Since this was an eco-friendly artist party, I thought it would be fun to make aprons from recycled shirts. After a trip to the thrift store for a bunch of old shirts, I came up with this pattern.
artist apron tutorials (3)


1. You will need: a long sleeved men’s dress shirt size M, L or XL; 41 inches of ribbon (I used grosgrain ribbon); fabric scissors; straight pins; a sewing machine and colored thread; optional ironing board & iron.
2. First you will need to carefully cut off part of the collar. Following the example in the picture, cut above the stitching on the collar until you get to the seam by the bottom arrow, then angle up. Cutting above the stitching again (top arrow) cut off all of the top collar. Go back and cut the lower part of the collar on the other side until you get to the stitching and then angle your cut up again. It’s really not as confusing as it sounds–just make sure that you are keeping all top stitching intact to avoid having to resew seams. Cutting the collar like this will create an opening to later string the ribbon through. And yes, this will create some raw edges. It doesn’t bother me and they fray really cute and make the apron seem even more cozy. I also cut off the tiny collar buttons at this time as they aren’t needed.
3. Adjust the shirt so that all of the back panel is in the back and none is showing in the front. You can then iron the shirt to keep the fabric there and pin or you can just pin it and not iron.
4. You will need to unbutton some of the buttons on the other side for this to be possible and for it to lay smooth.
5. With your sewing machine, sew the back panel in place.
6. This is how it will look on the other side.
artist apron tutorials (2)
7. You will need to reinforce the top of the collar to avoid wear from the ribbon. Stitch only along the top, double stitching at the ends for extra strength. Make sure to leave both sides open for the ribbon.
8. I used a safety pin on the ribbon to thread it through the collar casing.
9. The sleeves are used as the waist ties.
10. A view from the back.
11. Here’s how the front looks. These are so much easier to make than they sound.
12. As you can see, this Large size shirt is long on a three year old. But I made 13 of these for the party in all shapes, colors and sizes and they fit kids in a range from 3 to 10 with a lot of clothing coverage.
artist p aprons
Leave me a comment with any questions that you have about the instructions and I will answer them.

There are lots more artsy posts from the Eco-Friendly Artist Party. Click on the tag below to see them.


  1. Ahh ~~ this is how you made the aprons! Ingenious and soooo cute!

    Karen Wilson, Owner, lillybelle Custom Designs    Tuesday, July 28, 2009
  2. I am a kindergarten teacher…..your ideas are so unique and ingenious….I am making the darling and useful “men’s shirt apron” for my students. They and I thank you.

    kathy    Saturday, August 7, 2010
  3. This apron pattern is really cute. Thanks for sharing

    Patricia A Ryals    Saturday, February 23, 2013

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