Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Modern Staples: Don't Fear The Apron

Ladies, can we get past ourselves for a minute and stop looking at every domestic item as a method for the man to keep us down? Seriously? Sometimes a vacuum is just a vacuum and not society's means of tethering us to the homestead in a evil attempt to thwart our rise to power. As my mother would say, stop being so dramatic.

So it is with the apron. Long a public servant for household use, the apron became the symbol of oppression to the last generation, loathed and burned like a bra before the trembling societal norms of who stays home to cook and who doesn't.

But, those days really are behind us. A higher percentage of women work outside the home and are the breadwinners of their families than ever before in history...wether by choice or by force due to the ever-oppressive economic hardships that face us. And the lowly apron is not to be feared. It is really nothing more than a means of protection for your power suit, your nurse's uniform, or your ratty ol' yoga pants. You wouldn't work on your car without gloves, would you?

And as a professional chef, I wore an apron gladly....do you have any idea how hard it is to get chocolate out of your whites? It's a bitch, trust me.

Now, as a stay at home mom (who works, you better believe it!), my apron is as much a symbol of oppression as my wedding ring. Simply put, for me, it's my choice.

Today's pattern is a practical one-no darts, no fuss--just straight cuts and straight seams. Easy for the beginner; practical for the woman who has many aprons to choose from.

I begin with a yard of basic cotton material that I have washed and dried once already. Any piece will work, including-should you like to repurpose, an unused bed sheet.
I happened upon a piece that reminded me of prints my great grandmother had and I adore.

You will need a yard at least. I am a tall girl who likes a longer apron so I used a yard and a half.
With the material in half, cut a rectangle from the fold outward. If you are using a sheet, you will be able to cut your ties from the same material-they are merely long rectangles that will be folded in half and sewn together with right sides facing in. Then turn them right side out and press with an iron (oh yeah I'm using all the symbols of oppression today, huh?)

If you look at this picture, I have used bias tape for the belt ties and the neck straps. The straps in the back will crossover each other in the back.

So, first, open the material up and iron over one inch all the way around the edges (this will make the hem easy).

Second, pin the ties to the sides where your natural waist is (which will look pretty flattering on you, by the way-makes your boobs look bigger and your waist small).

Third, pin the neck straps to the outside corners with one end, and the inside end to the opposite side of the middle fold. I eyeball this so it's about 4 or so inches from the center fold.

Now, sew around the edges, folding the unfinished side under so you form three layers. This will also fold under the raw edges of your ties and straps so they are hidden and hold firm. When you get to a corner, fold over the the side and pivot your needle to change directions. If your bobbin is full, you can hem the whole apron in one shot, without stopping.
this is a corner

If you like to have pockets on your apron, simply cut squares from the extra material and sew the edges under just as you did with the apron. Next, pin them to the apron where you'd like them to be and sew them on; be sure to go over the ends of the pockets on the top so they hold firmly.
back stitch over the edges for a secure hold

That's all there is to this apron. I know my directions may leave a bit to be desired-I learn from working with my hands rather from written instruction. Just don't be afraid to fiddle a bit with it.

I had enough material to make an apron for Thing 1, by the way. She likes to help in the kitchen from time to time. I'm not training her for a lifetime of domestic drudgery. I'm showing by example that I take providing for my babies seriously--while still looking great. There's no reason why my future biologist can't bake a batch of cookies now and then, right?


ness said...

WHO is burning aprons? I'm gonna kick their ass.....

betty crocker said...

I've met a few....they got a little too worked up on symbolism.