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the art of aprons

the art of aprons

My parents are relocating to North Carolina. They currently are in Norway, my dad's homeland, and I am busily facilitating their move.

A bunch of their possessions arrived via a moving van this past Sunday. While unpacking and sorting through their stuff, I came across a plethora of aprons. These are not your ordinary Williams and Sonoma aprons. They are vintage aprons with style and character.


Many of the aprons are handmade. They speak of an era in history when people took time to embellish everyday items hence creating a work of art! There are short, long, hand embroidered, cross-stitch, and ribbon-trimmed aprons. Most have a pocket or two but they all have a story. First hand witness to many meals and special occasions.

The majority of the aprons are familiar to me, but some are not. Either way, they were worn during a different time in our culture. Typically, mother's did not work outside the home, and likely home cooked meals were a daily activity. Recipes were passed down from their mom's or chosen out of Betty Crocker or Good Housekeeping Cookbooks.

Since clothing wasn't thrown in the wash after one use, an apron served as a protection of one's clothing. It also was an opportunity to show one's personality and style. I suppose one may have tried to match their outfit, but I bet there were those moments when an apron was picked with mere randomness or convenience.

Some of the aprons were only used on special occasions. In the batch of mystery aprons I found a sheer, long white apron that was worn (back in the ‘70s) over a long skirts during the Christmas season. Then there was another white one that has a Norwegian pattern called Hardanger embroidery. It is pictured below in the bottom right corner.

An apron is almost considered a novelty item. Of course, there are those that still wear aprons, but I'm pretty certain the numbers are few.

I’m sure modern conveniences played a role in the demise of aprons, but aprons were worn to preserve clothing from stains and damage.

Last night I put on my apron while preparing dinner. It’s not a vintage one, but it has a nice pocket like some pictured above. I had a little smirk on my face thinking of my mom in her hytte, likely wearing an apron earlier in the day.

I think its time we return to the tradition of wearing an apron, especially if you can get your hands on a vintage one! Do you agree?

One final thought- I wonder if there is any correlation between the love of homemaking and wearing an apron? When it comes to my mom, they seem to go hand-in-hand.

I’d love to hear your stories about aprons, cooking and maybe your mom.

I was amazed how many pictures I found with my mom wearing an apron.

(Believe when I say, there were more!)