Sunday, July 23, 2017

My favorite things 30

One Christmas many years ago, I opened this gift from my mother:

A bunch of aprons that had been accumulating in her house for decades, many of them made by the same person (I suspect it was my Aunt Freda) and probably multi-gifted to me and my sister.  I was thrilled!  What a madeleine of remembrance of time past!  Time when people wore fancy half-aprons to cover up a nice dress (although these aren't fancy enough for a REALLY nice dress)!  Time when people wore nice dresses while cooking and serving dinner!  Time when gingham was 100% cotton!

With the exception of the no-frills pink apron at left, all of the others show quite a bit of clever handwork and design -- the trim element also was functional.

The two print aprons are made in gores, and each gore is faced with the solid pink, with the facing turned to the front and hemmed -- finish and trim all in one step!  And if you're of a certain age, you will remember when "hot pink" was the trendiest, daring-est color you could wear.  (It was my favorite color for a long time.)

The two made with the small-scale gingham feature cross stitch as, again, both trim and finish.  The row of stitching up from the hem also held the hem in place.  On the red apron, the stitching on the waistband also secured the pleats.

The ones made with the large-scale gingham were cut on the bias, and the cross stitches at the waist acted as smocking to release fullness.  And after you turned your narrow hem to the front, a row of rickrack, secured with hand stitching, also sewed the hem in place.

The red apron shows the most signs of wear -- the black stitches on the pocket are worn away in many places.  This was my mother's apron, and I remember her wearing it a lot.  The ones that I think belonged to me and my sister are in much better shape.  I don't think we ever shirked our kitchen chores, but we are of the generation that started shirking the aprons.  Today I'd be amazed to meet women under 35 with aprons in their regular clothes rotation, and I'd bet real money that if there were any, their aprons wouldn't be cross-stitched gingham.


  1. My first sewing experience was learning to sew a cross-stitiched gingham apron at school with the nuns! This picture brought all those memories flooding back.

  2. My grandmother wore a starched fresh apron everyday--over her starched fresh dress. she cooked, gardened and washed clothes (wringer washer) in these clothes.
    the aprons she wore were the "bib" kind and she made them herself on a treadle Singer. What I wouldn't give to own just one of them. She died when I was living hundreds of miles away and the aprons were all tossed out. When my dad asked if I wanted any of her things--I said, Oh, yes her aprons. Got her best dishes instead.

  3. Love to see those aprons. I have a couple sitting in the kitchen drawer right now. My mother had many made by our friend and neighbour, A Dutch lady, who was a fine needlewoman. I feel they are more decorative than useful – I am a messy cook who requires a bib and thick fabric to keep the juices from seeping through!
    I didn't know cross-stitched aprons was "a style". I just thought that's what our neighbour liked to make.
    Vancouver Barbara

  4. What cheery aprons. I have a very small collection but without the memories your aprons hold.

  5. I love aprons. A few years ago I bought old aprons at a Flea market for 50 cents each. I wish I had bought more...b

  6. I love aprons, but only use the full style with the bib. Too many grease spatters above the waist. I love my longish heavy linen ones the best as they are towel and apron all in one. Wore it to wash dishes, then the rest of the day during washing and light gardening. Amazing how helpful it was. But then, I'm over 35 in years, though not in my head.

  7. Your aprons are so charming!!!!!I love aprons and find them very practical (although my friends kid me about them). Don't know where that comes from as no one in my family ever wore aprons...bibs are best for me. Go Aprons!

  8. I have very vague memories of Mom wearing aprons in the early 60s, but even she gave them up. I do have a couple of the chef-style, that I keep forgetting to pull out and use. I too suspect the only aprons on most of the under-35 crowd are the one or two they made during the recent Mad Men inspired sewing fad.