by the seat of my pants

Ok, so here’s me, packing boxes for our upcoming move:

Bring boxes in from the garage, carry upstairs to the bedroom.

Need a Sharpie, go down to the kitchen, get one, go back upstairs.

Pack a box. Wait, need the inventory sheet we started to keep track of boxes.

Go downstairs to the basement, get inventory sheet. Go back upstairs.

Tape. Darn, where’s the tape. Did I have it in my hand when I went down into the basement?

Go back down, search for tape.

Found the tape, go back up. Whew, now I’m hot. I change into shorts.

Go downstairs with the tape to pack books in the living room.

Pack a box. Hey, where’s the Sharpie? In the pocket of the jeans I was wearing before I got hot and changed into shorts…

And that was just me, packing by myself. No husband around to hide tape or Sharpies. Just me, running myself ragged misplacing my supplies.

I knew what I had to do. I needed an apron. I needed to have all my supplies easily at hand, room to room. (I needed an excuse to stop packing and sew something!) So I did it. I took those old jeans and I hacked ’em.

I thought I had seen a tutorial somewhere for making a craft apron out of an old pair of jeans, but a quick search for it lead me nowhere. I had no time. I had (have!) a house to pack. I had 40 minutes before I needed to pick up my kids. I had to start cutting…

As you can see, I used the back of the jeans with the pockets for the front of the apron. I cut away everything else, except I kept the front waistband still attached to the back. Even though I was spontaneous, experimental and short on time, I actually took photos along the way. Of course if it had all gone awry, you’d not be reading this post…

To make the back of the jeans (now the front of the apron) lie flat, I cut the back rise along the seam and over lapped the excess fabric. I top stitched next to the flat felled seam with a zipper foot.

I realized two things. 1) I was going to need more pockets than just the back ones on the jeans, and 2) I was going to need to get rid of the pooch at the top yoke. See how the waistband sort of peaks up to accommodate, um, fullness? So I cut along that seam to take out the triangular yoke shape. Then I made a rectangular pocket out of some scrap fabric and sewed one side to the yoke and the other to the part below the yoke. Now the waistband lays nice and straight.

I attached ties to the ends of the waistband to make it long enough to tie. I cut some flowers out of the scrap fabric and just fused them on with Steam-a-seam. Some where along the line I picked up the kids and made dinner. I finished the rest of the apron long after they went to bed. (You didn’t think I got all fancy with the appliques and rickrack in 40 minutes, did you?)

Now I’ve got a place for Sharpies, a notepad, scissors, and whatever else comes along. I couldn’t figure out how to make a tape gun holster (egad, that sounds hideous) so I am just putting a roll of tape in every room of the house. I may do the same with my diet coke as I seem to misplace that a lot, too.

(Ok, one more photo. My 7 year old son took it for me. Not to be left out, my 5 year old son was behind me trying to give me “bunny ears”.)

So…how’s packing coming along? Ugh…don’t ask.


  • great apron!!!! thanks for the tut!

  • Ahhh! How CUTE!!!!! :D Love it! 40 min?! Girl, you are good!


  • kim

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • I’ve been lurking around for a few weeks and just wanted to actually SAY something! Love the bunny ears, my 5 yo is usually my photo studio assistant for the photos for my blog, either taking the pics or holding something. Great apron!

  • Adorable! I love those jean aprons… I’m moving again in 5 months, maybe I should make one. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • OK, you are a genious. Thank you so much for sharing — can’t wait to start working on some using all the jeans that no longer fit! And what a good idea for the pairs my husband blows out at work!!!

  • Love the apron! Wonderful excuse for stopping packing. I need to make one for myself!

  • kim

    Wow. That’s just a perfect example of how spontaneity can give birth to some of the best creations. That is supercute, and completely sellable (or is that saleable)!

  • How cute! I love that fabric on the apron, and the bunny ears are too funny…

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who packs like that! ;)


  • That is an awesome idea! I must try that!!

  • Di

    I was about to say – all that in 40 minutes!! But I am still very very impressed! Thank you for the lesson!! And it looks great!!

  • What a cute apron and those bags are so fun from the last post. Great ideas and pictures, bunny ears included!

  • That turned out really great! I am easily side-tracked by new sewing projects too- they just seem to spring up out of nowhere when you have important things to do! I’m moving soon and I love the apron idea- although I’ll try to make one *before* I start packing LOL

  • What a fantastic idea! Now I have another thing to do with all the denim I’ve saved! Do you know how many pairs of jeans you can save when you have 9 kiddos and 25 years?! Believe me… I think I have several bins. Oy!
    Thanks again for a great tutorial.

  • the apron is such a great idea, the applique and embroidery makes it look lovely. good luck with the rest of the packing

  • Oh my, that’s great … you are very talented. The last picture is by far the best … the photographer is terrific and the bunny ears are hysterical.

  • Very clever!! Now if you cut the front and back equally leaving the front waistband intact, sew a rectangle to the outside of the bottom front and divide it into 2-3 sections and make longer “apron strings” you could get 2 from 1 pair. Hmmm…now, what to do with the legs?

  • Estoy fascinada con tan linda idea. Felicitaciones y gracias por compartirla.
    Esta genial, lo pondre en practica.

  • its really great – and best of all? the baby-bunny-fingers so cute.
    the apron reminds me “criss-cross” that little rap group from the early 90’s that used to wear their pants backwards. except your pants are sooo much cuter.

  • Ah, the familiar scene of running up and down stairs while packing.You’re a genius, that’s what I call ‘fly by the seat of your pants! :)’ Congrats on being creative and juggling so many things at the same time.

  • What a great idea.
    Thanks for sharing, it is so so great & super cute.

