Monday, April 12, 2010

The Apron - To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the question.

I tend to be a messy cook.  I'm prone to splash when stirring, splatter flour and wipe my hands on my pants in a pinch when a towel isn't immediately available.  Don't judge - I'm just laying my reality out there for you.  Now that I have begun baking my own bread, I can tend to be a real mess with all of the kneading involved.  I have found a simple, albeit old-fashioned, solution, though...the apron.

I have worn one occasionally for many years.  But, lately, it's a part of my attire on an almost daily basis.  Some women scoff at the idea of wearing an apron - they think of it as a symbol of common housewife bondage.  I don't look at it that way, though.  Maybe, that's because I've embraced my role as keeper of the home.  I find wearing an apron strangely liberating.  That probably has something to do with the fact that I am a messy cook and I'm also in charge of laundry.  Either way, I don't care.  I like to think of the apron as a symbol of my ability to nurture and care for my family and their needs in a way that is lost to many in today's world.  I don't run around like June Cleaver in a dress, pumps and pearls.  Heck, I don't even own pearls.  I'm more of a jeans and tennies type gal.  Although, I do love Crocks and Birkenstocks, too. :0)  And, though, I may or may not be found in make-up on any given day - there's a good chance you'll catch me donning my apron in the kitchen!

So, in honor of my new apron (you'll see it in a minute) - I thought I would share with you today the history of  'Grandma's apron' and the evolution of mine.

The History of Grandma's apron:
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 they 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.

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

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 fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from 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 knew it was time to come in from the fields to eat.

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

REMEMBER: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the windowsill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the windowsill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I doubt anyone ever caught anything from an apron.

Interesting, huh?  Ready to see mine?  OK, let's go!

I made this Christmas apron (in all it's wrinkly self) in 8th grade sewing class.  It may have been the first thing I ever sewed.

See the cute little snow men?

I also made a matching pot holder.  If you look closely, you can see a snow man stitched into it.  Isn't that special?
I gave this set to my Granny once I finished it.  It came back to me after she died almost 8 years ago - although, it's hard to believe it's been that long.  I don't wear this one all that often because it's only a 1/2 apron.  I find I need a bib style to keep me cleanest.  It's also dear to my heart for reasons you can probably figure out.
I picked this one up at a dollar store many years ago when I only wore an apron only occasionally.  It's really too small to be very effective.  But, it was cheap.  This was a classic case of 'You get what you pay for'.
This was a great find and the reason for my current 'apron love'.  I got it at Goodwill (where else?) for $1.99 and it still had the tags on it!  I love it.  It wears like iron - you can't hurt it. I wear it on a nearly daily basis - so much so that I realized it's time I get another one (or 5) that are functional that I can rotate out while the others are being washed.
While I was shopping Friday, I picked up a really pretty bed sheet that I thought would make a lovely apron.  I had every intention on going in JoAnn Fabric and buying a pattern so I can attempt to make one, but decided against a stop at JoAnn's at the last moment that day.  But then...
Look what my best friend showed up at my house with yesterday!
Is this not adorable, or what?  I swear, aprons have not even entered our conversations.  But, she handed it to me and said that her mother-in-law had made it for me.  Made it for me!  I've never even met her mother-in-law.  She lives in Michigan.  She had made my friend one and knew that I am learning to sew, so she decided to make me one, too.  I love that woman!  I can't wait to wear this one.  Don't think I didn't try it on like I was 10 the moment she handed it to me, either!
To me, this gift was another one of those small ways that God gives us the desires of our hearts.  Only he knew of my desire to add another apron to my collection - and, yet, he placed it on the heart of woman whom I've never met to make me one.  It's the small blessings like this that overwhelm me with gratitude and add up to a spectacular, joy filled life.  But, I digress...
That ends my personal apron showcase.  I had fun reading your comments from my "Book Nerd" post - so, I hope you'll play along with me again!  Let's hear it - do you don an apron?

A) Never, ever.  Not in a million years would you catch me in one!
B) I wear one occasionally.
C) June Cleaver's got nothing on me!  I wear one almost daily.
Thanks gals!

Have a great Monday!


  1. Loved your apron showcase! :)

    I am in the category of "I should be wearing an apron daily but instead I walk about with flour all over my pants." ;)

    I have several half aprons that I've picked up at thrift stores and estate sales over the year but I find that when I cook I need a full apron, so I never use them.

    Last month I found some 1940s apron patterns at an estate sale and bought them. I'm so excited to sew some up for me, but had to finish up my daughter's apron first.

    It's the very next "fun" project that I want to sew up!

  2. I wear one occasionally, but only because I only cook messy foods occasionally. Christmas season I wear mine the most! I love to bake that time of year. Mine was a gift from my Mother. It has candies all over it! I also have some from the dollar tree. My kiddos wear aprons as well. We have a stack of them hanging in the pantry.

    One of the reasons I wanted to sew was because of apron photos in a sewing book. I still haven't learned how to operate my machine. *sniff*

  3. My mom just made me an apron a few weeks ago, at a quilting retreat. It was such a thoughtful gift, and something I'd been needing since getting married almost 9 months ago! It does make things so much easier, and I am a constant hand-wiper too. Sometimes that towel on the oven door handle is just too far away! So I end up with icky pants and shirts. You know the drill. :)

    The only thing I don't like about full-coverage aprons is that they always seem to pull on my neck a bit. Any hints to get rid of that?

  4. I like Aprons but do not have one to wear. I think it would take an extra effort to remember to use. I have ruined alot of clothes by cooking in them because I try to clean while I cook and Clorox clean up always fades my clothes. I like your aprons I would love to make homemade bread. Hmm just need more time at home.


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