Monday, September 20, 2010

Validation.....Aprons AREN'T antiquated...they're lovely.

I received the most appropriate e-mail today from my stepmom, Leslie, called 'The History of Aprons'. She knows of my affinity for cooking, sewing, and creating, and couldn't have sent me a more timely message!

The History of Aprons

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love...

I love aprons. I think they're delightful little fashion statements. I'd have thirty of them if I could. I currrently have one very, very well-worn Husker apron that needs to be replaced and one that came from some conference Matt attended. They're not very fashionable, but that's all about to change!

Matt's delightful Aunt Robbie found a terrific set of retro apron patterns at her local quilt shop. She made the most adorable aprons for her sisters and sister-in-law and handed them out at this year's family reunion. I instantly attached myself to Aunt Robbie and the aprons and begged for the pattern. Lo and behold, about a month ago I received the most WONDERFUL package in the mail....THE PATTERN BOOK!!! I've made two aprons out of the book so far and they're terrific. They remind me so much of the aprons that my Grandma Trambly wore. I can almost smell applesauce spice cake and pork chops when I look at the finished products. Matt doesn't love being my living dress form, but he does look pretty hot in the aprons!

I'll be cranking out many more aprons around Christmas time and will hopefully get my newest one done soon, as well. I'll be sure to post pics as I finish. But for now, enjoy this little history of the apron. In today's 'heat and eat' society it's nice to see the beginnings of a return to real cooking and along with it, real aprons....with fashion sense, that is!

Tell me about your favorite use for an apron! I'll pick my favorite use and that lucky blog reader will win two dozen custom cookies from Just Like Mom's!

Good Eats,


  1. I have a few aprons, one of which was purchased in the 70's, made of bright pink fabric with large, colorful 'shrooms on it. It is a sort-of smock that ties in the back, like a surgeon's gown, with three-quarter length sleeves and a small front pocket. Because I liked the design, my mother made one for me out of red check fabric using the original as a pattern. Another one is a grill apron with a cow on the front saying "Hay, Bartender". But my favorite apron and use of one, is the aprons crafted by a dear friend Doris for use in the mess kitchen at Outdoor Leadership Experience. What a wonderful experience it is to cook for the weekend camp of around 200 school leaders! The original aprons have become worn and stained, so last year I found some chef aprons on sale and had them stitched with OLE like the originals Doris made. But I will always treasure my first apron made with love by an amazing woman.

  2. I love aprons too Jill! I cook quite a bit and tend to be a splashy chef. That's not to mean that I'm ostentatious, just that it is a rare culinary event when I cook something and don't end up with some part of it on my clothes. I can't even wash dishes without getting water all over my outfit. So for me, my favorite apron use is very utilitarian...assisting me in not being covered in whatever it is I'm cooking. :D

  3. Your blog link was sent to me by granddaughter Amy F., I think because I still wear aprons... to carry Coke in from the garage, leaves from trimming my houseplants, papers/cups etc from the living room, and to cover my generous waist. Thanks for a pick me up. Amy's grandma

  4. Jill what a lovely post!

    The apron I loved the most belonged to my grandma Caroline. It was blue & white checked with red rick-rack trim.

    I too, have an apron, however I don’t wear it as often as I probably should. It seems to me though, the best memories from my green (rick-rack less I might add…that may have to change) apron is the last minute housing of scooped up dolls, blocks, cars, & tea cups. All these treasures that need to be quickly swept away, off the kitchen table-making room for mixing bowls, ingredients, recipes & six eager little helping hands!

  5. I don't own any aprons because I don't cook :) However maybe I should buy and apron and that will force me to cook just so I can wear it!
    Great blog Jill.

  6. Aprons have 2 uses:

    1) Holding beer.

    2) Keeping bacon grease from splattering on you when cooking naked

  7. My favorite apron was a gift from a student many years ago. It is red and white checked with apples appliqued on the pockets. It makes me remember how many students' lives I touched over the years....and how many students touched my life!

  8. Jill, I have been following your and enjoy it. I have an apron, but like another mentioned don't where it as much as I should. So, for me I use the apron as a wall decoration, for it never leaves the hook it hangs. Keep up on the blogging---it's enjoyable to read during my facebook time!

  9. Do not have an apron. Maybe I can buy one from you. I remember my mom wearing hers making Thanksgiving meals. Good memories.

  10. My favorite apron is the one the kindergartners at Beach Elementary made me. It has my name on it and butterflies on it but what makes it most special is all the kindergartners hand prints on it. I have been the "butterfly lady" at the school for the last couple of years. I do a butterfly unit with the kindergartners--visiting once a month to tend the butterfly garden, teach the students about butterflies, and do butterfly crafts. The kids get to each have their own larvae and watch it go from caterpillar to chrysalis, to butterfly. We then release them into the garden. My apron has wiped off papier mached hands, gathered spilled sequins and feathers, carried small seedlings to the garden, and held a butterfly just before it soared into freedom. Love that apron!!!!

  11. Love the history of the aprons. I wear my everyday one usually when I wash dishes because I tend to hose down my entire midsection somehow!
    I also love the aprons I have that my great-grandma T used to wear. She wore them every single day. I love that I have a few of them as they remind me of her.

    On our recent wedding day, we had a Celtic handfasting ceremony as part of the wedding. Hand-fasting is exactly what it sounds like - a binding of the hands accompanied by a blessing. Because I have such a strong connection with Grandma T, it was important for me that she somehow be a part of our day even though she's been gone for 17 years. So I cut one of the ties off of a half apron and we used that during the hand-fasting. It was such a special moment and one that I will always keep in my heart.

    So, while it's not a typical use for an apron, it's definitely my favorite!

    I'm loving your blog Jill and wish you tons of success with your new business adventure!

  12. Jill, My Grammie made me a slip-over style apron with several pockets. I used the pockets to hold clothespins when I hung out the laundry. Loved that apron and the smell of line-dried fabric. At Winfield this year there was a booth full of aprons made by (I think) Five Sisters. Very retro, many styles, even aprons for kids........Love your blog and love you, too!