Monday, February 2, 2015

Apron Collection

Last month, Sunday, January 25, I was invited to do a program for the seniors at Shore Pointe Assisted Living in Saint Clair Shores, MI.  The facility hosts an Afternoon Tea party for the residents on the last Sunday of every month at 2:00 p.m.  This was the third time they've invited me to do a presentation for the seniors, most of whom are women.  I decided a topic they could all relate to was aprons.  Apron expert, Ellen Ann Geisel, says aprons are 'memory triggers'. They don't 'hold' us back, they 'take' us back, and they're the ties that bind.

[Shore Pointe Assisted Living]

I packed my collection of aprons in my car and off I went.  The good thing about collecting aprons is they don't take up a lot of space.  My collection of 92 aprons fits into two totes and are conveniently stored out-of-sight, under my bed. 

Below is Carrie who is 101.  She is pictured with her son and daughter-in-law who came to the tea/presentation with her. Her daughter-in-law's name is Phyllis.  I'm really in trouble if I can't remember her name!  ;-)

Meet Clara.  She's 100 years old and proud of it!  

And Barbara who was there visiting her mother, also named Barbara.

I didn't take photographs of all the attendees, but I've been invited back to do another program on February 22, so I'll take more pictures then.  Since it was a tea party I began by showing them my tea themed aprons.  The apron on the left was made by a friend, and is unique because the 'bib' portion at the top is detachable allowing the apron to be worn as a 'half apron' if desired. The one on the right is a gift that came from Sur la table.  

The apron on the left below was also given to me as a gift, and has a teacup carrying tote to match. I ordered the apron on the right from Victoria Trading Company several years ago.  I have to confess that I don't typically wear an apron when I'm cooking since my automatic washing machine makes laundering dirty clothes much easier than the time consuming chore my grandmother experienced.  My wardrobe is larger than her's too, with fabrics easier to care for.  So thankful for today's polyester and perma press!

I brought the apron below back from London's Harrod's department store on my 2007 visit. It's made of vinyl coated cotton so spills easily wipe off. 

During my presentation Clara asked how long aprons have been around.  I told her they're almost as old as dirt! The very first account of an apron is recorded in the Bible [Genesis, chapter 3, verse 7], "And the eyes of them were both opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."  Cute applicable cartoon that blogging tea friend, Bernideen, posted on Facebook a couple of days ago.

The seasonal/holiday aprons below are new and not vintage, but I do have some vintage Christmas aprons in my collection.  This style is called the 'bib' or 'full-style' apron.

Two treasured aprons in my collection belonged to my paternal grandmother and my mother. They're both deceased now, so holding or putting their apron on is like getting a hug from them. My grandmother was rarely seen without her apron on.  She only took it off for church or shopping. I have some photographs of her wearing her apron that I want to locate before my next apron presentation.  

The apron on the left was my mother's.  It's a 'smock' or 'cobbler' style apron.  The 'full-style' apron on the right is my grandmother's.   No matter what style, the pocket on vintage aprons was almost always a distinguishing feature.  They were square, rectangular, rounded, or in shapes such as hearts, mittens, flowers, etc.  Pockets told whether the wearer was right or left handed because of the pulled corners.  They were considered the most important part of the apron, and more than one was preferred because they held an assortment of things... a hankie [since tissues weren't around back then], grocery lists, candy, safety pins, buttons, coins, etc.

Probably the oldest and most expensive apron in my collection is the black silk Victorian apron below.  The sash was short because it was pinned around the waist rather than tied. Notice the tiny waist the wearer of this apron had.

The photos above are just a sampling of my apron collection. I have several gingham 'half aprons' with 'chicken scratch' stitching, crochet aprons, and hostess aprons which replaced the soiled cooking apron just before guests arrived.

I'm grateful for my apron books.  They are great resources.

The two books below are small purse-size books, but they're chock full of fun information. One of the 'apronisms' is "Aprons plus pearls equals everyday chic".  Those close to my age will remember watching Harriet Nelson [Ozzie & Harriet], Margaret Anderson [Father Knows Best], and June Cleaver [Leave it to Beaver] in the 1950's.  Pearls, high heels, and aprons always completed their outfits - even while cooking!

My hubby just ordered the book below from Amazon for my upcoming birthday.  I can hardly wait for it to arrive.

Do you wear an apron?  Do you have one or more tucked away in a drawer that belonged to a loved one?  I think everyone has fond memories of someone who wore an apron.

Below are photos from three teas I blogged about.  What a fun and nostalgic topic that everyone seemed to enjoy - and an especially fun topic for me to present!  


  1. What wonderful aprons! The ladies' group at our church used aprons as a theme for a Mother's Day luncheon a few years back, and many vintage aprons were displayed. I had one then that belonged to my paternal grandmother, which I do occasionally use, and treasure. Now I have a boxful that were at my parents' home, I don't remember my mother wearing them much but I snagged them and wouldn't let them be part of the yard sale we were prepping for! I have a weakness for vintage linens and such, and aprons are part of that, I guess! I'm glad to know someone else likes them, too.

  2. I love my collection of aprons, too. Some of them are heirlooms from family members.

  3. My, such a wonderful collection of aprons. I have only a few and I always wear a full bib type - my nickname is June Cleaver. LOL

  4. So fun to read about your aprons! I'm giving a tea party in March for my tea group and the theme is "Aprons". I have so many ideas, I can't wait!

  5. Love seeing all these great aprons, and I appreciate the history and family connections! My dad's mother had 10 kids and seemed to be cooking all the time (no surprise), so I remember her as almost always having on an apron (smock-style). Fun memories!


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