The Simple Delight of an Apron

I have mentioned my love for aprons in a few posts and several of you have asked me about them. I did not always view an apron with such pleasure. I thought them so utilitarian that they utterly bored me to tears. But as I progress in my vocation, I am discovering them anew, and finding so much joy in them. When did this change occur, you ask? I can’t really say. I think it just happened that I gradually saw that the practical nature of my aprons was actually a beautiful thing in itself…then slowly I learned that collecting aprons was a joy. Coupling aprons with the needs of the day, or the chosen skirt or blouse seems to make it an extension of me. It offers a place to tuck marbles found in forgotten places, notes that contain scribbled lists, ponytail holders, sharpies, and handkerchiefs…and there’s the obvious protection from spaghetti sauce that it affords.

I think another thing I love about aprons in general is how they foster a spirit of frugality and femininity. Their coverage over clothing was meant to protect and preserve during the rigors of the everyday tasks while affording some measure of fashion and femininity. If you’re bored with your standard issue denim-tie-behind-the-back apron…consider a trip to a flea market and seek out something simple, but pretty. Just try it. Better yet…go through your stash of material – it doesn’t take much to make a simple little apron with ties in the back, in fact it is possibly one of the simplest projects out there. Grab a little bit of gingham and see what you can come up with. Here…to further help you along, let me pull this little note out of my apron pocket…52 free apron patterns you can make.

And, if you have your library list nearby – you’ll want to check out The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort.

Here you may behold my modest collection of aprons. 🙂 I keep them hanging where else? In the pantry! One of the first things I do in the morning as I grab my cup of coffee is choose the apron of the day. I shall tell you before the questions come rolling in that I do not wash my aprons every day. Certainly not! They are washed when they are dirty – sometimes that is immediately after the evening meal (oh dear), and sometimes they may serve for a couple of weeks before they are washed.

I have a few aprons that I bought…but my favorite aprons are the older aprons. These are treasures. In putting on my Granny’s apron, in a sense, I’m wearing her spirit of cheerfulness, service, and hospitality which never ever fail to inspire me! I have memories of her going to Mass without an apron…but for everything else, she wore an apron tied at her waist. She visited guests in her home with an apron, cooked with an apron, folded laundry in her apron, hummed through the house in her apron.

This is one of my Granny’s aprons. I could enshrine it in the cedar chest I suppose, but I choose instead to go on wearing it and using it…and smiling as I imagine what a glorious collection of aprons she must have now!

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  1. What a find to see this posted here! Thank you for this wonderful post!

    I too love aprons, aprons I sew or old aprons having sweetness of simple beauty or heritage quality. I think and pray for the woman who likely wore my new aprons (to me that is) and what they might have been like in their own homes. I love to shop thrift stores for new to me finds, those with hand stitching on them like chicken scratch sewing in gingham squares, quilted side pockets, or simply a sweet and useful apron made from an old potato sack from long ago. In recent months my hubby has discovered the love of cooking, so now my search includes aprons for men. Who would have thought? LOL Bless you Jen!:-)

  2. Me too Kimberlee! Jen, this is so timely! I have a few and am wanting to make some more, sort of more vintage style. Violet hand sewed the beautiful pattern in Sewing with St. Anne, it's adorable! I really like a full apron, but they can be too hot sometimes, especially during a hot summer day, but I love love love the sweet half aprons like you are wearing Jen and so special that is was your grandmothers 🙂 Happy Friday! I'll link back if I post mine 😉

  3. I am sure your granny is gazing on you with love as you bustle around the house in her apron! think of it as carrying on the torch ;o) My grandmother knit and crocheted like a whirlwind and my mil quilts. They would both tell you the same thing..these things are meant to be used and loved by you! Think of how comforting it is to snuggle in something worn and loved. I think that is kind of like snuggling in the embrace of our hard-working grandmothers :o) Your apron is worn in all the right places because she served…she LOVED…how beautiful is that??!
    Your aprons are beautiful!

  4. I think I am in need of finding myself a “happy apron” – I have never worn an apron in my entire life! Oh the joys I have been missing. I was wondering if you could give me advice on a book – I am looking to teach my teenage daughter this year about budgeting, shopping, planning nutritious lunches, and serving lunch everyday to her siblings as part of her home economics course. Can you think a good book that could help lead us in the right direction? Thanks so much for your help – my e-mail is


  5. I want to say that aprons started to disappear when women stared working outside the home, but I don't remember seeing my grandmother who was a stay-at-home farmer's wife wear one. I know she did when she was younger because I have some of them but she stopped wearing them sometime before or after I was born. I wonder why that was?

  6. I'm in love with aprons- that's my go-to wedding gift! I just made a few more- housework is a little more pleasant when you have a happy apron to wear while you work. 🙂

  7. I do Civil War reenactments and I had to laugh after reading your post about aprons. One reason I love putting on the dresses of the time period is because I get to wear aprons. From spills, runny noses, to breastfeeding cover, this common clothing was a necessity of the time.

  8. Funny, I just finished making an apron!! I love to wear my aprons it really does save my clothing from spills! I love pockets (for my rags) it makes a quick dusting!
    I will post a picture of my apron on my blog. God bless.

  9. Oh, how I've been waiting for this post! Thank you for the glimpse into your apron collection. I recently found my first pretty one at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis (it's in an old flour mill by the river – the gift shop has a baking theme). The apron is yellow with roses and a pink ruffle trim. I'll post about it soon!

  10. I think I'm inspired by the half apron. I like wearing an apron, but when I start out with one only to have it bunch up and get in the way from nursing, I usually ditch it.

    I've never seen a half apron with such great pockets! How perfect for a handkerchief (I'm always losing my handkerchief if I'm not wearing an apron!) and all those little things one find while tidying.

  11. Well! you were reading in my thoughts when you wrote this post!! Thank you so much for sharing all this!! I have been following your blog a loooong time from France an it's only ow thatI write you. You are a great source of inspiration for us too!

  12. Dear Jen,
    I have always loved the idea of aprons, but sadly do not wear one. My girls all do thought.
    I have yet to find a full apron, because that is the style I like, that does not make this mummy of 11 look plumper thatn she is.

    Any ideas
    God Bless

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