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Collecting and Caring for Vintage Aprons for Women

Updated on April 24, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

As America embraces its cooking muse via Food Network and other cooking venues, vintage aprons for women are increasingly collectible. Retro styled aprons are eagerly purchased but some women like to go a bit further and hunt for the real thing.

Gingham was a popular fabric for aprons in the past. It comes in many colors and styles.
Gingham was a popular fabric for aprons in the past. It comes in many colors and styles. | Source
Vintage aprons are a fun collectible that add a little pizazz to your kitchen, as well as your cooking!
Vintage aprons are a fun collectible that add a little pizazz to your kitchen, as well as your cooking! | Source

Collecting Vintage Aprons

A vintage apron has a certain style. The fabrics are unique and the patterns are often complex with ruffles, shaped pockets, and special trims. Some of these patterns and fabrics are no longer available so a vintage apron can give you a look that no reproduction apron can. Who knows? Maybe the vintage apron was worn by some amazing country cook and will imbue you with special mad cooking skills!

It may take time to find just the right apron, or a collection of vintage aprons for each day of the week and maybe holidays as well. Maybe you only want a few or perhaps you will pick one up every time you see one and have an entire apron wardrobe.

Caring for Antique Aprons

Taking care of a vintage apron isn't too difficult but you won't want to throw it in the washing machine or dryer without some care.

  • Always wash the apron on a gentle cycle or by hand with a gentle laundry soap.
  • Hang it to dry away from direct sunlight if possible.
  • If there is a stain on it you might want to rub it with a little lemon juice and place it in the sun just the once, however.
  • If you are going to be cooking with ingredients that tend to stain badly then do think about using another, more durable apron. Chocolate, tomato, plum, and oil can be especially difficult to remove.
  • Many vintage fabrics need a quick going over with an iron to keep them looking their best. Use the iron on as cool a setting as you can and just touch up.
  • Keep your clean, dry aprons folded in a drawer with just aprons in it. Hanging them for display may look great but that gorgeous sunlight streaming through your window will weaken the fabric pretty quickly.

Displaying and Decorating with Aprons

Although displaying aprons can weaken the fibers some collectors feel that it is worth it for the whimsical look that their collection adds to the kitchen. Here are a few tips to make it work.

  • Try to keep the delicate fabric away from direct sunlight, heat, and greasy steam from your cooking area.
  • If you want to use the aprons as a window treatment, use them over another fabric so that they are protected from sun damage.
  • Wash them regularly. Dirt and dust will also weaken the fibers.
  • Very old, or damaged aprons can be used in shadow boxes and hung on the wall.

Crocheted aprons were used mostly for special occasions.
Crocheted aprons were used mostly for special occasions. | Source

Cost of Collecting Vintage Women's Aprons

The cost of a vintage apron varies. Some aprons, especially those found at garage sales and thrift shops, may be priced at a few dollars while others found at specialty vintage clothing shops will command prices up to $50.00 and more.

Keep in mind that the price is based on what the public will pay and it won't hurt to ask for a seller to lower a price on an item that you love. You should expect to pay more for older aprons, those in pristine condition, and aprons that are unique in some way.

New Vintage

You can always buy new aprons that are made to look vintage. Those by Jessica Steele are a good example of new aprons that use vintage patterns and retro look fabrics to look older. If you want an apron you should buy and wear it proudly!

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    • screation profile image

      screation 6 years ago

      Vintage aprons are one way for today's woman to reconnect with the fond memories of mothers and grandmothers. Images of home-cooked meals, family and friends gathered around the table, and sweet aromas filling the air are all associated with vintage aprons. A popular trend among women today is thinking of a vintage apron as a symbol of motherhood and being a good homemaker.

    • JohnBarret profile image

      JohnBarret 6 years ago

      That's very cute when come in multi-colors and having beautiful pictures.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I am lucky to have one of my mothers aprons but alas it doesn't fit/it was from her very early years as a young wife and mother and we all know what happens after that

      but I love to sew and have made many that in time will become my own vintage!! wonderful hub/voted way up!!

    • almasi profile image

      almasi 6 years ago

      Lovely hub.

    • writer83 profile image

      writer83 6 years ago from Cyber Space

      What a beautiful vintage aprons. I remember seeing my mama having a beautiful apron like that. It brings back the time when i was young :)

    • Daniela Daljac profile image

      Daniela Daljac 6 years ago from AUSTRALIA

      You bring back some memories from olden days! Sometimes now when I cook I wear apron but that's rear! Lovely Hub

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      They are really lovely and have something motherly and homely about them. It gone all out of fashion.

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 6 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      These are cute! Great hub MA.

    • ar.colton profile image

      Mikal Smith 6 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      What a great idea for a hub! I love vintage aprons. They are so beautiful. Modern ones are always so utilitarian.

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 6 years ago

      I usually make my own but these are nice. Thanks for sharing.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I cherish the few aprons I have and marvel at the vintage ones. Love these! Absolutely wonderful!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love vintage aprons (and anything vintage) and have attempted to create my own vintage style aprons. Anthropologie has beautiful vintage style aprons.

    • profile image

      daPuma5 6 years ago

      Somehow I don't see my mother appreciating these :-D I think she has a few of my great-grandmother's packed away somewhere, but I haven't seen them!

    • Greenhousewife profile image

      Greenhousewife 6 years ago

      Oh I love this! Wonderful hub!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      The image of a freshly pressed dress, perfect hair and a clean ruffled apron takes me right to my mothers kitchen in the early 60's. What a beautiful memeory. Nicely presented hub.

      K9

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 6 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      My mom and grandmother's always worn aprons and recently while digging through boxes in my mother in laws house an old apron was found tucked away in an old candy box neatly folded. It had the embroidered name of my wifes grandmother and was made as a gift for her daughter, my wifes grandmother.This was an exiting find and an heirloom to be treasured.

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