Apron Stories

» Tell Your Apron & Linen Story:

THE APRON BOOK is newly published as a beautifully designed softbound with the Foreword by Beth Livesay, a founding editor of apronology & Executive Editor of Nails Magazine

The Apron Book

Apron & Linen Stories

“My story goes back to November 12, 1960. It was our wedding day and a big reception was taking place. Being of Polish ethnic background, there were many traditions that came along with this big event. One of them was when it was time to all the guests to form a circle around the newlyweds and sing Let Me Call you Sweetheart while they danced in the circle. The next thing was a tradition that I really was not too familiar with. After this dance, the maid of honor took an apron which was made of satin and lace, and had several little plastic babies–very small tied to it. This was to signify wishes for a large family. So it was probably one of my first aprons in my married life. Today will be 57 years ago that we said I do. I have worn many aprons of many kinds through those 57 years. I am not sure if this tradition still is carried on at truly Polish weddings any more. But every now and then when I have a lot of cooking or baking or dish washing to do, I do have a couple of aprons I put on.”

Mrs. Lorraine Palewski


Grandma's aprons article - click to view larger


“At one time we lived in Broomfield, Colorado, and at that time, a friend and I signed up for a community college class concerning psychic phenomenon. During one class, the instructor asked the ones with psychic experiences to tell their stories.

One young lady told about being at an amusement park one evening. She and her family were standing near a ride, and she noticed a piece of material on the ground. She walked to the material, picked it up and declared it to be her grandmother’s apron! Her grandmother lived in Iowa.

She finished her story by saying that her grandmother had died and the apron was some kind of message from her.


Dorothy Essex


“I recently opened a box from my crawl space and found the apron, pot holder, pin cushion and drawstring bag that I made in 7th grade in the late 50’s. In my school in Jersey City you had “home economics” in 7th and 8th grade. In 7th grade you learned sewing, hand sewing, embroidery. We made the apron, etc., to be used in 8th grade cooking class. The apron has my name embroidered on the front bodice. The bag has my initials and the pot holder the same. We learned the chain stitch, the feather stitch. My initials were done in chain stitch and a feather stitch encircled my initials. They are in really good shape for being in a cardboard box for many years in that crawl space. My local school district discontinued home economics and “shop” for the boys many years ago. I still have my 8th grade “cookbook”. Each week we made a recipe and had to hand write it in a composition book. My mother swore that I made the best pie crust she ever had. Oh, the memories.
I still have some of the “Shop” projects my brothers made in the early 60’s.”

Arlene Veal
Oceanport, NJ


“I love my aprons and use them all the time when I am in the kitchen cooking. I have several aprons that mean a lot to me. One was my grandmother’s. She made it with a towel to wipe your hands and one my mother made me when I was married. It’s way over 50 years old. I also have two vintage children’s aprons. One has the safety pins on it yet for when they pinned the bib to your clothes. My mother had one she called her cooking coat. I gave it to my oldest daughter for a gift and she fell in love with it. Aprons are a blessing.”

Ms. Fran Seymour
Clarkson, NE


“I can’t ever remember my mother NOT wearing an apron (except when she had to go into town). She and my father raised 12 of us children so of course Mom made all of her aprons, usually from the pretty flour sacks they used to get. Those aprons wiped countless tears of her kids, and probably some of her own tho I never ever say my Mom cry. Those aprons also wiped runny noses, carried eggs from the hen house to the house, flapped wildly to chase chickens or another animal, hid a kid who wanted to “hide”, and wiped her hands on it while cooking endless meals, covering it in flour or batter or whatever. I have also seen her lift it and quickly dust a table or shelf, probably when company was driving up the lane. I am SICK with the deepest regret that apparently none of these aprons were ever saved (I don’t think they all could have been worn out, but…..). Mom still wore an apron every day even after we were all grown and gone, till she passed away at the age of 80, in 1979. I’m 75 now and there are only 3 of us kids left, but I will forever remember the feeling of comfort and safety of leaning up against Mom’s apron while feeling the gentle touch of her hand on my shoulder.”

Mrs Eloise Lee,
LaPorte, CO


“At one point in my life, our family lived in Budapest. The home was uniquely designed, with the kitchen (cooking room) and bathroom located in two separate outbuildings. My mother was very sophisticated and the outdoor location of the “facility’ was a compromise to her ladylike standards.

She was once occupying the bathroom when we heard screaming from the backyard. As we ran to see what was the matter, she was shuffling about the yard holding her dress up and with her undergarment around her ankles.

My father tried to calm her, but it was impossible. She was hysterical, crying, Something crawled up the toilet bowl hole and attached itself to my bottom!

Turns out, the something was the fluttering of her apron ties.”

Rita Moss,
Pueblo, CO


“Five years ago I found a couple of Campbell’s Soup “M’m! Good ” tablecloths, and kitchen hand towels at a discount store. I cut an apron from the tablecloth and made it for my oldest daughter Wendy, who was getting married that year. Two years later my second daughter Emily was getting married and she received one as well.

