Group Project: Shop Apron

So Adam Savage just posted this video about how he made his new shop apron.

It is a fairly simple design and is well thought out. We can easily build it at the hackspace. And there must be a ton of people that want them. I found an industrial fabric supplier in town and I will go on monday to get a quote for the wax canvas. Then I will put together a parts list and if there is enough interest, I can do a bulk buy of the snaps loops and rivets, and I will hold workshops on how to put it together.

The estimated cost is between $50 to $80 dollars. This is also a good chance to learn some very functional sewing of belts and straps which is always handy.

Who is interested in one of these puppies. Hazel and I are making some for our selves for sure but figure some people might want to be along for the ride.


As someone who regularly wears shop aprons, take my advise and don’t use a design with a strap that goes around the neck, especially if you are loading up the pockets with tools. Use straps that go over the shoulder and cross at the back. Your neck will thank you. If you are a woodworker or woodturner, you’re going to want flaps over the pockets to keep out the sawdust and shavings.


That is really good advise. I might just add some flaps to mine. What would you add to his apron design or something you have always wanted on an apron?

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HI @yeungx I’d be interested in joining in…

I’ll be at the space today for your screenprinting demo, perhaps we can chat about it then?

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That really depends on what sort of activities you are mainly involved in and what sort of items you want to be carrying in your apron. If I were designing a woodworking apron just for myself I would try to incorporate the following features:

  • The material would have to be sturdy, relatively puncture proof and abrasion resistant but not too stiff. I’ve worn holes in canvas aprons where they rub against the workbench and especially in pockets where certain tools with sharp corners wear through the material.
  • I would design the apron so it came down to just above my knees but was split in the middle with straps going around the legs. (see photo for example)
  • Adjustable shoulder straps that cross at the back and an adjustable waist strap.
  • Padding on the shoulder straps that can be adjusted but doesn’t slide around once adjusted.
  • Use of 1" webbing with adjustable, plastic snap connectors instead of “string” ties for the shoulder and waist straps.
  • Easy to put on and take off. Some aprons, especially with shoulder straps, are a pain to put on.
  • No velcro anywhere. Velcro and sawdust are a bad combination.
  • I find that a lot of aprons have the tall, thin pencil/ruler pockets too high up on the bib so I would lower them a bit and have at least 5 or 6 of them.
  • I never use the hammer loops that so many aprons have so I wouldn’t bother with them.
  • A padded, covered pocket just for my phone located where it won’t get banged around.
  • A long, thin pocket on the side of one of the legs for a 12" metal rule.
  • A small loop at the inside top of the bib for hanging the apron when not in use.
  • Flaps over all of the pockets with mesh in the bottoms (so sawdust can fall out), except those for pencils.
  • A dedicated holster style holder for my square.
  • A dedicated pocket fitted for my block plane.
  • A dedicated pocket on the bib, with flap, for reading glasses.
  • A metal loop style strip for clipping a tape measure.
  • A hook of some sort on the back of the belt for hanging ear muffs when not in use.
  • My name embroidered on the bib.


Ok, now that I’ve actually watched parts of the video, I really like his shoulder strap and split leg design as well as the side leg pockets. Not crazy about his front apron pockets but his needs are probably a lot different than mine. Other than that, probably one of the best apron designs I’ve seen in a long time.


I have not too much need for a shop apron, but have been looking for an excuse / workshop / group build to get me sorted on sewing. This looks as good an excuse as any – thanks for leading charge @yeungx

Ok went fabric shopping

Found this place on the internet for industral fabric wholesale.

It is a great place, pretty much a warehouse of fabrics

They did not have wax canvas. The local wax canvas maker went out of business 3 years ago and you can order some on the internet but it will be expensive.

They did recommend this coated nylon material

It looks good and is pretty water resistant.

I also went to fabric land not an unrelated project and found that they have their outdoor fabric is having a out of season sale. We found some heavy duty vinyl back canvas for $6 per meter. It is super cheap, might be a little too cheap. We still like the nylon ones better, but we got some just to make a test apron to see how it feels on the body. We also got a cost of the buckles and d rings and stuff. They are about 1 dollar per piece, so it would come out to about $6 for the entire Apron.

There is a few more details to be worked out but, all in all, we are looking at around $30 per apron to be safe. I will also be asking for a 10 dollar donation to the hackspace to buy random sewing odds and ends such as threads and needles and stuff to keep the hackspace top up with sewing supplies.


Are you interested?

  • I want to make one
  • I want to buy one
  • Cool project but no Apron for me :slight_smile:

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Thanks for organizing this Yeung! Count me in to make one please!

Ok Sorry about the delay, was putting in work for the metal shop but there has been progress on the apron. First we have a prototype.

This was made with outdoor fabric for like deck chairs. Super cheap, I thought it would be a little rough but it feels fine once you wear it.

But i also investigated the leather strap stays at the back. This is my first time working with leather so I am excited. I went to tendy leather in surry.

They were super helpful and help me picked out some basics. you can get belly leather for $25 bucks for like a huge chunk. I also bought some leather dye and finish.

I created a rough design on the laser just to get a feel for how it should be placed. The holes were cut a little too big so it did not have as much grip as i wanted. Will revise for the next version.

Last but not least, I used the leather dye. It is an oil based dye and i got the color saddle tan. The application was really easy, and it looks great. Just rub on for 20 min and rub off the excess. Then apply a layer for leather finish to protect for dust. oh I also laser etched the hackspace logo, cause why not.

The thing that is left to do is source the buckles that are needed and we should be ready to go. Thank you all for your patience.


So I went back to fabric time to buy some clips. Although online they showed they had a wide selection of clips, when I got there, their selection was super limited. Apparently Covid has made it almost impossible to get plastic parts out of China cause all of production went towards making PPE. They only had 1 inch clips so that is what we will be using. Now we have 100 clips for all of your strap and bag making needs.

This means I have sourced all of the parts needed to make the shop apron. YAY. A few loose end to clear up and I should be ready. Shop Aprons for everyone :slight_smile: