Make a No Ties X Back Apron From Trousers




Introduction: Make a No Ties X Back Apron From Trousers

About: MA Design student

I love the variously named Japanese / Cross Back / X Back / Mobius / No Ties or Strings aprons usually made from linen fabric. I had a pair of linen trousers that had worn thin in places, so I couldn't wear them anymore :-(

I decided to make one of these aprons from them, trying to get the most apron out of the material available, keeping the waistband and fly intact on the lower edge/hem, to make the apron shorter start the shoulder straps further down the trouser leg.

Here are the basic instructions....with plenty of opportunity to embellish, finesse and personalize as you wish :-)

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Step 1: Materials


1. Pair of trousers (see Step 2.)

2. Flat area at least 80 x 110 cms (floor/table)

3. 8 x sheets A4 paper and sticky tape

4. Pencil/ marker/ chalk

5. Sharp craft knife or similar

6. Sewing needle


7. Pins

8. Sharp scissors

(9. Sewing machine (non electric) and thread with hem foot)


10. Steam iron

11. Sewing machine (electric) and thread with zigzag stitch

12. Pinking shears

Step 2: Selecting Trousers

For best results, choose trousers

  • in a colour and fabric you like
  • in a fabric suitable for an apron
  • that have a hem ideally 30cms wide (60cms circumference)
  • that are straight legged

Step 3: Drawing Up Pattern

  1. Lines indicate A4 sheets of paper X 8
  2. Dashed lines indicate folds lines
  3. You can add or subtract length at edge on the left


4. Fold each A4 sheet carefully into 16

5. Stick sheets together (use flat surface for accuracy)

6. Copy outline of apron (and marks) using fold lines as a guide

7. Cut out shape and along center line = 2 pattern pieces

8. Keep the spare paper in case you need it to help make pockets later

Step 4: Prepare Trousers

1. Turn trousers inside out

2. Locate inside-leg seam

3. Assess the rows of stitching - there are usually 2 rows - 1.Straight chain stitch and 2. Overlocked/Serged edge.

4. Start by finding the beginning of the straight chainstitch which can be undone by pulling the 2 threads apart

5. With the blade, cut through one or two of the threads of the overlocking stitch to leave 1 thread intact

6. Save the thread (it matches the fabric) wind it onto some card to keep it from tangling

7. Undo crotch seam similarly from fly up back to waistband. You may need to cut through the waistband


8. If you have a steam iron, press undone seams flat

Step 5: Mark Out Apron Shape

1. On flat surface lay out trousers (still inside out)

2. Place 2 sides of trousers on top of each other (try to match well)

3. Line up centre seams from hem to waistband

4. Make sure edges line up


If you have pins (or similar) use them to hold pieces in this position

Step 6: Back Pattern Piece

1. Align shoulder to hem corner + 1cm

2. Mark sewing line using pattern + extra 1cm at top (Shown)

(3. if you want to turn an edge hem too, move the pattern in 1cm from outer edge of trousers) (Not shown)

Leave in place

Go to next step

Step 7: Back Pattern Piece 2

4. Pivot at shoulder and align to centre seam

5. Mark arm opening

Leave in place

Go to next step

Step 8: Front Pattern Piece

6. Align front pattern piece at centre seam, using marks

Step 9: Front Pattern Piece - Neckline

7. Slide paper piece straight to outer edge

8. Mark stitching line, leave 1cm seam allowance

9. Mark neck opening and top of shoulder + 1cm (see Step 7)

Step 10: Front Pattern Piece - Front Seam

10. Pivot at shoulder point to create stitching line to end of fly opening

11. This can be a bit fiddly as the fly is well constructed with lots of parts

Step 11: Front Pattern Piece - Arm Opening

12. Return the shoulder to your marks from Step 9

13. Pivot at shoulder towards centre seam

14. Mark arm opening

Step 12: Shaping Arm Opening

15. Remove pattern pieces

16. Mark the arm opening by joining the front and back lines in a smooth curve

17. Mark a smooth line from back shoulder to waistband

Step 13: Before Cutting Apron Out

1 Line

  • If you want to leave the edge as it is it will start to fray to a degree dependent on the fabric

you can enclose the edge with a strip of fabric cut for the purpose or use ribbon or bias binding (approx 5m) 2 Lines

  • Add an additional mark line approx 1cm beyond the existing line if you wish to

fold over the edge to enclose the cut and stitch this down - known as a hem

this can be done by hand or machine sewing

trim with Pinking shears which can retard fraying

Inner line is stitching line

Outer line is cutting line

Step 14: Cutting Out

If you're using pins - check none are across the line as this will interfere with cutting

Move the pins to secure the 2 pieces of fabric together

Without pins - use your hand to hold the fabric flat

Cut smoothly along marked line

Step 15: Making Up

Before you disturb the pieces too much

  1. Secure the centre front seam from the fly to the neck opening with
  2. Hand stitching following the straight line
  3. Pin well and sew with sewing machine
  4. Open apron out and press the centre front seam open
  5. Check it is smooth and even with no puckering before trimming away excess fabric

Step 16: Making Cross Back

1. Either side of the neck opening are 2 front straps - Left and Right

2. Back straps on the other side of arm opening - Left and Right


3. Fold the apron so the Left Back Strap meets Right Front Strap at shoulder

4. Fold the apron so the Right Back Strap meets Left Front Strap at shoulder

Ensure the fabric isn't twisted

Step 17: Joining the Shoulders

1. Line up the shoulders

2. On pivot points

3. Ensure the stitching is on the inside of the apron as are the other seams

Step 18: Cross Back Magic!

Pick up by the shoulders

Your trousers are now an apron :-)

Work out how to put it on

Step 19: Pockets


  • Sew up pocket openings


If the pockets are attached on outside

  • Carefully open what was the bottom edge
  • Remove pockets and move where you like and reattach

If the pockets are attached on inside

  • Cut away excess fabric
  • Use this fabric and/or left over trouser fabric to create pockets


Create new pockets

Step 20: The Edge

Cross back aprons are sometimes called Mobius aprons because they have a continuous edge


1. Leave the edge

2.Fold the edge twice to enclose the cut edge and stitch down using sewing needle and saved thread

3. Trim edge with Pinking shears to retard fraying

4. Hem edge using Hem foot with non-electric sewing machine

5. Zigzag or overlock/serge the edge with electric sewing machine

6. Bind the edge with ribbon / homemade or bought bias binding (approx. 5m)

NOTE: If you cut through the waistband give some extra attention to this area when doing edge

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    3 Discussions


    4 months ago on Step 20

    OMG, I'm so glad I discovered you... I have so many clothing items that I've held onto since retirement because of the fabric and the fact that I would never be able to capture any of my cost out of them due to today's economy and the over abundance of clothing inventory. Thank you.


    2 years ago

    Hi this is great, so easy to follow your directions and the photos are super, can't wait to have a go thanks


    2 years ago

    That's a neat pattern :) You should go to edit and switch out your cover photo for the one of the finished project.