Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Yard or Less of Fabric

I sew alot. My vintage sewing machines have thousands and thousands of miles on them. They are my trusty steeds.

The main focus of my sewing efforts are aprons. I was so happy to see them make a comeback because my grandmother and mom my always wore aprons. My grandmother's apron was utilitarian. My mom had a workhorse apron in the kitchen but I distinctly remember her changing just before guests arrived. She'd don a fancy hostess apron.

These aprons were made of dressy fabrics such as voile or netting and were more of a fashion accessory than clothing protection.

Aprons are symbols of nurturing, sustenance, love and the solid base that is a home.

My friend sent me the following piece, knowing my love for aprons, both new and vintage. I do not know the author, but I wanted to share it nonetheless.

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I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and the used less material. But, along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying childrens tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.


When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

When the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot stove.


Chips and kindling wood were brought into the house in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had falled from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dush in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out on the porch, waved her apron and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields for dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace the old-time apron that served so many purposes.

Did you cringe a little bit at some of these uses? Did you think about how many germs were on that apron?

Well, I can tell you I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.

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Did this piece bring back some memories for you? It did for me and not just of my grandmother but also my mom and my aunts. I'm grateful for alll the wonderful, strong and talented women in my life.

My aunt in the panhandle of Florida cooked fabulous meals on a wood cookstove, bringing in the wood and kindling in her apron. She didn't even have electricity!

Florida panhandle - Circa 1953

My other aunt was horrible crippled by a virulent form of arthritis and yet she'd don her apron, make butter in a glass jar churn and cook a huge midday meal for all the farm hands.

Here's to the apron and what it represents.


Vee said...

My country grandmother wore and apron and I can well imagine it's being put to good use that way. I have a picture of her wearing her apron...a full one. My other grandmother and my mother never wore an apron. I, on the other hand, have always worn aprons because I make such messes in the kitchen. My aunt and uncle caught me wearing yours the other day and commented how sweet it is.

Is this your apron stash? I love it! Have you ever tried the chicken scratch embroidery for aprons? It remains on my list of things to try.

Anonymous said...

Why did they go out of style? Such useful items. I remember them well as described.

Lisa D. said...

I stayed with my parents last week and my mom and I were talking about aprons. She was remembering all the cooking and cleaning and canning and laundry of life on the farm. Aprons were essential. The laundry, done by hand, and ironing, with an iron heated on the woodstove. None of the lovely lightweight, easy to wash, no-iron fabric of today.
She remembered her grandma's big apron, and a fresh clean one always close at hand to put on if company showed up at the door. I think my daughters and I will get out our aprons and bake cookies today :).

Sally said...

I also always wear an apron when cooking or cleaning. My daughter-in-law wears aprons as well. They may not be the norm but they are still used. Aprons keep you clean and also have good memories attached to them.

Harriet said...

I love and wear aprons. My dear sister sent me one of yours...I love it. Aprons, although a purely utilitarian piece, not only protect clothing--but--make memories too. Amazing.

Tess said...

I volunteered at the high school the other day, serving 250 teachers/staff lunch. I strapped on my apron and one of the other girls rolled her eyes. Darlin', I was serving the BBQ and would rather not wear it.

Taryn said...

Love it. That first apron picture reminds me of my grandmother's aprons. She made them herself and did the stitching on them. Thanks for the memories.

Crafting Marfa said...

I love what your friend sent you about aprons. My grandma used to wear aprons and I love them. My mom, however, never wears them. My grandma lived in the country (in Cuba) and I think that her genes went past my mother and directly into me.

My mom is telling me that my grandma had an aunt that always wore aprons that my grandma would make for her. The aprons had pockets and my grandma's aunt would keep her keys, her cigarettes and candy in the pockets. Funny, although she never wears aprons, my mom has lots of fond memories of my grandma and other ladies in the family using aprons.

Anonymous said...

That was wonderful. Brought back many memories!