We moved that year and I lost track of the other tablecloth and recently came across it just in time to make six more aprons. I didn’t have any more hand towels but had enough material to make pot holders for each.

Trish and Laura (sisters ), my two nieces who live in Utah, are receiving them as well. Trish was married last year and Laura this summer. That leaves one for me to have at home.

I love aprons, I have started collecting them as well. Even my three year old grandson wears an apron at my house, as I have made a small one for him because he is too big to wear a bib. I gave him an apron with navy and white stripes and baking “tools” for his third birthday. He said the apron looks like his train engineer’s hat.”

Mary Gottwald
Ontario, Canada

Here is the picture of the girls wearing the Mmmm aprons I made for their wedding showers.
Here is the picture of the girls wearing the Mmmm aprons I made for their wedding showers.


My husband just gifted me with a subscription to Country Woman for Mother’s Day. I received my first issue this past week. This is where I read your article on aprons. My grandmother always had on an apron, so when I grew up and got married, I started wearing aprons. It just seemed natural to me, plus I am a sloppy cook. Then when my grandmother passed, I inherited all her aprons, what a wonderful treasure. I still wear aprons every day.

When I was younger my friends thought it was funny, well they are not laughing anymore. Now it seems everyone wants to where one. Not only do they bring back so many memories of past family gatherings, but they help me from ruining my clothes.

I loved your article and would love to get some very simple patterns. I am not a seamstress but I would love to make some as gifts.

Thanks for the article and I will be following you on Facebook from now on.”

Kelly Baumer
Ludlow, KY


“Hi EllynAnne,

I’ve just found your site and It’s great! I’ve been collecting embroidered aprons,tablecloths,doilies,napkins etc etc for years now and i get such pleasure out of it.

I admire the work that has been put into these treasures and i use them around my home. I’m so glad thatyou appreciate these things too. I like to think that the women that made them would be proud that we use them still.”

Tania Rubery
Perth, Western Australia


“In about 1958 I took a cooking class at school (required at that time). As we cooked in class we learned the importance of wearing an apron for cleanliness (imagine this). Through the years I continued this practice, always wearing a handmade apron of the latest style sewn by my grandmother.

When I was in early marriage, I would walk the few blocks home and tie on an apron as I fixed a light lunch. In cold weather a heavy coat was necessary wearin. Imagine my SURPRISE when I returned to work one afternoon, and removed my coat to be embarrassed that underneath was my apron, still tied around my waist. My face turned rather red when co-workers spotted my apron! Now I know that that was pure cleanliness!”

Mrs. Mary Kellam
Shelbyville, Indiana


From Sheryl Morris, Linden, NC

Click the image to view larger:

click to view larger


“When we first got married, on our way home from our honeymoon I really wanted an apron. We went into a country store and I asked to try on the aprons. The women looked at me funny and said no one has asked to try them on before, but she let me.

After using my apron for some time I realized there were things I needed if I wanted to be completely happy with my apron. That’s when I started making my own.

I knew I wanted a neckline that didn’t fall when I leaned over, so I made the halter top go through the fabric to have it gather. Also because I am constantly washing my hands I wanted a little bib on my apron to just pick up quick and dry my hands. I also wanted it to fit me really good and be fun and beautiful!”

I am calling my apron design “The Curtsey.”

Margaret Hurley in her apron design
Margaret Hurley


“I’m a big fan or yours. Years ago, my daughter Rachel Young worked on “Silver City” movie with your son, whom I met at the Denver premier party. He said I reminded him of you, and I of course had to check it out–well, I’m a huge fan of yours and aprons as well.
Mom was from Tennessee, and all the aunts had the most wonderful aprons, and different styles of course. One of the last things Mom still enjoyed doing as she started into Alzheimers, was to iron aprons. She always said she liked ironing them, and my sister and I probably thought it was silly. Now I wonder if her mother taught her to iron by aprons…She left quite a collection, which my daughter and I love to go through.
I went downstairs To find this Haiti apron I bought at a thrift store years ago, and, ironing it, shed a tear for all those poor Haitians…”

Diane Jean
Littleton, CO


“I just love vintage aprons,
They remind me of my childhood!
I very happy to have find your website.”

France Guerin, Quebec, Canada


Hi EllynAnne,

“I wanted to share this photo with you:

Memphis, Tennessee on Christmas Day in the late 1950's
It was taken by my father at my grandparent Crawford”s house in Memphis, Tennessee on Christmas Day in the late 1950’s. My grandmother is standing next to my grandfather who is seated at the head of the table. My dad’s cousins are the other two ladies standing and all three women are dressed to the nines and wearing their freshly laundered and ironed ‘fancy’ aprons for the holidays. My grandmother likely made them and embroidered the designs on them. I can almost smell the homemade yeast rolls on the table, along with all the pies I know are sitting in the kitchen waiting for their turn at the table. Oh to go back and rejoice in those days again.
Thank you for bringing back the memories!”

