A few sewn things #1: My perfect apron

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Blog entry by need2boat posted 10-25-2011 07:08 PM 5272 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A few sewn things series Part 2: Screen curtins for the shop »

In another life I used to make outdoor gear. Mostly sewn things but like woodworking it crosses over into other worlds. Most of my things were made using some old industrial sewing machines that are seeing less use but still loved.

The first of these projects is a new apron. I new the second I bought the cheep one at woodcraft for around 12.00 it would find it’s way into the rag bin but I figured I’d wear it for a wile while I decided what I liked and what I needed.

Fast forward to using it for about a year and my thoughts were as follows:

Crisscross Tie-back:. I know people love buckles and snaps but I enjoy the ritual of coming into the shop, taking the apron off the wall and tying it on. Its like putting on a pair of shoes before running. . you just clear your head and get ready. The downside is on the store bought one the ties are very think and when you take it off they pull through the loops. So every time I put it out I first thread them, then put on. To correct this I made my ties from a double folded binder that also hems the raw fabric edge and the tile is just created from extra fabric. I then used smaller brass eye loops so the tie doesn’t slide out so easily. It requires a few more seconds when putting on but it’s way nicer that it stays put and I can hang on a hook without rethreading every time.

Front top center pocket: I love it but every time I lean forward, everything spills out. I looked at making the pocket separately and then just attaching it so the bottom would pivot out as you forward but I didn’t like the bulk it added nor did it work in practice as it did in my mind. In the end I just made mine a bit wider to hold my ear protection, deeper to hold pens and 6” rule better then added a strip of rubber to help grab things as you lean. It’s not perfect, things still will side if you lean way over but it’s slowed the process so you have time to react.

Side pockets: This is another personal preference. The apron I got had a single pocket on the right side. I’m left handed so that wasn’t great although really it wasn’t an issue. I also found due to my shop I don’t carry a tone of stuff but maybe I was missing something so googled and looked at a number of aprons being made and found most of them had 2 or more and you really can’t go wrong 90% of the time with symmetry so I put too. I also made the bottoms with a fold so they could hold thicker things like my 6” tri square more easily. I also pushed them to the side so the front would remain free and prevent it from catching on things.

length: Most aprons I’ve seen are WAY long. I’m not sure if some work in the nude but at 5’10” there is not good reason for it to go past my knees. I don’t work on a ton of power tools and always wear jeans in the shop.

Fabric I new I wanted to do be made from jean fabric. Cotton is light and wears well, easy to wash and get stains out of. I reinforced where the wholes for the eye loops are but other then that everything is made from a single piece of jean fabric. I thought about adding some colored fabric for the pockets to add accent but decided in the end to keep it simple. I used a traditional dark gold thread.

Shape A single flat piece of fabric has a hard time wrapping around with out some type of crease, seam or dart. Not wanting to make things harder then need be I decided to ad 2 seams, one down each side that the pockets would be sewn into. This helped make the pockets simpler and at the same time allows the apron to fit better to the body and wrap.

So with the first one made I’m going to use it for a bit and I’m sure create a list of things and make a second one. Right off the bat I know I needed longer ties in the back and also the pockets are a bit to deep. I’m sure I’ll find 10 more things as time goes on.

I will add a few more pictures showing details but until then this shows the over all design. The design is a combo of ready made products I found on the internet and personal design.

-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

6 comments so far

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3278 days

#1 posted 10-25-2011 07:31 PM

I like your apron! I too like an apron that it tied, but being a big fat slob, I prefer mine to tie in the front.

I have an apron that I purchased, Woodcraft or Rockler, and it’s denim. I really like it except that it hooks in the back and the pockets are my secondary dust collection system. I have seen aprons that have some sort of “mesh” for the bottoms of the pockets so that the dust tends to fall through.

The one thing that I HATE about mine is that it catches, every single time, on my table saw fence locking arm. One of these days I’m going to rip my fence right off of the table saw.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2717 days

#2 posted 10-25-2011 07:41 PM

These pockets are better then my last apron because they are at the side and fitted in to the seam. That gets them out of the line of fire and they lay flater.

The problem with mesh is it’s not very strong and depending on how pointy the stuff is in your pocket they will not last long.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2679 days

#3 posted 10-25-2011 08:13 PM

It’s awesome when you can take your aproach to nitpicking tools and make one yourself that is better. The apron is great. I need to get my industrial singer up and running so I can try this.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3042 days

#4 posted 10-25-2011 08:21 PM

I like your apron too! My daughter found an apron in a yard sale that belonged to someone who worked for the post office and while it is similar to yours except the front pockets are in front center, right and left. The only problem I have with this is I do a lot of wood turning and the shavings keep filling my pockets so I am going to ask my sister-in-law to cut about 3” off the bottom and make flaps to go over the pockets. Then hopefully no more chips in my pockets.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3462 days

#5 posted 10-26-2011 05:49 AM

BBQ aprons work great.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#6 posted 10-26-2011 02:04 PM

I have a plain denim shop apron that my wife sewed a Home Depot nail apron to the front. Other than filling with sawdust from time to time it works fine.

-- Life is good.

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