How to Make a Tea Towel Apron

So as I was aimlessly meandering around my kitchen last week I thought to myself, I love tea towels.  And I do.  I love them more than I should.  In fact, I love them more than most people should love anything.

I can’t really give you an answer as to why I love them so much.  It would make sense if I could tell you that as a baby my disadvantaged (crackhead) mother birthed me directly into a broken cotton candy vat at a carnival she working at  … where some kind, stranger found me, wrapped me in a tea towel and took me home.

But that isn’t the case.  Although I do also have a strong affinity for cotton candy.

The truth is I just love tea towels.  They’re a quick way to change up your kitchen a bit and let’s face it … tea towels are the workhorse of the kitchen.  If it weren’t for tea towels, well … I don’t even want to think of a world without  tea towels.

So as I was meandering around my kitchen I thought of all the things I could and have done with tea towels.  For a long time they acted as cafe curtains on the windows in my 40’s kitchen.  They’re often used as a table runner on my table.  And of course I wipe my hands on them and clean up spills that were often caused by my hands.

Then it hit me.  A TEA TOWEL APRON!!!  Yup.  I was going to make an apron out of a tea towel.   I was quite impressed with myself for inventing something as basic and obvious as an apron made out of a tea towel.  Then I got a quivery feeling inside of me and decided to Google it to make sure no one else had thought of it.  Google displayed close to 800,000 results.


This was just like the time I thought I invented cheeseburgers.

I still like my tea towel aprons and decided to share them with you.  Yes.  There are two of them.  A full apron, and a half apron.  Here we go!



Tea Towel of your choice

Polyester (silk-like) Ribbon (got mine at the Dollar Store)

Sewing Machine (could hand sew if you need to)

Apron 1


The first thing you need to do is take the ribbon and hang it around your neck.  Cut the ribbon off at about 5″ past your collarbones.  This is what will go around your neck and attach to the bib of the apron.

Apron 2

Turn the ends of the ribbon under twice so the salvage is enclosed.  Sew it shut. This is what’s going to stop the ribbon from fraying to bits when you wash it.

Place your ribbon along one of the short ends of the tea towel.  Pin it and hang it around your neck.  Adjust as needed.  When you have it placed where it’s comfortable, sew the ribbon onto the towel.  It will look neatest if you make sure to line your stitching up with stitching that’s already on the apron.

Apron 3

Fold and pin the corners in as shown.

Sew them along the edge to hold them down.  I didn’t bother cutting the corners off or anything.  This is a quick apron.  Not a fancy, involved apron.


Apron 4

Cut and hem 2 more lengths of ribbon and sew them onto the sides of the apron like sew.  Heh heh.  A little sewing humour there.

Apron 5


Your apron is done.

I washed this apron to make sure the ribbon would wash fine.  It did.  Throw it in the washing machine and hang to dry.

Apron 6

It’s really quite fetching I must say.  Plus this way you can make quick easy holiday aprons.  For when you’re feeling super-geeky and want to walk around with say, a big turkey on your apron, or a Snowman covered apron with scads of horrendous holly.  Holiday tea towels you see, are easy to find.  Holiday aprons, not so much.  Plus they’re considerably more expensive than the $3 or so you’ll spend on a homemade tea towel apron.

Apron 7



To make a half apron, cut 2 long lengths of ribbon and hem the edges.

Sew each ribbon to a corner along the long length of the tea towel.

Apron 8

If you insist on being fancy, you can hem them in a criss cross pattern, like this.

Apron 9

Make sure you use enough ribbon so  you can wrap the ribbon from the back of the apron around to your front.  It’s much easier to tie an apron in the front than the back.  See how pretty?  I don’t tie bows.  I’m not a bow kind of gal.  I do, however, like using this sort of slipknot, half bow.

Apron 10

And there you have it … a pretty, pretty apron to do all of your delicate, delicate baking.

