This apron is made with two 15x25" flat-weave dish towels from the dollar store.  These particular ones were in their Fourth of July decorations section.  It would have been cute to add a star-shaped pocket, but that would require a third dish towel, since I wanted a flounce at the bottom of the apron.  

The whole thing takes under an hour to make if you're used to sewing.  How much less, I don't know because of my Mommy Sewing Method... you know the drill!   -Cut, iron, start stitching, pull out lunch for everybody, sit and eat with everyone, sit and sew, stop to get the Table-Clearer child back to do his job, iron, sew a little more, stop to get the youngest child down for a nap, sit and sew some more...

You could use the terrycloth dish towels for an extra-absorbent apron.  There are some cute dish towels sometimes!
No, it doesn't have a turtleneck...

it used to BE one!

In the spirit of repurposing t-shirts, here's another option.

By the time you hit late March, most clothing stores are pretty desperate to clear out their winter clothing.  This shirt was marked down to 99 cents!  Turtlenecks often have the steepest discount- who wants to wear them when it's sunny and warm?

Hey, I'll wear one if it's now a skirt!  I decided that skirts were going to be my go-to clothing item this summer.  I love wearing them, and jeans aren't the most comfortable thing on a hot day anyway.  Plus I get a little bit of a tan.  Below the knee, anyway...

My first-grade son needs a sea turtle costume...  and my daughter needs to be a (green?) mermaid the day before that.

We parents were told that the turtles need a long-sleeved green shirt, and either green leggings or green tights. 

Green tights seemed impractical - would I use them again?  He wouldn't!  And green leggings... well, same problem.  Besides, I didn't find either of them at the store.  I got thinking that maybe I'd just buy some green fabric and make them-

and then I stumbled across some way-too-big t-shirts on clearance, $2 apiece.  I looked at their long cuffed sleeves, and it hit me- they're the right size for small-boy-legs!  So, here's what I did.   I'll probably add a sparkly green posterboard tail to make it a mermaid.
If the elastic instructions are confusing, you can just make a regular casing and thread elastic through it.  Cut the elastic 1/2" longer for the casing method.  When you apply elastic the way I did in the slide show, the elastic is permanently stretched a little bit, requiring a tiny bit less length.
Here's a new, quick project: turn a T-shirt into a straight skirt; no sewing needed!  It's called the "30-second skirt".  I doubt anyone's first attempt will take that little time, but five minutes sounds like plenty!  Click on the photo to go to the instructions.  (remember, where it says "stitch" on the sleeves, you can ignore that, or use glue!)

Here's a way to use a T-shirt to make a toddler dress- made from one adult t-shirt, no extra fabric required.

Notes for photos below- click on any photo to go to the instructions page:

Top left :  This one starts with a "proper-sized" shirt, you cut it off however high or low you want the waistline, and sew fabric onto the bottom.  You don't need to limit yourself to plain-color shirts, either.

It's pretty much the same as the pattern for the pencil-drawing picture, to the left, but this one uses a pre-ruffled knit fabric.  I spotted some of this at Hobby Lobby earlier this month, it's likely at most fabric stores.  Or check at (pricy but lots of options).

Top middle
: Or leave the t-shirt long and add layers of ruffles yourself. 

Top right : This is the kind of T-shirt dress I remember my mom making for my little sisters: you cut a piece of fabric about twice as wide as the bottom of the shirt, hem it along the bottom, gather it at the top, and sew it to the bottom of the shirt.   If you're nervous about gathering or just want another option, you could cut a circle skirt.

Bottom : make it a patchwork skirt, with a big bow in back.
After seeing the ruffled-skirt dress above, I decided that was just the thing for my daughter needing a Sunday dress.  I never did find a t-shirt I liked for the project, though.  Instead, I just made a dress bodice, and then gathered a full width (selvage to selvage) of the ruffle fabric for the skirt.  It only required 19" of length for this size 4 dress.

I added a sewn-to-the-front sash, as well.

Maria VonTrapp had a great idea when she made those playclothes....

This apron is made from a damask tablecloth and an embroidered fabric placemat.  

