Article by Mary Emma Allen
days ago, a cook wouldn't think of appearing in the kitchen
without her apron.
Mother had a number of these.
Some were the old-fashioned, full bib ones that covered
her from blouse to skirt hem.
Others tied around the waist and covered her skirt.
I recall both
grandmothers always wearing the full coverage aprons to keep
their dresses clean. However,
when Mother began wearing slacks, she still wore an apron in the
Then when Mother or
my grandmothers entertained guests, their aprons were of finer
fabrics. These also
might have embroidery on the hems and pockets.
Some women collected aprons when
they traveled...for themselves or to give as gifts to family and
friends. I recall Mother had a few of these souvenir aprons
with the name and picture of the place where she or family
Nowadays, these souvenir aprons
and other vintage ones are sought at yard sales and antique
shops. Customers at our yard sales often ask if I have any old
Aprons as Fabric Art
Recently, aprons have become considered as fabric art. I'd
never thought of categorizing them as art. However, I saw a
program featuring aprons throughout the decades that a quilter
had collected. Perhaps you'd call them wearable art.
Also, if aprons aren't in good condition, the usable portions
can be incorporated into a quilt hanging or fabric picture. A
quilt made from patches of family aprons will bring back
Aprons Had Many Uses:
*Obviously, they helped keep a lady's dress clean.
*They often served as a towel for drying her hands.
*The homemaker used the apron for wiping her face when hot from
cooking over the woodstove or doing housework.
*Aprons came in handy for carrying vegetables from the garden or
fruit from the trees.
*They could be flapped to chase the dog, cats or chickens from
the farmhouse door..
*If a potholder wasn't handy, a lady might use her apron for
holding a pan handle.
*If a piece of furniture needed a quick swipe to remove dust,
the apron came in handy.
*Aprons were good for wiping children's tears and wrapping
around shoulders when a child was chilly or needed a hug.
*If you were careful, you could carry eggs in the apron from hen
house to the kitchen.
Pockets in Aprons Were Useful, too:
*Of course, you could tuck a handkerchief there.
*If you were working outside, you might carry a snack in your
*This was a place for storing children's treasures (stones,
feathers, odd pieces of wood) picked up on a walk.
*In a pocket, you might find extra bobby pins, safety pins, bits
of string and odds and ends needed throughout the day.
When cooking in your apron, you might make:
Sift together 1 3/4 cups sifted flour, 2 tablespoons sugar,
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt into a mixing
bowl. Combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup cooking oil
or melted shortening.
Make a well in the
center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid.
Stir quickly only until the dry ingredients are
moistened. Mixture may
still be lumpy. Lightly
fold in 1 cup fresh blueberries.
Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 or use paper liners.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20 - 25 minutes.
(Makes 12 muffins.)
(c)2013 Mary Emma Allen
(Mary Emma Allen writes for children and adults from her home in
New Hampshire. She also teaches classes on "Writing Your
Family Stories." E-mail: