DIY Childrens Tea Towel Apron

Upcycled tea towel DIYSo, after an epic amount of procrastination, last night was to be the night that I did some sewing. Child in bed. Husband out. Embellished cushion covers to be made so cushions measured, template created, even the iron was at the ready. And then of course once The Toddler was in bed I realised I’d left the fabric in his room. Or somewhere like that anyway. Hmm.

Not to be deterred (it having taken weeks to get the sewing machine out after all) I then had a quick panic about what I could make, especially due to the mild no fabric issue. Then I remembered two things; one, while baking that afternoon The Toddler had got his top totally covered in cake mixture, two, while trying to be a domestic goddess earlier last week by cooking a mid week roast dinner, I had set fire to the brand new Emma Bridgewater tea towel that Mumma Craftsonsea had sent me. Normal levels of domesticity resumed there then. So rather than throw away my lovely new towel I thought I would try and up cycle it into an tea towel apron for The Toddler. The whole thing was done in less than an hour and that includes me making up a pattern, so with a bit of foresight I think this could be done in 30 minutes easily. Here’s how I did it. 

DIY Tea towel apron1. Choose your tea towel. Obviously I don’t recommend that you set fire to one first (she adds, for legal reasons…) If you don’t have a cute one that you want to cut up ebay is often good for nice retro style ones and I a personally love the holiday ones you can get in tourist shops.

2.Find something you can trace around to work out your child’s size. Draw your plan on the back of the tea towel in pencil allowing room for a double seem. This is obviously going to work a lot better if you can hold it up to your child to see if the fit looks right rather than waiting until they are asleep and then guessing. I also only used straight lines for the shape as I thought these would be a lot quicker to sew than rounded ones. Don’t forget that if you use a tshirt then you will want to make it a bit longer than this to help mop up all the mess!

3. Cut four strips of material from the remainder of your tea towel. These will be used to make your straps.

4. Iron the straps in half length ways and then fold the outer edges in again and iron these in. This will help create a nice clean edge. I know you hate ironing, I do too, but trust me, if you don’t iron these now you will inevitably regret it later as it makes it loads easier. Also iron in a seem to your apron, folding this over twice to help prevent fraying.

5. The sewing! Go all round the edges of your apron (you can do this in one go) and along the edges of each of your straps. Don’t forget to back stitch at each end. You may find it helps when doing the main part of the apron to snip of the inside corners of the fabric if it looks a bit bulky.

6. Attach the straps to the sides of the pron and the top. Yo want to be able to tie them in a bow behind your child’s neck and back. Go back and forwards over this a few times as it needs to withstand your child trying to pull it off when they decide they’d rather be watching Mr Tumble.

7. Ta-da! Finished! Relax with cake.

I hope you enjoy making these, do let me know if you try to make one as I’d love to see other people’s results!


  1. Sarah Cooper
    9th May 2013 / 7:38 pm

    I love this brilliant idea! Thank you! I made my very first sewing project last week – a cushion cover, now this apron looks a good project for me to try next! Will post my results when I have finished *off to ebay for a nice tea towel*

    • Kate
      9th May 2013 / 7:39 pm

      Oh fabulous! Yes, I would love to see what you make 🙂

  2. 9th May 2013 / 7:46 pm

    Awesome, so cute. Maybe you will have to encourage Let’s Cook rather than Mr Tumble?

    • Kate
      9th May 2013 / 8:08 pm

      When I tried it on him he did actually yell out ‘I can cook!’

  3. 10th May 2013 / 7:06 am

    That looks ACE!! Go you sewing queen! X

    • Kate
      10th May 2013 / 7:16 pm

      Cheers m’dears 🙂

  4. Mymummymakescakes
    10th May 2013 / 7:13 am

    Love it, wishing I had a seeing machine now! x

    • Kate
      10th May 2013 / 7:15 pm

      Aww, thank you 🙂 Beg, borrow or steal one!!!

  5. 10th May 2013 / 7:20 pm

    So cute! I love the tea towel but I think it looks brilliant as an apron!

  6. 13th May 2013 / 9:34 am

    Fabulous idea and I particularly like the last instruction to relax with cake! xx

    • Kate
      13th May 2013 / 6:41 pm

      Oh, always relax with cake! That’s he most important bit!

  7. 13th May 2013 / 2:15 pm

    What a great idea! Thanks for pointing out that there is no need for setting light to the tea towel!

    • Kate
      13th May 2013 / 6:43 pm

      I don’t want any law suits y’hear! Remember the US one’s about warning coffee can be hot?!

  8. 13th May 2013 / 3:14 pm

    What a great idea to reuse the tea towel. I love projects where there is a bit of recycling.

    • Kate
      13th May 2013 / 6:49 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  9. 13th May 2013 / 5:43 pm

    I love it! It works for older kids too – I remember starting High School cookery classes (called Housecraft in those long-ago days!) with an apron my mum made from a Babycham tea towel (we lived in a pub, so drinks towels were a-plenty in our house!). The Toddler looks very happy with his – and it’s an excellent repurposing of a burnt-out tea towel!

    • Kate
      13th May 2013 / 6:50 pm

      Babycham tea towel??? Want. Want badly….

  10. 13th May 2013 / 6:36 pm

    Wonderful – very creative. Now all you have to do is to find another time when you can do the planned sewing!! (Oh and some more baking, obviously)

    • Kate
      13th May 2013 / 6:50 pm

      Yes, preferably without the small issue of the fire this time though, eh?!

  11. 14th May 2013 / 8:48 am

    One of the delights of having a skill like sewing is that you can create something from nothing. How any other people would have just thrown that tea towel out? Your toddler’s apron is lovely.
    I hope you’ve found time to make your cushion covers 🙂

    • Kate
      14th May 2013 / 7:16 pm

      Couldn’t chuck it out – my mum would have killed me!!

  12. 14th May 2013 / 10:30 am

    Cracking result with your recycling… so glad to see I am not the only person who grabs a towel even when the oven mitts are within easy reach. Hope that the cookery results match the apron 🙂

    • Kate
      14th May 2013 / 7:23 pm

      In my defense dinner was very nice!!! 🙂

  13. Pickle-Lily
    14th May 2013 / 5:32 pm

    Great tutorial – it made me smile as I read it! Have a great week, Jo x

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