  • So cute! I’ve apparently been living under a rock and have not seen the jean aprons. I think it would make a great sewing apron. Hmmmm…

  • That’s one cool apron! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Adorable! **(^_^)**

  • i *love* that you just whipped that up! every girl needs that for packing.

    definitely sounded like me when i moved 7 months ago…

  • Anonymous

    you are so creative! this also would work perfectly for working in the garden…… i may have to make one.

  • Practical, useful and beautiful!!!

  • i hope you understand french, because my english’s poor so i continue in french
    j’adore cette mini jupe integralement customisée, elle est vraiment très chouette

  • Absolutely adorable!! Great job!

  • WOW that is cute! How’d you have time doing that while you were moving? CRAZY!!!

  • Deb

    Too cute! I’ve made jean aprons before, but yours takes the cake; for speed and style!

  • Anonymous

    That is the best idea I have seen …..Wonderful.Best regards from Estonia1

  • val

    what a cute idea. I have been eyeing a pair of jeans that need to ‘go’….now I know what to do with them!

  • I think this will be my next old jean project – I love it! Thanks!

    I just finished making a totebag out of old jeans, and two years ago I did a denim chenille quilt.. I love using up the leftovers from the boys jeans when they are done putting holes in the knees. :-)

  • That is so cut love how you made that with old jeans!! Cute and very clever clean looking!Well done my friend!

  • Harleen

    I must say one thing..i got to your site by chance when i was searching for my books..but our art is really beyond wordly praise..i must say it is as beautiful as you look..god bless u

  • Adorable idea and nicely done! A must to try sometime soon…Thanks for the tute! 8-)
    Happy stitchings!

  • Thanks for the tutorial, it´s genial.

  • What a great idea! I love how it turned out. Bunny ears are cute too :)

  • terrific idea! and I nearly dropped off 3 pr of jeans the other day… an instance when procrastination actually helps!

    These would work well for just about any crafter or busy person!

  • Tracey James

    This is a great idea for an apron. I made one similar after I used the legs to make butcher style apron each for my children for art classes. Just cut shape, and sew bias binding around the edges and make ties.

  • I’ve been looking at your tutorial for ages and have finally got round to making one. Thing is it took me more than 40 mins to decide3 what fabric to use!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! This is great. I use my one apron for so many things. Now I can make more. I have lost 20 lbs (and more I hope) and will cut up the old jeans that are getting to big. Great idea.

  • Anonymous

    I’m usually too lazy to make a comment but I just had to tell you how clever you are. This I love and I will make it. I just used the legs for making purses so I had the tops left. This is timely. I wonder if you left the front and the back,,slit it up the sides and make an apron like that, would it work. You would both the front and the back pockets that way. Of course it wouldn’t be an apron…..

  • Anonymous

    Great idea for the apron. Thanks!

  • Hi Betz!
    What a good idea! I love it!
    Your Blog is WONDERFUL!
    I love everything.
    Hugs from Brazil,

  • Thanks for this beautiful apron. Wonderful idea! Beautiful result!

  • Anonymous

    This is a great idea for creativeness and recycle. I definitely will have to make one. Thanks for sharing your idea!

  • Thanks for the tute! I’d seen something similar at a quilt meeting and your tute will be very helpful in recreating it!

  • What a great idea,I Love it! I’m going to make one for my daughter and one for my grandaughter. They just started a veggie garden and these recycled jean aprons will be perfect for them! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    whay a great idea! Love it. I love crafts. You are great to do that in 40 min. keep up the great work.

  • Anonymous

    Dear there is no need to answer; this is a great Idea! I was thinking little kids 7 or 8 could bring Mommy or Daddy’s old jeans and we could make these for projects. Thank you for your great idea. If you would like an idea on the tape dispenser, why not just tie a pretty ribbon through the tape and fasten it on to a belt loop! Have fun I know we will.

  • One of the cutest things I have seen made from jeans! GREAT tutorial!

  • four years later and your apron is still getting comments…must be a good idea!
    was just looking for a good way to use my favourite (now defunct) jeans.
    Glad i found your blog
    fee x
    (those bunny ears made me smile)

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    This is awesome. I am forever loosing my markers, pens, box cutters etc. even my cell phone at times laying around the warehouse I run. I’m always being teased and am told I need a tool belt. This will be perfect. Thanks for all the great ideas !

  • I have been looking for any pattern for this type of jean apron. I made a couple of them but they never looked as I thought they should. THanks- This is my next project!!

  • i love aprons so ive made a lot from short to long but no jean one YET but i will be thanks i loved yours

  • Barb.

    I really liked the apron. I was wondering, what does the “back side” of the apron look like?? Also, could one be made for a little girl, to help her daddy with work?? Thanks for your time. Barb.

  • How Cute Is This? Way Cute! I have used old jeans for quilting, purses, etc, but this is the first apron I’ve seen. Way to think outside the ‘packing’ box!

  • This is darling, and thanks for the tutorial… I first saw it on someone else’s blog and she does NOT give you credit… I repinned directly to here! :)

  • This is one of the most clever and beautiful ideas at the same time since ages!

  • bonjour , nous avons fait un tablier d’après ce modèle il nous plait beaucoup .merci pour le tuto en photos .

  • Wow! You sound a lot like me! My hubby said I should print out your blog post and post it to the fridge (not his fault – hmmm) lol!

    Thanks for sharing this inventive idea! I think I need to make myself one as well!


  • Love this! Will be making one and using the legs to make a “top part” because that’s the bit of me that sticks out the furthest and gets the messiest!
    If you made this with jeans that were damaged, but still fit, you could just leave the complete waistband attached and use the button to do the apron up, making it even quicker!