The Ur Apron

It’s here folks – my first post about one of my deepest, most lasting obsessions. Those who know me well probably are scratching their heads that I’ve taken so long to talk about it – the same folks who know that under the tree it’s another Christmas, another apron from Maggie. (I don’t care if the recipient needs or wants an apron: everyone gets an apron!) I’ve made retro aprons, a riot of rick rack, little gingham beauties sweetened with cross stitch, and chefly items with a narrow chest pocket for an instant read thermometer. I’ve explored the pros and cons of Velcro closings, D rings, and the elegant and comfortable solution of the combination neck band and ties which run through a channel. I love reversible aprons, especially my Bi apron with camo on one side and calico on the reverse. I’m the I.M. Pei of pockets, the Christopher Wren of waistbands, the Wright of rick rack.

And I’m the GI Jane of this Ur Apron, which I picked up for under a dollar at American Scientific and Surplus down the road in Geneva, Illinois. This store’s a wonder world, for the lab glass alone. Behold the Army Mess Hall Apron, a miracle of efficiency and chic. It’s a wide flat stretch of fabric, selvage to selvage with a couple of twill tape ties. Thassit! No trim, no pockets – it requires zero sewing skills. In fact, In fact I don’t think you need a sewing machine – as a hand sewing project it’s a couple of relaxing hours. Heck, I bet it would work with fabric glue or fusible hem tape.

Here’s what you need: a yard of fabric and two yards of grosgrain ribbon. I’d prefer cotton twill tape, but I can’t source it. In fact, you can use less than a yard of fabric, but I love that this apron is long and wide. Seriously, one size fits most – if you need a tad more wiggle around the waist, just make the ties longer. I’ve made this Ur Apron many times in many versions: reversible, with pockets, trimmed with lace and patchwork, but today I decided to make it in it’s purest form. It took me under thirty minutes. I love pockets but they’re not necessary: you can tuck a side towel under the waistband.

The original:

And here are some grafix before I get all O/C about the instructioms:

A variation:

And, of course, pockets can be added anywhere and any shape you want.


This is all you need. Some fabric, some ribbon, an iron, some pins.

Press under the selvage. Stitch it down.

Tum up a hem, top and bottom. Stitch it down.

Cut two one yard lengths of ribbon. Turn up a narrow hem on one end, and press down a two inch length on the other end.

Sew the pressed over end in the cunning box-like form a couple of inches below the top of the apron.

Convince your personal Zoolander to pose.

This is cheap, cheerful and useful. Have fun.



Filed under A yard of fabric, Five bucks or fewer, Needlework

11 responses to “The Ur Apron

  1. Mad Park

    Does the apron come with a cat?

  2. Lloyd, you’re about to find out that everything chez nous comes with at least one cat.

  3. erin garnhum

    ….And, I just got mine in the mail! Lucky me! Fits perfect 😉 I can’t decide if I like the chilis or the blue better. Now I just have to find something perfect to send as a thank-you.

  4. Kim Shook

    I actually have a picture of myself sitting in Rachel’s house, prepping asparagus, wearing one of Maggie’s beautiful aprons. The fabric and the workmanship are truly professional. I love aprons – my husband gave me a cupcake and heart motif one for Valentine’s day and a perky bunny one for Easter.

  5. Erin: No thank you gift necessary! You won it in a raffle. If you hit lotto would you send the government a gift. (I’m glad you like it.)

  6. Patty

    Why did I not know this? I love it, and I would love to see your collection… believe it or not I love aprons, yet I don’t have any… and as I spill all over myself, say it yet again…I need an apron!

  7. Patty, darling, it’s in the mail. Tomorrow.

  8. Pingback: The Tower ‘o Tea Towels « Cheap and Cheerful

  9. Love the model! Really, I do!

    Great stuff – thanks for teaching me something new.

  10. Sarah B

    Margaret, have you seen this site:
    This gal is pretty crazy for aprons too. She has a themed apron-making contest every other month. The current theme is “Alice in Wonderland.”

  11. Hi Sarah! That is one awesome site for us apron addicts — cool. And how lovely to see another of my beautiful talented daughter’s beautiful talented friends here at C&C

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s