If you are old enough to remember your grandmother or great grandmother, you probably remember her wearing a kitchen apron at times or all the time that she was home and dressed. Kitchen aprons began as a very simple but essential part of a woman’s wardrobe and dates back before your grandma.
Leather Apron were designed with one thing in mind. They were to keep your limited wardrobe clean while you did the chores and took care of the children. Wardrobes were small and limited among the middle class women for many centuries. The women of the lower class were even more limited with perhaps two dresses so the aprons were essential. The wealthier woman did not wear an apron since she had staff to take care of chores and nannies to mind the children. But the staff did wear aprons.
Nothing was ever wasted in the lower and middle class lives of days gone by. Aprons were fashioned from feed sack and didn’t have a lot of styling, but were practical. Little pieces of rick rack and buttons and brightly colored fabrics were making a statement in the 1920s and 1930s. The waistless long frocks covered all but a few inches of hemline. The kitchen apron buttoned down the back.
By the time the ’50s rolled around, almost all the magazine ads were showing the everyday woman wearing some apron during the day while they made their own fashion statement. In the ’50s women were wearing cinched waist aprons and you would never arrive at a home dinner party without seeing your hostess donning a half apron. Some of these aprons were very beautifully embroidered and sheer. Some vintage catalogs and eBay as well as flea markets and antique shops often house dozens of these aprons.
The full length apron of the 60’s started displaying the cute little sayings about your cook. Always great gifts by now, some messages were just the right words for the intended recipient. Homemade aprons were great gifts for grandma and mom and sometimes even for dad as the barbecue on Sundays became more and more popular and dad took the kitchen apron into the backyard.
Before the doctors’ white coats they were wearing aprons. Nuns’ habits were, and in some cases still are, protected by aprons. Nurses wore aprons as well as hospital technicians who did certain lab work. Children use their dad’s old shirts are aprons for finger painting and other art projects. Carpenters were aprons to hold tools and some short aprons to hold the tools are referred to as tool belts, but kitchen aprons are here to stay and are used once again in the modern kitchen as well as the professional kitchen.
You may have made your first kitchen apron in home economics class. Or you may have begged to have mom let you use the sewing machine at home for your first sewing project: Your own kitchen apron. As nostalgic as they are, they are still the most practical item around. Kitchen aprons can keep the nice clothes clean. No spaghetti sauce on that cute white tee shirt. You may prefer the bib type kitchen apron for preparation and then put on the fancy, frilly apron for serving your guests. Have fun wearing a very old fashion statement!