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Gardener's Apron

Martha Stewart Living, May 1999

A thoughtful gift for someone with a green thumb: This linen apron keeps gardening tools close at hand. You'll need raw linen and cotton-twill tape (make sure they're both preshrunk): Cut a linen rectangle about 2 feet long by 18 inches wide -- make the selvage edge one of the longer sides. Lay it flat, with the selvage edge toward you. Fold this edge up 6 inches, and press the crease with a hot iron. Fold hems in the two outside edges, and topstitch in place; then sew seams from the selvage to the fold to form the pockets, reinforcing each seam by backstitching at the selvage edge. We gave our apron five pockets: two 7 inches wide and three 3 inches wide. Center the linen on a 3-foot-long piece of twill tape. Fold the tape in half lengthwise so it wraps over the top of the apron, and press with an iron. Topstitch the tape to the linen near the bottom edge of the tape.

Comments (31)

  • 7lhhh 12 Jun, 2012

    I'm not understanding one issue. How does the apron stay on your body? Ties? Did we create any?

  • NewGloucester 20 Aug, 2008

    I've made over a flowered canvas apron with the pockets and you have the bib to keep your top somewhat clean.

  • Sillys 19 Aug, 2008

    'Just read comment about wearing this apron backward to prevent getting poked with garden utensils....... I love the apron; however, I'd have to use the bucket, for ....alas .... I have no arms and hands in back of me .....

  • Sillys 19 Aug, 2008

    'Just read comments about linen garden apron ...... liked the idea someone gave for wearing it backward to prevent getting poked ......... Well, Drat! I don't have any arms and hands in the back of me .....

  • CindylouG 19 Aug, 2008

    Who says you HAVE to make it from Linen? I'm thinking you could make it from Oil Cloth or Heavy Duty Plastic (sold in Fabric Stores for Table Cloths etc...) and instead of using tape for a binding you'd just need to hem it.
    You could also use Nylon Webbing as the ties for the apron which would be stronger than cotton tape too ( I have a 2 yr old who likes to "swing").
    Also if it's not made of something with an open weave, it wouldn't get dirt on your clothes as you finish with a tool.

  • mthc 19 Aug, 2008

    Loved contributors comments. I will add a long loop of twill tape to mine, long enough for a roll of twine. One end of the loop sewn to the apron...the other goes thru the roll of twine and loops back to the sewn end where there's a snap waiting!

  • Monaliza-gypt 16 Jun, 2008

    Read all the comments they have a point, using a bucket to put it on is useful, at least someone is trying to think.

  • Monaliza-gypt 16 Jun, 2008

    Read all the comments they have a point, using a bucket to put it on is useful, at least someone is trying to think.

  • sammiej37 29 Apr, 2008

    I have read several of your comments and yes it needs to made of heavier material. A lot of you seem to be concerned about getting stabbed, I found a solution to this that is quite simple. Who says that you have to wear an apron on the front? Wear it on your backside.

  • Bettybo 28 Apr, 2008

    This was a great suggestion. You could put self stick velcro on the bucket and the other velcro on the back of the apron. Using oil cloth was also a great suggestion. That way you could just wipe it clean.

  • Schoolgirl 27 Apr, 2008

    I think Cottagegarden has the right idea. if you wear this, and bend over in the garden you might get poked by something sharp. Howerver putting it around a bucket and taking the bucket with you to collect weeds is an excellent idea! or you could fill the bucket with bulbs to do planting!

  • daisykay 27 Apr, 2008

    Cute idea but gardening aprons need washing and this fabric needs ironing big time, I would choose a fabric, even jeans fabric other than linen, which you have to sprinkle and iron.

  • VictoriaLyn 27 Apr, 2008

    Cute idea, how about using the plastic w/backing decorative table cloth material or outdoor material they are both somewhat heavier and water proof.


  • drybranchhollow 27 Apr, 2008

    What if you used and iron on vinyl for the protection of the poking? Hmmmm. Or just use it for shoe. : )

  • Mayday77 27 Apr, 2008

    I want try it. Looks like a good apron.

  • cottagegarden 27 Apr, 2008

    Cute idea, but I would not wear it for safety reasons ! I don't want to get poked by sharp tools! But if you made it out of a sturdier, washable material and tied it around a bucket to collect weeds or whatever, it'd be great!!!