Christi Crawford-Partee
the Ozark Mtns, Arkansas


Tracy Fullington“You’ve just inspired me to collect my buttons and sift through them like stones. Reading your blog and seeing this bountiful button box makes me so nostalgic…

“I remember being just six years old and finding a pearly white two-holed button on the playground one day. She shone with grandeur in my eyes and I pocketed the small treasure. I wondered what stories she would tell me if only I could listen close enough… How did she fall to the lonely ground? Had she popped off a fairy princess’ gown? Oh, the stories Miss Button might hold… Try as I might, my incessant chattering to Miss Button and my classmates unveiled no magical stories. Instead, my chatter landed me, my desk and Miss Button in front of the class and next to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Rich. Instructed to stop talking to my classmates, my only concern was whether I could continue to talk to Miss Button. To my delight, I was allowed to chatter on to Miss Button, who never did reveal her secrets. Oh, to be childlike and innocent enough to lose yourself imagining life through the eyes of a button…”

My Mom’s Recollection:

“I remember the first grade button–you had a little box you kept all the ones you found in. I know I got in trouble with you when I washed your jeans and you thought button was gone. Luckily,it turned up in bottom of washer!! I sure remember you were always intrigued with unusual buttons. Grammy kept her button collection in a canister–you always wanted to dump them out and play with them. That’s how I taught you to count–add and subtract. You always wanted to take the canister to school, but I knew better for you–so it stayed home. Still have the canister of buttons of Grammy’s–now and then I need one to replace one. I also remember where lots she saved came from–my childhood.”

Tracy Fullington, Georgetown, KY


“I found my first gingham apron (with exquisite chicken scratch stitching) at my little thrift store a couple years ago. Every time I went I would find another, and then another. Seriously, I never found any two the same and always only one at a time. I never paid more than a dollar for each vintage gingham apron and they were all in mint condition. I had to wonder if they were made by the same lady. I love that I have kept them all together, in case they were.”

You can read more about my gingham apron collection here.

Along with pictures:

Click to view the pictures
Linda Thompson, Tempe, AZ


Granny Maxine“Our mother’s name is Maxine but to everyone, she was known as “Granny.” Several people never knew her given name. She and our dad were married for 60 years. Mom was a very proud yet simple woman, an angel and lady in every since of the word. Making sure everyone’s needs were met before her own, she wanted only for her family to be healthy and happy.

When getting her day started, Mom would dress and put on her favorite apron. She would cook, clean and tend her flowers. I don’t recall seeing her without her apron on. I think for Mom, it was a sign of strength and protection for those she cared for and loved so much. On September 5, 2007, Mom passed away of a massive stroke to the brain, at age 78. We chose to bury her in her favorite skirt, blouse and sweater and, of course, her favorite apron.

In our eyes there is nothing more that needs to be said about our mother. Her life on earth said it all. She now proudly wears her apron for GOD.”

Ray Studle, husband, and children Glen, Barbara, Jerry, Sandra, and Dennis.

Submitted by daughter: Barbara Threlkel, Bowling Green, KY


“Dear EllynAnne,

I heard your presentation at Ladybug Quilts in Colorado Springs. I thought you would enjoy seeing this picture. My Aunt Eleanor George Pasley made cobbler aprons for all of the females in the family one Christmas. She and her family were unable to come home to the farm near Lebo, Kansas that Christmas or the photo would have included even more females with aprons! We still have some of the aprons! I believe this photo was taken around Christmas 1961.”

Susan George Phillips

Susan George Phillips


Kansas City aprons“For several years my friends Janie and Nancy and I have shared dinners once a month, rotating between our homes and usually trying a new recipe each time we cook for the others. This picture was last Christmas at my home. Nancy and I are wearing our new Kansas City aprons, a gift from Janie.

I give Apron Programs and have had some wonderful experiences sharing stories about aprons.”

Sally, Wichita, KS


“I love the old embroidery on the pillow cases and sheets. I also love using them – and am very sad at how quickly the linen itself wears out. After a few years of use, with careful washing & drying, the linen actually shreds. I would love to have these last longer.”

Lori Conzatti
Seattle, WA


“My dearly beloved mother-in-law was an avid embroiderer. She had a entire dresser full of her handiworks where she kept them perfectly pressed and folded in plastic bags so none would get dirty. The only thing she embroidered for herself was a set of days of the week dishtowels; all the other things in the dresser were for others or too “good” to actually use. That’s just how it was then, you didn’t use anything new unless you absolutely had to or if company was coming.

Such was the case with the towels, which she used daily for 60 plus years. Many times I asked for that set, to frame and give to the granddaughters, but always she refused, because “they still had some good space left on them to use.”

