Aprons, Part 6

May 20th, 2012

Yes, they are endless. But at least you only have to read about them. I, on the hand…

The aprons featured in this post are both sheer. The first is one of my favorites, of blue dotted Swiss. I have a thing for dotted Swiss. The red rick rack doesn’t hurt either. And check out the shaped waistband and scalloped hem. I’m taking a guess that this one is from the 1950s.

Dotted Swiss Apron

The next one is badly faded, but there are faint remnants of stenciled flowers on the pocket and along the hem.

Sheer Painted Apron

It’s got me stumped as far as age though. Could be as early as the 1940s based on the delicate fabric and fine sewing. What do you think?

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.

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!

Buttonholes, Not So Bad

April 27th, 2012

Have I mentioned how much I detest making buttonholes? However, I think I finally mastered the buttonhole function on my sewing machine. (I’ve had the machine for 15 years…which just goes to show how rarely I give in to the dreaded buttonhole.)


In the course of converting old bedsheets into new shower curtains, I had occasion to sew 24 buttonholes. I took the opportunity to fine tune the settings on my machine. Turns out I need to set the stitch length differently for each leg of the buttonhole. Who knew? I wonder if it was in the machine manual I never bothered to read…

I guess I won’t be so hesitant to include buttonholes in my upcoming projects.

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