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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Collections and Recollections - Aprons

Aprons have been around for a long time. They were worn to protect your clothing from dirt and stains.

Women of the Civil War era were frugal and they recycled fabrics. Aprons were made from flour sacks, old blankets and old dresses.

During the Great Depression aprons were created from flour and feed sacks, the same as quilts.
Soon after, the new choice for aprons was calico.

During the 1930s and 1940s it seemed that all the women of the household wore aprons and the 1950s were definitely the high point of their popularity. They became a way of showing off their handiwork.

Women wore aprons while cooking, to meet guests in, and to do the housework.

But aprons had multiple uses such as:

picking up hot dishes
drying the inside of a freshly washed mug
wiping up spills
wiping away tears
wiping dirt from your children's faces
drying your hands
carrying in eggs from the hen house
carrying in fruits or vegetables from outside
dusting furniture
standing on the porch and waving it to let the men and children know supper was ready
and of course -
a place for shy children to hide behind.

How most people do without them now, I don't know.

Yes, the apron was a very useful item of the housewife. Most of my memories of my grandmother have her in an apron.

But the beautiful handiworked aprons are almost a thing of the past.
I collect them in remembrance of a by gone era.
I wish I had my grandmother's aprons. But, sadly, they have disappeared and I only have my memories.

Here are a few of my vintage aprons:


A small one......

a dainty one....

a pink and blue one.

Two ginghams.....

a patchwork and pillowcase one....

and two more for good measure.

This last one, a smock apron, isn't too old. I have pictures of me wearing it in the 1970s.

Hope you have enjoyed a trip down memory lane with my collection and recollections.

Do you have any apron memories? If you can help me date any of the above aprons, please comment and let me know.


  1. I need to start wearing aprons. I could save so many stains and splatters from my clothes.
    My favorite is the gingham.

  2. Hey Janet, I also remember grandmas aprons, and I remember her wearing the ones that go over the head (or having what I called a bib)and also like the ones in your pictures. I'm like you I like to remember grandma

  3. What a fabulous collection! I've been making aprons, but rarely wear them.

  4. Hi Janet
    Thanks for stopping over. I think there is a book about aprons that you may find helpful. I think it's in the antique section at a book store and you could ask someone there if they have it. I have a few aprons.They are fun to have and one of my friend made me a beautiful black and white one.
    You have a nice collection:)

  5. Janet,black dye wasn't a "true" black until 1890, if that helps you date any of your fabrics. This website on dyes might be helpful:

    Fawn Valentine's quilt book might also help you identify the time period of the fabrics. The gingham ones are my favorites too, but I like all of them. I use aprons fairly often now that I have a few of my mother's. It seems to bring her closer.

  6. I have several aprons including a couple of vintage ones and I love every single one. I've made several but have given most of them away. I love those gingham ones. blessings, marlene

  7. Janet, you've been tagged! See my blog for information.

  8. Janet-I can't think of my Granny without seeing aprons. Like you said-she never went without one-even on Sundays. Loved this post.

  9. What a wonderful post, Janet! Loved seeing all the different aprons, reading a little bit of history and also the uses for them! Sorry it's been a while since I visited your blog! I'll have to get caught up!


  10. I love aprons and have a few. I too wish i had some of my grandma's aprons. I remember my grandma Gordon always had on a "front apron" She had them for everyday and for dress. Love those Aprons.

  11. I too collect vintage aprons and lines my whole kitchen is full of vintage aprons and kitchen items I just wrote a story in my blog about aprons I love them and I'm happy more and more people are collecting and using them



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