Aprons: Nifty Things to Have Around

It’s so great to be back on our regular blogging schedules here on P&P. I’ve really missed everyone! I hope you enjoyed the guests and maybe won some fabulous prizes.

 

Today, I’m going to talk about the importance of aprons. I’m not so old that I can’t remember when every wife, mother, and grandmother wore them. They were quite handy to have around. The main principle was to protect the dress underneath, especially when cooking. Aprons were a lot easier to wash then a dress. Back before automatic washers and dryers there was usually only one wash day set aside per week. Unlike today when we can pop something in the washer and turn the dial, washing clothes was a major chore.

 

But let’s look at some of the other uses that aprons filled.

 

They were handy for removing hot pans from the oven. Not exactly a good replacement for pot holders, aprons were readily at their fingertips and did the job.

 

Aprons were used for gathering eggs from the chicken coop. Or for carrying fussy chicks. And sometimes for taking half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. They could also shoo an angry rooster or a lazy dog off the porch in case of need.

 

When company came, those aprons made ideal hiding places for shy children. And those big old aprons were excellent for drying tears or cleaning dirty ears.

 

When the weather turned cold, aprons could be wrapped around grandma’s arms and used as a makeshift shawl. Or she could wipe sweat from a brow and carry kindling and wood chips into the kitchen for the stove.

 

While working in the garden, aprons were really useful to have. A woman could load her apron full of ripe vegetables. And she could use her apron to hold the hulls of peas she shelled. In the fall, aprons could carry apples that had fallen from the trees. Those nifty garments could polish those apples to a shine too.

 

Unexpected company coming to call? No problem. It was surprising how much furniture that apron could dust in a short time. Better and faster than a feather duster and she didn’t have to go looking for it!

 

Aprons were amazingly used in place of cell phones. When dinner was ready, grandma walked out onto the porch and waved her apron to call men in from the fields. It was a sign dinner was ready and they’d better get their rears to the house.

 

The big roomy pockets of aprons would hold plenty of clothes pins when grandma was hanging out wash on the line. Those pockets held a variety of other things the wearer wanted close at hand.

 

In the West, aprons were made from the all-important flour sack and they covered as much of the dress as possible. Cotton material was also used if it was available. The full aprons had a loop or opening that went over the head and held the bib in place. All aprons had fabric ties that went around the waist and tied in back. There were also half aprons that went only from the waist to the knees. Back in Victorian times and earlier, aprons were decorative and worn as actual clothing. In the 50’s and 60’s before they went out of style completely, aprons became merely a fashion statement when entertaining and were very frilly.

 

Whatever the use, aprons were around for a long time. It’s sad that no one wears them anymore. I have fond memories of my grandmother in her worn apron shelling peas on her front porch. And of my mother, standing at the stove preparing a meal. I loved those old aprons.

 

Do you have any memories of aprons that were worn by your grandmother, mother….or grandpa? I’d like to hear from you.

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/

38 thoughts on “Aprons: Nifty Things to Have Around”

  1. I don’t have any real memories of anyone in my family wearing aprons. I’m sure my Nannie wore one but don’t really remember.

    I wear an apron every day at work. I work in a printing shop. So for 20 years now I have wore an apron for aleast 8 hrs.

    Have a great day and I can’t wait to read the memories from others.

    I bet Ms Mary will have us a good one.

  2. What a lovely post. My grandmother wore aprons all the time. They had big pockets that held all sorts of treasures.

    My mother just returned from a trip to Italy to see her brother–she’s a farm wife, so it was the trip of a lifetime–and she brought back my daughter an apron and a chef’s hat. My husband wears an apron that says “It’s chicken, really!” at his annual mountain oysters fry. 🙂

  3. My grandmother never much wore an apron, nor did my mother..

    I say all the time how much I like to have an apron, but it’s one of those things I never remember to actually look for when I am out shopping.

    The 1st thing (and about the only thing) I ever made was an apron! I made it in home-ec class….it was lost sometime over the years though.

  4. OMG I’m so glad you’re back I felt like a lost puppy which i liked the guest that came and the post but i thought yall were gonna be gone all month of may. Yeah!! How’s Karen doing? is things still hectic for her or have they calmed done alittle?
    My mother and I and my brother lived with my grandparents for a year when my dad was in the airforce and we couldn’t go where he was going so i got to experience alot of the things older people done then. My grandmother almost always had on her apron which she cooked quit a bit they didn’t live off junk food or drive threws. I remember when ever she would take her apron off i would put it on and it’d look like a dress on me and i pretended i was makeing homemade biscuts out of her large bowl. My daughter made a apron in her home ec class and it was very pretty and colorful i put it in my memory box wishing i could’ve put my grandmothers in their beside it just for memories sake but i do have a hand stitched quilt her and the neighborhood ladies made using tobacco sticks as a frame. I’m so glad yall’ve come back home !!

