Grillin’ in Style

When selecting the aprons to accompany me as I travel and present my Apron Memories platform, I also pack apron patterns. The pattern packets intrigue me, for just as with the Dick and Jane primers and early nursery rhyme books, packet illustrations are not slapdash, but mini works of art that are often historical commentaries.

This past February, I was the guest speaker at The Woman’s Forum in Wichita Falls, Texas. During the program, I passed around apron patterns, including this one:

Aside from the arcaneness of the man wearing a suit and tie to grill hot dogs in the backyard, the illustration is a reflection of gender relationships in the mid-1940s. Additional commentary is in the name of the pattern: Mr. and Mrs. Aprons – the precursor to His & Hers, modern day’s tendency to be less specific when it comes to our relationships.

As it circulated, the pattern stirred the memory of Peggy Thornton, who turned to her daughter, Suzanne Staha, and announced I sewed these aprons for Daddy and me. Having never seen such aprons among her mother’s possessions, Suzanne was a bit incredulous, but figured what the heck, and mentioned her mom’s comment to me. Having witnessed the power of the aprons as memory triggers, I didn’t doubt for a second Mrs. Thornton’s recollection. And when I visited her in her home, I was rewarded with this:

According to Mrs. Thornton, she purchased this pattern in 1944 or so, along with the exact fabric as the pattern’s illustration. She cut out the pieces, but never got around to actually sewing the aprons. Several years later, 1947 she thinks, her mother sewed up the aprons, which she and her husband wore at their first backyard barbecue.

Such is the joy of my apron journey – I never know what aprons I will see, what stories I will hear, nor who I will meet. What I do know is I am never disappointed.

Oh, if you’re ever in Wichita Falls, do stay at Harrison House, Suzanne’s historic and fabulous B&B.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. Hey just a man wearing an apron is sexy. Who cares if it’s over a suit!
    Too funny. Wonder how much housework he’ll be getting done. I bet he doesn’t let the guys at the office see him dressed like that!

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