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Making and Collecting Aprons

Updated on December 28, 2017

Basic Cotton Aprons

Two Aprons from my Collection
Two Aprons from my Collection | Source

Why Collect Aprons?

Aprons are inexpensive, often colorful, and hold fond memories for many of us. Some of my older female relatives were almost never seen at home without an apron on. My generation tended to see aprons as old-fashioned and unnecessary--until we realized their practicla value in the kitchen, art studio, or garden!

Aprons are fun to display as well as collect. I tied two vintage embroidered aprons to a curtain rod for a cute valence over my kitchen window. A family heirloom apron could even be framed for display. Even a pocket preserved from a loved one's apron makes a great addition to a scrapbook.

Aprons have been a part of many traditional ethnic costumes on all the continents, too. Some are practical aprons; Others are embroidered and embellished to be worn only on special occasions.

Aprons in the Fifties Style

The aprons of the 1950s came in an almost infinite variety. Gingham checked aprons showed off a woman's carefully placed cross stitch embroidery. Solid or printed cottons were embellished with rick-rack trim. For special parties, hostesses wore sheer organdy confections with shadow appliqué or satin stitch flowers. I still remember some special organdy aprons my Mom used just for Christmas parties.

You can have fun making your own apron in a fifties style.

Embellishing an apron

For a vintage look, place rick-rack trim over the top stitching line at the hem. Use pins or washable glue stick to baste the trim in place, then top stitch through the center of the rick-rack. Rick-rack flowers are another nice touch; just use these simple instructions.

The more adventurous seamstress can go beyond a simple apron by creating a scalloped hem. Just use these detailed scalloped edge instructions. Another option for the more experienced seamstress is to use sheer organdy or organza fabric to make a reproduction of a vintage hostess apron.

Sew a Basic Apron: No Pattern Required

Supplies for making an apron

An apron is a simple project. Many of us made aprons as a first 4-H sewing project or in home economics class at school. A simple drawstring apron requires one yard of 45-inch wide fabric, two yards of 2-inch wide grosgrain ribbon, sewing thread to match, and a package of rick-rack trim. You will also need chalk or a dressmaker pencil for marking, since this apron requires no pattern-simply measuring and marking.

Cutting and sewing an apron
Lay out pressed, unfolded fabric on cutting table. Cut one rectangle measuring approximately 36 inches by 45 inches. Make narrow hems along the 36-inch edges of apron. Using chalk, mark the rectangle as follows:

1. On one 45-inch edge, mark a line 2 inches in from the edge on wrong side of fabric. Fold right side of fabric to wrong side along chalk line. Fold once more, enclosing raw edge of fabric and making a double-thickness hem. This heavy hem will help the apron skirt hang neatly when the apron is worn. Press hem, then topstitch hem in place.

2. On opposite edge, make waistline casing. Mark a line 1/2 inch from edge. Mark another line 2.25 inches from this line. Fold fabric toward wrong side along 1/2 inch mark, press, and stitch. Fold again on 2.25 inch mark, press, and stitch on right side two inches from top edge of apron.

3. Cut ends of grosgrain ribbon on the diagonal. Seal cut edges with Fray-Check or clear nail polish. Using a bodkin or a large safety pin as a guide, thread ribbon through waistline casing of apron until center of ribbon is aligned with center of apron. Tack apron and ribbon with close, short stitches through all layers so that ribbon does not pull out of apron. Gather apron along ribbon and apron is ready to wear.

Book Includes an Apron Pattern!

Rick-Rack Trimmed Apron Pocket

Detail of Apron Pocket with Rick-Rack Trim and Overcast Stitch Embroidery
Detail of Apron Pocket with Rick-Rack Trim and Overcast Stitch Embroidery | Source

One Lady's Vintage Collection


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    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Pretty informative, and it seems really easy to do. Some of those old aprons really reminded me of stuff my mom used to make (I was born in 1975, for frame of reference).

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 3 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      I love aprons too - though I don't cook or clean much :) I love all the special feminine details. When I was about 6, my parents went on a trip and brought me back two small aprons from Austria and Germany. They had all this wonderful ric rac and embroidery on them. I still have them and hope to get both of them framed to hang in my kitchen. Wonderful hub! Voted up and pinned!!