Well, December of 2008 she died and as we go through her belongings, I am hoping that those old towels that have dried many, many dishes from her love of cooking and being of service to her family are still there. Now those framed towels will be even more memorable as a tribute to the loving hands of Mom.”

Lynda Lorenz, Frohna, MO


“When I was a little girl, my mother’s friend Mary Ruth always tied an apron on (a dressy hostess apron) at any gathering, especially at the home of someone who died. Let me explain; this is a big thing in the South…the kitchen of the loved one would be full of ladies taking care of huge hams, casseroles, desserts of every kind, for the family and friends to eat. Mary Ruth would always be in charge of the kitchen, giving orders right and left. I was in awe of her! The sight of those aprons just made my mouth water…I was so pleased when she gave me one of my own when I was older. This began my life-long love of aprons of every kind and pictures of them being worn by women of any and all persuasions. Your book is the personification of this love of mine. Thank you for the Apron Book!”

Ms. Paula Bush, Newnan, GA


“After reading your book, I got the apron bug. Although I’ve never been much of a seamstress I decided to try the waist apron pattern in your book. I’ve now made several aprons and given them as gifts.

My grandmother will be 99 years old in March, she has always worn a waist apron everyday that I can remember. Many of them are worn out now and my mother was throwing some of the badly worn ones out. I decided to make my grandma two aprons for Christmas, I embellished them with rickrack and buttons on the pockets and a gathered ruffle on the hem of one.

My mom laughed when she told me that of all the wonderful and some expensive Christmas gifts that my grandma received, the one she talked about most and was happiest about was the two aprons that I had given her. It was a great feeling to make Grandma so happy with such a simple gift.”

Michelle Tilley
Amity, AR



“I am so excited about your new book. I love all of the linens that I managed to save from different family members. I’ve even been able to add to my collection thanks to thrift shops, antique shops and best of all my church rummage sale! It is so cool to be sorting through donated items and find older aprons and linens. For some reason our pricers don’t tend to think they are worth much – ha – if they only knew! I’ve even found some pieces that I plan to use on apron pockets.

I just love Grace – she wrote directions and emailed them to me for a “simple” apron when I first started making them a year or so ago. I still have her printed out email directions that I refer to all of the time when trying to figure out how to use some of the smaller pieces of fabric I find in our church sewing room.

Thanks for all of the inspiration I receive from you – I always want to get busy with fabric after I look at your blog.”


Sue Williams, Bellflower, CA


Dear EllynAnne,

“I discovered you and your story in the book “You’ve Got to Read This Book!” Thank you for reminding me of my dear grandmothers and their aprons. I miss them always.

I, too, am a writer, and my heart’s desire is always to inspire. You have certainly done that for me, and I thank you!”

Kate Miller
Carmel, CA


“I just received your book as a gift from my sister in law and am thoroughly enjoying it. I have made several aprons as gifts. One that I made for myself and I use the most is from recycled jeans. It is so easy. You just cut the bib out and use bias tape to cover the raw edges and make the ties. It is durable and economical if your husband gets a stain on his jeans, they don’t go to waste. I have jeans aprons for the kids too. I appreciated your opening of the book regarding the ties that people have to their mother and grandmothers through food. Besides my photos and journals, I consider my cookbooks and recipes, especially those hand written from my aunts and grandma, very prized possessions. Thank you for your work and Merry Christmas!”

Tanya Gibson, Witchita, KS

Tanya Gibson and her daughter


“Growing up, I never saw my mother or grandmother wear an apron. They actually both hate to cook and I seemingly became the same type of woman. I would often complain to my boyfriend (now fiancé) about the pains associated with cooking and baking. However, not too long ago my fiancé brought home a “gag” gift. He had a package filled with two chefs’ hats and a white apron. But, something took over me and I felt the need to try it on AND I loved it! I recently started cooking more (with the help of my fiancé, who is an amazing cook!) and now I wear the white apron as much as possible. I love how it serves a purpose, but I also love the way it looks and feels on me.”

Skyler Stull


“When I was a little girl, my mother’s friend Mary Ruth always tied an apron on (a dressy hostess apron) at any gathering, especially at the home of someone who died. Let me explain; this is a big thing in the South…the kitchen of the loved one would be full of ladies taking care of huge hams, casseroles, desserts of every kind, for the family and friends to eat. Mary Ruth would always be in charge of the kitchen, giving orders right and left. I was in awe of her! The sight of those aprons just made my mouth water…I was so pleased when she gave me one of my own when I was older. This began my life-long love of aprons of every kind and pictures of them being worn by women of any and all persuasions. Your book is the personification of this love of mine. Thank you for the Apron Book!”

