This all started ages ago, when I was hunting down a vintage apron image I had once seen, which inspired the pockets on my apple aprons. I had saved the image somewhere on my laptop but couldn’t find it, so I was searching google images when this cute little pattern from 1958 popped up.
I couldn’t resist it and bought it straight away from an Etsy seller.
It was clear to me that I was interested in the apron shape, less so in the appliqued images (although I might have changed my mind on this one and plan to make a santa/cowboy version for next year!) and that I really, really wanted a deer on there and two trees. I’m not sure how I came about that exact plan, but that is often the case, I get a finished image in my head and then become obsessed by trying to re-create it in real life. I did do some sketches in my notebook (which I have forgotten to photograph, sorry) and hunted down photos of deer as possible inspiration. I was quite happy with this shape, taken from a decal image found via google.
I then got a bit obsessive about different ways to do the trees, this was last year and I sketched plenty, only to choose something totally different in the end. When I was changing my notice board over to ‘winter’ images, this wrap pack (I think designed by Patrick Hruby), bought from Wrap (I see their winter magazine is out, might have to pop that into my basket after writing this post) came out of my box and was pinned onto the board. The little red tree, on the left, totally inspired the trees on my apron.
That and the excessive amount of green fabric scraps I own….green is a favourite colour around here!
The trees were sewn on and my sample apron placed on my tailors dummy, at which stage I re-thought the deer shape. I had (as per the earlier photo) done a plain fabric mock-up of the finished apron, this was partly to determine the size was correct, but also to play with pattern placement etc, it’s always interesting to me that no matter how much you plan, once you start working in the final fabrics, things quite often change or no longer look right. I wanted something a bit more kitsch and stylised, so a more ‘Bambi’ looking fawn offered the solution.
I then stalled for a bit whist I decided to go with the bow, or no bow; at this point I was also a bit disappointed in the clumsiness of the zig-zagged tree outline, compared to the more delicate applique of the fawn. I’m trying, these days, to live with things that mildly annoy me, as I doubt other people notice.
I also considered some gold snowflakes on the upper right of the apron, but after trying out various methods (bought gold appliqued snowflakes, printed ones and some samples done in free machine embroidery, in gold thread) I decided it was too fussy and no method looked neat enough, so I left them off.
Finally, the finished apron. It is true to the original pattern shape, so has slight ‘wings’ on either side when worn, from the curve, this is partly down to the stiffness the pockets and binding add, both of which should soften down with wear and washing.
I was absolutely sure that I wanted to use the barbers stripe bias binding shown in the original pattern and last year bought some on-line that never turned up 😦 In a way I’m glad, as I think that, too, would have been a bit fussy. Also, after ordering some mini red gingham that ended up being out of stock, I replaced it with a red and white candy strip for the apron back, which I really, really like.
I think it’s obvious from all the above that one of the biggest challenges was photographing the apron. The light at this time of year really isn’t great and red is notoriously hard to capture. In the end I had to resort to settling for these slightly grainy images and some help from Photoshop.
Because I’m not sure this would have been good enough for a shop listing – ha ha!
I’m happy. I wore my own version to start some Christmas cooking earlier this week (bread sauce, stuffing, rum sauce etc for the freezer, it’s just us this year so I don’t want to be cooking all day and all these things freeze well for up to a month or so). I am totally converted to apron wearing since making the apple ones, they make me feel almost glamorous in the kitchen and it certainly made me smile putting this one on. On the price front, they are on higher at £33 each. I need to make a profit and find increasingly that my margins are getting really tiny, these take up a lot of fabric and were time-consuming to sew. On a completely separate note, I found myself hunting down original Babycham glasses on the internet this morning, it’s all about the deer around here this year!
You can find them here 🙂