Since the tablecloth is designed to be spilled on, this should be a pretty stain-resistant apron!

Why wear aprons?  You mean besides the fact that I always splash or spill when cooking?  And that I feel more feminine and domestic when wearing a pretty one?   Read through my favorite-ever story about aprons: Apron Evangelism, from Hillbilly Housewife.

Another "tablecloth apron"; since the tablecloth was labeled "harvest", it was on clearance for $2.  The contrast trim and pocket are cut from a fabric napkin, also on clearance ($ .50). 

Other cheap sources of fabric can include new or used tablecloths you already have or from thrift stores (cut around any stains), sheets, curtain panels.  I've used all of these to make dresses before, too.   Make sure the drape of the fabric is what you want on your finished product.  A crisp sateen sheet will give a much different look than a silky damask tablecloth or satin sheet.

This one is a rough copy of a mid-1900's vintage apron.  I was able to make 3 of these from one 60" round tablecloth ($5).

After cutting out the main apron body, cut pieces of the placemat to fit where you want them.  Cut them out a little bigger than you need, to allow for seams. 

Iron under any edges that need to be hidden, pin in place, then stitch. 

This placemat was two layers thick, and so was difficult to turn under for a clean edge.  I found some 1/8" white ribbon, set that over the edge to hide the little frayed bits, then used a zigzag satin stitch the same width as the ribbon. 

The red tablecloth was 60x120"; I can get 4-5 of these flounced aprons from it, or twice as many if they're straight and simple.  And the placemat will be enough for trim and a pocket on two aprons. The green tablecloth was 60x72; it will only make two; the flounce is cut in a circle and takes up a lot of fabric.

For 50 free apron patterns, see here; it's also listed on my Favorite Resources page, 2/3 the way down, under "sewing".

Just think of the possibilities!
An interfaced brim holds its shape, see here for the whole photo, which is not mine.

If there's no interfacing, crinoline, or something similar, the brim flops, like this.  Click here to see this one as an apron; it's very cute!

Showtime’s  almost here- our LDS stake will have the youth participate in a pioneer trek reenactment next week.  I went to a local store that sells pioneer costumes, “just to see”.  One apron, one skirt, and one bonnet  totaled $60.    If don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, and you’re looking to make a simple bonnet, have I got a pattern for you!  I stumbled across it while looking for an easily-collapsible hat to put in my 72-hour kits. 

Introducing... th
e handy-dandy, old-fashioned
Apron Bonnet Pattern  

I made one for myself, but my 8-year-old daughter begged for it.  It easily adjusts to fit either one of us, as well as adjusting to give you lots of shade, or just a little.  One other thing I love about it is that you can use it as a waist apron later, so it doesn’t just sit in the costume box somewhere.  Or wear it as a bonnet when you’re out in the garden.   The pockets are big, too; I’ve heard the suggestion that they would be great for holding clothespins in, if you hang laundry on a clothesline.  This pattern has you stitch down the middle, to make two pockets, but you could leave it as one big pocket.

You need only ½ yard of fabric, two buttons, and some crinoline or stiff interfacing.  The crinoline is optional, but I love how the brim keeps its shape when you use it.   See the photos, above.   I found crinoline for about $7 per yard at both local fabric stores.  One yard is enough to line four bonnet brims.  If you can’t find crinoline, you can line it with a layer or two of interfacing, or some stiff fabric, or cut a couple pieces of cardstock (or plastic) to fit. 

A couple words of advice about the pattern-  the ruffle above the waistband  becomes the neck shade.  Keep that in mind when deciding how tall to make that ruffle.  The bottom curve becomes the bonnet brim.  I put gathered lace along the sides and bottom of the pocket, but not along the top of the pocket.  Just my preference.  Use any trim you like-- ribbon, ric-rac, flat lace, gathered lace, crochet trim, soutache-- or none at all.  Also, the pattern pieces’ edges do not match up as intended.  Ignore “Diagram 2” and cut another of “Diagram 1” for the pocket, except make it only 9” tall, measuring from the bottom.  If you want to see other people’s comments on the pattern, see here. 

Have fun!