Paula Bush Newnan, GA


“My grandmother had such fun making aprons for her friends. They were called cocktail aprons in the 50s and you wore them when you had company over for dinner and drinks. They were half aprons made from floral cottons sometimes with sheer cotton overlays and patch pockets to match the floral fabric. They were very flouncy looking. All her friends were mad about them and wanted to pay her for these but she would accept no money for the orders she received. I have one apron of my mother’s that my Grandma Rae made my mother for an engagement gift. It was crocheted with pure white cotton thread and she weaved sky blue satin ribbon through the waistband which made the tie; it is tattered in spots but still quite beautiful and dear to my heart.”

Cheryl Nocera


“When I was very young, probably five or so, my mother gave me an apron. My grandmother was an excellent seamstress, but I don’t know if she made my apron or not. It’s very possible. This apron was wonderful. It had two different fabrics and then a very special feature. It had a snap-on pot holder made of the same fabric and kind of quilted. I was NOT a girly girl. I was a definite tomboy! However, there was something even more special about this apron. It was a small version of one that my mother had that was exactly like it. I have the apron to this day, over fifty years later. I have never been one to use an apron, but my mother did. She raised five children mostly on her own which meant that she would come home from work and put on her apron and cook dinner. Sometimes, she would cook all weekend to prepare several meals for the upcoming week. Hmmmm. I think I need to go check and see if I just happen to have her apron too.”

Mrs. P Gonzales


“I am 63, and I love aprons to this day. As a child I remember when my grandmother and women of the church would get together to can. All of them had aprons; some full and long that covered their whole front (like a bib with a skirt). Some just tied around the waist, some pure white, and others like a circus of happy colors. I was so happy when I finally reached the age when they slipped a mint green apron over my head, and put a deep fold at my waist, then wrapped it around me, and tied it in the front. I was now part of the grown up crowd.

Pastor Jonita Johnson
Bellingham, WA


Dear EllynAnne,

“Some 60 years ago, when my mom was a teenager, she purchased a crochet apron to place in her Hope Chest. When she showed me the apron and told me how she paid someone to crochet it for her, it was as if I was not looking at my mom, but at the young lady who many years prior purchased this beautiful apron in anticipation of her own family and the comforts and treasured memories she could create as a mother. And she did! As far back as I can remember, I don’t recall ever seeing her cook a meal without wearing an apron. Every Sunday she prepares her famous spaghetti and meatballs dinner for anyone who wants to stop by and eat. There is always a full table and she’s always wearing her apron from the time we get there until we leave. I tell her that she doesn’t need to cook every Sunday, but I believe it is her comfort zone and that she seems to draw strength from preparing that special meal, or maybe knowing that it’s going to promote smiles and conversation with her family. I tell her that she is too good to us and her reply is, “I love my family.” As an aside, I’ve also attached a picture of my mom and dad on their 55th wedding anniversary two years ago. Sadly, he passed away six months ago, and is deeply missed. They both instilled such great values and beliefs in their six children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Thank you for your work and what it represents . . . the memories of days gone by and the promises of untold futures, all tied together by a special apron.”

Leslie A. Samberson


Click to view largerclick to view larger

Clearly this apron was “not” worn by my mother but stored for use on a special occasion. Nevertheless, I have countless memories of aprons, embroidered linens, and silver polish. It’s funny, as a youngster I remember thinking that some of the things my mother or grandmother did were senseless but these very same behaviors have become common place for me. Years later my own daughter would eagerly help with these tasks. However, during her tweens, she too snubbed her nose or laughed at what I did. Today I can see that she appreciates the traditions handed down and will cherish the family heirlooms she will one day receive. This apron will be among them.

Helene Engle



When I was in 8th grade, I took home ec for the first time, along with my
friend who lived 2 doors away from me. Our first assignment was to make an
apron. Thinking about that now, that was a pretty optimistic assignment to
give 13 year old kids, right out of the gate. It was a disaster, of course,
so we both went to my Mom, who could sew beautifully. She made both aprons.

When the grades were given, my friend Monica got an “A”…I got a “C”. My
Mom got a big kick out of that.

Susan Liles

I got married June, 1959. My aunt,who lived in Kentcky, gave me a shower
that spring when I was home from college. She made this beautiful yellow
organdy apron that was from the waist down. She put a gathered ruffle as the hem.

In those days they didn’t have fabric paints like they do now. But she had
everyone sign my “yellow organdy” apron in pencil. Then later, she went over their names with red ink.

This was to be my “dress up dinner” apron! (So 50’s!!!)
Today I have it startched and hanging on a hook in my utility room where we
live in Florida.
I really don’t think I ever used it as it was so “special…like a prom
dress”…but I hang it to remember the “good times”.
What I laugh about when I look at it is every one that was married signed
their name: MRS. E. L. MURPHY (my own mother), MRS. AGNES HOFMANN (my own
grandmother), MISS ALINE MURPHY (my aunt)…this makes me laugh and realize
back in 1959…you were known by Mrs. or Miss…not just your regular name
like Nancy or Nancy Murphy. We have come a long way.

