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Make Do and Mend: Aprons to the Rescue

Image via Barbara Brandeburg's Blog

As part of my series on mending, a few of my friends have complained about little holes they get in the front of their shirts.  Yes!  I said, I get them too!

Do they happen to you too?

You know, holes right where your shirt rubs against your jeans.  I usually get several holes right together just below my belly button.

I’ve been really bothered by these little holes, partly because it means the shirt will be relegated to a cleaning/gardening shirt only.  Buying a new shirt will be in order, which really chaps me.  I especially hate when it happens to a shirt I love.  But mostly I’ve worried that it has something to do with my stomach that still pooches out from when I had my twins… uh hum…  8 years ago.

But the mystery of these little holes deepened when my sister-in-law Marcie, who is very skinny (even though her baby is only 11 months old…) complained that she gets those pesky holes in her shirts too.

What’s the deal?  Is it just cheap fabric?  Maybe.  But I’ve had it happen to shirts from Old Navy or Target just as fast as my J.Crew splurges… so the cost of the shirt doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Is it just the pitfalls of being a mother?  We do spend a lot of time leaned up against a counter after all… folding laundry, making dinner, helping with homework.  That’s a lot of rub time.

I wish I could tell you I’ve found a foolproof way to fix the problem.  I have really put my mind to it.  I’ve thought about patches, ruffles, alterations and other wild solutions.  But nothing seems viable.  I mean, who wants a patch just below their belly button?  And ruffles, which can be fun, just aren’t a reasonable solution for more than one shirt in my wardrobe.

So what’s girl to do?

Then a solution came to me… maybe our apron wearing grandmothers were onto something.  Maybe, just maybe, I need to wear my apron more.  Not just for cooking, but for cleaning too.

So a few months ago, I started wearing an apron more.  As in, I put it on in the morning… and wear it all day.  Unless of course I’m going somewhere, and then I try to remember to take it off.

And guess what?  There’s a noticeable decline in those pesky little holes.

Wearing my apron has other fringe benefits.  It cuts down on stains on my clothing.  An apron pocket is also a handy place to put the Lego block I just stepped on, pennies from the laundry, and clipped strings as I’m sewing.  At the end of the day, my apron has a pocket full of treasures.

So if you don’t have a full apron… or two or three.  Make yourself one today from your favorite fabric.  Be sure to check Barbara Brandeburg’s wonderful  Sassy Little Apron pattern shown above.  I’ve made her Flouncy Little Apron and her patterns are fabulous.

A good apron may just save your favorite shirt.

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33 Responses to “Make Do and Mend: Aprons to the Rescue”

  • Lei:

    I love this post – it made me laugh. I have had the same problem lately and it is nice to know that I am not alone. Funny thing is, I never had holes in my shirt until after I had my son. I like your apron idea and will have to give it a try. Have a great day!

  • Lauren:

    Such a good idea. I was just lamenting about a hole in my new Eddie Bauer shirt…one of those splurges. I’ll try it out today!

  • What a great idea! I am going to give it a try!

  • Stacey:

    That is so funny, I could not figure out why I was getting those holes in my shirt–so thank you for shedding some light on this subject! I am going to take your advice and see if an apron will help! Thanks!

  • Oh my goodness! I thought I was going crazy with those little holes! I thought I was the only one who got those. Thank heavens there are others out there :) I will have to try the apron trick. It would certainly save my shirts!

  • Me too! Why the sudden epidemic of holes? I thought I was suddenly doing something strange. Apron it is!

  • beth:

    me… no holes….? Am I not cooking and cleaning enough? I wear my apron some and do like to leave it on even after cooking. Yesterday I answered the door in it and my neighbor was like, “Hello, June Cleaver!” boys!

  • Sally P:

    Good idea!!!
    One quick solution for the holes is to add more than just a ruffle. Turn it into a t-shirt dress! Add a cute gathered cotton print–empire waist or whatever. It’s great as a swimsuit coverup or summer sundress. Ruffles & stuff’s blog has a tutorial called Lemonade Dress with more info.

  • Sounds like a good reason to make a few new aprons. :) Maybe I could make one for each day of the week so I can remind myself what day it is.

