How to Make a Half Apron from a Vintage Pillowcase

How to Make a Half Apron from a Vintage Pillowcase

Vintage aprons are so pretty and I know a lot of folks that collect them. However, I rarely cook while wearing something that is worthy of protecting. But I had an idea for a more utilitarian apron, like a half apron that servers at restaurants wear. And it would use a couple of typical things I’d find at a thrift store: a vintage pillowcase and a ribbon belt.

Vintage pillowcase and ribbon belt to make a waist apron

Aren’t they delightfully well-coordinated?

And yes, you’re right- I *have* upcycled ribbon belts before! I think they’re such an untapped resource as a craft supply…

refashioning with ribbon belts

Anyway, back to my idea for a waist apron that would be functional AND cute. And, hopefully as easy to sew as it looks like in my head.

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Upcycling a Vintage Pillowcase and Ribbon Belt

First, I ironed the pillowcase (oh the horror of ironing!) and laid it flat with the closed end at the top, open end at the bottom.

Then, I laid out the ribbon belt about 2½” – 3” beneath the closed end. After determining it was decently centered, I pinned it in place.

Upcycling the vintage pillowcases as server aprons with a fabric belt

Next, I folded the bottom of the pillowcase up, over the belt- roughly in half.

Folding a vintage pillow case to make a half apron with a fabric belt

Then, with the bottom end (open end of pillowcase) still in my hands, I folded it part of the way back down. I carefully lined up the crease or fold just beneath the belt.

Creating a waist apron with pocket flap from vintage fabric

After smoothing it out and lining it up as evenly as I could, I pinned it in place, leaving the folded edge beneath the belt unpinned/open.

How to make an apron from a pillowcase

Sewing a Half Apron from a Vintage Pillowcase

Then, I headed back to the sewing machine. I stitched the ribbon belt in place and three sides of the pillowcase.

The folded crease underneath the belt? I left that section open (no stitching).

Sewing a waist apron from a vintage pillowcase

Last but not least, I needed to create two pockets from the wide opening of the half apron.

With the apron facing me, right side up, I folded it in half to find the center. I could have measured it, of course, but folding it was good enough for me!

Creating the pockets of a half apron from a pillowcase

Then, I pinned it along the fold, opened it up, and stitched down the center, creating two open pockets.

Waist apron with a ribbon belt and vintage pillowcases

Ok, now the sewing part was done and there was just one more step!

I folded the section of pillowcase above the belt over the top of the belt and ironed the crease. That became the flap over the open pockets of my half apron!

Repurposing a pillowcase and ribbon belt as a half apron

How to Make a Half Apron from a Vintage Pillowcase

And just like that, I had upcycled a vintage pillowcase into a half apron. Simple, functional, and totally cute!

Waist apron by upcycling a vintage pillowcase and fabric belt

I could see all sorts of ways to use this half apron. Perhaps if you’re holding a bake sale or yard sale? 

Making a half apron with a ribbon belt and pillow case

Or if you’re strolling through a flea market…or a vendor at a vintage market! The possibilities are endless and they are surprisingly easy to make. Even for a beginner sewist!

Vintage pillowcases as server aprons or waist aprons

A special thanks to Maliasmark and Kate DiNatale Vintage for modeling my aprons!

And if you enjoyed this upcycled sewing idea, then you’ll love this pin cushion and sewing caddy I made from a vintage teapot!

How to upcycle a vintage teapot into a sewing caddy with DIY pin cushion or needle cushion for sewing supplies

AND I’m so excited to announce that my first book is now available! If you love working with flannel or fabric crafts in general (sewing and non-sewing), then you will LOVE “Crafting with Flannel”!

Craft book on flannel fabric

Craft on!


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How to make a waist apron from a vintage pillowcase

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Great idea. I have made a bag before out of a pillow case but not an apron. I guess you could probably adapt your apron into a peg apron?

  2. Stephanie C says

    Another great idea. I remember the pink & green floral pillowcase very well. They were sold in the Sears catalog. My teenage bedroom had your pillowcase & the matching floral top & fitted sheet.

  3. chris aka monkey says

    wow this sure is using the old noodle awesome idea and so dang cute too xx

  4. That is so cute! and would be perfect for a cleaning apron as well to carry dust rags and such!

  5. Really pretty! Pinned

  6. So cute and crafty! What a fun way to re-purpose a pillowcase!
    I am co-hosting the Fiber Tuesdays Link Party, and I would like to invite you to stop by and share this link!
    Have a wonderful day!

  7. This is great! My mom and I have yard sales every year and this would be perfect! Thanks for the idea!

  8. I looove the colors!

  9. vmorgan456 says

    I needed one of these when I did my yard sale I was always worried about the box full of money. Would be easy to whip up. Need a belt though
    Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden

  10. These are so cute! I think I’d just use one at home. Thanks for sharing!

  11. These are adorable. Love ’em. Thanks for sharing your tutorial at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  12. swatkins827 says

    I am once again blown away by your creativity! I really need to learn how to sew. Thanks for sharing at Friday Favorites this week!

