric. You can personalize the whole thing even more by using a Cricut or Silhouette and heat transfer vinyl to put a saying, name or design on the front as well. What’s not to love?!

Go here for a video tutorial:

Supplies for a jean apron


  • A stiletto is helpful for this project but not necessary

To add heat transfer vinyl to a jean apron:

Let's get started making a jean apron

Start by going here to learn how to size and cut your jeans and cut off the pocket.

Hands using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and sewing ruler to cut strips from a piece of cotton fabric.

Next, cut all of your cotton fabric into long 4-inch wide strips. We are going to use these pieces to create the binding and all of the straps.

Hands matching up two ends of fabric to sew a seam.

Sew the strips together by placing two strip ends right (pretty) sides together and sewing across the ends with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Sew all of the strips together into one very long strip this way.

Hands using an iron to iron a seam open and flat.

Take your ginormous strip to the ironing board. One at a time, open the seams you just made and iron them flat.

Hands folding a strip of fabric in half to iron it.

Starting at one end, iron the entire strip in half with the wrong sides together.

Hands folding half of a strip of fabric to the center to iron it.

Now open the strip and fold and iron one side so that it just meets the center line you just created with the iron.

Hands folding half of a strip of fabric to the center to iron it.

Flip the whole shebang around and repeat that last step with the remaining side.

Hands folding a strip of fabric in half to iron it.

Fold the whole thing in half and iron one last time. When you are done, you should have a binding that has no raw edges and is 1-inch wide.

Hands putting a cotton binding strip onto the outside of an apron made of the leg from a pair of jeans.

Starting on one of the sides, sandwich your cut denim between the two sides of the binding. Push the denim all the way to the fold in the binding and go around the entire piece of denim clipping or pinning the binding in place.

Hands creasing the corner of cotton binding on an apron made of denim material.

When you come to a corner, use your left hand to pinch the binding onto the denim with your thumbnail pointing down right at the point of the corner.

Hands creasing the corner of cotton binding on an apron made of denim material.

Use your right hand to hold the binding to the right of the corner and push it toward your left thumbnail opening up the binding and pushing it back toward your thumb. This will form a crease and fold right at the corner of your denim. Shift it around until the folded binding is angled right at the corner.

A fabric corner clipped to an apron made of denim material.

Clip this in place and straighten the binding to the right of the corner so that it is sandwiched correctly, straight and doesn’t mess up the corner you just made. You can watch a video tutorial of this technique here.

Hands using fabric scissors to cut the end of cotton binding on an apron made of denim material.

Once you have clipped or pinned the binding around the entire piece of denim and gotten back to where you started, cut the binding leaving yourself about 3 inches of extra fabric. Don’t sew this on yet!

If you are using the same fabric for the apron straps as the binding, measure and cut two pieces of folded binding that are 34 inches long.

If you want to use a coordinating fabric for the apron straps, cut 1/3 of a yard of the fabric into 4-inch strips, sew them together and fold and iron them just like you did for the binding.

An arrow showing where to sew a seam on a strip of cotton fabric.

Either way, once you have them ironed and cut, take one end and open it up and fold the raw end toward the center about 1/4 inch and reclose the strap. Sew the end you folded and side that is open with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Hands adding a fabric strap to the waist of an apron made of denim material.

Clip or pin your straps onto the apron right below the area you cut for the chest. Place the strap into the binding and fold it back over the binding itself and clip to the denim encased in the binding.

Hands clipping cotton fabric onto the top of a denim pocket.

If you are adding a pocket, it’s a good time to get it ready. If you want to add some of the binding fabric on the top of the pocket, cut a piece of your binding that is the length of the top of your pocket and pin or clip in place folding the ends back so there are no raw edges.

Sew the fabric onto the pocket with a ¼ seam allowance.

Hands positioning a denim pocket onto an apron made of denim material that is under construction.

Pin the pocket onto the apron. I place it on the left side of the apron (so the person’s right hand can go into the pocket while they’re wearing it) and eyeball the placement. Make sure the top edge of the pocket is aligned with the top edge of the apron.

Next we need to get the neck strap in place.

From the remainder of your original binding strip, cut a piece that is 28 inches long and cut a second piece that is 4 inches long.

Take both of these neck pieces to the sewing machine and sew the sides shut and top stitch the second side both at ¼ inch.

Hands positioning a small strap to be used for the neck on an apron made of denim.

Thread the 4-inch piece of strap through the rectangle ring and pin or clip the ends together so they are 1 inch in from the right side of the apron. Pin this on the back so the ends match up with the edge of the binding.

Hands positioning a neck strap on the left side of an apron made of denim material.

Next, pin the 28-inch piece of strap 1 inch in from the left side of the apron. These ends should also match up with the edge of the binding.

Hands threading a neck strap through a slide adjuster on an apron.

This next part sounds confusing but is really easy. If it helps to have a visual, you can watch this part of the video here.

Thread the remaining end of the left neck strap through the slide adjuster. Do this by bringing the strap end from the back of the adjuster up the left side, across the sliding bar and down through the right side.

Hands threading a neck strap made of cotton material through a rectangle ring on the right side of an apron made of denim.

Continue on by threading that end from the front to the back of the rectangle ring you pinned on the right side of the apron.

Hands threading the end of a cotton neck strap back through a slide adjuster on an apron.

Bring the end back to the slide adjuster and thread it back through the same way on the same side as you did before but behind the part of the strap already in the slide adjuster.

Hands threading a cotton neck strap through a slide adjuster on an apron.

Come up from the bottom on the left, across the adjustable bar and back down on the right (all still behind the part of the strap already in the adjuster).

Hands folding down the raw edge of a cotton neck strap on an apron made of denim.

