Sew A Clean Sweep Apron!

A cleaning apron? What, me?

Yes, you! Forget those '50's images of housewifely frou-frou and ruffles: a cleaning apron has a place in the modern home manager's toolkit.

A cleaning apron speeds cleaning chores. Spray bottles of cleaning solution hang ready for use. Apron pockets lined with plastic bags corral bits of trash. Cleaning tools live at the tips of the cleaner's fingers.

Stockpile a stack of cleaning cloths in one pocket, a cleaning sponge in another. With a cleaning apron, supplies, tools and materials are literally close to hand.

The pros know! Professional cleaners swear by cleaning aprons. Savvy home managers purchase cleaning aprons from mail order houses and janitorial supply stores to get the professional. edge on house cleaning.

But there's a small problem. Commercial cleaning aprons don't always accommodate real-world bodies. Designed flat for a straight and slender figure, these aprons sometimes buckle or shift when tied over feminine curves. Skinny string waistbands bite or sag under the weight of cleaning supplies.

Add the cost! Commercially available cleaning aprons run about $20, and don't forget the shipping, handling and sales tax. For many home managers, cleaning aprons may seem out of reach, for more than one reason.

We've got the solution: our Clean Sweep Apron. Designed by a woman for women, it features a generous apron. gathered to fall gently over womanly figures. An interfaced, wider waistband closes with adjustable Velcro brand hook-and-loop tape for instant comfort. Make it up in white cotton twill, and bleac. stains away in the washing machine.

Just for fun, we've included a decorative graphic. Use T-shirt transfer paper to add our graphic or use one of your favorites to decorate the Clean Sweep Apron.

Yes, you'll need to sew this apron yourself, but our Clean Sweep Apron requires minimal sewing skill. Innovative design methods reduce the number of pieces. Use your iron to crease-mark alignment guides for easy construction.

You won't need a full-featured sewing room for this project; you can make the Clean Sweep Apron with nothing more than a straight-stitch sewing machine, an iron and a few pins.

Ready? Let's get sewing!


  • 1 1/2 yard cotton fabric (select medium-weight, tightly-woven, 100% cotton fabric for best washability and wear)
  • 1 1/2 yard waistband interfacing
  • 3 inches Velcro brand hook-and-loop fastener
  • thread


  • sewing machine
  • cutting tools
  • iron and ironing board
  • pins

Cutting instructions:

From the fabric, cut the following four pieces.

All pieces should be cut along the length-wise grain (longest direction of fabric):

  • for apron body/lower pocket, cut one rectangle, 19 1/4" by 48"
  • for upper pocket, cut one rectangle, 19 1/4" by 17"
  • for sprayer loops, cut one rectangle, 3" by 12"
  • for waistband, cut one rectangle along selvedge 3 5/8" by user's waist measurement plus 6" (for example, for 30-inch waist, 3 5/8" by 36", cut along the selvedge).

Sewing Instructions:

Note: This method uses ironed-in creases to serve as alignment guides. Press each crease sufficiently to mark the guide, but do not make a sharp crease.

Seam allowances are 5/8" throughout.

Pre-wash fabric in a washing machine, using the same water temperature and dryer settings that you will use to care for the completed apron.

Upper Pocket:

  1. Fold upper pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, . Press. Folded piece should measure 19 1/4" by 8 1/2".
  2. Press under one-half inch along the raw edge of the upper pocket rectangle.
  3. Fold apron body piece, right sides together. The fold should measure 12 inches down from short end. Press the fold to crease. Open apron body piece.
  4. Align upper pocket along the pressed crease on the apron body piece, with the folded edge upward and the pressed-under edge down and next to the apron body. The upper pocket should be placed 4 inches down from the top of the apron body.
  5. Stitch sides and bottoms of the upper pocket piece.
  6. Fold apron body/upper pocket assembly lengthwise, right sides together. Press the fold to crease. Open the apron body/upper pocket assembly.
  7. On left side, fold edge of the apron body/upper pocket assembly one-third of the way toward the center crease. Press. Fold again, touching the center crease. Press, and open the apron body/upper pocket assembly completely.
  8. Sew pocket divisions along the creased lines. Tip: to make it easy to find shorter tools, "step up" the bottom stitching on one or two of the smaller pockets.
sew a cleaning apron