  5. My Grandmothers always wore aprons that were very similar to the one pictured. In fact, I could just see my Gramma Anderson baking rye bread or ginger snaps in that garb. I think I smell molasses. My Mom wore aprons before it became ok for women to wear pants around the house.
    Aprons were a traditional gift for friends that helped serve food at weddings when I was younger.
    Now if I need a cover up while in the kitchen, I just throw on an old t-shirt.

  6. like Sherry, I wear an apron every day at work–and actually cook in it 🙂 And I miss having one sometimes at home.

    Interestingly enough, vintage style aprons are very popular for sewing right now–there’s some very nice patterns I’ve seen, especially in quilt stores.

    I don’t remember my gramma or mom wearing aprons, but when I was helping clean out my grampa’s house, there were some of those fancy party aprons. One even had my gramma’s name embroidered on it. It was spelled wrong, but guess Burdetta isn’t such a common name. I love the frilly, red Christmas apron–but geesh, gramma had a smaller waist than me. 🙂

  7. Sherry, yep you know a lot about aprons after 20 years of wearing one. I’m sure they sure come in handy in a printing shop! Want to keep that ink off your clothes. Back in the West, the blacksmith’s also wore ’em. But I’m sure there are other professions today that do.

    My mother and grandmother had drawer-fuls of aprons and they wore them everyday. I can’t remember seeing them without one.

    Thanks for commenting. Hope you have a wonderful day!

  8. Gillian, your mother must’ve really enjoyed her trip to Italy! I’m envious. That looks like a beautiful country. Neat that she brought your daughter an apron! That’ll be a great keepsake.

    Yes, I left men out of my post as apron-wearers, but they sure do when they cook out on the grill. That’s the “in” thing to do. lol I think it’s really sweet to see a man in an apron. At the very end of my book, “Redemption,” the heroine teases the hero with threats of making him wear an apron. It was the perfect ending.

    Thanks for stopping to comment. I wish you a lovely day.

  9. Hi Melissa D! Great to see you this morning. We’ve chatted quite a bit over the last few days. 🙂 Yeah, I made an apron in Home Ec too. I think it was a requirement for passing 10th grade. I don’t have the apron I made either. Don’t know what happened to it. I doubt it was very good.

    You know, next time you’re out shopping look for an apron. I was surprised my local grocery store started selling ’em. They have some really cute ones. I have a bunch that belonged to my mother though. I get one out sometimes and wear it when I’m cooking. They’re handy things to dry hands on too!

    Have a wonderful day full of fun and surprises!

  10. Hi Lori! It’s great to be back. I really missed talking to you all. Yes, Karen Kay got her book finished and everything and is now taking lots of deep breaths, bless you for asking! She was about to pull out her hair. That panic is a horrible feeling. Doubts creep in and little voice tells you you’re not going to make it and your editor will disown you if they don’t get it on time and all sorts of crazy things. I hate that panic. But all writers have periods of it when they’re writing a book. Bet you thought it was really easy, that the words just flow out of us, and we calmly type it in. 🙂 Not so. We work very hard and long hours just to bring you pleasure and enjoyment.

    I’m glad to see you have memories of your grandmother in aprons. Yeah, dressing up in our elder’s clothes was really fun. I hope someone took your picture in your grandmother’s apron. That would be a special keepsake. It’s wonderful that you put the apron your daughter made in a memory box to save for her! One day she’ll thank you.

    Treasure that quilt your grandmother made. I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone using tobacco sticks as a quilting frame. I’d love to have seen it. My goodness, I can’t imagine.

    Have a great day and keep visiting us over at Coffee Time. You girls have been lifesavers over there!

  11. Linda, what a lovely, lovely post. Oh, aprons! What a memory!

    My maternal grandmother wore one every day. A staunch German farmwife, she worked so hard. I only remember seeing her without one on special occasions and when she went to church.

    My grandfather owned a shoe repair shop, and I can still see his old apron now. Sea green, worn around the middle and stained with shoe polish.

    I wonder whatever happened to it. Oooh. . . .

  12. Hi Linda and friends – I have a linen drawer in the kitchen and it’s half full of aprons! Do we actually where them? Well, when I put mine on, the family knows it’s baking day and they rub their hands with glee. I have a tendancy to bake furiously for a day then nothing for weeks, go figure. All 3 of the kids at home and I bake for fairs, etc and I always insist they put an apron on right after they wash their hands although I don’t care if they wear one when they’re cooking…just baking…weird…is there a psycholgist in the room today?
    Every Nov when I get out the Christmas linens, I switch the dish linens, pot holders and aprons to the seasonal ones for 2 months. Also, for Christmas Eve and Day, we’re all dressed up nice so the aprons come in handy. It’s kind of like a costume party – who has the ‘funniest’ or ‘Christmasy-est’, you know? It takes the drudgery out of the kitchenwork.
    Oh – and I also made an apron for my first Home-Ec project in Grade 7.

