Thursday, December 5, 2013

HSF #24 Redo, Part the Third: Revisiting the White Challenge with an 18th Century Apron

When I was in grade school, I once got an assignment back with no markings beyond "Redo!" written across the top.  I thought it was an exclamation, like Yay! or Wow!  Oops.  So going back on that theme of "You tried, but obviously not very hard.  Let's try it again," I'm revisiting Challenge #15: White.  At the time, the best I could come up with was a white cotton bum roll stuffed with polyfill.  Now that I've finished the stays, though, I'm discovering that I don't really need it.  I'm fairly well pear-shaped to begin with, and the stays only make that more pronounced.  I rather like the way my petticoats hang on their own and the bum roll just makes everything sharp and shelf-like.  So the middle class, 1870s -ish costume that I've been working on throughout the year is getting a new 'something white.'  This time, the near ubiquitous white linen apron.

Diary of a Mantua Maker has a fantastic post of her research on the wearing of aprons in the 18th century.
And then there was this Pinterest board of 18th century aprons.
Some other sources of inspiration:

The whitework apron on this this lot from Christie's auction house.

LOVE the apron over this robe à l’anglaise (c. 1780) from The Royal Ontario Museum.

I knew I wanted the apron to be somewhat functional, so I chose a mid-weight, 4.7 oz white linen for the body.  I wanted there to be some sort of interest to it, rather than just a plane white square, but a ruffle of self fabric just seemed like it would be too bulky.  So instead I turned to white work embroidery.  I made a cardboard template using a tin of lip balm and used that to draw my scalloped pattern near the bottom hem of the apron.  I ran a running stitch along the lines and then began the tedious process of  satin-stitching a narrow border along the scallops.

Hard?  No.  But very tedious.

The back side of the scallop edges were dabbed with Fray Check and then carefully cut out.

Instead of having a separate waistband and ties, I chose to use a single piece of 1.5" rayon ribbon to do the job of both.  I used it as a double fold binding over the top of the apron, which lays flat at the center front, but is gathered at both edges.  I then continued the fold to the ends to make the ties.  The ties are long enough to wrap around twice, so that they tie in the front.  I used the ribbon instead of self fabric in order to avoid adding too much bulk at the waist.

The Challenge: #24, Redo

The Challenge you are Re-do-ing: #15, White

Fabric: 4.7 oz white linen

Pattern: none

Year: 1770s

Notions: rayon ribbon, silk and linen threads

How historically accurate is it?  Hmm, hand sewn and period-appropriate embroidery vs Fray Check and modern ribbon.  I'll give it a 6/10.

Hours to complete:  About 10.

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