  13. this is a terrific tutorial, perfect for wearing for yard sales too. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Watch for your feature on Monday xo

  14. Haha! We used to have that sheet set! I can SO remember it. This is a cute craft. I had some pillow cases that I had bought to make a pillowcase dress for my daughter and never did. Maybe I’ll make an apron instead! Stopping by from Idea Box Thursday. Better late than never, right? Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  15. Such a cute idea! & it’s easy too. Pinned & sharing on my FB page. Thanks for joining the party! Hope to see you again soon.

  16. Sarah,

    these aprons are adorable! I would love to have one of these on Market Days! I am launching a new link party tomorrow with Refresh Living starting at 7pm CST. We would love to have you come and link up with us!

    Thank you!


  17. Thank you so much for sharing on Fiber Tuesdays! I hope you are able join us again this week! 🙂

  18. I can also see a real cute purse. Soft and simple with a long strap or a fanny pack type. Love the apron for craft shows.

  19. Thank you so much for linking up to Merry Monday this week! I am sharing your sweet apron today on my Twitter! Hope to see you next week for another great party!
    Have a great week!

  20. I don’t have to go to a thrift store to get a pillow case to use… I can just go to my linen closet! This is so cute — and such a clever, creative idea. Thanks so much for sharing at Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link up!

  21. Jann Olson says

    Really cute idea! I have to tell you that when I spied that pillowcase with the colorful squares I just had to smile. Years ago I made a quilt out of two sheets for my oldest daughters bed just like that pillowcase. I finished the edges with picots made from the pillowcases. It was a sheet set I purchased at Sears. She still has it and loves it even thought the edges are totally worn out. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  22. Hi Sarah! I LOVE your vintage pillowcase apron. I had sheets just like that growing up!

    I just wanted you to know that you’re my pick for this week’s Rockstar! Bring your friends and vote here:

    Good luck! <3 <3 <3

  23. Love this! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your tutorial:

  24. I will have to try this! Nice idea:)

  25. I love this. I’m going to make one for putting my clothespins in. Perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. Love this idea! It looks so easy to make, too. Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Thursday. Have a great week!

  27. Well, I can’t sew worth a darn but, you’ve made me confident I could do this! Wonderful, straightforward tutorial, and they’re adorable!

  28. Sarah, this is an awesome idea!!! Love it!!!

  29. These are darling. I love the size of them! Thanks for sharing at The Creative Circle. xoxo

  30. Those both turned out so stinking cute! What a great idea!

  31. Oh my gosh…how pretty!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  32. This is an adorable idea! Thanks for the easy tutorial, too!

  33. Fantastic repurpose of a vintage pillowcase. Now that is a sewing project that even a complete sewing novice can do. Thank you for sharing at Vintage Charm. sb

  34. Practical yet purposeful. I’m pretty sure I had the quilt-looking pillowcase pattern as a kid in the 80s! Visiting from Vintage Charm party.

    • I think a lot of us had that pattern- I eventually found the original Sears ad online for it! There was even wallpaper in that pattern…a little pattern overload, classic ’80s. 🙂

  35. I like having an apron on when I’m working on projects. Now I’ll be grabbing up a few pillow cases when I see them at the thrift store. Very creative and easy to make, thanks for the idea!

  36. What a cute idea!! My kids love to help me in the kitchen and they have some pillowcases they got from the Disney Cruise we went on and they would be perfect for this project!! Thank you for sharing and linking up with us over at the Welcome Home Wednesdays Link Party!!

  37. I love the apron and I love to Iron too!!! My grandkids are coming and I am going to have them bring their old pillowcases to make them each an apron. Thanks!!!

  38. OMG! So many memories came rushing back!!! I had that set ?

  39. helenfern says

    What a great (and simple) idea! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  40. Super cute and would be so helpful for events I do! Plus that’s an awesome way too recycle. Pillowcases seem to multiply haha.

  41. You’ve provoked memories of my daughters when they were little with this sheet set I used in their rooms. I still have those sheets. Made a comforter with the sheets too. Love your apron. Reminds me of the one I made in 4H in 5th grade. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I just LOVE how many of my readers either had this set or their daughters had this set- it’s the sweetest thing!!

  42. This would have come in handy when I was doing craft shows some years back. I love finding new uses from ordinary things.

  43. I like this clever idea. Makes for a pretty and practical apron.

  44. Another great idea. It would be a shame if we kept all those linens hidden away and got no use out of them. Things are meant to be used and not kept in the closet!

  45. Kathy A. says

    I’m another one who remembers that sheet pattern; my mom had them on her bed! Cute idea. And this is about the level of my sewing so I know I can do it. Anyone without a belt can take 1″ wide grosgrain ribbon and 2 D rings or O rings like your belt is made.

  46. These are so lovely and what a great idea. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party.

  47. I sewed a casing at the top instead of sewing the belt onto the apron . That way, you can just pull the belt out if you want to use it for something else. Very cute idea for repurposing!

  48. I saw you at Target today! We were checking out at the same time and you had a cart full of pillows chatting with a friend. I was wondering if there was going to be a pillow case tutorial. 🙂 I also totally texted my friend because it was like seeing a celebrity! 🙂

  49. Daphne Hinds says

    I absolutely love, love, love this pillowcase up cycle!!!! I inherited quite a few vintage handkerchiefs, pillowcases, etc. after my MIL passed away. They are all beautiful! My daughter loves vintage aprons and I just know she would love it if I made her an apron or two!!! These aprons would be a perfect Christmas present for anyone. Love it!!!!!

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