Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to do the Outline Stitch

This is a 1940's illustration on how to do the outline stitch. Very simple really. (I just realized that I have been holding my thread down, not up, as in the picture! My stitches overlap the other way. It is still pretty, either way!)

For those of you who are still feelling a bit uncertain. Here are detailed instructions.

1. Working from left to right, with needle pointing right to left, pull needle up at starting point.

2. Take a small stitch along line you want to embroider, going down on right, coming up on left.

3. Take another small stitch about 1/8 of an inch away from the one just worked.

4. Repeat step #3.

I snapped a few quick pictures this morning, but they don't really illustrate the stitch very well. Maybe I will take a few more.
I love the wrong side of vintage embroidery, all so neat and tidy. I have noticed that they never hop around, but always cut their thread and start again. So, I have tried to do the same. It makes for a lot of knots, but it is tidy!

And here are apples and grapes for you to try! If anyone is interested in the whole collection, feel free to email me, I love to share!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Iron On Embroidery Transfers- The Modern Way

Lately I have been into embroidery. I found some vintage iron-on embroidery transfers at the antique store. They are really cute fruit! (In case you didn't know, I LOVE fruit!)
The problem? How to get the design on the dish towels with out using the transfers. I only had one copy of each and I wanted to be able to use them as many times as I wanted. I knew I couldn't trace them very accurately. I tried buying sheets of iron-on transfer paper from the fabric store, that you put in your printer. What I didn't realize is it was for ironing on pictures or letters. What ever you don't cut off gets ironed onto the fabric in a sheet of plastic! Not what I was looking for.

I finally found the most simple solution! It is so easy too!

First, I scanned in all the transfers. Then I found a plastic report cover, trimmed it to the size of a page, put a piece of paper in it for support and printed the fruit on it. As soon as it came out of the printer I placed it faced down on my dish towel, laid a book over it (I found a soft cover book works best) and pressed firmly.

WHA-LA! Fruit on dish towel! Isn't that simple?!

And the great thing! The report cover is re-usable. Just wipe off with tissue and hand sanitizer.

All ready to start embroidering my peaches and pears!

Strawberries, Apples, Plums and Grapes!
Tomorrow I will write about how to embroider and post a few transfers for you to use!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christmas 1947

Look at my newest vintage find! My sister Becky sent it to me. Aren't sisters the best! But I did make her an apron :) This is a McCalls pattern booklet for December 1947. And guess what?! There is an apron pattern in it! I couldn't resist sharing a few pages with you. They are so cute!

I love the dress on the right! So many lovely details.
Aren't they elegant?
The aprons!! On the right: "Gals will simply love a romantic orange blossom apron. Use rick-rack braid for blossoms. Sew to appliqued orange with French knots." On the left: "Delight the gals on your list with a pert "Walking the Dogs" apron!" I think I am going to have to make these. Flowers made with rick-rack, too fun!

Love the pajamas and robes!

I just had to post this one. The hats are crazy! I have never seen anything like them before.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Sewing

It was a marvolous weekend! I sewed three aprons and have four more all cut out, just waiting to be sewn together.

The first apron I made was one I drafted using a vintage 1928 ad as inpriration. It has a dropped waist and flared skirt. Made in a pink rose print with pale pink binding. I am very happy with how it turned out, but I think it could use a few changes. I think the skirt is too long and the waist is a bit low.
Hopefully, one day I will have patterns for sale for this apron!

1928 advertisment that was my inspiration.

Second up, is an apron made from my Ten American Novel Aprons book. Cira 1940. This one is for my sister. Yellow banana fabric with orange rick-rack. Very fun! (I woulnd't be caught dead in it! But it is cute!)

I also whipped one up in black and white fabric with black rick-rack. Very elegant! Looks kinda like a maid's uniform :)

Back detail. The skirt is triangle in shape.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I know this really doesn't have anything to do with aprons....... but I just had to share this with you all!
Eva Dress ( a fabulous website selling repro patterns in multi-size) had a contest. It was a great jump start for creativeness! I made her 1929 Ladies Frock with Handkerchief Hem. I am really pleased with how it came out. I dug a length of peach silk habotai out of my stash. It wasn't the color I was picturing for this dress, so I dyed it a lovely salmony-pinky. The color came out perfect!
Don't you LOVE the flowers! They are made from a vintage 1920s pattern in my stash.

The skirt has a handkerchief hem. Meaning that it is cut in points. You can't really tell in the pictures very well, but there are points at center front, center back and each side. The bottom of the bodice is pointed too

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Repro Fabric

Oh......... I just got spring fever! Is this not one of the prettiest fabrics you have seen? It is such luscious eye candy.
These fabrics are from one of my favorite fabric companies. Marcus Brothers ( This is from the Aunt Gracie Collection, which is 30s reproduction fabric. Perfect for aprons!

Another of my favorite fabric companies Windham Fabrics ( has a reproduction feed sack collection.

a repro feed sack with flour labels

"Printed floursacks, (and feedsacks) were a tradition beginning in the great depression, but lasted into the 1950's. It is estimated that by the early 1940's over 3 million women and children were wearing some version of a printed feedbag garments.Not only were flourssack designs simple, so was the concept. They were used as a promotion to sell more flour because the bag, or sack that the flour was packed in could be reused to make clothes. One of the reasons for there being thousands of different flour sack designs was the idea that the shorter the time that a particular design was available, more designs would be used. Women wanted more fabric designs and would therefore help drive demand for the flour."
(an excerp from )

Can't you just aprons!

I found this little shop on Etsy, They have repros (from Windham and Marcus) and also vintage feedsacks.

1940s art deco vintage feed sack. Fun!

A 1930s feedsack. Love it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Newest Apron Patterns

Here are a few apron patterns that have recently joined my collection. These are so cute! I can't wait to make them up!! I already have plans!! (but first I have to finish a few projects that are in progress!)

First off (top) we have a 1950s cobbler style apron, that could also be used as a beach cover up! Very ingenious! The ties are sewn into a front dart and can then be tied in back to fit. I already have a fabulous fabric picked out for it! Pink dahlias!

This was a present from my sister. A reprint of a sewing booklet put out by the White Sewing Machine Co in 1940! The apron on the cover is also on my list! The star is actually a pocket!

I love love this one! I am going to keep my eye out for pink fabric like that! I like all the options. Two yokes and two skirt options. Also an applique pattern for the pocket! I have a sister who would adore one with flower pockets in yellow!! 1960s

One of my favorite eras! 1940s! Of course I love the 30s and the 50s and the 20s too! But I think 40s are a bit more on the top of the list! This is just a cute cute apron! Look at all the details! And my pattern came with the embroidery transfer too. Of course this is also on my list!

I am hoping in the next couple of weeks to make a few of these. So be looking for posts about them!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Great-Grandma Anna

If you have seen my website, you will know that my Great-Grandma Anna was my inspiration for starting Apron History. Today I will tell you a bit more about her.
wedding photo 1916
Anna was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1896. She married my Great-Grandfather in 1916 and had 7 children. Unfortunately, he was killed in a mining accident in 1930.
family photo abt 1926
In 1933 she married a widower with 9 children and they had 2 more children. Between the two families they had three farms and 18 children! A lot of hard work! And in the middle of the depression! No wonder Anna always had an apron on! She was a hard working, cheerful woman, who never complained. Unfortunately, I never met her. She died before I was born. But she has left a wonderful legacy behind, of hard work, love of family and Aprons!
Anna and one of her daughters
Feeding her chickens!