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!

Aprons, Part 1

April 23rd, 2012

We’ve been here in our new home for nearly four months now, yet still have mountains of boxes to open and sort. You’d think it would be easy since our last 10 years were spent in a garret. I mean, how much stuff can you fit in 250 square feet? You’d be surprised. Add to that the contents of my mother’s attic, including boxes and boxes of lavish wedding presents we couldn’t squeeze into our apartment so never got to use (think stainless fondue service for eight and imported Italian pasta maker), plus a number of treasured heirlooms from my maternal grandmother, a few from the paternal side, and you’ve got a pretty big pile.

Oldest Apron

A day or two ago I ran into a lifetime supply of aprons from my grandmother. Counting handful I already owned, I think I’ve now got about 20. And I plan to wear them. Well, some of them. This one, for example, is both too fragile and too special to risk soiling. First of all, it’s handmade. Machine sewn, but the tension is a bit wonky in places making it less than durable. The material is also rather weak. Notice the tear on the left side (your right as you look at the picture).

But more importantly, according to the note I found in the pocket, it was made for my grandmother by her mother-in-law, my great grandmother.

Apron Note

I’ll share more vintage aprons, from the 40s through the 70s, in coming posts.

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