Tutorial ~ Pleated Apron With Built In Hot Pads

by Destri on February 28, 2010

One of my pet peeves while cooking is not being able to find a hot pad.  My other pet peeve is only being able to find one when I need two.  So I got to thinking….what if I put hot pads on the bottom of my apron?  I tried to add some to an existing apron, but it was not wide enough, or long enough to work.  Then I remembered I had promised a tutorial for an apron you can make with one yard of fabric.  So I found a yard of fabric in my stash and went to work.  I absolutely love the way that it turned out!!  Plus it has hot pads in the bottom corner built in so you can grab that pan off the stove or take your pie out of the oven without having to search for your hot pads….perfect!

This is a simple apron so don’t let all the pictures scare you off!

This makes a size medium apron.  For a size large use a piece slightly larger than a yard and.  You can still use the same pleat measurements.  If you only have a yard and would like it larger, just adjust the pleats!  Easy peasy.

You can use the print button above to print the tutorial. It will let you delete text and photos you don’t need to save on ink!


One yard of fabric,
All your sewing stuff
Insul-Bright insulated lining (or any brand of heat proof lining for use with hot pads)
Coordinating thread

Cut these pieces from your yard of fabric and lining: 

Two 4 x 45 inch pieces
One 20 x 45 inch piece
Two 8 x 8 inch pieces
Two 7 x 7 inch pieces from the lining

You can add another layer of the Insul-Bright to make it more heat proof.  You will want to cut out four pieces of the lining instead of just two. Then stack two together for the first step.  I have found one layer to be plenty!  I have even had a lot of people email me saying they just added white hot pads they had bought, now they’re thinking.  So if you don’t have Insul-Brite, there’s another option!

Start with a 7 inch piece of lining and place on top of the wrong side of an 8 inch fabric piece.

Fold the edges over and sew the lining to the fabric.  Then sew an X through the center as shown.  One side of the lining will be exposed…that’s okay, don’t fret will cover it up later.  Repeat with the other two pieces.


Now press the 2o x 45 inch piece in half with the 20 inch sides together.  This crease will act as a guide.

Lay the piece open on a flat surface with measurements (this is where markings on your ironing board comes in handy), or have something to measure with.  On the 45 inch side that will be the top of the apron, make a mark 6 1/2 inches from the center crease on each side.  Fold each of these marks to line up with the center crease forming a 3 1/4 inch fold on each side and pin.

Four inches from the crease now, forming a box pleat, fold fabric under 1½ inches as shown and pin.  Repeat on the other side.

Now make a another pleat 1 ½ inches from the last one, also folded under 1½ inches as shown, and pin.  Repeat the same process on the opposite side making it mirror image.

Your two box pleats should measure about 4 inches on top.

To check your measurements you can place a ruler under the folds.  At the center where the two box pleats meet it should measure about 3¼ inches as shown.

When placed under the side pleats it should measure about 1½ inches in the fold.  These measurements do not need to be exact, this should just give you an idea if you are on the right track.  Press the pleats.

This is how it should look after you have pressed and pinned.  It helps if you make sure the folds underneath are pinned so when sewing they don’t get folded the wrong way.

Now sew a basting stitch along the top with a ¼ seam allowance, go slowly!  You want to make sure the folds are laying as they should underneath.  Serge or zigzag the edge.

Now fold the other three sides over a ¼ inch and press.  Then fold over ¼ inch again and press for a nice clean edge.

Tuck the hot pads under the folds in the corners and pin, then sew around the three sides.  Make sure you catch the hot pad in the stitch.

Take the 4 x 45 inch pieces and sew two of the short ends with right sides together as shown, making 0ne 90 inch long piece.  Serge or zigzag this edge.

Double fold and press the sides as you did on the body of the apron, and just fold the ends over once and press.

Lay the strap along the top of the apron with the right sides together.  Make sure that the middle seam of the strap is centered with the center of the two box pleats as shown. Unfold the edge that lines up with the top a ¼ inch and pin to secure.

It should look like this after pinned.

Now sew the two together with a ¼ inch seam allowance, just along the top of the skirt.

Then fold the strap up as it will be when finished and sew along the entire perimeter of the strap. You can now pick out the basting stitch that is peaking out.

Fold the ends over and sew as shown.  It will make your ends look pretty.

Last step!  You want to tack the pad to the apron so that it doesn’t want to get all floppy on you.  I tacked mine with a small zig zag stitch, back stitching a few times at the center of the pad.  It wouldn’t hurt to add a little patch of fabric in between the apron and pad where you tack it.  Just a little reinforcement.

**Update** I added a second tack at the top loose corner, or you could use heat-bond. With the second tack you can slip your hand underneath kind of like a glove!

It only leaves a little speck on the front.

You’re done!!!!

Now get cookin’!  If you have a gas stove be sure to hold the apron away from the flames with your other hand.

I used it tonight when I made cookies and it worked like a dream.

You could leave the pads out if you want to, just don’t tell me, it might hurt my feelings ;)  You could also add a top to cover the chest area.  If you do send me some pics…you know I like ‘em!

I searched for this idea every way I could….couldn’t find anything.  Surely I am not the first to think of this?  If I am I’m seriously branding it as ‘The Original Hot Pad Apron’……might be my only claim to fame!

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