Lower Pocket:

  1. Fold apron body in half crosswise, wrong sides together. At the folded edge, fold up again, 8 inches wide, and press the fold to mark the crease. Unfold the second fold, but leave the apron body folded in half.
  2. Stitch along the crease to form the bottom pocket flap.
  3. Open the apron body. Fold the bottom pocket flap toward the upper pocket and the top of the apron. Fold the apron body in half lengthwise, right sides together. Press to crease.
  4. Open the apron body. Stitch bottom pocket sides to the apron body along seamlines.
sew a cleaning apron

Sprayer Loops:

  1. Fold sprayer loop piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press to crease. Open.
  2. Fold both long edges of sprayer loop piece toward the creased line. Press.
  3. On right side, pin ends of sprayer loop pieces to apron body side just above upper pockets. Baste along seam line.
sew a cleaning apron

Apron Body:

  1. Fold apron body in half crosswise, right sides together, over upper and lower pockets, and matching top and bottom.
  2. Stitch along both sides, over previously-stitched pockets and basted sprayer loops.
  3. Turn right side out. Snip excess fabric from seam allowances and press.
  4. Top-stitch along all finished edges, turning at bottom pocket and stitching bottom pocket division along central crease.
  5. Sew two lines of gathering stitches (longest stitch length) 3/8" and 3/4" from the upper, raw edge of apron body.
sew a cleaning apron

Waistband and Finishing:

  1. Fuse waistband interfacing to waistband piece. Align wide side of interfacing along selvedge of waistband piece. Fuse according to interfacing directions.
  2. Fold waistband in half lengthwise. On the raw edge, mark the waistband center by snipping a small triangle from the seam allowance.
  3. On the raw edge of the waistband, measure 7" from either side of the snipped center marking. Mark the waistband on each side to mark placement for the apron body.
  4. Pin the right side of the waistband to the right side of the upper apron body, matching waistband center markings to central crease of the apron body.
  5. Pull the gathering threads gently, and gather the apron to meet the placement marks on the waistband. Pin each side.
  6. Stitch the apron body to the waistband between placement marks. Remove gathering stitching.
  7. Turn seam toward waistband center. Press up 5/8" along remainder of raw waistband seam. Press up 5/8" along waistband ends.
  8. Fold waistband in half, wrong sides together, along fold line of waistband interfacing. Top-stitch along all sides of the waistband, 1/8 inch from the edge.
  9. To apply Velcro brand hook and loop fastener, sew "hook" portion of fastener to the right side of one end ofthe waistband. Center the Velcro strip beginning 1/4 inch from the end of the waistband, and sew around all edges, backstitching when finished.
  10. Sew "loop" portion of Velcro fastener to the wrong side of remaining waistband end. Center the Velcro strip beginning 1/4 inch from the end of the waistband, and sew around all edges, backstitching when finished.
sew a cleaning apron

Optional: Add A Graphic

Have a color printer? Using T-shirt transfer paper, apply a graphic to your Clean Sweep Apron. We've supplied one here, or use your own.

To copy this graphic to your hard drive in Internet Explorer, click the right mouse button anywhere on the graphic. Select the "Save Picture As" button, and save the graphic to your hard drive.

To copy this image in Netscape Navigator, click the right mouse button anywhere on the graphic. Select the "Save Image As" button, and save the graphic to your hard drive.

sew a cleaning apron - graphic

While we're not able to offer technical support for graphic transfers, here are some tips for successful graphic transfer:

  • Select transfer paper manufactured specifically for your printer. Not all ink/transfer paper combinations work well.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for printing, trimming and applying your transfer. Pay special attention to temperature and cooling recommendations.
  • Set printers to high quality, and make sure that any special paper options are properly selected.
  • Remember to reverse graphics! Transfers will appear as a mirror image, so be sure to flip or rotate graphics before use.
  • More questions? Check the Web. Most printer manufacturers have web sites and discussion groups to share questions and ideas for using graphic transfer technologies.