I remember viewing some vintage apron patterns with interest on the SewChic blog. A reader had sent them a box of patterns and the apron patterns had been included. I don't wear aprons, but if I did, I would wear these. I can just picture myself serving my guests at a dinner party wearing high heels, pearls, and a wiggle dress with one of these aprons tied on. Well, maybe not the heels or dress but I would definitely wear a vintage aprons.
So, imagine my delight when I opened a box of patterns I purchased (sight unseen and at a great price off of eBay)and there were these four vintage apron patterns included!
The one on the far left is Simplicity 7974, c 1968 for simple-to-sew misses and men's aprons plus a potholder. Next is Butterick 7538 with no copyright date. I'm guessing it is from the 1950s. Next in line is Simplicity 1846. c 1956. Last in the photo is McCalls 1713, c 1952 for cobbler aprons and a potholder. (I'm pretty sure I have this one tucked away somewhere already.)
I especially like these two. The Butterick pattern must have been owned by Barbara Brown and the Simplicity has the name Nadine Brown written on it. Were they sisters? Maybe it was a school project or maybe their mother or grandmother was teaching them to sew. Were they were newly married sisters-in-law who decided to make aprons for the parties they would be hosting for the wildly successful business husbands. Was it a mother and daughter? Who knows but it is kind of fun to think about it.
The Butterick pattern is described as "Gala 1 yard aprons". I love that! Who calls things gala anymore? I find it interesting that they are designed to be sewn from felt. All of the stars on the white apron are cut out individually from felt and sewn in place. The jester apron (yes, that's what its called) is trimmed with 21 tassels! Was it craft felt or wool felt? Or was there another felt fabric widely available in the 1950s.
The Simplicty pattern is just darling and is described as "gay aprons for entertaining or gift-giving". Yep, that's right "gay aprons for entertaining or gift-giving." These again can be sewn from felt but other fabric choices are cottons, linen, rayons, synthetics, gingham, pique, broadcloth, organdy, cotton-blends, taffeta, nylon. Whew - did we miss anything? The aprons are trimmed with your choice of: 1) a heart with a dove carrying a letter, 2) three rows of ribbon and bow trim, 3) two pockets with flower trim and two rows of lace, or 4) contrasting tie ends, rick-rack and Christmas motif appliques.
Now I'm wondering, with the intricate appliques and non-washable fabrics, how did they care for these aprons? Does anyone know the history of aprons during this era of American history? Were they functional or purely for decoration?