Before the happy homemaker of the 1950s was immortalized with her apron and her perfect family, aprons were a mainstay – on the ranch, in the tool shed, on the farm, in the kitchen…and even in the Book of Genesis. Growing up in Brooklyn, I knew many women who loved their aprons, mostly to keep their dresses clean, but also to carry a kitchen gadget or two. There was a time when fancy, tightly pleated aprons were in vogue, and I recall all of the women (even the young ones) smartly outfitted with holiday aprons covering their new Christmas dresses.
My grandmother always used a full apron in the kitchen, but she also had different aprons for tending the garden or doing house chores, like furniture polishing. Summertime, I remember my mom fashioning some into cool pinafore play dresses. And now that the heat is starting to brew here in Tucson, aprons are front of mind, evoking strong, sunny memories.
In my crafting I collect choice vintage aprons (I look for interesting pocket details). I’m also cutting fabric for my own summer collection. So many are taking the art of apron sewing a step higher these days, with creative finishing and designs. I smile, because fashionistas also see aprons as a style trend and younger, crafty women see them as art.
Yes, bring on the rickrack and smocking! Because beyond being a fashion statement, an apron means home, family, food, creative expression and love.