Thursday, January 6, 2011

The January 'Cinderella' Challenge and tutorial!

I wonder if you have missed my monthly challenges as much as I have?
Well, it's 2011, and we have a new year of Elefantz Monthly Challenges ahead of us!

This year I really want to make gifts from re-purposed items that I have stored away, or that I come across at garage sales and op shops. 
The end aim is to bless my family and friends with 'new from old' gifts, but they must have a purpose. 
This is a challenge in itself! After all, we can only ever own so many needlebooks, pincushions, journal covers and the like, don't you agree? This year is about crossing those items off my gift-giving-list, and making as many different *useful* gifts as I can.

So what is the January Challenge?
Do you own an old skirt that you may have grown out of but kept because you just love the fabric? Or perhaps like me you found a skirt at the op shop (for 50c!) and just knew it had potential!

This month we're turning those lovely skirts into aprons (reminded me of Cinderella's pumpkin turning into a coach, hence the blog title), and if you've never made one before this won't be hard at all because I'll help you with this very simple tutorial.

This is the skirt I paid 50c for; a lovely pink cotton/linen blend. It had an elastic waist so I just cut that off. 
(If you use a skirt with an elastic waist you can make two aprons from this pattern - one for you, and one for your best buddy!) 

The beauty of this skirt was that it already had a ruffle on the hem...
...and pockets!
 Unpick (or cut) the side seams apart, and sew a double hem down the sides.
Then trim the top to a straight edge.
To make the ties, cut two 4" wide co-ordinating strips of fabric from your stash and join them end to end to form one long length...
Measure across the front of your waist to determine how wide you want the apron, then mark with a pencil from the centre of the strip out. If you want 18", then make a mark 9" either side of the centre seam.
Fold in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch the open edges together from the marked spot, down the end of the folded length, curving it at the very end. Cut away the excess.
Turn the tie right side out, and press. It should look like this...
Gather the raw edge of the apron top to the measurement you decided upon across your waist front.
Slip the gathered top inside the opening of the tie by 1/2". 
Pin in place, then top stitch with a 1/4" seam...
Add any embellishments that you fancy. I chose to add some yo-yo's with a pearl centre to my apron pockets...
And now I have the prettiest apron to add to my always-in-use collection.
Plus, I still have 1/2 a skirt to make another for a gift!
If you choose to take up my Challenge this month, please email me with a photo of your finished project, or leave a comment with a link to your blog. I'll show a photo of every apron made here on my blog. :-)

I'm off to post this gorgeous quilt of mine to Homespun magazine, but you won't see any more of it until the Garden Issue in Spring (August/September)!



  1. What a GREAT idea! I don't own a skirt but will have to keep this idea handy. I'm going to link a post to this - it would make an awesome Christmas gift!

    I can't believe you're making everyone wait so long to see that quilt - you are such a tease!

  2. Wow! This is an idea! I wonder which of the "non-used" skirt I cam turn into apron. Well... let me have a look and I'll try. This is a funny challenge! Take care, Clara.

  3. How clever of you to make an unwanted skirt into an apron. It looks very nice, thanks for showing how you did it.

  4. Oooo Jen, I'm off to town tomorrow to the airport for a very special arrival!!!! (wink wink), so I am going to have to make a very special trip to the op shop to see what goodies I can find!!!!!....
    love ya sweety
    XX Wendy :O)
    ps...I hope that quilty goodness gets there safe and sound and I hope you all are too!!!!

  5. I don't own a skirt either, however my granddaughter of 3 had a few jumpers she had outgrown and I aready parsed them for either for jean bags or pint sized aprons. I am thinking now that one could be used to make a barrista apron for her mommy who has taken quite a shine to aprons in the last few years :) Guess I'm in for this challenge Jenny!
    Carmen in AK

  6. Ooh I would love to join in, I'll see how I go I have a long list of things to do this month but hopefully I can sneak it in somewhere!

  7. bravo! Jolie idée et belle réalisation!

  8. Jenny, I've probably said this before, but we can never hear it enough. You, my dear, are a genius. ~karen

  9. What a great idea Jenny! I love the idea of re-purposing.

  10. Very creative idea and SO cute. I will be off to find a skirt tomorrow when I am not working. I LOVE this idea.

  11. What a great idea. I've been planning to purge my wardrobe for some I have the motivation!! And I'm with you all the way on recycling and purposeful gifts!

  12. I love this idea! It is so creative. I can't wait to make one!

  13. Hi Jenny,
    Oh what a wonderful idea and such a pretty apron.

    Well done on another publication coming up! You clever gal.

  14. A great idea Jenny.
    I'm so glad people are thinking of re-using items... it's been way too long... our Grandmums and Mums used to do it all the time.
    I've just finished a quilt made form jammies and shirts.. love it!

    BTW I aodre your little elephant...sooooooo cute!! xx

  15. Ooh, I have a linen skirt that is looking very used and it was originally a pre-loved purchase. If I can't find a way to be creative with the buttons down the front though I'll have to create new pockets for it. Hmmmm.....

  16. Tooo Cute!!! Love it!! Adding this to my long list of things to do!! Thanks for the fabulous idea!!


  18. Such another great idea you have come up with.

  19. Jenny, I arrived here from a posting at Allie's Christmas Through the Year and just love the project. I kinda have a skirt, it's a shirtwaist dress I made for my daughter that she doesn't wear anymore. So you inspired me last night and I used it to make a sweet apron. I'll be posting pictures of it at my site, I hope you'll consider it an entry because its from the skirt of the dress. Regardless, this is a sweet idea. Thanks for sharing. -- Karen

  20. I've been waiting for a challenge like this... my skirt is a dress belonging to my mum. The material is lovely but the style old. Don't know if a dress can count as a skirt but I'll do it anyway :) Thank you for the inspiration.

  21. I laughed when I read your challenge "how many... journal covers... can we have". I am always saying I'll make things into journal covers and my best friend recently asked "Lisa, how many journals do you think you need?".

  22. I love this idea! Great gift, and green! Such a cheater way to make an apron too. You could sew up a whole bunch and then just keep them on hand for hostess gifts!

    I completed my apron and blogged about it here:

    I linked here too! Thanks for the fabulous idea! I'm a new follower and can't wait to see February's Challenge!

  23. January's almost over but I just ran across your blog! I have the perfect skirt in my sewing room awaiting a refashion - now I know exactly what I'm going to sew tomorrow!!! Thanks!

    Hope this is OK, I'd love to feature your challenge on my podcast (GreenStitch).


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