Nell Monarch

Fern Darr braided apron rug - click to view largerWe lived on a farm and when my mother passed away, I took all her feed sacks aprons and made them into a braided rug. I am 87 and can’t remember for sure how old the rug is, but it looks very good.

Fern Darr
Federal Heights, Colorado

I love aprons also, or aperns as they are called by some. My mother never wore them, she deemed them old-fashioned, but I longed for them as a child, and as an adult used them constantly. I remember my husbands Grandmother (a Saint) saying that the women would talk at the fence line waiting for the children to come in, and she would flip her apron up and cover her arms. She said, “Have you ever noticed that the back of ladies arms get cold?” And so they do. Mind you, she was in her 90’s when she told me this, living and raising her family on a dryland wheat ranch. I think of her every time I put on my “apern.”

Julia Grant

Some years ago I was a caregiver to an elderly couple. When they passed on I was given the wife`s aprons. She was also my friend and her name was Faye. Faye was a homemaker from the 1920`s into the 1990`s. I wear one of her aprons every day. They are still “Faye`s Aprons”. I never saw her without one. They are soft, a bit faded and worn, but still so precious to me.

Mrs. Catherine Robertson

My Mother, who is 79 years old, was named “Margie Ruth” by my Grandmother. She saw the name in an apron advertisement in a catalog. Granny must have liked the aprons to name her child after them.

Michelle Salazar

Every day, my grandma wore an apron over a simple dress, seamed nylon stockings, and white comfort shoes similar to what nurses wore. As a seven year old, my view was of her back side standing at the stove or kitchen counter, where she cooked and baked from scratch, her apron tied at her thick waist.

I especially recall laundry day at her house: the ringer washer, wicker baskets of wet laundry carried outside to the clothes line, the long sticks my Grandpa made to hike up the clothes lines to keep the sheets from touching the ground, the clothes pin bag hanging on the line – the whole thing was quite an operation.

She had a particular way of hanging out her wash-sheets & towels on the forefront line, personal wear on the center line and out of view to passers by, shirts, dresses and pants on the back line. She would connect each item together down the line in an almost mechanical motion, standing on tip toes at times. I was in awe of her and wanted to do what she did when I grew up, but I was side stepped by modern appliances such as an electirc powered sewing machine, gas clothes dryer, mirowave oven, etc… I have never worn an apron, but I do so love the spirit of the aprons such as my Grandma wore as a uniform of love, family and magical homemaking. Thank you for your inspiring apron memories web site.

Karen Krupp

My grandmother always wore an apron. When we would visit, I can remember waking up at 4 am to the smell of coffee and hot grease as she made our requested homemade donuts. I can remember the look of her hands wiping across her apron. Often made from recycled fabric, I would recognize my dad’s bicycle pajamas or a top of my mom’s from long ago. Now, I watch my daughter rock in a rocking chair with a homemade chair cushion with some of those same fabrics. My grandmother passed away a year ago. I inherited two aprons that were left behind when other family gathered her stuff. They are transparent and lined with pink. My mom is wearing one of them in a 1969 yearbook picture. I am happy to have them and love the story of how my grandmother aquired them. My grandfather picked them out for buying a certain amount of feed. I don’t think she ever wore them.

Kelli Doubledee
Topeka, Kansas

My three-old grand daughter was helping me bake cookies one day and I let her wear one of my aprons. The next time we baked she was trying to remember what it was called and was getting frustrated—finally she said, ” You know, Grandma, your ‘cooking dress’ !

Mrs. Jackie Remer
Homer, NE

Tying Together — A Celebration of Aprons jumped off a page and into my heart as I read the December 2006 AARP Bulletin. It brought back warm memories of my mother, seamstress extraordinarie, who was known throughout her little town as the ‘Apron Lady.”

Whenever a friend was to be married, and my mother was invited to attend a bridal shower, the ladies in attendance patiently awaited the opening of Marion’s gift…always a big box filled with an assortment of her handmade aprons: a clothespin apron, a barbecue apron, a couple of bib aprons and always a very frilly, party apron. There were even aprons for the major holidays – a Christmas apron (red and green), an Easter apron (flowered, in spring colors), a Thanksgiving apron (red, gold and rust hues)and several in simple, ‘everyday” patterns.

I have only one remaining threadbare apron that I wear when I roll cookie or pie dough. I have often thought that I might like to go to the store, buy some material, get out the little old, black Singer machine my mother once used, and make an apron or two for myself. I have never followed through on that whim. Perhaps now I will.

One thing I do know is that I will be purchasing The Apron Book. It may awaken me enough to pick up where Mom left off. Thanks for the memories.”

—Donna Schilling, Brookfield, CT

Apron Story

‘Here is my favorite family apron photo. On a 1962 camping trip to Death Valley, California, my mom prepared our meal over a campfire — but not without her trusty apron!”