  13. My sister gave me a full apron she’d made. It had a holstein cowhead on it and the cow had three dimensional, floppy ears. So cute… unfortunately the ears tended to touch the stove in front of me and catch fire.

  14. Sue D, it’s strange how memories can evoke smells. Thanks for sharing the special memory of your grandmother backing ginger snaps. And my goodness, how resourceful you are using a big old t-shirt in place of an apron! It sure works though and that’s wonderful.

    Wishing you a fantastic day!

  15. Hi Lizzie! I’ve missed all my friends. Great to see you here at P&P. I’m wondering what kind of work you do that requires an apron. Maybe a waitress or a printer like Sherry? Your grandmother must’ve been a tiny thing. I hope you saved her party aprons. They used to make some really fancy ones, all frilly and thin.

    Thank you so much for coming by to comment! Have a wonderful day. 🙂 And congratulations on winning a prize last week during our Spring Author Round-Up!

  16. Hi Pam! I’m glad my post could bring back some warm memories of your grandmother and grandfather. And thanks for reminding me that men in the shoe repair business wore aprons. I’d forgotten about that. I hope you manage to locate that old green apron that’s stained with shoe polish. It’s a treasure. And I hope you saved some of your grandmother’s aprons. Yes, those farm folks worked extremely hard from daylight to dusk, trying to make a living. People today think it’s horrible to have to work their 8 hours a day. We’re so lucky. And so blessed to have our memories of time past!

    Hope your day goes well and problem-free.

  17. Hi Anita! It’s great to be back in the saddle again. lol Wow, you’re the first I think who’s admitted to wearing an apron in the kitchen regularly. You’re making memories for your children. Years from now when they’re all grown up, everytime they see an apron they’ll smell fresh bread baking! That’s great. And they do have some really nice ones for holidays. Love your idea of making wearing aprons like a costume party and seeing who has the best. 🙂 I haven’t thought of doing that. But yes, wearing an apron can lift your spirits and take the drudgery out of cooking. Thank you for reminding me of that.

    Welcome to the Home Ec apron-sewing club! 🙂

  18. Hi Mary! Gosh, I wish I could see that full apron with the cow’s head on it. How cute. Glad you stopped wearing it around flames though. We wouldn’t want you to catch fire. I’ll bet with you being a farmer’s wife you have a lot of aprons. Doesn’t mean that you always wear ’em though, but I bet you used to. I never think of a farm without picturing the wife in an apron. Isn’t that strange? It just seems to me that farming and apron are inseparable. 🙂

    I hope you have a very nice day and a productive one!

  19. Hi Linda! Oh the memories you stirred! My gram always wore an apron, made them, too. Cleaning out my mom’s old house now, we’ve found some of them, giving me memories both happy and sad. (My gram was probably the best person I’ve ever known…I still miss her.)

    So that apron heritage rubbed off on my mom. She badgered me for years whenever she visited because I wasn’t wearing an apron.

    I got a couple of “cobbler” aprons for wedding shower gifts years ago…more like a sleeveless blouse with tons of pockets…and since I never wore them, my kids did whenever they painted or dyed Easter eggs etc. My daughter always called it her “pinafore.”

    Thanks for the memories today, Linda.

  20. Hi Tanya!! Just call me the memory-stirrer. lol I hope I didn’t make you cry though. I’m real sorry about your mother and having to sort through all the things in her house. I’ve been there and it’s harder than the dickens to decide what to do with everything. When I was going through my mother’s drawers I had the strangest feeling I was invading her privacy. Couldn’t get over that. But my brother, sisters, and I finally got it done. We found some amazing treasures and things we’d known nothing about. Our mother kept some secrets!

    I hope you always relate aprons to your gram. They can bring back lots of happy, warm memories. We tend to throw things away that we don’t use, but keep those aprons. They’re priceless. 🙂

    Have a great day! Wishing you lots of luck cleaning out your mother’s house.

  21. Oh, the memories of Sunday dinners at Grandma’s! Everyone would come in, Grandma would pass out the aprons, because you absolutely did not cook or clean in the kitchen without them!, and you kept it on until time to eat. Not that my tomboyish self was often in the kitchen.

    And my Mom still wears an apron to cook in. She has a peg in the kitchen and she has her aprons hanging there. These days, my sister makes Mom’s aprons, because they are hard to find.

    I’ve often thought that I might save on prewash/stain remover if I would invest in some aprons.

