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Simple Hand Towel Apron for a Child ~ How to Instructions: Perfect for an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

When my mother in law passed away she had a stash of brand new, nice hand towels stored away for gifts for her children and grandchildren.  My father in law brought us a bunch of them and my mind recently has been spinning on what I can make for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.

I remember when my girls were young I would make them aprons to wear as they helped out in the kitchen.  My youngest daughter remembers my making them one
out of a tea towel.  So I decided to start with making aprons for young girls--these ones are too feminine for a boy, but you could do the same for a little guy with a different design.  They are very absorbent and all the sides are finished already which will make for quick finishing.

I had some nice, wide "ribbon" that had come wrapped around some wash cloths I had ordered last year for my OCC shoe boxes.  The length was just perfect for the tie on the aprons, the color matched and I had four or six of them.  A perfect place to start.

Simple Hand Towel Apron Tutorial

Supplies Needed
  • Hand or Tea Towel
  • Ribbon -- approximately 48" long and at least 1" wide with ends cut at an angle (grosgrain or other heavy type, not satin)
  • Sewing Machine (or needle to do by hand)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • pins
  • marking pen/pencil -- will not be seen when finished

$1 Craft Supplies at Dollar Tree!

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Find the center of the towel by folding in half.
  2. Mark across the center.
  3. Optional: Zigzag 1/8" to each side of center (this helps keep the little threads together when cut)
  4. Cut down the center of the towel between the stitches.
  5. Measure out from each side of center top approx. 2 1/2".  Fold towel in this spot and then fold back out approx. 5/8" from first fold and pin--this will make a little pleat on each side giving a little fullness to lower half (you could also just slightly gather the top for a little fullness instead if you'd like to--or try it just flat).  Tip:  Press down the top 2" of these pleats to help compress them for sewing.
  6. Stitch pleats across the top approx. 1/4" and 5/8" to help hold in place while adding ribbon.  Tip:  Pin pleats down about 2" below where ribbon will be to help hold while sewing.
  7. Pin right side of ribbon to wrong side of cut edge of towel matching centers.
  8. Sew across top of towel w/approximately 3/8" seam.
  9. Press ribbon up and then fold over the top of the towel and press down flat (wrong side will now be on the right side of the towel). Tip:  Press flat just as sewn first--this sets the stitches and makes for an easier turning.
  10. Edge stitch across the top of the ribbon--this will help it keep from rolling (you'll find as I sew I edge stitch just about everything).
  11. Top stitch across the bottom edge of the ribbon.
  12. Optional:  If your ribbon is a type that seems to want to unravel finish the edge with some type of non-washable glue or Fray Check on the edges or burn the ends.
  13. Pack away for an Operation Christmas Child shoebox or give to a special child in your life.
Threading My Way offers an ongoing link party dedicated to aprons.  Check it out for ideas and patterns for other aprons.
I also shared a post on to use hand towels to make a 3-Step, 5 Minute Drawstring Bag for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

You can find all of our tutorials in this link:  Crafting for Operation Christmas Child DIY Index.


Pam S said...

I am glad you posted this tutorial, I was just thinking about these the other day. Thank you, Cheryl :)

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

You are welcome. Such fun coincidences.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

A great beginner sewing project, Cheryl. I've featured both your tutorial and blog today.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Thanks, Pam, for the feature. It is always an honor.

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.