  • this is hilarious. I thought they were from my detergent or maybe constantly pulling up my shirt to nurse but then even all my shirts get them. I think it also has to do with thinner cotton and maybe leaning and carrying kids ???? Who knew it was an epidemic. I will have to ask my non stay at home moms if they get these too. I of course thought I was the only one!

  • Kayla:

    So I got a text from my sister telling me this is what I could make her for Christmas. Ha! Love it. Anyway, I bought the pattern and it’s on the way. BUT I need fabulous fabric ideas. What fabric collection is your fabric from? I love it.

    • Calli:

      Hi Kayla, what a wonderful gift! The photo of the aprons came from Barbara Brandeburg’s blog, so I don’t know what fabrics she used. But to find wonderful fabrics, the place to start is a great quilt shop. Going into a shop is like putting a kid into a candy store for me. The only trouble with quilt shops is the $$$ per yard of the fabric, so it pays to check at JoAnn’s (with a coupon of course) to see if something jumps out at you there. Good luck and happy sewing. Your sister is going to love the Sassy Little Apron! It’s very cute (and flattering) on. cheers, Calli

  • elsa:

    I’ve always wondered if other people experience this and I’m happy to find out they do! (tho I’m sorry that it happens to you and me). Never thought to wear an apron! thanks for the advice!

  • How interesing! And all this time I had just chalked it up to my own clumsiness/messiness/bad luck. (I’m really hard on all my clothes and shoes for some reason.) Thanks for posting this…. my aprons will be getting a lot more wear from now on. And why not? Aprons are so adorable, they *should* be worn all the time! :)

  • Lori:

    As more of my favorite shirts got ruined I became more and more frustrated with the whole housekeeping job. Cooking leaves food splatters that don’t wash out. Cleaners leave bleach marks just below my waistline. Recently I tried an apron again and I’m sold. Even though I really didn’t like wearing them I’m getting more used to it every day. It’s worth it to save my clothes and quicker than changing.

  • Christine:

    I have had the same problem. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one. I can’t afford to buy new shirts all the time. I solved it by cutting a small square of scrap fabric. I put it over the metal button on my Levis and wrap a small rubber band or pony holder around a few times. Haven’t had any holes in my shirts since. I’ve contemplated trying to remove the metal button and replace it with a plastic one. It would make a hole where the button was, and I’d have to fix that in order to attach a plastic one. I guess I’ve just been too lazy to try that yet.

  • Marcie:

    Great idea Calli! I will pass the apron idea on to all of my fellow “holes in my shirts”
    friends! :) We are always complaining about it!

  • Danielle:

    For what it is worth…I have had the same problem with t-shirts for quite some time. My older kids also have shirts with the same holes. We think it might be from the fabric of the shirt getting pinched between a belt buckle or snap of a pair of pants or jeans and a harder object, such as a counter edge, side of a vehicle, etc….. My younger kids who wear elastic wasted pants do not seem to have this issue. A friend of mine who still has a flat stomach and tucks her t’s into her pants (gasp!) does not seem to have this problem. We all wear our shirts untucked. However, I too am sporting the pooch i.e.,badge of honor from incubating our lovelies, and am destined to have these holes in my shirt for perpetuity………

  • I wear an apron every single day. practically all day long. For most of the reasons you listed: mainly, less stains and a pocket to put things in as I pick them up. I’ve never had the hole problem, but I’m forever splashing bleach on my shirts when I do laundry. I often forget that I have my apron on until my son reminds me while we’re getting in the car to go someplace!

    Last year for Christmas, my mom made me an apron for every holiday. Right now I’m using the Halloween one and the back to school one!

  • Thank you for talking about this! I thought I was all alone. It happened to a whole bunch of old navy shirts and I actually returned them. Then I started wearing a belt b/c I thought that top part of my jeans was the culprit. Nope. Still happens to Target, Ann Taylor, etc. So illl strap on my apron now in the hopes I can stave off those pesky holes!

  • Celeste A:

    I don’t know if I should say that it feels good to know that others have this problem…Ihad actually been blaming moths for those wee little holes in my shirts.
    I am with the gal above and began using a belt.
    From now on it will be my apron or at least give me the chance to make a new one.

