Tutorial: Clothespin Pocket Apron


Now, before my friends are all “look, she’s actually doing chores,” I need to explain something first. If you’ve heard that Dan does the housework around here, that’s only partially true.  He does most of the sweeping and dusting because he finds my dust-induced asthma attacks extremely annoying. He also does most of the cooking, because he enjoys it, but he won’t touch the oven, so I do all the baking.  He can also do laundry, but quite honestly, our clothes sleep much better at night if I’m the one who handles that chore.  Let’s just say that his laundry “technique” is lacking.

For the first time in years I now have a clothesline in my back yard. Three of the four lines are missing, and the one that remains is in need of replacement, but that can be fixed eventually. I still have enough room to hang out a load of laundry, and I’m not heating up the house by running the dryer all afternoon. Oh, and I’m saving money, too!  I’m sure that my enthusiasm over a clothesline is shocking to anyone who knows me, but you’ll just have to accept this strange behavior. 

After hanging out the first load on my new/old clothesline, I realized that keeping clothespins in a plastic grocery bag just wasn’t going to work for me, and reaching up and into a bag, whether it’s a grocery bag or something made specifically for this purpose, just wasn’t very comfortable. I needed something waist-high.

An internet search revealed several great patterns for clothespin aprons and a variety of aprons, which would eliminate the need to reach up and into a bag, but all I really wanted was a small pocket to tie around my waist, not a full-size apron with a huge pocket.  I didn’t want to use a lot of fabric, either.  After a few quick sketches, I came up with some measurements for this quick and easy pocket with apron strings.  A simple pouch would work well for this application, but I added a pleat to give myself a little more room for my hand to reach in, as well as for some extra clothespins. The finished apron measures 7-1/2″ wide by 16″ tall (from the bottom of the pocket to the top of the waistband), and the pocket is 12″ deep.

For this project, you will need to cut the following pieces of fabric:
- 10″ wide X 13-1/2″ long for pocket lining – cut 1
- 10″ wide X 11-1/4″ long for pocket front – cut 1
- 8″ wide X 16-1/4″ long for apron base – cut 2.  This is what you’ll attach the pocket to.
- 3-1/2″ X 80″ for apron ties*

*Please note: In most cases, you will need to cut several 3-1/2″ wide strips and join them together end to end to make an 80″ strip for your ties.  My ties were designed to wrap around the back, then again to the front, and to tie in the front.  I am a size 8, and had plenty of length left over after tying a bow, so adjust this length up or down according to your size and preference.

First, sew the pocket front to the pocket lining, right sides together. Press seam toward the pocket lining.  This seamed area will form the top of the pocket.

With wrong sides together, line up the bottom of the pocket front with the lining of the pocket back. Now the top of the pocket will look like the photo below.


Press the top edge of the pocket flat.  The lining will form a contrasting band at the top of your pocket.

Topstitch over the seam of the pocket band, then again along the top edge.

Now, make a little box pleat at the bottom of the pocket, and fiddle with the size of the pleat until the pocket bottom measures 8″ across.  Pin to secure, then stitch in place close to the bottom edge.

Next, grab the 2 pieces of fabric you cut for the apron base.  Place one piece of base fabric right side up. Layer the pocket on top of this, right side up.  In other words, the pocket lining will be against the base fabric.  Be sure that you are lining up the bottom edge of the pocket with the edge of the base, and that the sides of the pocket are even with the sides of the base.

 Now place the other piece of base fabric on top of this, with its right side down.

Pin all these layers together.  The “sandwich” will be a little lumpy in the middle due to the extra fabric that forms your pocket pleat.

Stitch down one long side of the sandwich, across the bottom, and back up the other long side.  Clip the 2 bottom corners to reduce bulk.

Reach into the top opening, grab the pocket, and turn everything right side out.  Oh no, it looks like my pocket is now inside out!  If this happens to you, don’t panic.  Just flip the pocket right side out.  It works, really.

 You should now have something that resembles the photo below.  Now press the seams flat.  You can press the box pleat if you want, but it probably won’t stay crisp once you start to use your pocket.

 You still have an opening in the top of your project.  We’ll soon encase these raw edges inside the apron strings.

 Sew your long strips together end to end to form one long strip. Press the seams either to one side or open.  I usually press to one side.  It’s the quilter in me.

Fold the strip lengthwise, right sides together.  Find the center of your strip and match it up with the center of the apron top.  Mark an area on the strip where you will leave an opening to insert your apron.  See Daisy’s hand there? She’s just a little too close to the apron edge.  Make your opening a good half inch or so wider on each side to give yourself plenty of room to work.

Now, remove the helpful cat from your work table.

Sew the long edge of your folded strip, being sure to leave that opening that Daisy just showed you.  If you want pointed ends on your apron strings, now is the time to do that.  Clip off points in the seam to reduce bulk.

 Turn your strip right side out and press.  Where you left the opening, carefully turn the seam allowance to the inside and press in place.

Now insert the apron top into the opening, inserting it all the way up to the top crease.  Pin in place.

 Topstitch the opening closed.  Stitch again near the top of the apron string to further secure that top apron edge that’s hiding inside.  Reinforce with some vertical stitching to further secure the apron into the waistband.  If you expect to be loading this pocket up, don’t be afraid to add plenty of reinforcing stitches.

Now hang out your laundry in style!