Made an Apron

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, July 12, 1912: I made an apron today and performed some odd jobs. Good night.

woman wearing apron

Picture of a woman wearing an apron in the April 1911 issue of Ladies Home Journal

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Back in the days when it was difficult to do laundry—and people tied to keep their clothes clean for as long as possible– lots of aprons were needed.

Grandma  has mentioned making aprons several times since the start of the diary in January, 1911:

Started to make a much needed apron. Mother and I had quite a squabble over it. She said I wasn’t making it right.

May 16, 1911

. . . Was going to make an apron this afternoon for myself, but Bisser took pity on me and did it herself, so you see I was saved all the bother.

June 20, 1911

. . . I made an apron today. . .

March 16, 1912

19 Responses

  1. I really love vintage aprons and own several. I still have the very first apron I made in grade 8. I’m of ukrainian heritage where farm wives usually wore a scarf on their head (babushka) and an apron. I think that gal in your photo would benifit from a babushka..ha! Enjoying your diary!

    • I’m half Ukrainian, too, and my aunt always used to ask me for an apron to wear when she was visiting and cooking for us. She had to settle for an old shirt because I never got around to buying an apron to keep in the house for her… She still wears her babushka whenever leaving the house – she has one for every season and weather condition! She’s 97 now.

  2. Aprons…close to my heart. Might like reading two of my posts about aprons…September 10 and 17, 2011…under genealogy category.

    I live within 20 miles of The Apron Museum in Iuka, Mississippi…fascinating place.

  3. The apron she is wearing could be another dress. I remember one year my grandmother took me and my sister to buy a birthday present for my mother. We decided on a red apron with black trim and a picture of a wood burning range on the pocket. This was before we realized my mother hated all housework related gifts. It was a pretty nice apron in spite of that. I agree, a nice scarf would do wonders for the young frazzled lady in the picture.

    • The apron sounds lovely–but can also see your mother’s perspective. You’re right, a nice scarf or other similar gift can do wonders.

  4. I can remember my Aunt Jeannette wearing an apron as she would cook or do things around the house. Thank you for bringing back the memories. :)

    • I also had aunts and great aunts who always wore aprons. My mother didn’t wear aprons, but occasionally wore a “duster”. For example, she wore a duster on Sunday mornings while she made breakfast to keep her church dress clean. I wonder when dusters became popular.

  5. Artists still use aprons a lot…. a good apron is like a uniform…

  6. My mother always kept a good clean apron hanging behind the back door. So incase someone would come to the front door she would change her apron. That way she looked halfway clean. Making aprons was a must for young girls so they would learn to sew on a machine. Treadles took practice.

    • I learned to sew on an electric machine, but can remember making hot pads to learn how to sew. I’d cut a worn-out washcloth in half and then fold to have a double thickness of cloth. I’d cover with colorful cotton cloth on both sides that had been cut from a remnant. I’d have the machine sew back and forth across the layered cloth to hold everything together, and then carefully sew bias tape around the edge.

  7. So many memories flying back about aprons & sewing machines. eg. I always had to wear a “pinny” (apron) when litle… they had ruffles over the shoulders. Mum sold her electric sewing machine and bought a “treadlie” (Singer) to teach my brothers and I to sew. We started off with the machine unthreaded and made holes along the lines on writing paper. I had fun remembering & writing a blog post about it some months ago.Thanks Sheryl for another great post.

  8. I had never really thought much about the versatility of aprons until I read this post and all the comments. I should probably make more use of aprons!

  9. Hi Sheryl. Nice post! My grandmother made a number of aprons that she used regularly. I just remembered that when we were little someone gave similar aprons to my sisters and me. Mine was yellow. My sisters each had one – blue and peach. They had one or two buttons in back and looked like smocks. They had one pocket with an applique. We loved them! Makes me wonder what happened to them! :)

  10. Even tho a late response, I had to note that I remember making aprons with my grandmother when I was a little girl — don’t remember wearing them tho.

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