Saturday, June 25, 2016

Everyday Aprons & Such: Grandma's Duster

A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through various boxes of stuff in preparation for our garage sale. I had several boxes in my storage corner of the basement that haven't been unpacked since we moved last year and I couldn't remember what was in the boxes--so really, rather like Christmas to open them and find things I'd forgotten about!  Or been searching for and couldn't this, for instance:
This snap-front smock apron belonged to my Grandma Price and I recall her wearing it in the 70s and 80s. She always referred to it as her "duster."  Anyone else ever heard an apron called that?  I never gave it much thought when I was a kid.  Now that I think about it, it seems rather charming and very Grandma-like.  I think that she had someone make it for her; my grandmother didn't sew, but she would have a lady she knew sew things for her: she'd pick out the material and pattern and take them to Goldie's house for her to make.  I can vaguely remember going to Goldie's house with my grandma.

Coincidentally, this morning I decided it was time to actually use one of the many, many patterns I've accumulated and felt the urge to make another apron.  I recently picked up some of the retro/repro Simplicity patterns when they were on sale at Joann's:
I'm going to make version B in that orange floral fabric (from Joann's);  I really like full aprons best because I'm pretty messy! I wear aprons when washing dishes as well as when cooking--I tend to get water everywhere for some reason.  While I was pressing Grandma's duster to snap pictures, I looked more closely at the different versions of this 1970s pattern and noticed that version D is remarkably similar to the duster.
Not long after I picked up this repro pattern, I happened to get the original vintage pattern, from 1979, as part of a lot I purchased on ebay:
I could probably fit into a size small apron, but I like aprons to have a bit of wiggle room--so this one is for sale on my etsy shop if you'd like it for yourself.   It's uncut and still factory folded.

Seeing Grandma's duster again reminded me of how meticulous she was in her housekeeping and how she took the time to teach me everyday household tasks--the correct way to make the bed (something she strongly felt had to be done on a daily basis), how to fold linens, how to peel potatoes, and all sorts of various little things that she thought a girl ought to know.  I suspect she also feared that my mother, her daughter, wouldn't teach me these things, due to my mom's great lack of interest in housekeeping, cooking, etc.  My grandma was a farm wife for many years and she knew the "right" way to run a household.  If you do it the right way, running a household can certainly be a full-time job.

Recently I cleaned out my stash of thrifted fabrics and realized I have two complete sets of cloth napkins that I haven't used at all, so I decided we could start using cloth napkins--better for the environment AND cheaper than paper napkins.  I've even been ironing the cloth napkins before folding them and putting them away.  I can't help but think that Grandma would be really proud of me for that.  She had a spare bedroom in the farmhouse solely devoted to ironing.  Monday was wash day and on Tuesdays, she ironed.  I don't have a dedicated ironing day and I'm sure I never will, but when I press those napkins (sometimes while wearing an apron--how domestic is that!)I know I'm doing something that would make my grandma happy--and in turn, thinking of her makes me happy, too.  She's been gone for just over twenty years, but I remember the useful things she taught me and enjoy using things that belonged to her every day.

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