Aprons Galore

In good time for the Historical Sew Monthly’s May challenge, I am back to give you some background information on my monthly project. The challenge’s theme is “Practicality”, and in my case this entails making an Edwardian apron. Yet it will not be a simple one that ties at the back. I have already finished one of these about two years ago:

A simple Edwardian maid’s apron I finished in 2014, based on Tudor Link’s free pattern.

Instead, I will be sewing a full pinafore apron, which is the apron of my dreams. Ever since starting historical sewing, I have wanted one to wear over my school clothes while doing needlework. It will be very practical to keep threads and lint in check while also helping me not to lose any pins or needles. But, at the same time, my inner little girl wants to dress up in the pinafore to add an extra pinch of historical flair to the sewing experience. ;)

The pattern for my pinafore is from “Buch der Wäsche” by Brigitta Hochfelden, a German publication that dates back to the year 1900. It is rather wide and dress-like, with a bottom circumference of over two yards, and can be made with or without sleeves. Below you can see the illustration of the finished garment. I have chosen to make the sleeveless version, since it has such a nice shoulder ruffle.

Sketch of the finished pinafore apron from “Buch der Wäsche” (c.1900).

Today I have had a look around some museum catalogs and other online resources to find surviving period examples of similar aprons. Surprisingly, the search did not come up with many results. Most of the aprons I have found have a very full bib and skirt at the front while still tying at the back. Of these, Bethany’s gorgeous reconstruction has stricken me as especially lovely. :)

The closest to “my” pinafore I have found is this extant apron pattern sold on Etsy:

Extant Edwardian pinafore pattern, found on Etsy.

Another apron I found, is a beautifully patterned, early nineteenth-century Russian apron from the Met Museum’s collection. It features a high, almost Empire-style waistline and a full bodice with a laced back closure.

Russian apron from the Met Museum (early 1800s) – front view.

Russian apron from the Met Museum (early 1800s) – side back view.

The last extant apron I have encountered is a pinafore from 1860. It is very dainty and has some delicious lace details to drool over. Yet it looks rather short and was most likely made to be worn by a girl or slender young lady.

Short pinafore apron from the Met Museum (c.1860).

These are all the results today’s search has produced. Each of them is very pretty and special in its own way. But none looks quite like the pinafore I am making for the current challenge. Now I am even more excited to see how the finished apron will turn out. And perhaps, I have managed to pass on a little bit of pleasant anticipation to you, too. ;)

In my next post, I will write some more about the pinafore’s pattern diagrams, fabric and sewing instructions.

Until very soon, Nessa

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2 thoughts on “Aprons Galore

  1. Lady Constance says:

    That Russian apron is really stunning. I like the design: front well covered, secure so it won’t slip around, and open in the back so not restricting. Very nice. Am eagerly awaiting your next post to see what you come up with. :-)

    • Nessa says:

      Yeah, it might even be a Regency-era apron (the catalog entry would not say exactly), and, somehow, I feel like recreating that one as well at some point in the future, perhaps from a nice block-printed cotton or by painting it myself. ;) The one I am making now has a bit more “coverage”, but you’ll see, once I get to take a few more progress pictures. =)

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