I remember when women wore aprons over their dresses as they did their daily work. Nowadays, I don’t think our kids even know what an apron is.
The following essay was on this site but also on a number of other sites: http://theopenpantry.blogspot.com/2009/01/history-of-aprons.html
“The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. (A warming oven was a narrow cabinet above a wood-burning stove, next to the stovepipe.)
“Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
“From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
“When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
“When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the menfolk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
“It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that old-time apron that served so many purposes. “
Aprons have been used for hundreds of year by men and women for a variety of tasks. Perhaps the first mention of the use of an apron is in the Bible when Adam and Eve sewed together fig leaves to make aprons to cover themselves. We traditionally think of aprons being used for cooking, and while that is true, they have served as a cover-up for other tasks that tend to be messy. Occupations such as butchers, welders and bakers have always used aprons to protect both their clothing and bodies from their work. In fact, men probably wore aprons before women did.
Some interesting facts about aprons.
The word comes from a French word for napkin or small tablecloth.
During earlier times, like maybe the 16th and 17th centuries, colors indicated the trade of the wearer. For instance, English barbers wore a checked pattern, butchers and porters wore green.
A pinafore apron was “pinned” to clothing.
I remember the first thing I learned to sew was a half apron that tied around my waist. I also remember when servers at wedding receptions all wore matching aprons. Often the color and style had been chosen by the bride or bride’s mother. I also remember accidently going to school in grade one without removing the apron I wore. I was so embarrassed. Looking back I can’t imagine why it bothered me so but it did.
Here is a site with free patterns for making aprons. http://tipnut.com/56-free-apron-patterns-you-can-make/
We’ve almost forgotten about aprons although my grandson designed an apron for me that I’m very proud of. (That’s it on the right.) In writing historical fiction, I need to remember how they were always worn and how they were used. In my August release, Dakota Cowboy, I used aprons a couple of times but not in my Christmas novella, Christmas Under Western Skies, due out later this year.
I’ll give away a copy of Dakota Cowboy to one person who comments.