Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Retro Apron

Here's Simplicity 3544, which says, "1940's farm housewife" to me. I've been on a Apron roll. Why is it that so many women are so into aprons lately? Especially younger women. I have a book which even promotes the wearing of some aprons by"teens" and "twenties" as a fashion statement!

Interesting, the resurgence of aprons, because when I was a child in the 1970s, aprons were hardly ever worn at home by younger women. Only older ones (like grandmas) wore them. Maybe women abandoned aprons in the 1970s because aprons were a symbol of being tied to the house, and therefore a symbol of women's lack of choice? This sounds to me like a likely topic for a Master's Thesis or more. Maybe when I'm done here I'll do a search on the internet and see what I can find.

Anyway, now that women, particularly those of us in western countries, have more choice in careers, it seems that we're not afraid to enjoy wearing aprons any more. Ok, enough of that. Here's the video:

Blooper alert - here are some things I should have said but did not in this video. (You Tube's server will not let me annotate my video right now (grrr), so that is why I'm telling you this stuff here. Anyone who accesses the video from YouTube alone will not have the benefit of this info. So SEE ? Now you know why you bother coming here to read this blog, right? Right?

1. In the video I state that I used three yards of bias binding. Nope, I used three PACKAGES, which comes to about nine yards.

2. In the video, I did not adequately thank my dear MIL, Carol, for her mentorship and caring, not to mention the fabric I got when she died. (However, I paid my father in law for the fabric, as he was going to sell it, and I felt bad depriving him of the income. And it seemed like the right thing to do.)

3. Toward the end of the video, when I turn around to show you the back of the apron, I mention that the apron strings are topstitched to the body of the skirt. Indeed they are, but I could not see the area to point it out to you. Further, the back of the skirt is twisted, but I could not see this. Sorry. That's how it is when you do a video on the fly. I guess next time I need to hire a stylist. Ha.

So, what do you think of aprons? Do you wear them? Do you think women abandoned apron-wearing in the 60s and 70s as a reflection of their re-entry into the 'paid' workplace in droves? I say re-entry, because in the 40s, women were all OVER the paid workplace. But when the menfolk came home from WWII, the 'girls' gave the jobs back to the returning war heroes.

PS - Please know that I have no illusions - women have a long way to come to gain full equality in the workplace. We have made a bit of progress, though. I'm just saying.


mary said...

Love your apron Barb, it's so Donna Reedish. I'm sure your clam spaghetti was delicious as usual.
Great video!

Gigi said...

I love your apron! I don't wear aprons as I don't want to give anyone the impression that I actually like cooking, lol. Thanks for taking the time to make a video. It's so nice to hear someone's voice after "knowing" them for a few years.

Lisette M said...

I started wearing aprons a few years ago when after a hiatus from work I found a part time job where I worked at after-school events. I would get dressed put my apron on to cook dinner for the family and go out the door. Now my assignments are during the school day (which I like much better!) but I'm still in the habit of wearing aprons.

I really enjoyed your video. Every time I see you with your aprons I get the urge to make one, it's not like I don't have patterns...

Gorgeous Things said...

First let me say that I love your apron.

I don't do aprons, and I personally don't get the whole nostalgia for them. My grandmother wore aprons every day because she had three dresses, including her Sunday best. She needed the apron to protect them when she was cooking, scrubbing floors and waxing furniture.

I should amend my statement to admit that I do have a white chef's apron (actually, it's pretty stained and no longer white) that I use when I am cooking big meals like Thanksgiving. My sister gives me a decorative, and probably expensive, apron every Christmas. I never use them.

Lori said...

Love your apron and your video! I'm about your age - child of the 70's also. I don't remember my mother wearing aprons but she did have aprons that were her mother's. I used one in a school play and since I wrote my name on it in marker, Mom said "I guess it's yours now." I think women stopped wearing aprons for two reasons: clothes are more casual and food can be easier and quicker to prepare. I change out of work clothes when I get home and usually only wear an apron when I'm baking. I made aprons for my brothers-in-law because I saw them cooking breakfast or dinner in their suits and I don't think they even thought to wear aprons.

Here's another apron topic to ponder - what was with the frilly hostess aprons women wore in the 50's - 60's?

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

Thanks for commenting, to all of you! It's great to hear your perspectives on the wearing of aprons. Lori, your comment that today's clothes are more casual really has me thinking - you are so right. Gigi, you sew so well and so prolifically, how would you ever have time to cook much? Anne, your grandmother was the prototypical apron wearer. Practicality - the best reason. Mary, you're so nice. Thanks! Lisette, your "aprons over clothes in the evening" is right along the lines of what I do. And if I don't wear an apron I inevitably splatter myself.

gwensews said...

Nice apron. I LOVE aprons. Just because--they are cute! I think it's interesting that sometimes, people went to a lot of work to make fancy aprons-embroidered, pleated, artsy.

meredithp said...

Love the video! Don't wear pretty aprons--don't cook. Well, only when I have to. I have very utilitarian aprons. When I do cook, it's a messy and scary thing (the cats scatter), so it's good to keep the flying stuff off myself. As one who doesn't have a lot of time to sew, I need the clothes more than the aprons. I was very impressed by the fact that you could cook and be videoed at the same time--without setting the house on fire! (Told you my cooking is scary!)

DanainDFW said...

I've always worn aprons a little, but have really started wearing them most of the time I'm at home and doing various chores around the house. I wear a rather unattractive one most - it was my Mom's and it says Kiss My Grits. (Remember Flo saing that?) I have some vintage aprons that I've inherited from my mom and grandmother, plus I've bought some. I've made several and give most aways as gifts, but have kept a few, too. I like that I don't ruin my clothes while cooking/cleaning/laundry.

Colleen P. said...

I meant to comment on this ages ago!

I think aprons were used, as another poster said, for practicality of course, and also frugality-a well fitted nice dress with trim and detailing wasn't cheap or quick to make, and the "new" everyday uniform of jeans and a tee shirt we all have now would have been unheard of even in the 50's and 60's for most women with a home to maintain.

In that era each dress was part of an "outfit", with specific shoes and a handbag and often a hat to go with it, that a woman expected to keep for years, rather than just one season, so to risk damaging the dress was unthinkable. You protected it from household chemicals and soils with an apron.

I do think the revolution in food had a huge impact on apron wearing as well-very few people cook everything from scratch any longer, and thus don't realize that vegetable peelings can stain your clothes, flour is incredibly difficult to get out of clothing and in some cases won't ever come out, and splatterings of cleaning chemicals can eat holes in your clothes (I'll bet most of you have tee shirts with holes in the belly area, right at countertop height). THAT is the value of an apron. I still wear them for those reasons!