Now that I have limited my wardrobe, I am extra careful with my clothes, not wanting to ruin them unnecessarily (although I should have been like this always, no?). However, I still like to look presentable at home for a number of reasons, but mostly for myself, my husband and my children, and homemaking can present a significant challenge to that. The answer, of course, is the perfectly retro apron. It certainly worked for out foremothers, and it is definitely working for me! Now, I am not suggesting doing heavy cleaning in a cocktail gown; for normal day-to-day housework and cooking, however, the simple apron solves all of my problems. On a tangent, while I wouldn't want a yellow kitchen, I am in love, in love, in love with that fridge! Why aren't fridges lined in shades of mint anymore?
There are a million aprons out there, ranging from pretty but pretty useless, serviceable but plain, to the sweet spot of useful and beautiful, which is of course where I was aiming for! If you are busty or curvy in any way, a lot of aprons are just not going to cut it. The bibs are cut so narrow that they spend the whole time slipping to one side, leaving half of your chest exposed to the mess. Just like the women of the mid 20th century, I decided on two aprons - one for cooking/hostessing (even if I am only being a hostess for my family!), and one for housework. It just didn't seem right to use the same apron for both.
The first apron I decided on was this gorgeous Victorian-style apron from Etsy seller LCs Country House. She has a wide selection of handmade aprons, from simple to quite flouncy, in a range of colours, and I eventually chose this mid-blue chambray colour trimmed in white lace. The quality is impeccable - it is beautifully sewn, and I have washed it a number of times and it comes up beautifully. The best thing about this apron is that since Lori makes them up to a size 3X, the bib actually covers my whole chest. Also, the extra long straps cross at the back and then tie at the waist, so no more slipping apron straps. I use this one as my cooking apron - it is so pretty it would feel totally comfortable wearing this if I were entertaining.
My second apron, which I use for housekeeping, is this one from The Vermont Apron Company. Another impeccably made apron, also handmade, this apron is made from a beautifully soft checked flannel, trimmed with lace at the collar. Two extra large pockets on the front are wonderful for keeping cleaning cloths etc close by as I make my rounds of the house, and the criss-cross no-tie straps means that the apron simply slips over my head. It is truly one of the most comfortable aprons I have ever worn. My favourite thing about this apron, and the deciding factor for making this my housekeeping apron is the coverage. My whole front, all down the sides, and most of my back are covered by the apron, completely protecting my clothes while I am dusting, wiping and cleaning. I could have chosen from 7 other gorgeous fabrics, but something about this plaid flannel just sang to me.
If you are interested in sewing your own aprons, I found some patterns that are simply to-die-for! Bear in mind, though, the cost of the fabric if you don't have a stash to pick from, and that I couldn't find any patterns for plus-sized aprons.
If you are into the Victorian style aprons like my first one, then Butterick B5509 has a whole collection of historical repro aprons in one pattern. I love the middle one (very Downton Abbey!), but the bottom two look very practical, and would both be so pretty made from a ditsy floral and embellished with a hint of lace.
These aprons (Butterick B5263) are more like my housekeeping apron with greater coverage (although not quite as easy to slip on or off). I can totally imagine this sewn up in a reproduction 1930's feedsack print, can't you?
So whether you are buying or sewing your aprons, I would love to know if you adore aprons for homemaking as much as I do.
Disclaimer: I purchased both of these aprons and I'm simply sharing something I found that I thought you all may like.
Hope In Every Season's Homemaking Party