Monday, August 4, 2014

Aprons

Starting another series of A- Z posts.

An Amish woman's outfit consists of three pieces. The dress, cape, and apron. The cape is often not worn during the week unless they want to dress up to go somewhere, but is always worn to go to church. The apron on the other hand is worn every single day.

Sundays and dressier aprons had a single belt that was wrapped around the waist and fastened with two straight pins, everyday aprons had two strings that could easily be tied on the back and made it ever so much easier to change when needed.

These everyday aprons came in a nice assortment of colors. We could use almost any color we liked and much lighter than acceptable shades of colors for dresses. We would often choose colors that were several shades lighter than the dress we were wearing, and then there was always a supply of white aprons kept on hand that would go with anything and would be used when our somewhat matching aprons were dirty, or if guests stopped in and wanted to help in the kitchen we always gave them a white apron to wear over the apron they were already wearing. It would never do to have them get dirty in our house.

Darker colored aprons were often used when doing especially dirty work like butchering or taking care of animals and other barn chores.

Aprons came in handy when gathering vegetables from the garden and there were more than we could carry with our hands. They served as a quick potholder when the need arose, and worked wonders to shoo away the neighbor's dog when it came to visit.

These aprons weren't pretty, they didn't have pockets, but neatly hid the pockets on the dresses. You never felt dressed and ready for your day until you were wearing your apron.

I hardly ever wear an apron any longer, but have them on my list of things to sew this winter, I'm looking forward to wearing them in the kitchen once again.

20 comments:

  1. Ooohhhhh I love when you do this ...... soooo fun !!! And, I learn so much from your shares !!! Hoping all is well with you, and, enjoying this last month of summer...
    Blessings and love to you

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    1. We are doing well. Glad you enjoy these posts.

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  2. I love these posts! I am curious about pinning. Like why you had to do it since it would be time consuming. Why not just sew the garmet to fit? I must be missing something and would love that explained one day on an A-Z post :)

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    1. Using pins is actually no more time consuming than buttons. :)

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  3. Great post - thank you! I have been thinking of aprons lately too...and also am planning to make some soon!

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    1. Oh, fun! I hope you enjoy planning and making your aprons!

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  4. OK, I guessing here, and Mary Anne will correct me. First of all, buttons were considered "military" when Menno Simons broke from the established church, and are never used at all. By anyone. Hooks and eyes are acceptable, though. Also, clothing with pins rather than buttons can be more easily adjusted to accommodate pregnancies.

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    1. I'm not sure how buttons were viewed back when Menno Simons broke away from the established church, but could very well have had something to do with military.

      However Amish do use buttons. Men's shirts and pants both have buttons, though coats and vests will have hooks and eyes or snaps.

      Little girls' dresses have buttons down the back. It's only women, and girls over the age of ten that use pins.

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    2. HI Mary Ann! I heard the same thing when I was a just a girl that Lady Ann spoke of - No buttons because the fancy German uniforms had lots of them. I was on the Stroudsburg Railrodad in Lancaster County and our tour guide mentioned it - I remember him saying that the PA Dutch wanted nothing to do with anything fancy because of "The Germans" but especially the military. I remembered that it bothered me the way he grouped the whole citizenry of that country in such a negative fashion. I always figured he added his own negative twist to his speech. Sad, huh?

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    3. See now, I always hear it as "fancy" and that buttons are decorative, and that didn't make sense to me until I started studying buttons in 16th century (when Mennonites started) Europe. And darn it, they WERE fancy! Silk and REAL gold or silver thread wrapped in intricate patterns around a bead is how buttons were made back then. In the 17th century it goes to silk and silver or gold wrapped around wooden disks. Either way, those who could afford to show off their wealth with silk and precious metals did so. Those who couldn't used hooks and eyes, completely invisible fasteners.

      We just don't think of buttons as fancy anymore because now they're made of cheap plastic out of a machine instead of handmade by an artisan from real gold.

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  5. I enjoyed this post immensly. There are a few aprons in my kitchen that I wear when baking. I really should wear them more often & keepmy clothes cleaner.

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    1. They do keep clothes cleaner when working in the kitchen. Rosebud also like wearing an apron to do cleaning, saying it makes her feel more mature. :)

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  6. What a fun read. =) I love aprons and have quite a few and even some that belonged to my great grandmothers.
    Blessings and Sunshine,Valerie

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    1. What a treasure being able to have aprons that belonged to your great grandmothers!

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  7. Aprons are so much fun! I bet you'll have a great time picking from all the beautiful fabrics out there as well as ruffles, laces and all the other things that were "off limits". I know any time I mention baking something, my two girls run off to get their aprons!

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    1. It is so much fun being able to have more choices than I used to have! Looking forward to choosing everything I need to make these aprons.

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  8. I do love a good apron. The one I wear most is the plain white one with gingham trim. We made them when we were 11 and had just started high school. The gingham colour depended on our 'house' in school - each named after one of the royal houses - mine was yellow as I was in Stuart house. It is 49 years old now and still going strong - those fabrics provided by the education authority were great quality! White is gret because it can be boiled to get stains out.

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  9. So I guess the pattern I just picked up from Friends Pattern Company for an "Ohio three-piece" dress does match what you wore. I just do not like those dresses with the built-in capes like the Mennonite ladies wear or the big poofy prairie girl sleeves and Peter-Pan collars like you see on FLDS or plain evangelicals.

    I have started using flour sack towels as half aprons. I study clothing of the 16th century, and for them an apron was a yard cloth (1 square yard of white linen) tucked into a string or tape that was tied around the waist. Very practical. And so lately, I've been tucking a big white towel right in the waist of my skirt when I bake.

    I am someone who *constantly* wipes her hands on her skirt, so an apron is a good idea especially when I'm baking, but given I wipe my hands on my skirt when I'm not cooking (snacking, mud, dust bunnies, etc.) I really ought to just wear an apron all the time.

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  10. Firstly thank you for this blog. I love it. For my question. I notice that Amish/Mennonite usually tie on their aprons with a double knot, not a bow as (I) and most women do. Is this a "plain" thing or just what they do. I typically wear plain dress and always an apron, (full bib style). Both my daughters also dress similarly, we are not "ready" for the day unless we have our aprons on. Blessings,
    Grace.

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.