New Shop Apron

Shop Apron 1-2013 - - 1Although I always wear an apron while cooking, I have seldom worn one at the workbench, until now.  I had tried wearing work aprons, but they weighed heavily on my neck after a couple hours, and the pockets just filled with chips and shavings.  My work clothes, however, have been showing some obvious wear from my woodwork, so I decided to make myself a shop apron.

Yes, I can use a sewing machine. (I let my wife use my workbench, and she lets me use her sewing machine. It’s a felicitous arrangement.)

After looking at various apron designs in catalogs and online, I quickly settled on some design preferences:

  1. Cris-crossed straps in the back.  This strap design is used by several apron makers, as it keeps the weight of the apron hanging on the shoulders rather than on the neck.
  2. Shorter and higher than the average kitchen apron.  At the workbench, I don’t need to protect my knees from sawdust, but I do like most of my shirt covered.
  3. Only a small breast pocket for a pen, pencil, and small tool like a square.  It’s an apron, not a tool belt.

My wife had some suitably heavy fabric on hand, so I used a kitchen apron to lay out some of the shape, modifying the lines where necessary.

Despite a few mistakes and some creative corrections, I’m happy with the results.

The bottom half of the apron is double-thickness for durability.  The apron is pretty easy to get on and off, as the straps are continuous.  From the X in the back, they pass through large button holes in the sides and then tie in the back.

Maybe now I’ll quit putting holes in the bellies of all my work shirts.

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6 Responses to New Shop Apron

  1. sablebadger says:

    Nice work.

    I can sew as well, although my wife doesn’t usually need to use my workbench.

  2. mdhills says:

    What operations were causing problems with your clothes? For me, it has mostly been anything with glue or finishes…

    Stuff I like to carry with me: pencil, chalk, earplugs, compact tape measure.
    (I’ve got a couple of small squares, but don’t put those in pockets — the weighting and metal corners just never felt right; dont’ like small rules, either.)


    • I had two main problems. First, my jeans were getting holes worn in them where they rubbed up against the workbench’s apron. Second, I would occasionally catch a loose shirt on a workpiece or on a joinery plane. I’ve also caught my shirt with my spokeshave when shaping a long handle, as on a spoon. The apron should should keep that kind of thing to a minimum.

  3. joemcglynn says:

    I think my wife needs to get a sewing machine…

  4. I’ve tried work aprons off and on over the years and it comes down to I forget to put it on when I get to the shop. So they hang covered with dust in the corner.

  5. Steve Massie says:

    Steve nice job it looks very comfortable. I have a Rockler Denim but don’t find myself using it very often down here as it is sometimes to hot to wear. I do feel however a good apron is a must and the Rockler is to long IMO. Maybe I need to rethink this, unfortunately my wife doesn’t sew or own a Machine but an excellent cook etc. Thanks for sharing !


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