Aprons, Part 5

May 4th, 2012

Since my last apron post, I’ve actually found four more. But I haven’t had a chance to photograph them yet. Besides, I’ve still got plenty to show you from the first batch.

These two seem to be a pair. They’re both semi-sheer cotton, beautifully sewn, with contrast binding and embroidered “flower pot” shaped pockets. I’m guessing 1950s on these based on the material’s condition and the overall design, though there’s a possibility they may be from the 1970s.

White Flower Pot Apron

And the pink one has an extra feature –  my mother’s name was carefully printed on the waistband with a black pen, as though she wore it in a class, or maybe for a girl-scout project. Underneath her name are two illegible figures that look more like the numbers “71″ than anything else. Maybe the aprons were a gift from my mother to my grandmother in 1971? Or do the numbers refer to her class or scout troop?

Pink Flower Pot Apron

The suspense is killing me! Mom, if you’re reading this…call me.

Aprons, Part 4

May 1st, 2012

Here’s another installment from the never-ending supply of aprons. These two are both shades of pink, which may be about all they have in common.

The first is pieced, with a center panel of pale pink flanked by sides, mitered hem, and waistband/ties of a matching pale pink flowered print. There’s even a bit of deeper pink rick rack trim along the slanted pockets and around the center panel.

Pink pieced apron

Like the gingham aprons last week, this one is hard to date. I know it’s not terribly old simply by feeling the fabric. Would it be a cop out to say it’s from the second half of the 20th century?

The second pink apron is decidedly on the older side. I could be persuaded to go as far as the early 1940s based on the item and what I know about my grandmother’s life. It’s a darker pink, and more simply made. All the stitching is machine-done, even the hem, with white thread and teensy tiny stitches. It’s a very close weave cotton and stiff, as though it had been starched many times. The fabric has begun to wear away in spots at the center front, and is a bit faded in some spots and shiny in others.

Apron printed à la disposition

What makes it really splendid though is that the fabric is printed à la disposition. That means it’s printed with a design meant to be incorporated into the garment’s construction, like this decorative faux lace band along the hem for example. Cotton (and perhaps other materials too, though I’ve most often heard of cotton) dresses printed à la disposition were all the rage in the 1850s.

Spinet Desk

April 30th, 2012

I continue to make slow progress, setting up our house. Earlier this week I finally took out this beautiful writing desk, purchased for my grandmother by her parents in 1931. It’s now sitting proudly in the nook looking out of our prettiest bedroom window.

Spinet Desk

The glass ink & pen stand was a present from my mate last year, and the blue stationery I bought for myself at the museum where I used to work. I’ve since added a stash of cream stationery on the right hand shelves, plus more assorted stationery and a pair of silver paper scissors in the bottom drawer. There’s also my grandmother’s stamp box and a matching bowl that must be a pen holder.

Here’s the insignia from inside the drawer:

Spinet Label

It’s called a spinet because of the shape — just like the case of the musical instrument. It was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, less than 200 miles from Detroit, where my grandmother lived at the time.

I haven’t found my pens yet, or the final box of note cards. I still need a blotter — and perhaps a desk blotter as well, since it’s hardly practical to use a dip pen over a white linen dresser scarf.

So, anyone looking for a pen pal?

Aprons, Part 3

April 28th, 2012

Cotton gingham was, and still is, a classic choice for women’s working clothes, including aprons. Originally a striped fabric from the famed Near East cotton regions, it was imported to Europe and eventually manufactured by the English mills, where (according to Wikipedia) it took on a checked pattern.

This pair of gingham aprons is hard to date. I’d put them anywhere from 1950 onwards. Machine-sewn from stiff (aka cheap) cotton or cotton blends, they boast “country” style decorations in keeping with the fabric choice.

Number one is lime green and white, with rows of white rick rack trim attached by hand using green embroidery floss across the hem and pocket.

Gingham Apron with Rick Rack

Number two is lemon yellow with a blue star pattern cross-stitched over the gingham grid. The decoration runs across the hem, the pocket, and the waistband.

Embroidered Gingham Apron

I can imagine wearing one of these as I ring the dinner bell out the back porch, summoning the field hands in to their midday meal. Cooooome annnnnd get it!

Aprons, Part 2

April 25th, 2012

I promised to share more from my new wealth of aprons, so here goes. The two I’ve picked today are fairly new — based on fabric and style I’d guess no earlier than late 1960s, possibly as recent as the 1980s. What makes them particularly useful is that they both incorporate hand towels.

Apron with built in towel

See the little pink towel sewn into the waistband? I’ve been known to shove a towel into the waistband of my apron or even my clothing while I cook. Or else tear the kitchen apart frantically searching for the towel I just put down. What convenience to have one built into your apron!

This next one, which I’ve already worn for a few sessions of housework, takes it a step further.

It IS a towel. With a pretty blue binding and waistband to turn it into an apron. It may not be the most fashionable garment on the face of the earth, but it’s cheerful, cute, and oh so handy to have around your waist!

« Newer Posts Older Posts »