grandma’s apron

I’ve been wearing my great-grandmother’s apron for years now. My grandmother got a kick out of my mother calling and telling her that she caught me doing dishes in her mother’s old apron. Hey, some things are just that functional. The apron isn’t pretty, it’s a far cry from sexy, but it has saved my work clothes from cooking splashes and dishwater.

Yesterday the girls and I were at a wedding shower for my future sister-in-law and my grandmother gave my girls a couple of aprons that she had made for them herself. They are cute, so I wanted to show them off as a thank-you to Grandma. She also gave them a paper about the history of aprons, written as a short essay:

The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few.Β It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material to make. Along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was useful for drying children’s tears and cleaning dirty faces.

From the chicken coop, it was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks and half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids (not around here – when company comes, that thing is whipped off pretty darn fast and hidden behind the door).

Chips and kindling were brought into the kitchen in the apron, it carried vegetables from the garden, hulls out of the kitchen after shelling peas, and carried in fruit off of the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture it could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out on the porch, waved the apron, and the family knew it was time to come in for dinner.

Not many kitchen time-saving devices have been invented that can replace that old apron.

Linking to Frugally Sustainable, Homestead Simple, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Simple Lives Thursday

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44 thoughts on “grandma’s apron

  1. Sydney says:

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading the inventive uses for aprons πŸ™‚

  2. My grandmother wore an apron every time she was in her kitchen, eventually she wore it when making her jewelry as the pockets allowed her to keep tools close at hand while giving her a more open work surface. Thank you for posting this, I hadn’t thought of her aprons in a while, they are wonderful memories.

  3. Great piece of history and real living, isn’t it ?! So fun. πŸ™‚

  4. The aprons are so pretty, what a treasure for your daughters to keep (and wear!) My grandmother wore aprons and they were also “pressed” into service such as your grandmother’s was. A nice post to start out the week!

  5. Love this story! I can see myself having a bit of an obsession with aprons as I get older because they are adorable and help it so after a heavy cooking session you don’t have to change your clothes because they are covered in flour, jam, sauce…whatever you’re getting into because the apron kept you clean. I remember when I was little I used to serve my gram and pap “dinner” aka plastic food/invisible food in this little waist apron that my great gram had crocheted. I still have it somewhere too. It doesn’t cover a whole lot but it’s nice having something she made and I got a lot of use out of as a kid.

    • My kids do the same with the play food. I love the thought of a little crocheted apron – that would be a great gift idea for my little neice. Her mom just built her a play kitchen for her birthday.

      • the joys of a good childhood πŸ™‚ I can’t crochet, or knit…don’t have the patience. But if I could I’d replace the belt for the apron because it got lost over the years. Not that I can actually wear it. It’d be like wearing a small hand towel lol. But at least it would be complete and could hang in my kitchen.

  6. Camhy says:

    I love this! I never thought about all the uses for aprons, although I had thought about why women used to wear them constantly, covering up the more beautiful dress underneath. I’ve been encouraging my kids to wear them when cooking, but they’d rather take their chances.

  7. I should wear my aprons more – I am a messy girl, but forget to put them on. Who knew aprons could be so useful. Your girls look so cute.

  8. oceannah says:

    Adorable! I love the aprons my mom makes for me. I always use one since I’m a messy cook πŸ™‚
    *anna

  9. The aprons are so cute, the the little essay that came with them is the best part!

  10. Heidi this is adorable! I can only picture the wrestling that ensued after the photo session :0 I love the explanation of how to use the apron. I have an apron very similar and it’s my favorite type – over the head, pocket in front. I bought the pattern at a vintage store and when I got home, there weren’t any instructions but there was $35.00 tucked neatly inside! I made the apron reversible (gingham on one side and floral on the other) so it only needs washing half as much!
    My kids both wear aprons when cooking and eating (they’re both teenagers!). We call them adult bibs πŸ˜‰

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh how I love this! The aprons are adorable! And the memories this post conjures up for me are nothing but wonderful. What a terrific post!

  12. Why we don’t wear them more and end up having to change our tops etc. is beyond me…It’s a good reminder why they are used..Diane

  13. What a sweet gift to your girls. I love the essay that was included. I have several of my Mother’s aprons, that I wear, and another couple that I’m saving to give my daughter.

  14. amberwideman says:

    I loved reading the short essay that went along with the aprons. I’m in the middle of sewing myself my very first apron and this made me so much more excited for its completion πŸ™‚

  15. Shira says:

    Awesome! I love that Gramma’s apron isn’t pretty – I’ve got an old one that I wear no matter what replacement is bought for me (I think my mom gave it to me), I love it and it doesn’t matter how hideous it looks (really!). Special stuff is just special stuff! Cute shots!

  16. I had to turn my computer back on to tell you that I love this post. My gramma wore an apron too. She also hummed while she worked in the kitchen. After the dinner dishes were done she would announce that the kitchen was closed. That was the sign that you’d better not mess it up because her work day was over! I miss my gramma.

  17. I wish I could say that and have people stay out of the cleaned kitchen. Sadly, there are always people sneaking back in wanting a late snack.

    I think my great-grandma wore her apron even after she moved in with my grandparents in her later years and retired permanently from the kitchen. I remember her wearing it while she played checkers with me.

  18. Somer says:

    Charming! I have several cute aprons and nearly always forget to wear them!

  19. Bring back house dresses!

  20. slowborg says:

    The aprons are cute and that essay is fantastic! So true! I guess that shows how ‘not yet completely low consumption’ I am, because I just cook in whatever I’m wearing that day and chuck it in the wash. Of course I would be using my apron if I didn’t have an abundance of clothes!

  21. Hi Heidi,

    I love reading this post and have shared it to my FB wall, Pinterest, and Twitter. Thank you so much for linking it to my blog hops. It’s a real gem of a post and I think our Grandma’s were cut from the same mold. p.s.- Your girls are adorable in their new aprons.

  22. AWWW drying children’s tears and gathering eggs, such an important garment so soothe the heart and carry the fragile.

  23. Jennifer says:

    What lovely memories are attached to that apron! πŸ™‚

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