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Aprons: The Garment of the Domestic Vocation

           

LINKS:  Why We Love ApronsFlirty Aprons - Girly Aprons  -  Apron Patterns for You to Make - Fabrics and Finishers

Perhaps my favorite photo of my mother (which, of course, I can't find right now) shows her standing in front of a stove wearing an overall apron dress and holding a cookbook for modern housewives. I don’t know what she was preparing, but she is smiling at my father who is behind the camera, and he, no doubt was smiling back at her.

Aside from the sentimental aspect of the image, the element that most captures my attention is the apron. A utilitarian garment, it is a symbol of femininity that resonates with love and nurturing.  As much as a habit is a symbol of a nun's vocation, so too is the apron a symbol of the domestic vocation.

All of us who lived before the “feminist revolution” hold lingering memories of mothers, grandmothers, aunts and big sisters who wore aprons.   

I remember my Aunt Josephine in a long homespun apron, striding out into a perfect, dew glistened Blue Mountain morning, flinging feed to the chickens from a galvanized pail and expertly shooing away the too exuberant rooster with a snap of her apron skirt. Once they were all engrossed in fighting over breakfast, the skirt was gathered up in one hand while the other deftly collected eggs for breakfast and market. I was amazed at how quickly she worked without breaking a single egg.  

On another farm, in another state, Aunt Stella, plucked jewel-toned plums from low hanging branches into the skirt of her generous apron, as a late summertime pleasure for her adoring young visitor.   

My Grandmother Adela, who we called Babcia, didn’t speak a word of English. Wearing her well worn flowered bib apron in the kitchen of a tenement apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, puffs of flour and powdered sugar flew across the enameled kitchen tabletop to prepare the paper thin chruschiki pastry bows that she made as a special crunchy treat for our visits together.

Deep inside our linen closet was where my mother kept her own collection of aprons. Some were flowered, some were hand embroidered and all had generous pockets that sometimes held a forgotten handkerchief. These were the garments she wore at the ringer washing machine in the basement, while dusting the bookshelves and knick knacks in our home, while making a chicken for Sunday dinner or mixing bubbling hot current jam. There were others with velvet ties and floating organdy overlays that were saved for holidays and entertaining. To my child’s eyes, they were perhaps more elegant than a Hollywood evening gown.  

I remember watching my three older sisters practice the sewing skills they learned in home economics class with the basic first lesson on how to make an apron. Neat rows of rickrack edging in complementary colors lined the hems and edges of the pockets. One day, I thought, it would be my turn, but that turn never came as the whirlwind of the feminism swept away the archaic idea of aprons. 

A decade – or two – or three – passed and I rediscovered aprons. This time it was in the deep recesses of the linen closets of strangers. While indulging my passion for digging out old Catholic treasures at estate sales, I came across reminders of a time when women showed their love through service to their families, by cooking, cleaning, hanging laundry, and being pretty for their husbands while wearing that completely modest and utterly feminine garment, the apron.  Sometimes tucked away inside a pocket, I'd find a pretty hankie. I couldn't help wonder if it was used to dry a child's eyes or runny nose or perhaps wipe away the woman's own tears. Although the women who wore them were long gone, and these little bits of fabric didn’t utter a word, they spoke volumes about love, laughter, the smell of apples and cinnamon and a time when being “just a housewife” was an exalted position, a treasured vocation. 

These last few years, I’ve enjoyed wearing aprons. In the garden, I gather up the skirt in one hand to collect fresh green beans for dinner. In the kitchen, after canning fruits and vegetables in the heat of summer, I sometimes forget to take them off before I visit with neighbors. Every time I “tie one on” I think of the wonderful women in aprons who shared their love at potluck dinners, who were Martha while others chose the place of Mary, and I feel connected to the essence of what it is to be a woman in a Christian home.

This year presents a time of difficult transition for women who have unwillingly laid aside their power suits and briefcases as jobs disappear. God permits all things for the greater good of our souls and we all must view this era as a time of blessing when many are forced into simpler existences that are more connected to Church, to family and home. It is a time to realize that the  mindset and trappings of professions that have evaporated with a false economy offer the opportunity to rediscover the apron and the joys of a vocation to the domestic life.

Perhaps this article will lead you to rediscover the vintage aprons tucked away in your mother's or grandmother's cedar chest. Maybe you'll be inspired to make or buy one for a daughter, a sister, a friend, a new bride. Maybe you need a new way to earn a living. Aprons are making a huge comeback - and hand-crafted items are big sellers at fairs and online venues. I've provided some links to help you find some wonderful patterns.

