My Material Life

IKEA Dish Towel Aprons


This is a little project I cooked up last summer when I found these dish towels at IKEA, but just now got around to sewing. That black checkered border dish towel (365+ Gunstig) got under my skin first, but the cups and pots towel (Glänta) apron is so ridiculously simple to make that we’ll start with it.

Glänta Apron

This is my sketch from last summer.  You simply fold the towel in half (mine is a little off-center for some additional overhang in the front), press your fold, and stitch two lines through both thicknesses of towel – one about 1/2″ from the fold and the other about 3/4″ from that.  This allows you to thread some narrow webbing (3/8 to 1/2″ wide) through the casing those two lines of stitching formed.  I planned to do that, but then I remembered I had the perfect nylon blue webbing from an old apron in my rag pile.  So I cut it off that apron and inserted just the ends into my casing and stitched them in with a satin stitch (see below).

I did not bother repositioning the towel hanger (both towels have very appealing hangers).  Apron accomplished!

Gunstig Apron

This one has both a pocket and a casing for the tie that you cut from one towel (along with the apron itself).  It’s very simple to make, but definitely more work than the first apron.  You’ll begin by laying your towel as shown in the illustration above. Now I’m going to give you the measurements that worked for me at a US size 8 or 10.  You’ve got some play to modify this for width around your waist, but not really for length if you want a pocket that functions.  That’s actually an important distinction to note:  I’ll refer to the measurement around your body as the width and the measurement from your waist to your thigh as the length for both the apron and the towel.   I made my first cut 21″ from the right edge (tag edge) down the length of the towel  (forming the becomes casing piece in the illustration).  My second cut came 13″ down from the top of the 21″ width of towel (forming the becomes pockets piece in the illustration).  Finally, I cut a 1-1/2″ wide strip down the length of the becomes casing piece in the illustration.

On to pressing and stitching.  I formed a 1/2″ double fold on the raw left edges of both the apron and pocket pieces.

After pressing folds, I stitched both edges on the wrong side, close to the fold.  Next, I formed my casing by pressing a 1/4″ fold along each long raw edge of my casing strip.  I pinned the casing strip on the back side of the checkered border of my apron piece.  Then I stitched both edges, close to the fold, to form my casing.

Next, I finished the top raw edge of my pocket piece with about a 3/8″ double fold that I pressed and stitched close to the fold on the wrong side.  Now here’s where it gets a little weird, but stay with me.  I pressed a 1/2″ fold on the bottom raw edge of my apron to the right side.  Then I placed my pocket right side down on my table with my apron right side down on top of it, with it’s bottom edge that I just pressed lined up right next to the double fold hem already stitched (by IKEA) on the lower edge of the pocket piece.  I pinned and stitched these pieces together.

And I ended up with this.

Now, the towel was never quite square to begin with, so from here, you need to decide what’s most important to you. Since I love that checkered border, I decided I wanted the border on the pocket to line up with the border on the apron, so I pinned my pocket to the apron so they lined up and I proceeded to stitch the pocket piece to the apron along each side edge by stitching right on top of the stitching already in place on either short folded edge of the pocket piece.

Next I used my carpenter’s square and some chalk to mark off stitching lines to form three separate pockets (I made my lines 3″ from either side of the center point of the apron).

Make sure to remember that heat sets color in fabric, so if you do use any colored markings while sewing, be sure to remove them before you press.  To finish the apron, I threaded some 1/2″ wide black cotton webbing through my casing.

And another apron accomplished!


  1. Anne Palmer Peterson

    Colleen, you and your blog make me love the internet! You are so talented, creative, fun, amazing, the list could go on!

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