Untying the Strings

A fancy New Year’s Eve dinner for friends started me off.

“The one time I could wear party clothes, and I’ll be in jeans, a shirt and a food-splattered building supply apron.”

Hey kids, let’s make an apron. I visited Designer Fabrics in Toronto and picked out metallic bronze fabric with an art deco design. I bought a yard and told the woman at the cutting table what it was for…an apron. She told me how much the fabric cost…and paused. When the price didn’t seem to bother me, the woman told me my apron idea was great. Imagine – approval from a Design Fabric staff member.

In the days when many of us made our own clothes, I took a night school course in couturier sewing. Time passes and now I make fancy aprons.

Oy, are they fancy

But all is not as it seems. The apron with see-through mauve butterflies, lace and beading is made with puffy ski-jacket material.

Each apron has its own theme. I’ve sold a few and sometimes I make them to order. But I charge a lot. So mainly, I make them as gifts. That way I have no feelings of guilt when I tell the new owners: “I have no idea how to clean them. Hang them on a wall as art if hand-washing feathers makes you nervous.”

Anne Boleyn’s Bodice   

Fabrics are aides-mémoires and imagination detonators. Ivory, gold and blood red upholstery samples conjure the embroidered brocades in portraits of Anne Boleyn. Stain-resistant is perfect apron material. (Sally: Christmas)

Notions are just that. I took a notion to dangerous looking strips of pre-sewn hooks and eyes and used them on my apron printed with portraits of Mexican artist-icon, Frida Kallo. I thought I was so unique. In fact, I’m part of a trend.  (Judy: Birthday)

The Tortured Soul of Frida Kahlo

For years, PVC and chefs’ aprons with ironic sayings were it. Now we have spectacular one-off creations, and apron patterns (last count: Simplicity had 16 patterns).

So many apron books are being written, you can research your scholarly thesis on aprons. You can enliven your text with apron references to history, mothering, hostessing, even cooking.

Joyce Cheney collected vintage aprons or “objects d’art” for her book: Aprons– Icons of the American Home. Cheney’s hints, instructions, muses and thoughtful histories are enlivened with off-the-wall literary quotes.

“He heard the rustle of the apron,”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Witch’s taffeta apron

Halloween Dinner

Easter apron for Sally

“She wiped her eyes with an apron.”’
Mrs. Tabitha Twitchet,
The Roly-Poly Pudding, Beatrix Potter.

I know Tabitha Twitchet is a cat but as far as I’m concerned, Beatrix Potter equals Peter Rabbit.

A couple more books

(apron.ology) a book with a clever name and stupendous contents. Stampington put out a call for original aprons and the best are in the premier edition of (apron.ology).

The Apron Book by Ellyn Anne Geisel is also comprehensive. It’s studded with colour photos, and simple apron patterns. And Geisel’s purple prose can make you laugh out loud. (I hate LOL)

“When I discover an apron with handiwork, my heart beats faster… Less than perfect stitchery also leaves me palpitating.”

Alas, it appears that every apron maker is now on the WWW so my niche is gone, but how vast are my horizons.

Be still my beating heart*

*Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: earliest citation from William Mountfort’s Zelmane, 1705