Posted on 16 Comments

Fun with tea towels

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I had these two cotton tea towels and some matching grosgrain ribbon. What do you think I did with them?

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

Neat, huh? I love the way it looks, lying there on the floor like that. On me, though? Not so much. It’s that bib section. It’s too wide, or too tall, or too not-body-shaped, or something. See?

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

Still, it’s a cool idea, I think, and with a little tweaking at the top, it’ll be truly great.

Turning two tea towels into a full apron is a pretty simple hack, so I’ll tell you in general terms how I did it, rather than giving you a detailed tutorial. Maybe you can make one with a better bib than I did! Or, leave the bib off altogether. Two tea towels would make a great pocketed cafe apron, I think. I’d have done that but I have enough half-aprons. What I need is something that will keep splattering spaghetti sauce from ruining yet another white tee shirt. Ahem.


2 cotton or linen tea towels. Vintage is nice. The ones I used were vintage-inspired, and came from here. I love using these towels in my kitchen, and plan to replace the ones I just cut up.

3 yards 7/8″ grosgrain ribbon to coordinate with the towels

basic sewing supplies


Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

My towels are 24-ish inches wide. (I say “ish” because they are kind of wonky and not exactly even.) I measured 13 inches from one end and cut. I measured 10 inches from the other end and cut.  The 13 inch piece became the bib, the 10 inch piece became the pocket, and the little strip between them became trash.

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I pressed the raw edge of the bib 1/2-inch towards the wrong side, lined it up with the bottom towel, overlapping about 1/2-inch as shown. This is the back side of the apron, by the way. It is face down on the floor.

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I cut my three yards of ribbon at the 24-inch mark, and set aside the small piece. I centered the larger ribbon piece on top, pinning it in place, and encasing the folded raw edge of the bib.

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I stitched the ribbon to the apron, starting with the bottom edge, making sure the bib was caught in the stitching, and repeated for the top edge.

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I stitched the smaller ribbon to the top corners of the bib as shown.

I almost stopped there, but I thought the apron could use a pocket.

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

The pocket was made from the remaining 10-inch piece of towel. I pressed the raw edge one inch to the wrong side, and stitched it in place.

I pinned the pocket to the center of the apron, and then stitched all around the sides and bottom. I also added two lines of stitching to separate the pocket into three sections.

Ta da!

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

“Me? Clean the kitchen? In this outfit?”

Tea Towel Apron at Polka Dot Cottage

I do really like this… I think I will play around with the top section so that I can wear it more comfortably. I am thinking maybe a well-placed dart, or some elastic at the top might help. Or maybe the top edge should be folded over and made into a casing for the ribbon.

Once I’m done messing with this apron, I have my eye on the blue striped towels in my kitchen for some further experimentation…


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Posted on 16 Comments

16 thoughts on “Fun with tea towels

  1. Such fun to be creative with tea towels – a ‘sort of’ free apron. Sh, I’ve just ordered an Ulster Weavers Royal baby tea towel – ah.

    1. That would make a lovely half-apron 😉

  2. looks good! How bout you fold the corners down a few inches on the top of the bib? I’m trying to think of what shape it would make it? The top 3 sides of a stop sign? Anyhow, I’ve seen it somewhere. it should work.

    1. That occurred to me, too. It’s probably the best option. I’ll have to play around with the idea!

  3. What if you turn the top part 90 degrees? Stripe along the top? It would be narrower. Or just sew in pintucks there? I love this idea. Very, very cute. I’m sure there’s a way!

    1. Actually, that’s already the narrowest side. I like the idea of folding in the corners a bit. I’m going to try that next time I have a moment to sew.

  4. I absolutely love this project. So cute and so practical!

    1. Thanks! I wish I was wearing it yesterday – another white tee sacrificed to the spaghetti sauce monster. I never learn!

      1. Ah, well. We all must make our offerings to the pasta gods.

  5. Your two towell apron is a cute idea and all I would change is to add a few large-ish tucks across the top to further enhance its spaghetti protection.


    1. Thank you. I did actually fix the apron so that I am now happy with it. I suppose this post deserves a follow-up soon!

  6. Of course you need a follow up, just so us fans of your blog can see what you did to make it better!


    1. I’m adding “take new pictures of apron” to my task list today 🙂

  7. […] thought you might like an update on my tea towel apron. I fixed it, and I wear it all the time […]

  8. I have some really nice teatowels that are just to pretty to dry dishes with. This would be a great way to use them

    1. Yep, they make a great apron. But I would definitely recommend doing something different with the “bib” portion than I did 🙂

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