Almost there, I promise.

Get just past the adjuster with your end so there is enough room to get your sewing machine foot between the adjuster and the strap.

Fold the end of the strap over so the raw edge is tacked down and pin in place.

Clip the end of the strap to the strap itself.

Hands holding a sewing stiletto to sew a corner on an apron.

Now that you have it all pinned or clipped where you want it, use your sewing machine to sew all of it in place with a ¼ inch seam allowance. I start where I began placing the binding and continue all the way around until I come to that same section.

When you come to the corners, it can help quite a bit to use a stiletto to hold the corner flap in place as you sew it.

Hands showing the end of a strip of binding being finished and attached to an apron made of denim.

Make sure you have about an inch of overlap and cut the binding strip. Then just fold back the end that isn’t sewn down about ¼ inch to cover the raw edge, and line it up with the part of the binding you sewed on already.

Sew with a ¼ inch seam allowance to finish it off. I also like to sew straight across the final end to tack it all down.

A sewing machine needle in place to sew a strap to the front of an apron made of jean material.

I go back to the waist and neck straps and sew them to the outer edge of the body of the apron so they lay flat and are extra secure because they will get used a lot.

Add heat transfer vinyl to a jean apron

Once the body of the apron is finished, you can choose to add some personalization with heat transfer vinyl.

I use a Cricut so I designed mine in Cricut Design Space. You can obviously create your own design or buy one for somewhere like Etsy.

If you buy a cut file from Etsy, upload it into Cricut Design Space. If you need help with this, here is a video that will walk you through the process.

Once you have a design created or uploaded, click on it and press add to canvas in the lower right. I really love to iron on something on the chest and something adorable sticking out of the pocket on these aprons.

After it loads, click the image and then press the ungroup button on the upper right of the screen. This separates each of the elements of the image so you can edit them individually.

Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine how big to make the design. I made the design across the chest about 5 inches wide by 6 inches tall. The spoons in the pocket were 2.75 inches wide together and 5 inches tall.

Once you have it all designed, select the entire thing and change the measurements so they will fit on the apron. Do this by going to the top of the screen where you will a section labeled size. Within this section are two boxes – the width of the design (w) and the height (h). These boxes will be automatically set to change proportionally to each other. This means if you change the width it will also change the height and vice versa to keep the design to the same proportions. If you want to make it wider but not taller etc., just click the little padlock above it which will unlock the measurements. Now when you change one of the measurements the other will stay the same.

Once you have it looking perfect and sized correctly you’re going to want to select all the items of the same color and click the weld or attach button on the right side of the screen. This tells the Cricut to cut everything exactly as you see it on the screen instead of moving all the pieces around to save materials in the cutting process. It makes placing things onto the apron much faster and easier.

Then it's time to cut your heat transfer vinyl aka htv. Place the htv on your cutting mat with the colored shiny side DOWN. A regular green mat will work for this if you are using a Cricut.

Click Make It from the upper right corner of Design Space.

A screen from Cricut Design Space during the cutting process with a blue arrow pointing to the mirror button.

This next part is very important and easy to forget and trust me, you do not want to forget: In each of the sections for the different colors of htv on the left side of the screen, click the mirror button. If you don't mirror it, the letters will be backwards when you iron them on.

Now click the green continue button on the lower right side,

If you are using the Siser EasyWeed htv, my machine cuts best if I select Everyday Iron On and then change the pressure to More instead of Default.

Once the arrow light is flashing on your Cricut, insert your mat with the htv on it under the rollers and press the flashing light. The machine will roll the mat in and the C Cricut button will begin to flash. Go ahead and press it and wait for the magic to happen.

Once it cuts your design, remove the entire sheet of htv from the mat and cut away any large chunks that didn't get cut to save the htv for another project.

Then I like to put the cut piece back on top of the mat and use my weeding tool to remove the sections of htv I don't want such as the background and the centers of letters. You will be left with your design on the back of the clear carrier sheet.

Hands using a Cricut EasyPress Mini heat press to apply heat transfer vinyl to the front of an apron made of jean material.

Now all that’s left is to iron it onto your apron!

I really love using the Cricut EasyPress Mini for this. That little press heats up fast and lets you have a lot of control over where you are heating. It’s perfect for iron on projects like this. I set it on the second heat setting.

Place your apron onto a heat safe surface such as a Cricut EasyPress Mat or ironing board. Now put your htv design onto the apron and center it up so it looks nice.

Place the heated up EasyPress on the top of the clear plastic htv carrier sheet and slowly move it around on the design. Don’t leave it in any one place for more than a few seconds because it will do the job quickly and if you leave it on too long it will melt your htv.

Once you think you have heated the entire design, slowly peel up a corner of the carrier sheet. If your htv has transferred to your apron continue peeling. If any parts are not yet transferred, replace the carrier sheet and heat it some more before peeling it off again.

To make sure it is all securely ironed on, I place a piece of parchment paper on top of the design and iron over the entire thing one more time. I know I’ve got it completely done when I can faintly see the pattern of my fabric through the htv.

A apron made of cotton binding and jean material that has a heat transfer vinyl design that reads baking is my superpower and a htv whisk and wooden spoon sticking out of a pocket.

Whether you added heat transfer vinyl or not, that apron will be loved by whomever you give it to!

A apron made of cotton binding and jean material that has a heat transfer vinyl design that reads "sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart"  and a htv Winnie the Pooh sticking out of a pocket.

You can use this same process to make aprons for children too!

A apron made of cotton binding and jean material that has a heat transfer vinyl design that reads "sugar & spice make Christmas so nice" a htv gingerbread man sticking out of a pocket.

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Happy crafting!


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