Monday, July 4, 2011

As American as Apple Pie and Aprons

My daughter has been taking a cake decorating class this summer, and one of the items needed for the class was an apron.  Glory be!  I collected aprons for years, but a few years ago I decided I needed to actually move around  in my sewing room, so I began to clean out and sell some collectibles, old aprons being among them.  I did manage to keep a few that were too dear to my heart to part with.  Anyway, I was  tickled pink to know my daughter was going to be wearing an apron, and she was willing to wear one of my old ones (eek!  could I part with it?).  But I thought it was time she had a brand new one all her own!  So we found some material and went to work sewing.  We had to add the bib to the half apron because the pattern didn't have one.  This is what we came up with:

We later added some big red ric-rac between the skirt and ruffle.
We also made the babies each a little half apron, because they sure love to help Mom and Grammy cook!

Oh how aprons bring back the memories!  There's just something so homey about an old apron, so much history in a little piece of cloth.  My sister sent me this little "apron story," and as I read it, the memories of my grandmother started flooding my mind.  They could have written this story about her! 

The History of Aprons
I don't think our kids know what an apron is.  The principle 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 aprons used less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.  It was wonderful for drying children's 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.  And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her  arms (when the weather was hot, it was used as a fan).  Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen 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 summer, the apron was used to bring in peaches that were ripe on the trees. 
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.

As we celebrate our country's independence, let's also remember all the Grandmas out there who worked hard alongside the men to help make this country great; who doled out strength, understanding, love, and spiritual guidance (and many of those scrumptious apple pies)  from behind those work-worn pieces of cloth. 

I'm sure most "baby-boomers" have a picture in their mind of someone they love wearing one of those simple little coverings.  If the memories come and you have a minute, won't you share your favorite apron memory with us?  


  1. What a delightful post. I love the apron history. I was at my mother's this week and opened a drawer full of aprons. You have a beautiful blog here--so happy I found you in my wandering around the webb.

    I hope your week is full of sunshine and joy,

  2. Love that pattern and the beautiful apron you made. LOVE IT! :O)

  3. Terrific post! I have a few vintage aprons and remember my mom's "apron drawer" where my sister and I would pull them out to wear for dress-up skirts! Love the vintage pattern!
    Miss Kathy

  4. The apron you made for your daughter is fabulous! She must have been delighted when she saw the finished product. I'll bet it was a hit with her class too! I looove vintage aprons too, I've had some cuties, but ended up selling many of them in my antique space. Boy we do have a lot in common! I have a couple of childrens aprons hanging off my Granddaughters little cupboard, that I'll never part with! Thanks for sharing, (love the pattern too)! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs