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. Brenda dumont says:

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

  2. 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

  3. Sue says:

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

  4. Amy says:

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

  5. Shawna says:

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

  6. Bobbi says:

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. Steph says:

    Tea Towels are the shiznit!

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. Cynna says:

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

  13. Nancy says:


  14. Ashley says:

    Hot damn, I love you Karen.

  15. 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?

  16. Liz S. says:

    Great gift idea that even someone who does not play well with sewing machines could accomplish.

  17. Jessica @ Gloss says:

    LOL, you are hilarious! very cute idea. The bloody photo inspired a solution to my annoying husband problem :)

  18. brenda says:

    umm…’s the fella doin’

  19. Jen A says:

    Karen, as my friend says about me “You’re SOMETHING.”

    Great aprons, truly. It beats the peach coloured one with ruffles that my mom gave me. Though my husband does look nice in peach while carving the Christmas turkey.

    Perchance is that a joe tshirt?

    • Karen says:

      Jen A – No m’am. It’s a 472 year old Gap tee shirt. Or Old Navy. Something cheap. I still like the colour though so I still keep wearing it. ~ karen!

  20. marilyn says:

    love em karen but you lost me at the sewing machine. i can’t even sew a button on.

  21. Langela says:

    Karen, do you know if they make plus-size tea towels? The size you did looks great on you, but would look like a loin cloth on me. Jk. Sorta.

  22. Veronique says:

    you should have a ‘like’ button on your posts.
    Because I like this, but have nothing to say about it.
    Just thought you’d want to know how many ppl ‘like’ your stuff. :)

  23. Janet says:

    Aprons love them, These are really cute, Karen I have a question for you, I have a cabinet, I stained it looked great, while i was at work my father who lives with us, put wood putty in all the knots, Yup what a mess, looked awful, so I painted it green. Now I hate it, How do I get it all off including the hard as nails putty to start over.
    I saw a cabinet on one of those home shows, They had painted it a really nice blue and then had taken a brick to it and sandpaper to distress it. but it’s to get everything off first. Hope you can help, Husband going on business for a week good time to do it while he is gone.
    Let me know, Thanks Janet

    • Karen says:

      Janet – You’re going to have to strip the cabinet with paint stripper. I use “Circa 1850” furniture stripper. That’s the name of it. It’s a gel type stripper so it doesn’t go running everywhere. Instructions will be on the back of the can. Basically you brush it onto the piece, leave it, then scrape it off with a paint scraper. If your cabinet also has crevasses etc., you’ll need to use little tools and some very fine steel wool to get that out too. Once all the paint is off (which may take a few tries) you may need to sand your cabinet with a fine grit sandpaper. That’s just a quick run through of what you’re getting yourself into. It’s a pretty big job to strip a cabinet so if you’re not prepared to see it all the way through, just learn to love the green cabinet. Because guaranteed … you’ll love a green cabinet more than you’ll love a cabinet that’s half green. As far as the wood filler goes, depending on what type he used it could end up being harder than the actual wood surrounding it. You’ll need to chip away at it with something sharp. Maybe even drill a few holes into it if the area is big enough with a small drill bit. Hard to say w/out seeing it. Good luck! ~ karen

    • Clare says:

      Just had to jump in here on the wood putty. Before you spend the rest of your life chipping it out, go to the art supply store and get a permanent marker in the same (or as close as possible) color as your timber when finished (wet the timber to figure this out and take a close up photo with your phone along with you. Simply color over the putty patches, and voila. Fixed.

      Or if you are a total purist I would buy a dremel/rotary tool, and use a carving bit to gouge it out. Trust me, it will be the best $70 you ever spent.

      Love the tea towels, for me they would just cover the vitals … I know because I just measured the ones I have in my kitchen against my body. The kids thought I was even crazier than usual. Maybe you could join two together if you needed more length or width?

  24. Nicole Rossetti le Strange says:

    Either you are in fact, a pixie-sized-Karen, or you have much larger tea towels in the US than we have in the UK! Mine wouldn’t even be micro-mini-skirt length, let alone a full-frontal jobbie!

    So now I have tea towel envy….a thing I never thought I would ever find myself even thinking, let alone sharing with a group of strangers! #thankyouverymuch


    Love the aprons though, and I *would* wear them….being an evil-genius-mad-scientist can be sooo messy, Dahlink! #serialkillersaresolastyear

  25. mary c says:

    A laugh riot you are.

  26. celia says:

    ok…what’s up with that last pic? LOL
    You’re too funny!

    Where did you get that tea towel with the artichoke. I love it.

    Keep making up laugh, Karen!


  27. Either:

    1) you are a secretly a child
    2) your tea towels are huge
    or 3) British tea towels are much smaller than Canadian ones.

  28. brie says:

    i made similar ones as hostess gifts for one of my bridal showers – super easy, and a great way to show off a pretty apron! but the real gift was the hummingbird bakery cookbook wrapped up inside :)

  29. Rebecca says:

    Is that a chicken feather I see on your clever? Kidding, id never do that either. Love the aprons I wear those all the time and would hate life without them… Only the tea towel kind too, others just aren’t the same.

  30. Mia says:

    And THAT, right there, is why I keep coming back to your blog. 800,000 people can make a tea towel apron, but very few can do it and be snarky about it. Love.

  31. Matt says:

    Just wondering if you’ve come across a store called Third Drawer Down. Plenty of tea towels. Not sure if they ship outside of Oz, but still worth a look for someone who professes such a love for the tea towel.

  32. Nope, would not wear it….sorry! But I’d love to see what you killed in the kitchen.


  33. Renee says:

    I’m digging these! Thanks for the quickie craft fix! And I did miss Dexter tonight.

  34. Marti says:

    Geez, Dexter, you make gorgeous aprons! Seriously, that artichoke full apron is so gorgeous, I’d hang it on the wall and let it decorate!

    The other one is obviously meant to be more utilitarian. Or is it drop-dead gorgeous but in a different way?

    • Karen says:

      Marti – Heh. Funny you should mention about the artichoke apron. The second I made it my mother put dibs on it because she’d been looking for an apron to hang off a peg in her kitchen. It matches perfectly. And the utilitarian apron? It gets the job done. ~ karen

  35. Michelle says:

    Um, I hate to ask, but was one of your chickens bad? ;)

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