  22. Great post.
    My grandmother and mother wore aprons all of the time.
    I wore an apron in the sixties when I was pregnant to keep the front of my smock from getting dirty when I was preparing dinner and washing dishes.

  23. Terry, great memories of Sunday dinners at Grandma’s! That’s really something to cherish. And also that your mom still wears aprons to cook in. Bet that peg she hangs them on could tell a lot of stories! I think it’s sad that stores don’t sell aprons much anymore. But I commend your sister on making your mother’s. Bless her heart.

    You have a wonderful day and keep those memories alive.

  24. Hi Estella! It’s wonderful to see you again after a long week away. I’m glad you liked my post today and hope it brought back some memories of your mother and grandmother. I loved those days when aprons were the “in” thing. I think I wore one too when I was pregnant. In fact, I have several aprons still and wear them on occasion. They’re really handy for drying hands on. You don’t have to go looking for a towel when you have something hanging from your waist. lol 🙂

  25. Linda, what a thing to remember!!! Yes, actually my Grndma wore aprons all the time. At home, and when she waited tables at the sale barn on sale days. My sissy and cousin and I were always playing dress up with them. Wow I think I’ll go and call my sissy right now…
    Thanks!!!
    Amy

  26. Hi Amy! I aim to please. If I can. Glad I aroused some forgotten memories of your Grandmother. I wonder if you relate them with certain smells the way Sue D and Anita do. I think all little girls liked to play dress up in their mother’s or their grandmother’s aprons. Seems that way. I know I did.

    Hope you have a great day!

  27. Oh Mary! I’m laughing at the picture of that apron staple-gunned to the wall. Was it to remind everyone to be darn lucky if you cooked? Too funny. 🙂

  28. I love your topic, Linda. I have aprons in my kitchen drawer that I get out occasionally. A couple of them were my mom’s and grandma’s. I can remember them wearing them on Sundays after church as they fixed dinner for the family.

    The one I actually wear the most is a full red apron from many years ago when I used to be a sign maker at a Baker’s grocery store. It has huge pockets for pens and chalk. It’s durable and not an heirloom, so it’s practical.

  29. Hi Cheryl! So you’re an apron-wearer. That’s interesting. Doesn’t matter that it’s not an heirloom. It fills the need you have. The big pockets can hold lots of “stuff.” We always need that. I carry so much “stuff” everywhere I go. You should see my purse! Bet it weighs ten pounds. Sure is heavy on my arm. And I want everything I wear to have pockets. 🙂

    Hope your day is going well and you’re getting to relax a bit after our whirlwind author Round-Up. That was a lot of work for you.

  30. My grandmother(who we called ‘Lita, a shortened
    version of abuelita, which means “little grand-
    mother)always wore an apron when she was in the
    kitchen. My mother didn’t, my mother-in-law did,
    and it seems most women of the day wouldn’t be
    found without an apron! Men wore them at work in
    bakeries and butcher shops, especially in the
    latter!

    Welcome Back!!

    Pat Cochran

  31. Both my grandmothers wore the full aprons – one farmed and they both did canning. Then my mom always wore one with special ones for the holidays but hers were mostly the half aprons. The very first thing I made in home econmics was an apron – I still have it. And I remember that my husband’s grandmother gave me one for a shower gift lol. I never could get use to wearing the darn things. Maybe because I rarely was dressed up while cooking. When you’re just wearing jeans it doesn’t matter.

  32. Hi Pat C, it’s great to be back! I missed all you ladies. Thanks for coming by to comment today. We’ve all got to climb back up on that horse! 🙂

    Sounds like your grandmother was a wonderful person and so pretty. Her name is certainly beautiful. And she was an apron-wearer! Yes, almost all of the women in her day wore aprons. they wanted to save their dresses. Oh, and I’d forgotten about men in butcher shops who wore them. Thanks for reminding me. Men are important too.

    Have a wonderful evening and come back tomorrow for Pam!

  33. Hi Jeanne! Grandmothers are really special. They worked so hard. Those aprons were invaluable items to them. Aprons were so handy to have around. Lots of uses for them. I wonder how many tears they dried. Bet it was a lot.

    Yes, there doesn’t seem to be much call for aprons these days in the world of jeans and t-shirts. They were more fashionable in the day when women dressed up. Have a great, relaxing evening! Don’t forget to check back tomorrow when Pam Crooks will be blogging.

  34. All the women who cooked in my family wore aprons daily. I think my grandmother had one for every day of the week and a fancy one for when she cooked Sunday dinner. I learned to sew by making aprons out of colorful feed sacks. I usually wear an apron when I am cooking a holiday dinner or making pie crust. And didn’t we all learn to sew in high school Home Economics by making an apron?
    I don’t think many cooks wear aprons today because they aren’t into cooking, just heating ad serving.

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