Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Tale of Four Aprons...Preserving a Grandmother's Love

Hello friends...I hope you are in the mood for some
I recently had the honor, and I do mean 
of creating four couture aprons for a very sweet client.
I won't mention her name in case her family reads my blog.
Let's call her Dear Client
Dear Client sent me an e-mail saying that she had seen my apron creations on my blog and in my Fox Den shops.
She knew I was the lady to turn her Grandmother's vintage linens into 
one of a kind
Couture Aprons.
We met at a local Warrenton coffee house,
They had a nice big  table we could lay the linens out on.
My eyes about popped out of my head!
Piece after gorgeous piece of
 beautiful tablecloths
embroidered tablerunners
stitched napkins
crewel and cross stitch
I thought I would have to wash the saliva off them, I was drooling so much.

I happily accepted the challenge.
Dear Client gave me little back stories about the lucky ladies who would be receiving the aprons as gifts.
I took it all in and went to work...
Above are the four aprons
Are you ready for a closer look?

I submitted two aprons this year, but sadly have not heard back...oh well, always next year's issue. I'll just have to get really creative and knock their socks off!
Dear Client had seen this couture apron of mine that was featured in the yearly
She loved it and wanted a similar one for herself.
She had the perfect vintage tablecloth!

Really ladies....just look at this beautiful hand work!!
Someone spent many hours carefully stitching away.
I just love this and hate the idea that it was hidden away in an attic or basement.

I love a pretty bow..don't you?

Of course I have to include a secret pocket.
We ladies do have our secrets..right?

Please pardon the yellow is not the best for good pics!
I added some some sweet trim pieces to the ends of all the ties on these aprons.

Much better lighting in my home
After carefully layering the tablecloth, stitched runners, delicate hankies and some of my own red ticking...she was ready for her public.
I think I captured the feel of my 
original apron for her.

Ready for Apron #2
The base layer of this apron was fashioned from a long table runner.
I cut it in half and then sewed the them side side by side.
In the photo below you can see the edge where I connected them.
I adored the crocheted trim and knew it would look beautiful as a hemline.

Again...just look at the stunning handwork..just beautiful.
I will use the word Beautiful a lot in this post!!

There are five layers in this apron,
 but the linens are so lovingly time worn, that it is not bulky at all.

Continued the crochet trim onto the tie ends.
Devil is in the details!

Dear Client said that the lady who is receiving this apron
has a love of France. She gave me a small silver Fleur de Lis charm and asked if I could include it in the design.
I tied it onto a tiny piece of burlap, sewed it onto a scrap of crochet 
and secured it to her secret pocket.

A photo to show all the layers of beautiful linens.
I hope her friend likes her new apron.

Ok...Apron #3

see the tiny heart stitches at the waistband?
Here she is!
I believe this one is for Dear Client's sister.
Again...lot's of layers

Again trimmed ties and a nice full bow
The base for this apron was a beautiful embroidered tablecloth, 
with teapots and teacups at the corners.

See the pretty edged floral piece in the middle?
That's actually her secret pocket.

Just for the record...
I never try to remove stains from the linens I work with.
To me that is the history of these beautiful pieces.
A spill of Thanksgiving gravy
A chocolate drip from Grandma's famous brownies
Butter stain from Aunt Lucy's Parker House rolls that she always served at Sunday dinners.
I would never want to remove those memories.
For spotless an Apron from Walmart.
Just my thoughts ladies

I kept thinking the embroidered steam was stray threads and for 4 days I tried to pick them off...duh!
I seem to have run out of adjectives to describe the loveliness of these linens.

I hope her sister smiles when she sees her new apron.

Apron #4

This apron is for Dear Clients Mother 
who has been known to host a tea party or two.

A nice close up of the pretty cross stitch.

pretty snowflake stitches on the waistband
I must admit
These sweet bluebirds tugged at my heart in a big way!

Little doily makes a perfect secret pocket.
Little sewing hint:
I like to hide my stitches wherever I can.
I will always try to sew along seam lines or right over old stitching.
Can you see my stitch lines here?
Pretty hidden huh?
Since we had Bluebirds on the front, 
I thought it appropriate to have bees on the ties.
Get it...Birds & Bees
Gosh...I'm so darn creative...he..he..

I can picture Dear Client's Mother serving her friends
 tea and scones 
while dressed in her pretty new apron.

