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?

Gingham Gown

May 5th, 2012

After all the careful deliberation over whether to wear the blue velveteen dress or pink ball gown, it turns out I will be singing tonight in purple gingham.

Gingham Gown

This may not strike you as the ideal dress for Lehar’s Merry Widow to wear to the ball, but there’s a very good reason it won out. I finally saw the costumes that everyone else would be wearing (this is a remount of a show from last summer — my singing sweetheart and I are last minute substitutions) and it turns out that of the four other women in the show, three are in gingham skirts. So this was really the best choice for the overall effect in our ensemble numbers.

The one down side is that the ankle-length skirt of this empire-style frock is rather narrow. Too narrow in fact for me to open my legs to play the cello! It was decided that the best remedy is to wear purple tights and simply hike it up over my knees when I play. Not exactly what you’d call a lady-like solution, but oh well.

If you’d care to know, I came by the dress through inheritance. It was sewn by my Aunt Linny when she was in high school. She inherited the sewing gene too, even minoring in fashion design.

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?

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