  • SheilaK 27 Apr, 2008

    This idea works great for a "Teacher Toolbag" Just adapt the pockets to fit the items a teacher needs to keep up with all day...pens,pencils, markers, hall passes, etc. and save all those steps back to the desk. The choices for fabric are endless. For your friends who are no longer slender, put a belt loop center front and use extra long won't sag when tied in front. My elementary school teacher friends love them. Sheila

  • rusticpumpkin 27 Apr, 2008

    I think I will adapt this to make a scissor and craft roll. I will make it quilted with batting and make a flap across the top for added security when transporting tools, and structure the ties to enable rolling rather than to tie around my waist.

  • rusticpumpkin 27 Apr, 2008

    A very pretty gift, but in my experience gardening pocket aprons are not practical in the garden, especially when kneeling as they get in the way, and you can get stabbed by a wayward handle or spoke etc. I prefer to keep my things handy in a pocketed carry all or tote, preferebly water resistant.

    I will adapt this pattern for a roll-up scissor and craft tote, double layered with lightweight batting for added protection, and adding an extra flap to stop contents sliding out in transport.

  • vikkiv 27 Apr, 2008

    I like the idea, but never wear aprons, I have a bucket that I usually keep my tools in. It also means I have a small container to collect up any bits that need throwing away when Im done. Im going to make one of those gardening bags (like you see in the shops) for tools and stuff. If that works, Ill be making them for Christmas this year. Im thinking of using a laminated fabric, which would be pretty and easy to wipe clean.
    Dont forget to make a knee pillow for older people who love gardening

  • sweetqweet 26 Apr, 2008

    It doesn't seem practical to me either. I guess it would make a pretty gift BUT not if you work hard in the garden like I do.....I need something very washable and also a bib top to cover my shirt would be nice.

  • ovestobake 26 Apr, 2008

    I would say the ties are the 3 foot long twill tape a person sews to the top of it, but I'm like you, and wonder how long that would really last for those of us who REALLY do work outside in the garden. This one is more for looks, but not for use. The fabric isn't practical for starters. I would say, use the idea and make it useable, by using your own practical reasoning.


    This would be really cool made out of a pair of your favourite old jeans... something that could be tossed in the washing machine with everything else you might be crawling around in while in the garden. The idea itself is great... just needs the fine tuning to be practical for those of us who really get their hands into the soil!

  • shirleygassier 26 Apr, 2008


  • roaminchef 26 Apr, 2008

    Cute idea and easy to make. Not really practical for outdoor gardening even with a studier fabric. I could see this make with a large tea towel and used by a wait person in a cafe or diner---a pocket for pens, order pad, a few exta straws or napkins.

  • Lesley12 26 Apr, 2008

    Hi - just a word of caution - I am a bit of a clumsy person and I would avoid having sharp tools strapped to my waist because I have the odd 'trip' in the garden. I am a bit over cautious perhaps because I work in a health area and it is so easy to trip and fall on a sharp implements and fabric would not protect you. I would suggest carrying a tool caddy on the side which you can drop if need be when you garden!

  • wduke2 26 Apr, 2008

    I don't think this is a practical idea. I would never put my dirty tools in this. Also, I would want a sturdier fabric and a little more shape to the apron to make it go around my curvy body. This is the shape of a man's carpenter apron.

  • 0Lynda 26 Apr, 2008

    This would be a great apron to wear while working in the greenhouse. It would be easily adjusted to suit the user's individual needs and would be easily adjusted for size. I'm going to make one.

  • poohbear1125 26 Apr, 2008

    maybe if you used some type of canvas or some type of material that is rugged , yet washable

  • poohbear1125 26 Apr, 2008

    yes, not practical for outdoor gardening. but really pretty,

  • LadyKay 26 Apr, 2008

    This is a nice looking craft, but Linen for outside gardening tools....not on your life. I come in so dirty with gloves a mess and tools to clean every time I work in my flowers or garden that this is not practical in any way. Also, if you are using the twill tape for tying this "apron" around your waist, 3 ft wouldn't fit everyone. Lovely to look at, but not practical in the garden. Washable fabric for me. Thanks for the idea, though.