Or best yet, just tie one on yourself. I think you'll be surprised at the reaction of your husband and children. They'll get that warm feeling that you remember from your own mother as she carried out the duties of her domestic vocation.

www.FlirtyAprons.com             Flirty Aprons: Look Cute and Feel Great

Coupon Code             40% Off Mother's Day Sale Code FA-4110.

Flirty Aprons has a nice philosophy about aprons. You should look cute and feel great when you wear them. Two basic styles in several color selections. They're well made and will last a long time.

Look for sales and coupon codes here.

Just Like Mama

Little girls who like to cook with mom, play dress-up, do crafts, or clean up around the house will love these darling children's aprons and you'll love keeping her clothes clean.

www.FlirtyAprons.com

A happy family starts with a good marriage and that means pampering your husband. Sparking some romance in your relationship will help strengthen it. Showing your loved one that they are worth the effort makes a big impact. Whether you want to make a nice romantic dinner for an anniversary, for Valentine's Day or just because...it's a nice gesture that can make your spouse feel special. Dressing up for a romantic evening for two can be even flirtier if you wear a pretty apron while preparing dinner.

Making a romantic dinner involves more than just serving food by candlelight. You want to create a romantic setting for the whole house or apartment to make the evening extra special.

Get a baby sitter for the whole night so you can relax for the evening.

Clean the whole house. Nothing spoils the ambience and mood like clutter. Prepare the house over a few days in advance so you won't feel rushed.

Prepare the meal early and choose something that can be made ahead of time or that is impressive but low maintenance. Make a dish you know your spouse or date will love and that you will ace so that there is no chance of a flop.

Soft lights can make a big difference in the ambience of a room. If you have dimmer switches, turning everything to low will create a great setting. If you don't, consider using candles.

Scents are important to a romantic dinner. If dinner isn't an aroma filling the room, consider some soft scented candles. Be sure the scent isn't overpowering though. Don't forget your own scent. Delicious scents should fill the air so go for natural scents like vanilla, cinnamon and musk which can work really well and will be unlikely to clash with the scents of your meal. Don't forget a luscious dessert.

     Girly Aprons
The Girly Aprons signature brand features pretty solid tops with a decorative skirt. Lots of colors and designs to choose from. You can  customize them with one or two lines of text.

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The Apron Elegance Collection packaged in gift boxes with a color photo of the apron, a recipe, hanger and a beautiful bow. Pair with a family recipe or cookbook for a personal and practical gift that has lasting value. Comes in children's sizes, too. Below is chocolate terry cloth with cupcake print detailing.

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Kaydee Designs feature contemporary prints paired in a variety of frilly feminine styles that include multi-ruffles and single flounce. They're so pretty you might be tempted to wear them to the market! Real husband pleasers.

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Jessie Steele Hostess Aprons have been featured on lots of television programs -- and with good reason. They're elegant enough to wear at dinner parties or for an intimate dinner with your husband.

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Jessie Steele has captured the flavor of 1950s and 1960s vintage aprons in new designs with fresh contemporary prints. Many are available in half apron styles and some come with matching dish cloth!

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Cupcake Provocateur is an delightful form fitting apron with alternating panels of cupcakes and sprinkles. An irresistible hostess apron that almost looks like a sun dress.

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Aprons to Make

Making an apron was traditionally one of the first projects that introduced a girl to the needle arts. Crafting this simple garment prepared her for a vocation in the domestic arts. Today the act of making an apron returns us to the values and traditions of the Christian home. It is a way for mother and daughter to share time together on a worthwhile project. Your daughter will take pride in her apron -- the the tasks she will perform in it from cooking to dusting. An apron is a wonderful gift for your mother, your sister, your best friend or a new bride - and one that they will treasure. It is a thrifty way to use up scraps of fabric or to bring an old dress into new use. You can also introduce apron making into a church sewing circle. If you have the time, aprons are big sellers at fairs and bazaars and a way to earn some money during these hard times. Everyone loves aprons! We hope you enjoy this selection of patterns.
Bloomin' Apron Pattern So very pretty. This one adds coordinating appliqué flowers. Includes Ladies sizes X-Small to Large, Child size and bonus Doll size.

Click here

Church Ladies' Apron Pattern. My favorite! A style commonly worn by ladies serving food in church basements. This pattern updates the style and adds modern, common sense details like double or single pockets sewn at a slant so it's easy to get your hands inside.

Click here

Two Patterns in One!

Polka Dot Pantry and Picket Fence from The Apron Lady feature deep pockets.

Includes sizes S M L XL

Now on Clearance.

Click here

The Worker Bee Apron Pattern  Use heavy weight fabric like denim, or canvas for this sturdy apron that is made to work.  Great for the garden, for housework or crafts. Expandable top pocket and three compartment bottom pocket. Make one for Dad.

