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If you are a maker it’s bound to happen – you WILL get dirty! Plus there’s all those tools that you have to carry. Let me help you with this Pants to Apron DIY UpCycle.

Save the Pants!

The curse of a maker; assess every article before getting rid of to figure out if there is another use. Yup, perfect! Those big-pocketed pants are fabulous to become aprons of the utility kind. Most of the work is already done for you.

Rough cut the large rectangles of the parts: The big back pockets can be in the middle front upper and lower pockets. The slash pockets (front sides) will become your pockets for stuff. Just make sure to cut so as to save the entire inside pocket. Add a couple triangles to fill the top sides.

Don’t be too fussy about the seams or ‘bits and bobs’, any extra loops may come in handy.

Ta-da! All pieced with simple seams and some zig-zagging to keep seams from fraying. Most of the work has already been done for you so it’s super quick. Use some of the remnants to make some straps for tying and any other additions. Sure. add more pockets if you’d like.

OK, I confess:

I remember vividly as a little girl trying to sew with a toy machine, it was so frustrating that my parents gave me my own Kenmore at 12 years old. I still have it over 45 years later (ok, don’t do the math!!) and have also collected a few friends for it! They are work-horses and have nifty attachments as well.

Even though something is utilitarian it can also be pretty! I wanted to test some of the stitches that these machines make. How novel to pick a ‘cam’ and pop it into the machine to create all kinds of pattern stitches! No software or computer hookup!

Even though something is utilitarian it can also be pretty! I wanted to test some of the stitches that these machine cams make. The ‘swirly stitching is meant to keep items from falling too deep into the pocket and also for fun.

No one questions a car enthusiast about their fleet of cars do they? Well, each machine has it’s function and I like them all. These days many are sadly rejected so I give them a warm home and some oil. I have not met a machine that would not run for me yet. There’s a future post for that so I won’t do a count yet.

Make yourself a nice apron and maybe even give a new home to a lonely sewing machine and she will reward you with much satisfaction and pride as you become more self sufficient. Here’s a dedication to all who sew & a thank you to the ‘Home Economics’ classes they used to teach in school…

Happy Sewing!

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I have 2 sewing machines, a serger and a cover stitch – no judgment from me on your collection. My favorite is the Singer slant-o-matic.

  2. Great idea, such a useful item and diy project
    I wish I still had my old Kenmore machine, they just don’t make machines that sturdy anymore, all plastic pieces.And I second our home economics classes, too bad they don’t teach anymore, a major loss to our students
    Thx for the post
    Enjoyed the lesson

    1. Thanks! My mother single handedly kept probably tons of clothes from the landfill or otherwise as she was constantly re-purposing, but not because it was the ‘in’ thing to do; it was what you learn when you live through a war! If girls could sew rather than go to the mall so much good would come of it, it many ways. Oh wait, boys too! haha

  3. Oh my! I have a “vintage” Kenmore machine that looks just like that! It was my first “major” purchase after I married. I have a serger machine and some other fancy machine that I inherited when my Mom passed away and haven’t gotten them out and it’s been three years. I should do that since you’ve inspired me.

    1. Yes!!! ‘Probably because they never die! They are so strong and I even sew leather. There are so many that pop up at thrift stores for almost pennies! Love ’em!!

  4. I too am a maker of many things…my one and only sewing machine is pushing 58, a Singer 403 Slantomatic… I’ve sewn for my children grandchildren and now my great grandchildren…my mother taught me to sew on an old treadle Singer.. our clothes were upcycled from whatever she could find as well as sugar/ flour sacks.
    Love your posting. Thank you.

    1. Oh wow! You are amazing! I love to hear that!!! I’m just about to start for my darling grandbaby as he’s just over 3 months. Sacks sound so rustic and amazing! I even have a treadle & hand-crank singer. Stitch on!!!

  5. Thanks for this DIY Upcycle, Barb! I too have a vintage Kenmore–one that I got for High School Graduation in 1965. I have made lots of use of the double-needle capability! It has been languishing for the last few years–I’d better get it out & clean & oil it up again. Could you post your cleaning/oiling methods??? Love your work! Sally V

    1. I am always amazed at how these machines stand the test of time. I don’t have any training for repairs but oiling and looking to see what needs to ‘move’ usually indicates of there is a problem. The amazing trick: use a hot blowdryer to warm any parts that seem to be siezed. WD40 will break grease but will not be a lubricant, after, apply sewing machine oil once moving. I have never really needed to disassemble other than opening to get at parts. AND there is usually a youtube video on your model. If you are going to pay for fixing then why not try first? Happy sewing!

    1. Oh yes! Or even a Pfaff, or Husqvarna as well! Picking a favourite is getting hard! Weight usually says what’s inside, metal or plastic! Happy hunting!

  6. I recently started making knives as a creative outlet and I just started using Pinterest about a week ago. I am now following you. Knife making is dirty work so an apron would help a lot. My wife is a retired family studies (home ec. ) teacher so maybe I can talk her into dusting off one of her machines to make me one. Great post. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work. Thanks

  7. Hello Barb, I love your posts! I read through all of it and notice some folks say they enjoy the video. I never see a video to watch. I’d really enjoy watching “how to’s” it helps visualize the process. Is there a secret as to find your videos? I’m dying to make the apron out of jeans and the soda can planters. Thank you!

    1. I only have a few videos. I like to be able to control my time and watching lengthy videos actually irritates me, hence I have mostly great pictures that can be scrolled slowly or quickly. Maybe in the future…

  8. Hi Barb,
    I recently subscribed to your newsletter and loving it. This morning I am looking at past post. So many fantastic ones. I too have several sewing machines. My Singer is from 1954 and a beauty, though only straight stitch. She had some power. Now my Sister is a whiz at sewing machines. Not only does she have industrial models she uses, as well as her much lover multiple Singers, she works on them (self taught) and has over 25 machines at last count.

    I made an apron from a pair of bibbed over-alls. Ir was a great recycle as I sewed the shoulder straps together to go around my neck, already had plenty of pockets in the bib portion, snd the hammer loop. I use it often. Painted the front to “girl” it up.

    1. That’s great to hear! I have often found a machine that looked like new but was seized, and amazingly I get it working beautifully! They are pretty easy to figure out. Keep it up!

  9. HEY!! I have my Momma’s old Kenmore sewing machine just like YOURS!!! I don’t have all the “pattern cams” for it though. Just learned pattern cams from your page. Where did you get yours?? I NEVER EVER thought I’d SEW anything, BUT, COVID changed a lot of us apparently and NOW I SEW!! clothes even!! OMG . Hubby thinks it’s SEWWWW Awesome that I can SEW!!! ahahaaha I love your blog thingie. Got a couple of apron’s I’m gonna make now . Thank you! The patterns and tutorials look like something I can follow.

    Thanks for your time in making those helpful tutorials and sharing your work. It is Greatly Appreciated.

    1. Those machines are the best! Many thrift stores have attachments for them, also try ebay. My mom collected attachments so I have many. I also have a ‘fleet’ of machines. I should do a post on it! Ejoy the sewing! Before you know it you’ll be making tons! It’s one good thing that has come from this pandemic…

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