Do you have a type of garment that you’ve made consistently throughout your sewing life?
Aprons are one of those things that I’ve made throughout my sewing experience. I use them everyday for all of my artsy messes and for my cooking which are two other things I’ve always done too. My earliest memories are of me in the kitchen with my Gram or my Mom making something. On the mess front, I had an art table that was encrusted with every possible known crafty substance when I was little. Glitter, glue, crayons, paint–you name it, it was there. Were it not for my collection of aprons, I certainly would have destroyed a lot more of my own clothes in pursuit of my hobbies. In honor of The Monthly Stitch’s Amazing Aprons challenge this month, I wanted to look back at some of the aprons I’ve made over my sewing life.
Kitchen themed navy and red apron
This one I hand stitched because that’s pretty much how I did everything as a kid. The fabric came from the basement of the coolest fabric store in Omaha when I was little. My Mom is not a seamstress, but she always has done upholstery. Sometimes go to that store in The Old Market when she was redoing chairs or looking for lace. I remember the old wood floors and open brickwork of this old building and the very bleak basement. Against this backdrop were beautiful fabrics. This print caught my eye and I convinced Mom that I needed it for an apron. I traced one of her aprons and added red ribbon for straps. I was somewhere between 8-10.
Gingham sunflower apron with embroidery
This one came a little later. I sewed it with my first sewing machine, so that would make it from my junior high years. That machine was one I never really learned how to use properly. The tension was always off, and it frustrated me to no end. I shelved it for years, frustrated with it’s efforts and knowing that I could sew just as well by hand with less frustration. The embroidery I added by printing out a template in a font I liked. I never wanted anyone to call me “Lizzi,” I just liked how symmetrical it looked…more so than Elizabeth anyhow. This is my blockprinting/messy stuff in the garage apron.
When I got my Janome when I was first married, this was one of my first projects. It’s far too long, and the bias trimmed pockets were not well-managed, but I still like this apron. I took off the curtain rings and added a waistband. Sometimes I wrap a loaf of bread in this apron.
Bias tape trimmed vintage apron
This was one of the first drafting projects that I did as a beginner. I bought a collection of vintage patterns from an Etsy seller. You had to enlarge the patterns yourself using a grid by hand. I loved this sort of thing as a kid, so it wasn’t too much of a to do. I finished this particular apron the night before one of our first Christmas Cookie Extravaganza parties.
Toddler Smock Aprons
Since I’ve always been a cook, it was natural that I wanted my own kids to be in the kitchen with me. I love this funky canvas from Superbuzzy, and it made great little smocks. The Jack and the Beanstalk is my favorite. You can see my love of decorative topstitching before I had any skill at doing it! The boys have actually never loved wearing these. The wrap-around style (from Amy Karol’s Bend the Rules Sewing) while super practical has never been comfortable for them. I don’t care. I will save these for my future grandchildren!
There’s many more aprons I’ve made, and this week I made 5 in one day. As I went about sewing those ones up, it was interesting to go back and see my own sewing progress in this one particular genre of garment. Tomorrow, for Mother’s Day, I’ll be writing up my next batch of aprons with my crew!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.