Sunday, July 31, 2011

15 Ways to Use an Apron

The fabric pictured above is Home Ec from Michael Miller Fabrics LLC.    If this fabric doesn't excite your inner Suzy Homemaker or Betty Crocker, I don't know what will!  I discovered this buried treasure while participating in the Etsy Baby Boomer Team's De-Stash Challenge.  I made a cute half apron from this fabric about three years ago, and I believe I have enough, if carefully cut, to make two or three more. The scale of the print is too large for potholders or oven mitts, but I decided it would be perfect for half aprons, or perhaps, to cover a 3-ring binder to use as a recipe keeper.


 I rarely wear aprons now, but I don't remember any everyday occasions when my grandmothers didn't wear full aprons trimmed with bias tape or rickrack, very similar to the one shown in above with the heart pocket and red rickrack trim.  My first 4-H sewing project was a drawstring half apron made of mint green and white checked gingham.  I graduated to a gathered apron the following year.


My dear Aunt Jan recently forwarded me an email from an anonymous author reminiscing about the many uses our mothers and grandmothers found for aprons, paraphrased below:

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath.  Because she only had a few dresses, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material (fabric).  But aprons also had other uses: 

                A potholder for removing hot pans from the oven;

                Drying children's tears;

                Cleaning out dirty ears;

                Carrying eggs from the chicken coop;

                Bringing in kindling wood (we burned corn cobs in an old stove near our "modern" stove);

                Carrying vegetables in from the garden;

                Collecting pods while shelling peas;

                Picking up apples that had fallen from trees;


                Waving it like a flag to summon men and children to dinner (lunch) or supper (dinner);


I'd add to that list of apron uses; bringing in laundry from the clothesline, or collecting clothespins, serving as a hand towel, and shooing away pests.  Aprons often had pockets, where a pretty hanky was kept.


If you'd like to find a pattern for a vintage apron like the ones shown above, here are some links from Miss Betty's Attic on Etsy:

For a 21st century-style vendor apron with zipper pockets and key fob, check out Lauren's Vendor Apron PDF pattern:


Aprons have been making a comeback.  The number of responses to my search for "apron" on Etsy on July 30, 2011: 33,491!   The new aprons tend to be cute and flirty or super-functional.  Here are links to some of my favorite Etsy apron makers:  (vendor aprons with extra bells and whistles)   (vendor aprons with practical pockets)  (fancy, flirty aprons)   


LeAnn aka pasqueflower


  1. I need to get one! I have 2 jobs with a 2 hour lunch in between them where I scurry around getting a bunch of housework and cooking done and I'm always messing up my "office" clothes. An apron is the answer for me, I can plainly see! Thanks for the links!

  2. Aprons are making a comeback. If you check out patterns in the fabric stores there are tons of patterns, some may even be vintage.

  3. That vintage fabric is pretty awesome. You should totally make a few more aprons out of it and list them.

  4. This is a great post, LeAnn! I have several vintage aprons tucked in my dining hutch drawer. I just couldn't resist buying them!!

  5. Great fabric! It does take me back a few years when I had Home Ec.. I was a 4-H'er too and we sewed all sorts of things. I loved planning the exhibit for fair time.