Aprons Return to the Kitchen
Donna Reed wore an apron. Mrs. Cleaver wore an apron. All of the best TV moms of the classic 1960s sit-coms wore aprons. Even pin-up girls wore aprons — and little else. What is it about the humble apron that is so intriguing, so feminine, and so sexy while at the same time being so practical?
Whether you long for a practical bib apron with straps or a half apron with ruffles there is an apron for you. Aprons for men, aprons for women, and aprons for children abound on the internet and in brick and mortar stores across the country. They are being snapped up in the thrift and antique shops, too. Aprons seem to be returning to the kitchen in droves.
Vintage aprons hold a special place in people's hearts. They are often beautiful whether they are the everyday variety or made for a hostessing occasion. An apron conjures nostalgic thoughts of country kitchens, apple pie, and warm biscuits, fresh from the oven.
Not surprisingly, many people are collecting these vintage aprons. They tend to be inexpensive, and can be displayed in a number of creative ways:
- Hanging on hooks or pegs
- Used as valences in the kitchen
- Make an indoor clothesline against a wall and use the aprons as décor
- Hang on a doorknob
- Sew into a plastic bag holder
- Use your imagination!
Stylish Aprons for the Mid-Century Homemaker
Aprons were at their stylish peak during the 40s and 50s. Prior to that they were a mostly utilitarian garment but during those years a homemaker often had one apron for working in the kitchen and one for actually serving the food. It was a sign that she was an experienced homemaker, could afford more than one apron, and good at her job.
Aprons and Women's Lib
By the 60s aprons began to be seen as a symbol of the oppression of women and were relegated to chefs and men at the grill. Women began wiping their hands on their comfy jeans, and the towel that was on the counter or conveniently tucked into a back pocket. For most people aprons were passe.
21st Century Popularity
In the past few years the resurgence of the popularity of aprons has been amazing. Maybe it is the desire to relive the graciousness and comfort of the American Dream of the mid century. Maybe it is because aprons are a great way to protect clothing. Maybe it is because they are just so darn cute!
Taking Care of Vintage Aprons
Vintage aprons should be hand washed in mild soap and hung to dry away from direct sunlight. Stains can be rubbed with a little lemon juice and then the apron left in the sun to dry. Rinse well and wash as suggested.
As far as being collectible, you can find vintage aprons all over the internet. eBay is one place that they can be inexpensively purchased:
Not Just Vintage Aprons
It isn't just vintage aprons that are being sought, though.
Aprons of all types are popular now. Funny aprons with humorous sayings, canvas aprons for men, and aprons for the Easy Bake Oven crowd. There are many cottage businesses that are providing aprons as fast as their sewing machines can go.
When you are choosing an apron consider how you cook and what your needs are. If you do a lot of baking then a full bib apron of a long wearing fabric like canvas is probably the best type for you. If you are cooking simple foods than a cut half apron may be what you are after.
Men who wear aprons when barbecuing often like the full canvas apron with funny sayings. These make great gifts for Father's Day!
Jessie Steele on Amazon
Finding Modern Aprons with a Retro Feel
Jessie Steele is a company that has made aprons made in retro styles and patterns their specialty. The aprons have cute motifs like cupcakes and hearts. Polka dots mixed with other patterns are also popular. The aprons are made in several styles, including both full and half aprons, with ruffles and without.
Flirty Aprons are made with high quality materials and in fun designs. There is often a mixture of patterns and colors that make them all kinds of fun to wear.
Stitch Through Time creates vintage inspired aprons, too. The patterns include special fabrics for holidays.
Etsy is another great place to find cute aprons. When you buy from sellers on Etsy you are supporting work at home moms and cottage industries. The aprons vary in design and pattern but you may have to wait a while for delivery because they are made by hand.
Make a Denim Apron
Sew Your Own:Free Patterns for Aprons
Another way to get aprons is to sew them. You can use either vintage inspired fabric or any good quality cotton fabric. If you like the idea of upcycling try making your aprons from men's patterned shirts from the thrift store. You may be able to make an entire apron from a $1 shirt. Vintage table cloths, tea towels, and kitchen curtains are all good ways to get vintage fabric, too.
All of the big pattern companies make patterns for aprons of all styles. You can also find free apron patterns online:
- Smock Apron Pattern
- Apron (butcher style)
pattern and instruction for making butcher style apron
- craftygal table - Instructions for Making a Retro Kitchen Apron
Craftygal brings you fresh content on a broad range of crafting topics; encouraging self-expression through essays and articles covering craft instruction, recipes, interviews, and personal experiences.
- Apron Tutorial - Jeans Apron #2
- Carryall Apron -Martha Stewart
Get crafty with Martha Stewart on marthastewart.com. Holiday and seasonal crafts, kids crafts, scrapbooking, knitting and needlework, templates and patterns, clip-art, crafty gifts, crafting ideas by technique and material, crafts how-to videos, and
- : Valentine Apron 101
- Crocheted Apron
- Quilt Block Apron Pattern : Child
Free quilt block apron pattern for little girls featuring diamond quilt block bib, attached hand towel and pocket. Our own sewing pattern with fully illustrated instructions.
Check for Quality
Whether you are collecting vintage aprons or wearing vintage inspired aprons, owning them can be a lot of fun.
When buying any aprons always check the seams and the quality of the fabric. When you are unable to do so, for example when you buy online, be sure that you thoroughly understand the return policy of the seller. Using Paypal can benefit because if there is something wrong with the item you can dispute the payment.
Enjoy these colorful reminders of a simpler era!