How to Sew a Linen Cross-Back Apron | Easy Tutorial

You will love this simple and easy cross-back apron project. Linen is great but any other fabric works well, too!

Pretty much always when I bake or cook, I wear an apron. Specifically my favorite one, a cross-back apron. I love that I can just throw it over my head and it always fits.

In this post, I’ll walk you through every single step so that you can sew your own as well!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to youYou can read my full disclosure.

Why wear an apron?

In my grandmother’s generation, most women and housewives wore aprons. They did it for very practical reasons, as they didn’t have washing machines and wanted to protect their clothes from splatters and stains.

These days, with the convenience of washing machines, easy-care fabrics, and modern appliances, an apron may seem less of a necessity.

However, I love wearing an apron. As any cook knows, food may splatter. An apron is a simple way of protecting my clothes.

Also, I can put my hands (or anything else) in my apron pockets.

Even though I have a small collection of aprons, I set out to sew my own. Put me in front of a sewing machine and I am happy. And then there’s linen. I have a love affair with linen. Naturally, I wanted a linen apron because it wears beautifully and is very durable.

woman wearing apron in front of stove

Why make a cross-back apron?

There are so many different styles of aprons out there that you may ask, why make a cross-over apron?

  • Ease of use: all you do is slip this apron over your head and you’re done! No tying strings are anything. Taking it off is just as simple as you slip it back over your head.
  • Fits many sizes and body shapes: inherent in the design of the cross-back aprons is the fact that it fits many sizes. And they have a unisex look. Note: this sewing pattern seems to fit sizes S-M the best but I know many people with larger sizes than that successfully made and are wearing this apron.
  • It always feels comfortable: since you are not tying anything around your waist and body, this functional linen apron is just as comfortable as it gets. Also, it’s not restricting movement at all!
  • It’s cute: There is something about wearing these aprons with cross-back straps that look different and so cute! They are very much like Japanese aprons that are also called pinafore aprons.
  • Pockets: You can decide if you like them but for me large pockets are essential
  • Gift: linen aprons always make the perfect gift for home cooks or even gardeners

Sewing Tips & Tricks

  • Getting the right fit: If you are not certain if you’ll like the fit of your apron, you can always make a “trial” apron from leftover fabric or cheap muslin fabric
  • The neckline: you can simply copy the neckline from your favorite t-shirt
  • The armhole: I like a fairly deep armhole but you can either make a test apron or measure straight down from your shoulders how far you’d like the armhole to go

What if I need more instructions or help?

Hundreds if not thousands of people have successfully sewn their linen cross-back aprons with this tutorial. However, if you need more detailed instructions, you might like my fully downloadable and printable pattern for this exact apron. You can find the pattern in my homestead shop or on Etsy.

You might like to check out my Cross-Over Apron FAQs if you have more questions about sewing this apron.

Also, make sure to head over to my Youtube channel, too, to find the corresponding video. Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Or differently said, sometimes it’s easier to show in pictures what is hard to describe in words.

If you’d rather purchase one, I recommend this pinafore apron.

woman wearing cross-back apron in front of stove

The perfect fabric for this apron

Any fabric works for cross-back aprons.

However, I love linen materials for it (I wrote a whole article about why I love linen so much and how to take care of it). But any somewhat heavy-weight fabric works well so feel free to use your favorite fabric!

If you don’t have linen or a heavy fabric you can always double the fabric to give it extra strength.

Good linen from European flax can be pricey, so I often just choose a linen-blend tablecloth from Ikea.  It comes in a basic, versatile color and weight. And at $25 for 57″ x 126,” it’s quite the steal! You can choose to use the blue stripes – or not which is what I do.

UPDATE: It looks like they have discontinued that particular tablecloth but Ikea now has a 100% linen tablecloth that would work just as well!

Ikea Vardagen linen tablecloth

Materials and tools you will need:

  • Fabric: if your fabric is 45″ wide it will most likely be a small/medium fit; if you’re using the Ikea table cloth that will be a generous 59″ wide
  • Thread: ideally in the color or close to the color of your fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Tracing paper, pattern paper, or parchment paper
  • Scotch tape (if you need to tape pattern pieces together)
  • Pencil or tailor’s chalk
  • Sewing machine
linen tablecloth, scissors, tailor's chalk, tape measure, thread, pins, scotch tape, and a roll of pattern paper on table

The apron pattern

Surprisingly enough, sewing an apron is so easy that even beginners can feel successful. If you have little kids, this would be a great project to do with them.

