Shop aprons are not as widely used as in the past. I believe this is related to our modern view on clothing and how it has changed over the past century. Not only are we training less in the trades, our clothes are ridiculously cheap in the modern world. Low prices and availability keeps our incentive to protect them pretty low. As I have reduced my quantity of clothing I have grown to appreciate the humble shop apron more than ever. In the past, my only incentive was for protection when grinding metal or welding but now I begin to understand the real role a good apron can play in the shop.
A good shop apron can cost quite a bit of money ($40 – $100 or more) so I present the above catalog page as a starting point for construction. Heavy canvas or leather are the obvious choices for material. Although heavier, I prefer leather as is it is fireproof and offers some protection against cuts. As for protection, here’s an image I found when looking for designs. It’s from a Navy singlestick exercise. Somehow the design seems familiar.