Embroidery Library

Shabby Chic Pillowcase Apron



Turn a regular old pillowcase into a sweet, chic apron.

Light-stitching embroidery along the hem, along with ruffles, lace, and a crazy-quilt pocket, bring this project one-of-a-kind charm.

Read below for these free project instructions.



Supplies Needed:

**One standard pillowcase

**1/4 yard printed cotton for
   bottom ruffle

**2/3 yard cotton eyelet trim

**2/3 yard fabric ruffle trim

**Small scraps of printed cotton
   for pocket

**Sheer cutaway stabilizer (we
   used Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer;
   Floriani No Show Mesh is
   another popular choice) or
   tear-away stabilizer - see
   Embroidering on Pillowcases
   for more information

**Temporary spray adhesive

**Air-erase pen (or other marking

**Border embroidery design


Designs used:
Sleepy Owl Spray 1 - Small

This design is also available in a design pack:
A Sleepy Owls Design Pack - Medium

Finished Size:
17 1/2 inches wide by 19 inches tall

Cut the pillowcase open along the seamed and folded edges so that you have two identical pieces. One of these pieces will be used to make the body of the apron, and the other will be used to make the ties.

Take one of these pieces and use a seam ripper to undo the hem. Cut this piece of fabric into thirds, the long way. These strips will be stitched end-to-end to make the apron's waistband and ties.

To make the body of the apron, fold one of the pillowcase pieces in half the short way, and cut along the fold. You can make this piece longer or shorter if desired. The hem of the pillowcase will be along the bottom of the apron.

Keep the remaining fabric piece to use later in making the pocket.

Use a seam ripper to open up the hem of the apron body piece. We will be embroidering across this hem area. Learn more about embroidering on pillowcases in this article.


Create paper templates of the design by printing it at full size using embroidery software. If you don't have embroidery software, you can cut a piece of paper the shape and dimensions of the design to help with placement and centering. If you'd like a recommendation for an embroidery program that can make templates, consider Embird from www.Embird.com.

Poke a hole in the center of the templates, and position them where you would like the designs along the hem of the pillow. Use an air-erase pen to mark the center and crosshairs for each design.

We used the owl border design twice to reach all the way across the hem of the pillow.
Check out this article for tips on lining up and stitching borders.

Spray a piece of sheer cutaway or tear-away stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive, and smooth the fabric on top. Make sure the stabilizer is big enough to allow hooping for the designs.

Hoop the fabric and stabilizer together by aligning the marks on the hoop with the lines on the fabric. Attach the hoop to the machine and load the first design. Move the hoop so that the needle is aligned with the center point on the fabric. Embroider the design.


Trim or tear away the stabilizer on the back of the embroidery.

As you finish the apron, take care not to steam the embroidery while pressing - it can cause puckering. Use only a dry iron.


Fold the hem back the way it was originally, and stitch in place. This will hide the stabilizer and the back of the embroidery.


Fold over each side edge of the apron 1/4 inch, then 1/4 inch again. Press. Stitch in place.


Take the three long strips for the apron waistband/ties, and pin them end-to-end, right sides together. Stitch and press open seams.


Press under each end of the long fabric strip 1/4 inch, then press under the long edges. Fold the strip in half the long way, and press.


Pin the body of the apron to the waistband strip as shown, matching centers and overlapping by about 1/2 inch.


Fold down the front edge of the waistband strip, and pin in place, sandwiching eyelet trim between the front edge of the apron and the front of the strip.


Sew along all open edges of the waistband/tie strip to close it off and attach the apron and trim.


To make the bottom ruffle, fold the 1/4 yard piece of printed cotton in half the long way, right sides together. Stitch along the ends and long edge of this piece, leaving a gap for turning.


Clip corners, turn, poke out corners, and press.

Using a long machine stitch, sew all the way along the non-seamed edge of the ruffle piece, 1/2 inch from the edge. Stitch again 1/4 inch from the edge. Do not backstitch at the beginning or the end. Pull both threads on one side of the ruffle piece to gather. See this project for more details on gathering the ruffle.


Pin the ruffle to the bottom edge of the apron as shown, spacing out the gathers to match the width of the apron. Pin a piece of fabric ruffle trim in between the two layers.


Stitch across the bottom of the apron to hold the ruffles in place.


Cut a 5 inch wide by 6 inch high piece of fabric for the pocket.

To cover the pocket with crazy patchwork, take a small piece of fabric and lay it on top of the pocket rectangle, right sides together, at any angle you like. Stitch in place along an edge, flip and press.


Continue adding fabric in this manner, one piece at a time, until the pocket piece is covered with irregular patchwork. Trim away the excess fabric around the edges of the rectangle.


Cut a piece from the remaining pillowcase fabric the same size and shape as the patchwork-covered pocket. Lay the two pieces right sides together and stitch around the edges, leaving a gap for turning.


Clip corners, turn, and press. Stitch all the way around the edge of the pocket rectangle.

Position the pocket on the apron as desired, and stitch around sides and bottom to hold it in place. Stitch back and forth a couple of times at the top corners to reinforce.



Your apron is finished! After washing, use starch and press from the back with a dry iron to keep the embroidery looking its best.

A plain pillowcase gets a new life as a frilly, charming apron with patchwork, trims, and lovely light embroidery.

Click here for a printable version of these project instructions.

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Products used in this Project: