Friday, May 21, 2010

The history of the apron

For hundreds of years, homemakers have used aprons to keep their clothing clean and carry items when doing chores such as gathering eggs or for collecting kindling wood.

In the 1940s and 1950s the apron took on a new roll as that of a stereotype for the "perfect mother" or grandmother who always wore an apron.

My grandmother with her ever present
apron, grandfather and I in May of 1960

Prior to that, aprons were more of a functional piece of a woman's wardrobe, meant to keep your dress clean in a time when people did not have the size wardrobes we sport now. As time went on aprons became more fashionable and used as accessories as evidenced by "cocktail aprons" which were worn when entertaining at home. It kept your dressier dress clean but at the same time helped you maintain that image of the stylish homemaker who knew how to throw a great party and still look wonderful doing it.

Black sheer organdy and cotton

rose pattern cocktail apron

Homemakers were not the only ones that used aprons. School teachers, children, shop-keepers, and secretaries wore different styles of aprons over their clothing every day. In the 1920's and '30's aprons followed the silhouette of the dress - long, with no waist line. By the 1940's, aprons gained a cinched waistline, and were often gaily trimmed with rick-rack, buttons, and pockets of contrasting color. Many aprons were made from feed cloth. Feed cloth was a heavier fabric and was used as a sack to put seed or four in that farmers used. There was no wasting back then. During wartime 1 yard apron patterns were very popular.

Vintage 1940s Newspaper
Pattern for a 1 yard Apron

The 1950's brought out the half-aprons of highly starched cotton and sheer fabric trimmed with lace for special occasions.

Yellow rose print and sheer
panel apron

Also two-piece aprons and cobbler aprons of bright cotton prints for every day use were popular. At one point, aprons were a serious fashion element, not just a way to keep the dress underneath clean.

1960s Fruit Of the
Loom Cobbler Apron

So today for your viewing pleasure we have provided several examples of aprons. Whether you're looking to make a fashion statement or just enjoy some baking or cooking while keeping that great vintage dress underneath clean all these examples will do the job and then some.

1 comment:

Sassy Lassies Vintage Life said...

Loved your post. I have over 20 vintage aprons in my collection and I love each of them. I wear them often when cooking and it makes me happier then when I don't have one on. Go figure!