So there you have it!
I feel so blessed that I was entrusted
 with Dear Clients cherished family linens and allowed to lovingly cut them up 
and put them back a fresh creative way.
Hopefully they have been rescued from  the obscurity of a cardboard box
 or an attic hope chest.
My feeling is that someone spent many hours to stitch these little works of art.
That's what they are...
Works of art that could be fading into our history and should absolutely be preserved
whenever possible.
I don't consider cutting them a disservice,
 but rather a way to honor them and the artists who created them.
I hope these ladies enjoy wearing their new 
aprons as much as I enjoyed sewing them.
Thank you Dear Client!

My hope is that next time you are browsing a thrift shop or an op-shop for you global readers
that you look at these pieces of history in a new light.
Bring one home and create something lasting and endearing.

Until next kind and stay creative.

I will be sharing this week with these great blogs:


Marilyn said...

Wow! You did a wonderful job on these aprons. Very creative! Those ladies are lucky to have them.

Erin~Just*Grand said...

These are gorgeous! I have never seen anything so wonderfully creative done with vintage textiles! They are so nostalgic and modern at the same time. I am visiting from right next door to you on Metamorphosis Monday! I will be an empty nester next fall, and like you, I am dreading it. My kids are the absolute light of my life and when my sweet daughter goes, I will be BEREFT! I hope my new blog helps me to bridge the gap here! We have a lot in common- I have five brothers, I had Sister Mary Margaret and many others, I sew, quilt, etc. I will be following your blog now. Merry Christmas!

Grandma Susan said...

They are lovely! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

Atelier Conti said...

All I can really say is OOOOOOOOOOOHHHH! I just love these aprons you've made, my dear Janet. Lucky lucky ladies!

Meadowsweet Cottage said...

Each one is a perfect gem! You did an amazing job on those aprons. Like you, I think stains and tears make old linens better <3

{northern cottage} said...

stunning & yes - beautiful - is THE WORD to use! thanks for sharing!

Lydia said...

I'm in love with these.

Catskill Quilter said...

Wow! These are definitely heirloom aprons - so incredibly inspiring! Makes me glad I read your blog! (Hee hee!) Just this week my daughter in Sweden sent photos of gorgeous crocheted and embroidered tiny bits of linens she had found at the Red Cross Store there. Thank you for sharing these lovlies with us! (Sorry to gush but I am truly blown away!)

Annette said...

Those are absolutely beautiful. I think tears will be shed when they cast their eyes upon them. The work that went into all the runners is almost a dying art. I recently took up crocheting after 40 years, but now you've made me want to get out my embroidery needles and take up what my mama taught me!

SarahB said...

OMG, they are just STUNNING!! Am I weird because I would want to wear them to go out in????

It's pefect timing as I won a big lot of vintage linens that came this morning and I am sooooo inspired!! Maybe I can make a skirt in a similar way?

I love, love, love your attitude to stains too - wonderful!! You are super talented!!


S x

PS Going to Pinterest them they are so beautiful!!

Tweed Delights said...

Wow, Janet - your aprons are . . . well, just beautiful!! You deserve a round of applause - actually I've just given you one, did you hear it, hehe :)

Congrats on preserving and enhancing these beautiful artefacts - what a great job!

Amy W. said...

You are one Picasso
of Aprons!!
Just Beautiful!!
I hope you placed your name somewhere
on the I see these in museums
as priceless pieces of Apron Art in years
to come!!!
Such an uplifting and inspiring creator you are!!!

Annette said...

Dear client had such a great idea and I'll just bet she and the other recipients are beyond thrilled with the results. Each one is beautiful and unique and inspiring! You did good!! :)

Kim @ Everything Etsy said...

Get out!!! You are an amazing apronista!!! I love them all! :)

~Kim said...

Absolutely adorable!!!!!!

Jennifer Juniper said...

I can't think of a better way to put those linens to use! How lucky she found you :)

Patricia R. said...

The aprons are exquisite! I'm afraid I would never have had the nerve to make the first cut into these lovely linens. Thanks for sharing your handiwork.

Claire said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, I can't say it enough......they are just gorgeous Janet.

So much work and thought form the original embroiderers and your creative stitching Janet.
No doubt they will be much loved and admired by the recipients.

Each one had me oohing and aahing over the details, bluebirds, too sweet, cross stitched deer, lacy hemlines............

