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How to Make a No-Sew Apron (with a Detachable Towel) Using a Vintage Pillowcase

by Kelly Rae Smith
craft & maker

The perfect vintage apron can be hard to find, particularly the really brilliant ones with a detachable towel. Have you seen these vintage beauties? They truly are a work of genius—as are many antique aprons (which you can read more about here).

In this tutorial, you’ll learn not only how to make your own vintage apron, but you’ll do it with a vintage pillowcase, and you’ll do it without a sewing machine. Yep, a no-sew apron! Exciting, yes?

Here’s what you’ll need:
Vintage pillowcase
Iron
Hem tape
Scissors
Washcloth
Fabric belt
Big button
Needle and thread
Safety pin

Supplies for making a no-sew apron (with a detachable towel) using a vintage pillowcase

What you need to do:

1. Decide what shape you want your apron to be. Would you rather it be long or wide—or both?

2. Cut the pillowcase to desired shape, careful to leave a little extra room on each side as you’ll have to fold some of it down for hemming.

Make a no-sew apron (with a detachable towel) using a vintage pillowcase

3. Preheat iron to medium heat—no steam.

4. Turn apron upside down. Take one of the sides you wish to hem, and fold it down.

5. Using the hot iron, press the folded-down edge.

6. Measure out hem tape and place it flat inside the newly folded hem.

Make a no-sew apron (with a detachable towel) using a vintage pillowcase

7. Place and hold the iron onto the fabric for three to five seconds, careful not to ever let the iron touch the tape.

8. Repeat across the entire edge until it’s all bonded.

9. Turn apron right-side up and press once more, this time for one to three seconds.

10. Repeat the above steps until all sides—apart from the top/waist—are hemmed. For the apron pictured, only two sides needed to be cut and hemmed.

Now for the apron string!

1. Choose a string for your apron. For the pictured apron, a fabric belt was used that once belonged to a vintage dress.

2. Make a three-inch fold at the waist and press with warm iron.

3. Place hem tape under the fold, but this time lower and away from the fold so as to leave room for the belt to be strung across later on.

4. Press fold as you’ve done before until it’s bonded.

5. Now, take a safety pin and clasp it to the end of the fabric belt.

Make a no-sew apron (with a detachable towel) using a vintage pillowcase

Ready to attach the detachable towel?

Make a no-sew apron (with a detachable towel) using a vintage pillowcase

1. Prepare to do only a minute or two of hand-sewing! Ready your big button, and thread the needle.

2. Using the scissors, cut a slit into the washcloth—try using a space near the corner of the cloth. Make sure the button can fit snugly through the slit.

3. Placing the button toward the top of the apron (near the waist), sew the button securely to the apron.

4. Now attach the washcloth.

Boom: Look what you did, you savvy seamstress, you!

Kelly writes DIY, craft and fashion pieces for ebay.com, her favorite destination for one-of-a-kind pre-owned clothing items (here).

Do you want to learn how to find unique fabrics for your sewing (and no-sew) projects? Download our free guide, Thrift Store Shopping Tips today!

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Kelly Rae Smith

Kelly is a music editor, vintage seller and lifelong crafter who you can follow on Twitter here.