—Marsha Plucker, Castle Rock, CO

“My grandmother made me several aprons when I first got married back in 1974, and they have always been very special to me. They’re made from different colored gingham check fabric, and each has cross stitching in a floral design, except for this one — my name is cross stitched.

To protect them, I framed some and proudly display them in my kitchen. They are a way for me to hold onto the special memories I have of my grandmother.

Thanks for keeping the apron memories alive.”

—Debbie Lassiter, Reidsville, NC

“My husband and I are faithful viewers of Charles Osgood’s Sunday Morning program. When I saw your segment on aprons, I knew then and there the gift I’d be giving to my girlfriends and my two sisters.

Sewing the aprons put me back in touch with my own growing up years, and remembering my mom in the kitchen. At 87, Mom now has dementia and she doesn’t know me, my sisters or her husband of 65 years. Thank you for sending me to a place I remember as warm and safe and full of promise.

Here’s a poem I wrote and wrapped up with each new apron and a copy of your book.”

—Pam Bloom, Peoria, IL

The Apron by Pam Bloom

In days gone by,
When I watched my Mom bake an apple pie,
When my tears were dried by the corners of her skirt,
When I’d scrape my knee and she’d say
‘It’s okay, a hug will take away the hurt.”

In days gone by,
When I was glued to the tube,
To Harriet Nelson or Lucy Arnez in the kitchen,
Teaching me more about family and laughing.

In days gone by,
When I dreamed of what I would become,
When I’d look to my Mom to help me see
The future and all it held.

In days gone by,
When all I wanted to do was to iron like her,
To be able to make that pretty ruffle crinkle,
To put that pleat just where it should be


In days gone by,
I never took a moment to slow down and ask,
Or have her tell me the stories I so now want to know,
Or hold close the aprons she years ago threw away,
Because of the stain or the tear or the wear.

In days gone by,
When I was too young to value the things that now are gone,

If only I could bring back some of those times,
To have a chance to ask again, or to listen better,
Or to see the wisdom in her face, or to appreciate her in a different way.

In days gone by.

“Grandma was a busy farm wife for over 60 years. Along with keeping a 2-story home spotless, cooking everything from scratch and spoiling the grandkids, she sewed, including making aprons out of dresses too worn out to wear. Sewing was relaxing to her, and she did it all on a Singer treadle machine. The first thing she taught me to sew was an apron. I still have it.

After her passing, we were going through her things, and there were Grandma’s beloved aprons. My oldest daughter, who was then in her late teens or early twenties, said she would like to have them. I was surprised because I didn’t know she thought of the aprons as home-made treasures. She cried when I gave them to her. My daughter is now 36, and she tells me that the aprons are stored, but she takes them out sometimes just to hold and to remember her beloved great-grandmother.

That is my apron story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed yours. Keep saving these wonderful treasurers.”

—Brenda Berardelli, East Sparta. OH

Apron Story

“I love vintage 1/2 aprons, too, and used them as the theme for a Mother’s Day celebration in 2005 for my now deceased Mommy. She was on Hospice and we tried to make every holiday a party for her. We named the party IN THE KITCHEN WITH RUTH. I made all her favorite recipes, and everyone – the grandchildren, children and even the men — wore vintage aprons. What fun we had!

In the photo, my Mommy is in the coral pants outfit, and I’m wearing one of her old party dresses!”

—Lenore Levine, Boynton Beach, FL

In 1899, my father was six years old, and his mother was pregnant with her sixth child.

“My grandmother went into labor at home, and the five children were sent to stay at the neighbor’s. As they crossed the field, they passed the mid-wife, who was on her way to their house. As she walked by the children, she had her arms wrapped in her kitchen apron.

When my six-year-old father returned home later in the day, he had a brand new baby sister. He was convinced that the baby was brought to their home in the apron of the neighbor lady.”

—La Veta R. Trezise, Golden, CO

Apron Story

“My great, great grandfather Samuel Good was the founder and builder of Goods Mill, one of many mills in the Harrisonburg, Virginia area. As the history buff of the family, I have all kinds of wonderful items, including feed sack aprons, which I have loaned to several societies and museums in the area for exhibitions.

One day I mentioned to my husband, Earl, that we should put together a small pamphlet on mills to go along with a feed sack exhibit that was put on by four area museums. To make a long story short, thru the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, over a seven year period of time, we have published four volumes of information on Mills of Rockingham County. Volume III, contains over 200 pages on feed sack material and includes many photos of feed sack aprons.

When I start on one of my tangents, Earl knows there is no stopping! Inspired by your book, I went through a collection of aprons and pulled a beautiful purple apron with appliqué roses. It was a wedding gift – June 14, 1969 — and never used. Now I want to hang it somewhere in the house where I can see it every day. It was handmade by my Aunt Grace, the first wife of a brother of my daddy and a very dear person. Aprons bring back many, many memories for me.”