Of course, even aprons can get fancy. I wanted one that was from linen, not too expensive and has criss-cross straps so I can just slip into it rather than having to tie something. Thus, I came up with my own pattern.

It is truly a one-size-fits-all but you can make it bigger or smaller. Depending on how tall you are, you can customize the length.

First, you might like to download your FREE apron pattern.

Watch this apron tutorial on Youtube:

YouTube player

How to make the cross-back apron

  1. Machine wash your fabric with a mild detergent and dry it. If it came out very wrinkly, I recommend that you hot iron it.
  2. Download your FREE pattern here. I like transferring it to parchment paper but you can use pattern paper or any paper (even newspaper would work). You can hold the front up to your body to see if it fits. Since this pattern and cut are very forgiving, don’t worry too much about getting it exactly right.
  3. Place your pattern on your fabric. I like to fold my fabric in half and the pattern in half, aligning the fold line. That way, your apron will be completely symmetrical.
  4. Cut out your front pockets as well (if you are using them).
  5. You need to add seam allowance. I do this by cutting the fabric about 1/2 wider than my pattern. Alternatively, you can also use a pencil or fabric chalk to trace the outline of the pattern and then cut it.
  6. Now it’s time to make the hem. Fold about 1/2 inch of fabric over to the inside. You can press it with a hot iron or pin it in place. Once you have gone around all sides (except the 4 top portions that will be attached to one another), sew the hems. If you are worried about the fabric fraying, you can either go around all the edges with a zig-zag stitch or fold over the fabric twice.

Creating the “cross-over part”

  1. Creating the crisscross is the only “tricky” part of this project: lay your apron with the front face down and cross over the back parts of the straps. Attach 1 to 2 and 2 to 1. Sew them together.
  2. Try on your apron and place your hands where you’d like to have your pockets. While I like to be able to feel the bottom of the pocket, you should do whatever works best for you.
  3. Fold and press or pin the hem for the curved parts – the opening of your pockets.
  4. Folding in 1/2 inch on the straight lines of the pockets, pin them to your apron. Sew them on.
  5. Done!
back of cross-back apron

You can always add more to your apron. For example, you could add a different color hem. Or add some applique to the front. You could embroider your name on it. The options are endless here.

Let me know if you have questions or comments below!

Pin For Later:

How to Sew a Cross-Over Apron

77 Comments

  1. My daughter loves this style of apron and I was happy to find a free downloadable pattern to make one for Christmas. I clicked the free download and received only a one page sketch outline of the pattern. Is this what is available for free and the pay version is larger/pattern size?

  2. Love the pattern. Love even more the idea of parchment paper for patterns. Still working on sewing it together. Thanks for sharing.

      1. I love this apron, but I’m not a Small/Medium person. How would I make this for a XL/XXL size person? I am a fairly new sewer and having detailed instructions on how to enlarge the pattern would be awesome. Thank you for sharing the pattern.

        1. You can always add 1″-2″ right down the middle (center of the neck scoop) to make it larger. Happy sewing ~ Anja

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  4. Pingback: Cross-over Linen Apron Free Sewing Pattern
  5. Love these aprons! I have one already but wouldn’t mind making another one for myself. Thanks for the tip on getting the ikea tablecloth. Great hack!

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  7. Hi I was hoping to print your free pattern today but the link goes to a dead page? Can you please advise how to get the pattern? Thank you so much

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  11. Thank you so much for this free pattern. What a sweet thing to do for all of us. I just made 3 of them as Christmas presents!

    1. That sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing! I am sure your recipients will love their aprons! Feel free to send some pictures, if you like 😊

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  16. I love this apron and really want to make it but it only gives me one page when I am trying to download the pattern. I looks like I am set up at 100% scale, what am I doing wrong? or do I just cut out the small image and then by hand trace it large? I do see other people had the same problem too

    1. Hm … that is interesting. I know that most people get 6 pages to print. You should not have to manually make it bigger. Please send your best email address to [email protected] so that I can send it to you directly!

