Simple, Sentimental Pillowcase Apron

A few years ago I was shopping at a flea market, and I spotted two adorable pillowcases. They were only a dollar apiece, so I bought them for a rainy day project. I thought they would make a very cute apron. Well, they sat on the shelf for way too long. I uncovered them this week and decided to finally make that apron.


It was very simple, even for this novice seamstress. Perhaps you’ve seen the idea before; I am sharing it here because I think this is a perfect use for pillowcases from your daughter’s previous bedding. Kids grow up so fast and move on to the next stage, and sometimes our nostalgic mothers’ hearts want to freeze the season while they are little. Wouldn’t it be great to take some of those sweet patterns and place them in the kitchen to remember… and perhaps even use to cook with your daughter as she grows? Making matching aprons would be very simple. I did not include measurements for a child’s apron because that would depend greatly on your child’s age and size. I would recommend looking on Pinterest for sizing of that. You could also use pillowcases from bedding passed down from your grandmother or mother. What a special way to preserve memories of your family!

This is also a great gift idea. I made the one pictured here for my mom’s birthday.
Last year I wrote a post about using my dad’s dress shirts to make pillows for my sons.
I still had some portions of fabric left over, and I wanted to include a section on her apron. These pictures show the shirt collar attached to the waistband of the apron. If you decide not to include the collar, simply keep your ribbon in one piece and sew it to the waistband by itself.

(Side note: As I mentioned, I am a novice seamstress. I am not claiming these directions will give you a flawless, store-bought-looking apron. If you would like more elaborate instructions, Pinterest will be a better option for you. :)  As with most of my tutorials, I give somewhat loose directions because I want you to be inspired to be as creative as possible, not necessarily to copy me. If you are still interested in a homemade version, read on!)

Materials Needed:

1 pillowcase (2 if you are making one for you and one for a child)
55-60 inches of 1 ½ to 2-in wide ribbon
sewing machine or needle and thread
Optional: collar from a dress shirt, additional rickrack, ribbon, buttons, pockets, or pom-pom ribbon to add embellishments

Time: 20-45 min. (depends on the embellishments you include)


1.    Cut the pillowcase along the seam, leaving it in one large piece.
2.    Cut out the shirt collar and/or embellishments needed.

3.    Iron the fabric.
4.    The hem of the pillowcase will be the bottom of the apron. Cut the width to be 25 inches.
5.    Next cut the height of the fabric to 18 inches.

6.    Fold the fabric over about half an inch on each side, but not the top yet. Sew these down to create a new seam. (The bottom hem won’t need to be sewn.)
7.    Now fold over the top of the fabric, about 1 inch.
8.    Fold slight gathers, and pin them down. You can do more dramatic pleats or gathers if you like —a I opted for a loose version.

9.    Cut your ribbon to 55 or 60 inches, depending on your waistline. To determine, just wrap around your waist and tie a bow behind your back. Cut off the ends and untie.
10.    If using the shirt collar, this is the point you pin it to the pillowcase, with the ribbon passing under it. (The stiff portion will be the section shown on the front of your apron. It will just be a flap that sits on the top of the apron. The lower portion will be sewn onto the top seam of the apron. You will not see this section once the collar is folded down.) If you are not using the collar, pin the ribbon to the front of the apron. This will go over the top of the pillowcase fabric, so it adds a fun embellishment and covers up any unruly seam-sewing!
11.    Sew the ribbon to the pillowcase fabric. Remove the pins just before the fabric passes through the machine.
12.    I also added a small ribbon on top of the collar as my last step.

Happy sewing….and reminiscing!

Posted on August 5, 2015 and filed under Building Your Home.