Click here

Chatterbox Apron Pattern by Mary Mulari is inspired by a vintage apron and has a sweet heart neckline and umbrella hemline. Two deep pockets and plenty of space on the front to personalize with your own designs.

Click here

Flirty Skirty Apron From The Apron Lady features two pockets and panels that flatter with an old style "Hollywood Waistline". Pattern comes with S M L

Click here

See Little Flirty Skirty for a Mommy and Me set

 Click here

Blue Plate Special Apron Pattern from Paisley Pincushion  How cute is this? A truly  feminine look for the kitchen. This pattern contains all sizes. Includes instructions and diagrams to help you create this sweet kitchen garment

Click here

Clothespin Apron Pattern. A must-have chore apron for every housewife! Features a row of storage pockets for clothespins, garden produce, cleaning supplies, tools, and quilt/craft supplies. Quick and easy.

Click here

Spring Fling from The Apron Lady features a bouncy skirt with lace up in the back. So pretty you can wear it as an everyday layer. Terrific in cotton, corduroy or your choice of fabric. S M L

Click here

Busy Bias Apron Pattern This charming and comfortable apron design uses only 2 fabrics and rick rack to make a sturdy reversible apron for chore time! This apron is cut on the bias, so it tends to ease a bit for a great fit.

Click here

Hot Dish Apron Pattern Reversible Quick and easy-to-sew, this apron is shown with a v-neck, with trim, hook and loop neck strap closure, waist ties, and pockets on either side and room to gather up garden produce or toys from the floor.

Click here

Very Vintage from The Apron Lady. Make it today, wear it tonight. A beautiful apron that you won't want to take off. make it as romantic, retro or trendy as you want.  Features a pretty scalloped overlay. One size fits all.

Click here

Delicious Four Corners Apron Pattern. Make this beautiful garment with jelly roll fabric or any of your scraps for a unique and functional apron. A great project for quilting clubs.

Click here

Apple Cobbler Apron Pattern by Mary Muliari Dedicated to the honor the "lunch ladies" who prepare and serve food in cafeterias Quick and easy-to-sew, this apron is an over-the-head "tunic" with a pointed bottom perfect for gathering in the garden

Click here

Sweet Scallops from The Apron Lady. Features a dainty scalloped bodice and hem. You can also make it as a half apron. Includes S M L XL

Click here

Four Corners Apron Pattern. Quick and easy for the beginner but clever enough to appeal to all sewers. These aprons feature a coordinating neck strap, ties, pocket and bottom and top trim. This is a very comfortable and flattering apron.

Click here

No Strings Apron by Mary Mulari. Clever reversible apron made from two-1 yard pieces of fabric. Inspired by an old apron with no pockets this jumper look apron now has three and features adjustable back bands that overlap and close with hook & loop tape.

Click here

French Flea Market Apron from Busy Bee Designs  Create this tri-level half apron to wear for work and just because it's so pretty. You'll enjoy picking your favorite fabric choices and colors. This style is easy to sew and fun to wear!

Click here

Absolutely Apron  Easy to make. These two-pocket aprons will help you look stylish in the kitchen. Use absolutely any fabric combination to make it match your personality!

Click here

Wrap Front Apron Pattern It's reversible with two fabric prints  Quick and easy to sew, it has ties for closure which can be made of ribbons if desired. Great protection while cleaning up, feeding baby or doing crafts. Two roomy pockets on either side.

Click here

The Lola Apron Pattern Bring a flirty, retro flair to your kitschy kitchen with the vintage inspired apron. With a halter-style neckline, and a petal-panel skirt, you'll look like June Cleaver. Cute little circular pockets, too. Make one for your little girl!

Click here

Flouncy Little Apron Pattern by Cabbage Rose An easy bib-style apron with rounded edges and a smart little ruffle at the neck and a pocket on the right. Not your everyday, run of the mill, apron. A little retro, a little contemporary but a lot of coverage

Click here

Broadway Barbecue Apron Pattern For the fashion conscious host and hostess. His and Hers pattern. Hers has a yoke with pleated bodice and skirt patch pockets, while his bib-style apron resembles a tuxedo shirt, with pleats and even a bow tie, over a solid lower half with side pockets.

Click here

The Lilly Apron Pattern from Busy Bee  This perky little apron with shoulder straps, ties at the bust line, and could work equally well as a top, for nursing mothers or wearing at home. Pattern lends itself perfectly to today's fabrics like large scale florals and graphics.

Click here

Klassy Kitchen Apron Pattern with Extras  Don't miss this one - it's now on sale. Includes an apron, placemat with pocket, oven mitt, pockets hanger for  utensils/tools and a gift bag. A Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Master Mix, to bag up and put in the gift bag, is also added.

