Sunday, April 7, 2013

HSF Challenge #7: Accessorize (or an 1812 workaday apron)

While dating to 1797 and a scene from
an opera,this style of apron is what I was
 hoping to imitate. See below.
What girl doesn't love accessories? I, personally, am a scarf girl in my 21st century life. I have scarves of all colors, shapes (sort of- only so many shapes out of which you can make a scarf!), and sizes. This does not translate into my historical selves, however. I am not a crazy neck handkerchief hoarder or anything like that.

I am, however, beginning a love affair with the apron (which, btw, is translating into my 21st century self... why did these things go to the wayside??).

For this challenge, I opted for an 1812 working apron. It's one of my items on my long list of to-do's for an event we're attending in June. While it is a working apron, not a "dressy won't get messy" apron, I think it still qualifies for the accessory category- so here it is:

The Challenge: #7-Accessories
This was more of
the style I was hoping for.
Fabric: 1.5 yd 60'' wide linen/cotton blend. Natural color with a small blue woven stripe. Picked this fabric up in a family owned Michigan fabric store for $10 yd.
Pattern: None. Draped to form based on contemporary examples in print and artifacts.
Year: 1812-ish
Notions: natural linen thread,  two wooden button molds
How historically accurate is it? Well, pretty accurate ( I think.) Basically, all hand sewn with historical techniques. Warning: Read on only if you really want to know the specifics! You may think I'm crazy- but I probably spent more time researching this piece as I did actually sewing it. I really wanted an apron with a bib, mainly because this is going to be for our cook and I wanted something to cover more of  her gown. I wasn't too keen on the idea of making a smock, though. It just wasn't as pretty.

So, to my historical textile books I went. I found an example of an apron in a print similar to what I was wanting on page 144 of Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion.  After turning up nothing else of note from my print sources, I then turned to any web sources that might be available.
This plate from the Missouri History Museum
shows more of the style of apron I was
going for- similar to the one in Empireof Fashion. 
This plate from the V&A shows stripe
similir to mine, so I feel good
about the fabric choice.

There were a number of other plates with your standard bib-less aprons (one even sporting an awesome cross barred design) in a variety of colors. Buttoning seems to be a pretty common closure for this period in aprons. Now, note on this- I haven't seen any early 19th century aprons in person. I did browse online collections and found a few that look consistent with the period's silhouette and they have a variety of closures on the back. There is this painting which also shows what appears to be a non tie closure on the back of a dark (and looks bibbed) apron. (Although, it appears there are possibly two versions of this? Hmmm...)

Anyhow, my finished version looks something like this:
Front                                  Side

Hours to complete: Not counting research, maybe eight or ten hours? I basically spent two hours or so fiddling with it on Maybelle to get it how I wanted it, then maybe another six or so actually sewing it together.

For future reference,  I have decided to download an app so that I can track my hours on various projects more accurately. Especially as I'm going to be doing more of these challenges! 
First worn: Will be worn in June at Days of Napoleon in Belvidere.
Total cost: $18

And.... here are a few more pictures of construction, etc. for your viewing pleasure!

I started with a rectangle of fabric for the bib, then moved to the band. You can see
where I ended up piecing the band in places as I wanted to conserve fabric.

I then attached the skirt of the apron, trying a couple of different pleat placements until I was happy. Next, I attached the over the should strap and adjusted placement of this strap in conjunction with the bib for a look I liked. 

Once I was done fiddling with everything, I took it all apart and started to sew the pieces together.  I used a backstitch to sewing the skirt to the band to make sure everything stays securely in place.

Finished view of the side and back. I have not put the buttons/buttonholes on yet as I have not put this on our cook.
She is very close to the same size as I am, but I'd like to put the finishing touches on when we put it on her so it
will be a more precise fit. 

Close up of the top stitching on the band (spaced back stitch) and the hem. 

Overall, I'm happy with the final product. I might try to do more of a smock style for one of our members who portrays a kitchen maid, but we'll see what I find as I turn up more research.

Now, to prepare for challenges #9, 10, 11, and 13! (I'm skipping #8. #12 is pending further review of my time commitments for the other four...)

I have big plans a brewing, so I guess I'd better get to sewing.

Happy sewing and happy Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. Pretty, and very nice fabric! I love aprons too, I nearly always wear one when working in the kitchen :)


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