Armed apron

Armed with a harvest pocket
The Need

Initially I could not find the perfect harvest apron to buy, and the only sewing patterns for aprons did not seem practical for my needs at first glance. I wanted a multi-purpose apron to protect my clothes while working in the yard and garden that I could also pull up to use as a harvest apron with little effort. And I needed one quickly!

The Apron

I finally settled on an inexpensive white cotton chef's apron, with patch pockets already sewn in place as a starting point for what I wanted. These aprons are long enough to turn up the bottom edge and attach buttons and buttonholes to form a big adjustable harvest pocket. Altering a pre-made apron is a quick and easy craft with very little sewing and would be a great project for kids with a little help from an adult.

The Construction

FastenersI spent some time experimenting with an apron for myself and a few as gifts for friends. I used a sewing machine for nearly all the embellishments at first, but a friend's request for another harvest apron while my sewing machine was in the shop forced me to be more creative with attaching buttons and loops.

  • Snaps and latch catches can be hand-sewn onto the apron where needed using a heavy-duty nylon or polyester string.
  • Ribbons, rug yarn, or small polyester cording to be used as ties can be attached using a darning needle with a large eye.
  • Metal grommets to form eyelets for the ties can be installed into the fabric with a hammer.
  • The waist area of your apron may need to be reinforced with additional layers if it does not have the patch pockets to attach buttons to. Likewise, reinforcement is needed for any buttonholes in thin fabric to keep buttons from pulling off through the fabric. Iron-on fusible webbing material can serve this purpose when sandwiched between the apron and a colorful fabric, making a decorative addition to the apron design. You can buy it under various names, in small pre-cut sheets; in narrow 1/2-inch strips on a roll (like tape) for mending seams and hems or on bolts sold by the yard like fabric.
  • A Buttoneer can be used to attach big buttons, but they can be hand sewn with heavy-duty coat thread, too.
  • Buttonholes can be made by using the fusible web to sandwich layers of fabric above and below the apron material. A slit cut through all the layers to form the buttonhole will have a tough time ripping any further. A little fabric glue or decorative squeeze paints can help seal the cut edges and prevent raveling.

I applied an iron-on transfer of a picture and a poem to the top bib section of the apron.

Another pocket, iron-on patches, or anything decorative could be used to adorn this portion.

Remember that whatever you use should be machine washable.

I added metal latches, hooks, and rings to attach the many little tools and gadgets I usually cram into my pockets.

The apron's patch pockets were the right size to hold a cell phone, digital camera, or gloves.

apron patch pockets with added hardware

A small latch carries a mini key chain, tape measure and a metal ring holds a multi-purpose tool.

A small notepad and pen to jot down important things are always in one of my apron pockets.

I felt like a well-equipped garden pro wearing my new harvest apron for the first time, but probably looked more like the ultimate yard warrior, with all the garden gadgets dangling from--and shoved into pockets of--my new fancy apron.

It does not take much to go overboard with embellishments, but a few adornments are appreciated, especially when toiling away in the garden, the phone rings, and it is right there in your pocket.

I stuffed the pockets of the harvest aprons with decorative soaps, cuticle brushes, gloves, bandanas, and other goodies, for special gardening gifts for my friends. Including notepads, pens, and small 3-foot tape measures would be great items to consider including as well.
:I: :I: :I:
Last tomato harvestmakeshift shirt apronLast harvest in apron pocket; plenty of room

Other Ideas

If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can invest in a good chef's apron pattern and create exactly what you want as you sew them, instead of having to modify the assembled ones.

A traditional waist-tied kitchen apron would work nicely as a harvest apron, too, if it were made long enough to fold up to form a pocket.

A carpenter's nail apron could be used as a start with a piece of fabric attached on the back to drape down and create the big harvest pocket.

A sewing machine opens up a lot more possibilities, but much can be done without one. Use your imagination to create your own unique harvest aprons, using what you have on hand. Kids can embellish an apron for the special gardeners in their lives with the myriad of craft resources available, like finger paints, permanent markers, tie-dye, iron-on patches, or transfer pictures.

The aprons are good throughout the planting, growing, and harvesting phases of gardening, and you can start creating Christmas gifts now for all your gardening friends and family.

Have fun and happy gardening!