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Apron, Vintage Style Customized

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I love strong color and I love to cook. My kitchen is full of primary colors: yellow, orange, red, green and blue. Yellow and orange are the main colors.

The dining area is attached and there the colors are more muted into pastel shades but dark blue, bottle green and red glass makes it’s presence known against a proper unbleached Irish linen table cloth and white china.

Life's Treasures

The yellow orange theme kitchen theme is based upon a wallpaper border I put up a while ago. it’s a variation of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers with lovely colors and navy background.

sunflowersKitchen Colors

The kitchen is a place of activity and high energy and when I cook I am working as quickly as possible. I cook in batches so dinners can be frozen ahead of time. I make most things from scratch, depending on how much time I have. And, well, things do go flying! The other day, after splattering cherry juice down the front of me, I wished for an apron, one with a bib on top.

I’ve never made one (that I can remember). I have aprons but they are all inherited from Mothers and Grandmothers; you know, the full skirted half apron, that, on me, makes me look “like a potato sack with a string around it” as Ma used to say.

I wanted fullness, like the sense of fullness and abundance that a kitchen should exude. I wanted “feminine, and fun, but serious fun”. I am not a cute cook. I get dirty. It’s more fun that way 🙂

I had yellow/orange cross dyed linen in the stash and some navy so the challenge was to make a full apron with as much covering on top as well as the traditional full skirt in a way that would be more flattering to my short, full body than the outline of a lampshade on two legs. Oh horrors, that is such a bad look on me! So, what did I have on hand????

Ah, the easily disastrous pattern, View D of an old McCall’s 2947:

View D McCall's 2947

Here is the result:

front Back

But I noticed the shoulder “wings” were trying to slip down my arms

Shoulder Straps Slipping Off

and that would drive me nuts. So to make sure I would want to wear this apron I made a shoulder stay Stay

that would make sure I could tolerate wearing my new kitchen “tool”. It’s set across the back of the top of the shoulders so it’s easy to get over my head without having to button and unbutton.

Full Back Front Full
I’m moving quickly when I am cooking so I’ve got to be able to throw this on without hesitation. I think it will work well, now.

The second issue for me in this basic design is the fullness of the skirt. I need no extra fullness in the tummy or at the sides. Taking a cue from the spacing of the gathers in the Anna Sui pattern I made earlier

I made an inverted pleat across the belly of the apron, allowed gathers over the pockets, smoothed the fabric at the side seams and put maximum fullness at the back. Can you see the spacing?

Spacing of Gathers

Here’s the side seam and back

Side and Back Gathers

Here’s the front inverted pleat, top stitched down on each side of the fold. This apron will not be ironed so things must be anchored and stay put. The most I’ll do is to try to smooth out those shoulder ruffles with a quick tug as the apron comes out of the dryer. Maybe.

Inverted Pleat

The peaked front of the waist band was a design detail that insisted on being part of the apron. Seriously, it demanded to be included to counteract all the straight lines of the color blocking. It made me work late.

I drew the curves and stitched them on the waistband, then pulled out the stitches and ironed the shape into the interfaced fabric. Then I could easily applique the shape onto the bib. I like it.

I’m relieved: it cute but not “cute”, decorated but not “decorated”. Hope I remember to put it on before the disasters happen!

Kitchen work

Happy Sewing and Happy Cooking

Oh yes, something to celebrate: no more knee and ankle braces! Serious orthotics though. Something, something, something, mumble, mumble, maybe chemo. No one really knows why the nerves and ligaments are messed up. Chemo, the gift that keeps on giving. At least I can walk now and I don’t hurt like I have been for the past year. That’s great!


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

13 responses »

  1. Hooray on the no-more-braces and no (greatly reduced?) pain!

    Love the apron, I really wish I could wear bright yellow. But I look like death-barely-warmed-over in anything but soft butter yellow. Interesting modifications for the placement of gathers – I think I like your pleat and side gathers better than the origial pattern’s.

    Your wall border would give my curtains a run for their money on flowery brightness. I’m slowly working more color in the decorating.

    • Actually Gail, the nerve damage that showed up after chemo involves my hands, too, and I seem to be unable to trust my grasp any more. So I’m much more messy.

  2. You actually look glamorous in the kitchen – like a picture taken from a cooking show! And with the pineapple in hand – I’m thinking pina colada to celebrate!

  3. That apron is so cute, it could almost be a dress! Well, maybe if the back skirt had a seam in it! Wishing you continued healing and better and better health!

  4. Great apron! I find that when I’m doing serious cooking, a good, full-coverage apron is essential . . . just as necessary as any other cooking tool!

  5. You look great in your apron,I love it ~ the yellow is so cheerful and perfect coverage for serious cooking 🙂 I need one like it and have been talking about making one for ages…

    I’m happy to hear no braces 🙂 I hope they can pin point what is causing your pain and “fix” it.

  6. summersetbanks

    Fun and bright – perfect for cooking! That’s great news on the braces – orthotics are at least hidden inside the shoes.

  7. MB…a lovely non-matronly apron, love it!
    And what clever design fixes for the skirt and “slipping straps”…brilliant 🙂

  8. Love that apron and it looks GREAT on you! I don’t use aprons, but maybe I’ll make one and start wearing them!

  9. Your new apron looks fantastic and the colors match your bright kitchen. What a clever idea to smooth out the gathers at the front towards the sides so much flattering, plus the added stay in the back.

    Happy dance you do not have to wear the braces anymore.

  10. Love the apron. It’s so sunny and cheerful! Definitely the sign of a good cook – like opening the cookbook to a favorite recipe, and finding the dribs and drabs of past usage.

    You’re looking so happy! That is so nice to see. Scritches to Gaely!

    Noticed the new shoes too. Are those the kind with the orthotic footbed? My Dr. Toes wants to have me in those – I’m hoping for orthotic inserts I can put into street shoes.

  11. Nice blog. Good apron. Really i love lot wearing apron while cooking.


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