  17. Hi! I love this apron and I want to make one for my sister’s birthday. I downloaded the pattern but am a little confused. The pattern isn’t full size. How do I print the pattern to use it for cutting out the apron?
    Thank you so much.
    Sandy Myers

    1. Hi there, the pattern should be full size. If not, make sure you’re printing it on 100%. Then just print all the pages and tape them together. Hope this helps but let me know if not!

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  19. I made this apron. It’s very nice but the next one I make will be longer and have larger pockets. I also sewed the shoulder sea first and then you can hem all around the sides, bottom, neck and arm hole in one continuous hem. Thanks Anja.

    1. That is fantastic!! Thank you so much for sharing! Would love to see a picture if you happen to have one!

  20. I have been looking for this exact apron. I can only get the pattern to print on sheet of paper. Would it be a problem with Apple ?

    1. Yes, it is a printable pattern on regular letter size. It should not be a problem with Apple. Hope this helps but feel free to reach out again!

  21. Thank you for sending the downloads, I’m excited about making these aprons. We are still in lockdown in Canada and this will give me something to do. I have vintage fabrics and plan on making one for myself and for each of my daughters.

  22. Good morning. I’m asking this question here as I’m not sure how to contact you. I’ve purchased the downloadable pattern for this apron and received it. However, I somehow made a mistake when I clicked to download the instructions and when I went back to click on it, I got a message that I had reached my download limit. I was able to download the pattern as I realized the mistake I made the first time. Is there any way I can get access to download the instruction part? I can give you more information and the reference number if you need it to verify I have paid for the pattern. Thank you

    1. Hi Josie, no worries, I can see that you purchased the pattern. I’ll send everything to your email again. Hope this helps. Have fun sewing, Anja

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  24. Thank you so much for offering this free pattern and great explanation of how to make it! I’ve looked at expensive patterns and pre-made crossover aprons and have thought that a simple thing shouldn’t be that hard or expensive. Many thanks for the IKEA fabric tip as well.

  25. I made sundress for my daughter with similar pattern when she was a toddler with bloomers to match. Double sided so it could be reversed.

  26. What a lovely simple apron. Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to make it. Is it difficult to sew the edges down on the round curves, like the armholes or chest?

  27. I love your introduction, apron & instructions. And everyone should realize this style apron is very forgiving size-wise. I too am am in love with aprons & was so excited to find crossover apron at Target after looking high & low for a pattern/instruction. Mine is also made of linen. Linen has such a fluid feel & wonderful touch to the hand, although looks a little “lived in” after washing which gives it even more character & the statement “I’m at home in my kitchen “ I plan to make one for myself & also some as gifts. I love the big roomy pockets

  28. Love your cross-over apron. I too am having difficulty downloading the pattern. I will try to figure out what I am doing wrong!! Also, thanks for the tip on linen tablecloths from Ikea…

    1. Have you tried scrolling all the way down the download page? Let me know if you still can’t get the pattern. And thanks for the nice comment 😊!

    1. That is a bit up to you 🙂 I measured it off a t-shirt that I like but anywhere from 2′ – 6″ sounds about right.

  29. I am asking for a measurement from the top “strap” to the bottom of the arm hole. Or the measurement from the bottom of the arm hole to the hem. I am trying to figure how deep the arm hole should be. Thank you

    1. This is a very flexible pattern. My apron measures about 17″ from the top of the strap to the bottom of the armhole. Alternatively, you can make a “trial” apron out of cheap muslin or scrap fabric and adjust the pattern to your size and body shape. Hope this helps!

  30. I was taken to a mail chimp page as well.☹️ I was soooo excited to finally find this pattern and now I can’t access it.

  31. The ‘download pattern’ link just goes to a mailchimp advertisement. I would have loved to have tried this before Christmas.

    1. I am sorry you’re having difficulty. It should get you to a link that’s asking for your email address. Let me know if you still need help!

  32. Hey! I really want to make this, it looks great! I was wondering how wide the pattern is? I only noticed the measurement for the front part, not for the whole pattern? Also what about the arm holes and the neck, how deep are they? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reaching out and I am so glad you like the pattern! I am a size S/M so my apron is about 36″ across and the armholes about 17″ deep. As for the neck, you can eyeball it or use the neckline of your favorite shirt and copy that. Happy sewing and let me know if you have more questions!!

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  34. I’ve been wanting a pattern for one of these aprons just love it, I will definitely make one.

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