Janet you are amazing,

Claire X

Kathleen Grace said...

These are so perfectly wonderful Janet! I love the new use for these delicate and lovingly handmade pieces. You are so right, it's a shame to let them languish in a box in the attic and I always say, beautiful things should be used and enjoyed! These are heirloom treasures that I am sure will thrill the recipients!

Jamie said...

OMG!! They are BEAUTIFUL!!! Was it scary working with such old linen. I recently turned some of my great grandmas dress into stockings for the girls. I was so scared I would ruin the fabric but they turned out amazing. I am so impressed with each and every one of your aprons. I think the 1st is my fav cause of the bright colos. I love your blog. I'm your newest follower. Would love you to stop by DIY Home Sweet Home

P.S. I have a linky every Monday would love you to stop by Monday and link up.

Anonymous said...

I am impressed! Trully beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Your handiwork is exquisite! What daughter would not be happy as punch to receive one of these aprons as a gift. I'm jealous to be honest. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Client loves them and can't wait for Christmas! Thank you, Janet!!! RP

Erin @ How to Nest for Less said...

LOVE!!! So super cute :)

Beth said...

These are true beauties my friend : )

Little Blue Mouse said...

Absolutely wonderful!

Tammy at Tammy Loves Dishes said...

Janet, I am so glad that your Dear Client allowed you to share these beauties with us. Oh my goodness, they are true gorgeousness! I love each one. You have incredible talent, lady!

Aprons and More said...

WOW~~~Beautiful work! Perfectly gorgeous! I know the women who receive these aprons will cherish them forever! Thanks for sharing!

Katy :)

I have an old stained vintage tablecloth that came from my sister's mother-in-law who just passed away. I need to send you pics and get some ideas! ;)

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Janet, these are exquisite!! I didn't even know you sewed aprons. Gorgeous work!

Sue said...

Janet, These are truly works of art! Creating these aprons with those vintage tablecloths was sheer genius. I am sure that your "client" will enjoy hers immensely- the colors are so bright! Yummers....

Hartwood Roses said...

These are totally out-of-this-world gorgeous!!!

I love your philosophy of reusing family items like these. Tucking them into boxes and drawers is a disservice ... refashioning them for new uses keeps them alive.

Hines-Sight said...

You definitely create works of art. Just beautiful.

Christine @ Stonehouse Living said...

Hi Janet.
These aprons are beautiful, heirloom keepsakes! So special they are going to be so pleased with their gifts...
Well done! I have just joined you as a new follower!
All the Best,

janice15 said...

Your work is amazing, I would love for you to make me an apron...Is that possible and how much would it cost...I just admire them so much. You give such a personal touch to them full of Love...can you plz let me know if it is possible my email add is or I'm @ I just love them Aprons they are so beautiful...ty for sharing..with Love Janice

mindy gray said...

I wish I was on the receiving side of your Dear Client! Those aprons are to die for. LOVE THEM!!!!!!

Patti Matt said...

I just love your aprons ! You are meticulous in your ART !
Love it !

Jay Buckley said...

Did you know that your digital photo can be printed as a full wall of custom printed wallpaper?

Erin said...

Oh, Janet, these aprons are works of art! The layers of linen, the lace, the crocheted details, the embroidery...they are simply magnificent.

Chris said...

Hi Janet, what a fabulous job you have done on each and every one of those darling aprons. Oh, the memories and the stories they could tell. I'm sure every person who received one is absolutely thrilled to bits. Excellent job. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Becca said...

Apron #3 is mine!!! Yay! It's beautiful and I love it! I wore it all day on Christmas! You did such a beautiful job on these and I enjoyed hearing and seeing how much love YOU put into these as well as the amazing memories of my grandmother! Thank you so much! Watch for a post on my blog with pictures, too!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

What beautiful work! I wish I had linens that belonged to my grandmother. Just looking at this post brought back so many old memories of her. I remember she used to paint on pillowcases too, I had forgotten all about that until now. Such treasures! Thank you for sharing and your amazing gift!

Michele said...

These are just amazing and inspire me so much! I was thinking of making a purse out of my grandma's doilies and some I picked up from a garage sale. At the garage sale the lady wrote a note on the pkg. saying I'm selling these with a tear in my eye. Oh how I wish I knew her address, I would have made her something out of them...

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