Click here

Mixing Bowl Beauties You can truly mix it up with this apron pattern, with so many options from which to choose. Pocket options, skirt length and "style" and then there's the face that it has a detachable bib that you can have loads of fun with, wear it plain or create a piece block - a thrifty way to use up fabric.

Click here

The Emmeline Apron Pattern Modern, stylish and easy to sew, the apron pattern that you've been waiting for. Empire style, with its waist band right under the bust line can be tied in front or back, halter-style neck strap. Darts under the bust line give this, one-size-fits-most, apron a flattering shape

Click here

The Marilyn Apron Pattern  Inspired by that White, halter-top, dress that Marilyn wore as she walked over that infamous grate n the sidewalk. Shown in 3 skirt lengths, 14", 21" and 29", with 2 waistband options and 3 different pocket choices

Click here

Mother Daughter Tea Party Apron Pattern  Dressing up will be so much fun in these ruffled, mother-daughter aprons. Designed for after the work is done and its time to show off for that special occasion. Easy to make, too!

Click here

Favorite Apron Pattern from Nellie's Needle  This apron has a full gathered skirt with pocket and straps that cross and button in the back. This one is so feminine. Great for everyday use or special occasions.

Click here

Sweet Temptations Apron Pattern  Even bib-style aprons can be stylish as this pattern proves. With its halter-like top and low tie waistline it is equally at home in the kitchen, in the potting shed, maybe to the grocery store, or worn just as a fashion statement around the house!

Click here

Sunday Dinner Apron Pattern  This halter-top apron is totally modern Varied fabric options and figure fitting style! The pockets   completes it's trendy theme.  2 versions. One has the bodice and pocket insides match and the other has waistband and pocket insides match.

Click here

Pocket Apron Pattern This four-pocket apron is for anyone wanting to organize their daily tasks. Great for hair dresses, seamstresses, crafters, gardeners, nurses, school teachers, home makers, store clerks, waitresses, vendors, etc. This pattern includes a child size, perfect for a mother-daughter project

Click here

Two for Tea Apron Pattern  Retro style from the 1940's brought up to date for today's hostess. Choose from 2 lengths, a long bib style and short half apron, each with pointed hem.

Click here

Friday Night Apron After a long and hard work week treat your husband to a very girly you in this pretty figure flattering halter top apron on Friday night. He'll really say TGIF for the gift God gave him in a wonderful wife. Sizes 4 to 14

Click here

Pretty in Pleats Apron Pattern  Be the "hostess with the mostest", aprons that is. Join the other women who have discovered this retro fashion statement, and are reviving the wearing of these must haves of years gone by. Fashion and practicality all in one with your choice of options.

Click here

Fabrics and Finishing Touches

Rainbow Rick Rack - Hard to find and rainbow hue are impossible! Just the finishing touch for a festive apron Click here

Sweet Iron On Appliqués add a personal touch. Choose letters, flowers, angels or anything you like - even rhinestones!

Click here

Bright and Cheery Buttons add a fun and functional element to any apron.

 Click here

Fabric.com is one of my favorite places to find interesting fabric and notions that are cheap, cheap, cheap. Currently they're having a sale on embroidered organza which is just perfect for a dress up apron.

Fabric.com Coupon Corner

Touch of Europe

 

Our new partner - has magnificent vintage European fabrics and edging. Click the Link Above and Scroll down to see the vintage selection. 

A sampling of what you'll find:

 

Lace edging in quantity

Just right for a special apron.

Lots of other edging too

Vintage French Alsace Redwork Linens to add into your apron. Redwork is a term applied to a very simple linear style of embroidery done with red floss.

Vintage German Bluework Linens. Bluework has graced European and American linens since the early 20th century and is an offshoot of the Victorian era Redwork. Vintage French towels of cotton, linen or a blend of both are perfect for homespun aprons Over-Towels were once used throughout Germany and Holland to cover up everyday objects. Now they can make beautiful aprons! Explore the array of designs.
Mangling Linen - Used to gather together a number of small items to be pressed in a mangle, these withstand high heat and make beautiful aprons Feed and Grain Sacks make a unique fabric setting for any apron, Explore the one-of-a-kind variety and other fabrics Cutters - Little bits of this and that to use as a pretty overlay or a cute pocket. You never know what you'll find.
Feeling Adventurous?

Here's are fun instructions for making an apron from vintage hankies!

Click Here

This pretty Petal Apron is a 1959 design

Click Here for Free Pattern

Love Vintage Aprons? Learn more from veteran Apron Collector Carolyn Ellertson

Click Here

Show us your apron and be entered to win a free pattern!

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