Whether I am tending the animals, kneading dough for a brioche or rebuilding the carburetor on my 1937 Cadillac LaSalle I want a sturdy, substantial apron with some style to protect my clothes. So for me the 'go to' fabric is recycled denim. I like that even though it is no longer presentable as pants the denim has a new life as something else, just as useful.
Step 1: Gathering Supplies
I almost always sew from a pattern so I made one for an apron to fit me. I also want big pockets so I made a pattern for them. Next I deconstruct a pair of worn jeans. I use all the parts so I don't just cut out big pieces of fabric, even the thread from the serged inner legs is reused. The copper rivets need to be removed to better use the pocket area. Deconstruction is the most tedious step but necessary to individualize the look of the apron.
Step 2: Starting at the Top
I am using the waist band to make the bib section of the apron. I open out the waist band, iron it flat and cut into equal lengths. I sew each side of the length to a ribbon or bias tape or length of cloth. This gives stability and strength but doesn't add bulk. When I am finished joining the pieces I cut the shape I want using my pattern. I need two small pieces to complete the bib so will use what I cut off from the main bib area and add to the sides. I will further cut them to follow the shape of the pattern. The final addition to the bib area is the button fly at the top of the piece. I need the buttons to fasten the neck strap when I get to that step. I needed button flys from two pairs of pants and had to sew them together to make the top piece. You can omit this step or use any other part of the pants to have a finished a edge at the very top.
Step 3: Body of the Apron
Things go quickly at this point. You can use large pieces of fabric or create interesting patterns with the smaller scraps. Since my brioche is rising and I have to get the carburetor back together so I can drive to the store for bunny food I am opting for big pieces. I did a little piecing in the center but the color gradations from the wear patterns form a unique look so not much extra work is needed. Now I will attach the bib portion to the main body.
Step 4: Pockets
I want big pockets, little pockets, lots of them. I will use the ones in the jeans with a few minor modifications. It's often difficult to find pants with good pockets but these are ok and I can use my saved thread to spiff them up. To start I take the white pocket lining off the pocket back and when removed I will cut out the right and left pocket. See the before and after of the pocket repair. As I mentioned I want lots of pockets so will add an inner pocket to the body of the apron within one big pocket and an outer pocket on top of the other big pocket. I will sew them all on with a satin stitch or zigzag for strength.
Step 5: Neck Strap
I am making the strap that goes around the back of my neck to hold up the apron out of belt loops. I sew them in a line with a loop at one end made out of two belt loops. One end will be sewn securely at the top of the apron and the loop will go over one of the buttons at the top.
Step 6: Finishing
To finish the apron I am going to enclose the raw edge with double fold bias tape. This is purchased although you could make your own, use ribbon, hem the edge or leave it to ravel. After I apply the bias tape I will add ties at the waist. This can be ribbon, string, cotton flat tape or whatever you choose. I found some ribbon so will use that. All finished.