Sunday, October 11, 2015

Alice's Scrapbag: Mama's Apron

Village Commons by Bettina Havig

Bettina Havig used Alice's Scrapbag prints plus a pale white print for a model for a class she teaches. 
She's donating the top to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah where quilters will finish it to demonstrate hand quilting.

"Mama's Apron" is the largest print in Alice's Scrapbag, my latest reproduction fabric collection from Moda

Photographer: Hugh W Diamond, early 1850s

English woman posed in a patterned apron
similar to the print called "Mama's Apron."

We liked this design so much we printed the floral in six colorways.

The collection has seven reproduction colorways

Formal portrait about 1865
Library of Congress

You don't often see mid-19th century-women posed in patterned aprons.

More often you see a show apron like the pleated example on the left
 or a starched white apron.

Black silk aprons were part of presentable dress.

Cotton calico aprons were apparently not, although they 
were common everyday dress.
Despite the hard wear they saw many cotton print aprons survive.

The American Textile History Museum owns
a calico apron made from an 1876 Centennial print.

This vintage photo from about 1910 pictures a woman who looks like she could be from my family. She's glowering because somebody is taking her picture in her everyday dress. I can still hear my mother saying, "Wait a Minute," as my dad snaps a kitchen scene in the 1950s. She takes off her apron and her glasses. Then she's ready to pose.

I think the only reason the woman above has been captured in her patterned apron is because she is living in a mental institution. Dr. Hugh Diamond photographed patients at the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in England in the early 1850s.

A patchwork apron?

Apron or pinafore?


  1. The black silk apron group -- gotta be Quakers, no? You've given us wonderful photos and captions. The picture of the woman in the print apron is captivating. She's a beautiful young woman but there's something wrong. Now I know what it is -- the mental institution. Crazy girl wearing that print apron!

  2. I always wear a print apron when I'm doing kitchen work - doesn't show the spots :)

  3. I wonder what everyday garment of ours will be the subject of discussion 200 years from now! The young girl in the last photo looks so much like a young Jodie Foster!

  4. I just made up an apron in linen, mama's apron! I like to cook so an apron is a must.
    Beautiful calicoes.

  5. Lovely post with touching photos from the past. Until the 1970s we used to have an apron to cook and do the cleaning at home in France and it was the symbol of a woman at home.

    By the way, your new fabrics "Alice's scrap bag" are wonderful!