Apron Copyright

Or whatever else you might do in the kitchen …


  1. Connie says:

    I made three aprons today with the “bloody” handprint motif. A brilliant idea for recycling tea towels. I sent photos to my friends with the caption “no, I did not butcher a coyote.” 😏

  2. Jeannie K says:

    This is so cute! Thanks for sharing.. Gonna make this for friends! BTW, it’s “selvage” not salvage. My Home Economics teacher from 1971 was screaming in my head, LOL!

  3. Catherine Webb says:

    I just found your tea towel apron instruction and thought you’d like this UK company. I love tea towels too and these people have some fab ones. sorry if I’m preaching to the converted and the idea for radical tea towels came to us from across the pond.

  4. Brenda dumont says:

    You cracked me up when I saw the cleaver and messy apron!

  5. Meg says:

    I invented the latte once. True story.

    Years later, when I started working at Starbucks, I learned what a latte was. It was a little satisfying and also a little sad to realize that HOT DAMN I KNEW I HAD HAD A GOOD IDEA.

    Maybe this is how you felt about the cheeseburgers.

    • Karen says:

      Meg – You’re never going to believe this but I *also* thought I invented a latte!!! The Chai latte to be precise, LOL. Wow. We’re really, really smart and really really stupid. ~ karen

  6. Sue says:

    Will you make me one? I only live around the corner!:-)

  7. Amy says:

    The picture with the cleaver makes me laugh. I love your sense of humor.

  8. Shawna says:

    I love you Karen! But only in the “you make me laugh” kind of way….

  9. Bobbi says:

    Good gawd, woman, what is in your hand ? You are starting to scare me just a teeny tiny bit…yikers…

  10. Erin V says:

    HI Karen!
    Where did you get the tea towels grommets, I particularly fancy the second one. Thanks!

    • Erin V says:

      Yargh, autocorrect.
      Please ignore the random use of the word grommets…

      • Karen says:

        LOL! I was just about to look up if there was another definition for gommet, because I know I didn’t use any in the tea towels. I don’t know if you’re from Canada or the US, but I got the tea towels from the Canadian store Loblaws/Fortinos. In the kitchen section. Cheap. ~ karen!

  11. JessieB says:

    Oh, KAREN! I was literally thinking of making a tea towel apron this morning when I put out my new flour-sack tea towels. It’s like you were here. Were you here?

  12. Steph says:

    Tea Towels are the shiznit!

  13. AnnW says:

    You are Crazy! I stripped a corner cabinet from the 1920’s in my 1920’s kitchen once. There were at least 23 different colors of paint on it. At some point I used a butane torch on it. It turned out beautifully. Ann

  14. SK Farm Girl says:

    Lorraina! Lorraina Bobbit! Is that you?!?!? Had to step out for a wardrobe change after seeing that last picture . . . peed my pantses laughing! I’ve fallen, deeply, madly, insanely in love with aprons lately! I’ve been picking them up at yard sales, rummage sales, thrifty stores – where ever I can get my hands on them! But now I am moving on. I’m scavenging old bits of material (I insist on vintage cloth as it holds many stories) to make aprons!! Some of the cloth I’ve picked up is just priceless, absolutely devine! Making these aprons is paying hommage to the countless hours my mother and my aunts spent in their kitchen as happy (not “desperate”) housewives. I remember those aprons were used for everything – wiping hands (little ones too), wiping spills and occassionally our noses if there was no tissue in the pocket of mom’s apron. When I tie on my apron I instantly feel empowered and transported back to a simpler time!

  15. Cynna says:

    So cute! The first apron would look great with the boots I hope to win!

  16. Nancy says:


  17. Ashley says:

    Hot damn, I love you Karen.

  18. Amy in StL says:

    Really, totally unrelated but; I went t-shirt shopping this weekend and it seems all the basic cotton shirts are now some weird modal and or rayon blend. When did this happen and how can we get them to stop making weird things and just carry basic t shirts at stores like The Gap or even Target?

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