  • Cooking Mom:

    I have always suspected that those little holes come from “leaning” against the counter while doing dishes, prepping dinner, and the like. It always seemed the perfect height and of course an apron would stop them if that is the case. Now I need to make an apron instead of shop for shirts.

  • Shae:

    OH MY! Me too. I am the only one in my family that complains of this. I am so happy to know that I am not alone. So funny. It mostly happens on T-shirts, softer material. It happens to brand new shirts all the time!!!! so annoying. I used to think it was from nursing, but now I’m not doing that, and so I currently think it is from the corner of the top of my jeans rubbing. I am surprised that so many people have the same problem!

  • Cynthia K-R:

    I have run into that problem also–AND wearing an apron is also MY answer to it. I bought a ‘used’ apron at our local Value Village store up here in Canada for 50 CENTS. I made a pattern from it with thick brown paper and then with the new fabric I purchased—VOILA!!

    New aprons for my collection now hanging on hooks between the kitchen and garage. They are handy for anyone who wants to avoid kitchen spills, bbq stains, gardening stains, and anything else that might mess up clothing.

    Thanks for writing your blog—wonderful to read !!

  • Twinmomtoo:

    I had that same stinkin problem! lol I noticed it expecially when I wear one of my bigger belt buckles. I know only wear the belts on a date night, and wear an apron in the house as well. It is a chore keeping up with the 2 yr old twincesses and the new baby without having to worry about wrecking more clothes. I noticed that the “smock” type work out best for me at the moment with spit up moments. If you have a pattern please share it!

  • I just discovered this blog looking for a homemade camera strap (going to be doing soon) and I’m spending way too much time here. It’s so sweet. Where do you get those beautiful fabrics? I’m a passionate cook over on my blog, but I also love to sew when my little ones aren’t around. I’ve got four to tend to so my leisure sewing has been on the back burner. I used to make handbags and totes, but lost my passion. You may get me going again since one is off to preschool in the fall!

  • Kaeley:

    After I made the camera strap from an earlier post on your blog, I have not been able to leave!! This post cracked me up as my mom and I have been bonding and struggling over these little holes for years now. I am eager to try this apron pattern (although I did find one from my grandmother’s collection of patterns from the ’50′s after she passed away) and see if I can save some of my favorite shirts without having to wear sweatpants with them! Thank you!

  • Trish:

    LOVE YOUR SITE!!! I too had found holes in my clothes. They appeared after we built our new house. I thought I had moths. I thought it was the button on my jeans, so I started wearing an apron. Mutch to my surpise it also happend to the apron, which was made out of duck cloth. I finally figured out it is was coming from leaning on against the counter while I washed dishes. We have tile counters. Still happens, but at least now to the apron and not my clothes!!

  • michelle:

    This happens when the fibers in the fabric break from being rubbed or pinched between the counter and a button, snap or buckle. If it happens to you, your waist is probably the same height as the counter and you’re leaning while you work. I wonder if padding the button or snap would help? I haven’t tried it, but would be interested to know how to do it and if it works.

  • Lana:

    I am so stinkin short that my waist wishes it could reach the counter when I am washing dishes! I used to wear aprons all the time just for the pockets alone (and I have an apron addiction lol)but I had gotten away from it in years past. Time to dig them out and start using them again! How did I forget that? Thanks for the reminder and I am really enjoying your site today…thanks for a nice mmorning reading.

  • I’ve been getting those little holes for years and was knockiny my brain trying to figure out what was causing them. I thought maybe I had moths somewhere but then wondered why the holes were only in the stomach area. I even cleaned out all my drawers and painted my closest. Still getting them. Guess I’ll need to make one of the aprons. I’m going to print out the pattern right now. Thanks, I thought I was the only one with that problem.

  • Sharrieboberry:

    I wear an apron quite often. And those pesky holes? I had been blaming them on a trip in the dryer.

    But the counter does seem to be the culprit.

  • Trish:

    what happens, though, when your apron wears out in front? I made some adorable aprons using quilt cotton as recommended by a lot of sewers but they are wearing out and getting holes where they rub against the counter! After only a dozen times of wearing them. I guess I should use more durable fabric but then it gets expensive and no pretty fabrics.

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