—Janet Baugher Downs, Goods Mill, VA

“What a joy it was to visit your website today and realize that there are many of us with like minds on the subject of this useful and cherished homemaking ‘necessity.” I hope you enjoy reading my own version of Granny’s apron, which I composed many years ago.”

—Jane-Ann Heitmueller, Vinemont, Alabama

Why, Granny? By Jane-Ann Heitmueller

‘Why do you wear aprons, Granny?” I asked her one day,
as I nestled on her lap, while resting from my play.

‘Mercy child,” she replied, ‘it’s just a part of life. It’s as
valuable to me as Grandpa’s pocketknife.

When I wrap it on each day it makes me feel complete. I’m
prepared to face the day… whatever I shall meet.

Sometimes it’s a wiping rag to dry my dripping hands.
Sometimes it’s a holding cloth to grasp the boiling pans.

Now and then it dries a tear or wipes a runny nose. It’s a
part of all I do, wherever Granny goes.

Carrying potatoes or the hens’ eggs from their nest.
Snuggling baby kittens close and warm against my breast.

Wiping up the drips and drops that splatter on the floor. Oft’
times used to dust the table and there’s so much more.

On a rainy day it’s used to shield my head from rain or to
take the horses lots of tasty, yellow grain.

Sometimes it’s a help to open stubborn lids I grip. It can
hide a dirty spot or shield a jagged rip.

It’s been known to shine a shoe or dry a puppy’s fur or to
clear a mirror when the steam has caused a blur.

Best of all though, precious child sitting on my knee, it’s
a place to nestle you and have you here with me!”

Apron Story

“As long as I can remember the women in my family have baked. I have the family cook book to prove it! From an early age I was always in the kitchen with my grandmothers, aprons on, while they were baking. They would give me leftover pie crust dough to play with and then would sprinkle my creations with sugar and bake them into cookies for me. The aprons I remember were colorful with 60’s style prints on them and I always felt ‘official” when I got to wear one.

Now in my late 20’s, I make my own aprons (sewing was something also taught to me by my grandmothers) and wear them while making traditional baked goods such as Banket from the Dutch side of my family or English Trifle from the English side, my Great Grandmother’s recipe. I still only feel ‘official” in the kitchen with an apron on.”

—Lindsay Bennett, Michigan

“I’m nearly 86 years old and still doing all my own cooking, but I can be pretty messy in the kitchen so usually just wear old clothes around the house. But one day I had dressed to leave the house and was making soup. I managed to splatter it all over everything, including my shirt, and thought, I really ought to have an apron–the kind that would cover everything up.”

Apron Story

“The very next day, I was on my daily walk on a trail near home. As I passed some big rocks piled next to the trail I noticed a rolled-up piece of black cloth lying on top of them. Curious, I reached up, picked up the cloth, and began to laugh. It was an apron!

I am firmly convinced that I have been watched over all my life, but this was getting ridiculous. It was even a bib apron that would have covered exactly what should have been covered the day before when I made the mess in my kitchen. I took the apron home and washed it and since then have had fun telling family and friends about my apron miracle.

It really was like the answer to a prayer as instantaneous as you could be without being obvious. A flash of light and an apron suddenly appearing in the kitchen would have been more than an old man’s heart could have stood!”

—John V. Thompson, Kansas City, MO

“My mother is now 100 years old and as she has aged, I realize the importance of her memories of the past. In fact, that is what she loves to reflect upon. I only have one of my mother’s aprons, which I wore to your book signing at The Tattered Cover in Denver. Thank you for restoring this important symbol of the family.

I promised I would write my father’s apron story, so here goes: My father was a mail carrier in Akron, Ohio from 1930-1970. One day he had a postage-due letter for a lady, so he rang the doorbell. She came to the door wearing a full length big apron, and when she turned around and walked away to get the money she owed him, he realized that the apron was ALL she had on!!”

—Sandy Hansen, Denver, CO

Apron Story

“My mother, Ines Gassino, wore aprons when she cooked, but never this apron. It was given to her as a wedding gift from her Aunt Josephine Oss. Because of their close relationship, the apron was extra special. My mother wore it only when she would serve an important meal. The apron is sewn of lame´ taffeta, and the pocket is accented with real fur…the only fur Ines ever owned!

I follow in my mother’s tradition of wearing aprons over my work clothes when I’m preparing meals for my husband and me or just sitting down for a quick lunch, and I only wear her special apron for special occasions!

Since my mother passed away after a brief illness in December 2005, this apron is truly a treasure.”

—Dian Montgomery, Pueblo, Colorado

Apron Story

The Victorian Tea held at the Southeastern Colorado Heritage Center was a delightful mixture of history, repast, favours and, of course, aprons! The annual event was a sell out…and for those in attendance, a lovely afternoon spent amongst generations.

Apron Story

(EllynAnne pictured with SCHC’s Co-Director Heather Evanoff and Chris Ball, Director-Marketing & Development.)