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 you. You 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.
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.
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!
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
- Tracing paper, pattern paper, or parchment paper
- Scotch tape (if you need to tape pattern pieces together)
- Pencil or tailor’s chalk
- Sewing machine
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:
How to make the cross-back apron
- Machine wash your fabric with a mild detergent and dry it. If it came out very wrinkly, I recommend that you hot iron it.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut out your front pockets as well (if you are using them).
- 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.
- 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”
- 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.
- 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.
- Fold and press or pin the hem for the curved parts – the opening of your pockets.
- Folding in 1/2 inch on the straight lines of the pockets, pin them to your apron. Sew them on.
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.