A past issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion (August/September 2007) contains an article that I purchased the magazine for. Called "Ties to the Past" by Darci Smith, it features vintage aprons and tells all about them. Beautifully photographed aprons illustrate Darci's fine points. She says that an apron collector finds that if you listen closely, a vintage apron will tell you stories. In one sentence she encapsulated exactly why I find collecting aprons so interesting! I love to think about the life each apron might have led --- who stitched it, who owned it, when it was worn, and during what time era did it originate. Of course it's impossible to follow the history of each vintage apron found, but through careful examination it is possible to learn quite a bit about its past. According to Ellynanne Giesel, a true apronista extraordinaire, an apron speaks. She says that the spirit of the person who sewed or wore it is imbued in the fabric, within those threads. Each apron has it's story. It's up to the one who becomes the keeper of the apron to discover its history. Examine each stitching technique, date the fabric by using prints and colors to identify time eras, and use trims and buttons to help you date the period in which the apron was made. Like a treasure hunt, you'll be surprised at all the things you can discover about a vintage apron once you start looking for clues. Have fun!
The apron in the picture above is Aunt Cella's and came from Grandmother Iva's apron stash. Full length, it appears to have been 'too special' for Grandmother to wear. Instead it was saved away in a drawer like many of her fine things were. Machine applique adorns the bib and pockets and little tidbits of applique are scattered above the hemline. Features that make this apron unique are the darts used to ease the fabric into the waistline and the pretty style of the pockets that are stitched into the side seams. In soft blue, it has a romantic sense about it with just enough contrast in yellow and pink to make it cheerful.