Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"You look like Miss Lynch!"

“You look like Miss Lynch!” Paul said as he walked in the door and saw me wearing a floral print apron over my work clothes.   “That’s just the look I was going for – vintage!” I responded with a grin.  Miss Lynch was one of several elderly school teachers we had while attending Junior High at the old Central High School in the late 1960’s.  Each one had a seemingly endless wardrobe of blue floral print dresses – some with matching jackets, hence Paul’s observation.
I had ruined one too many blouses by coming home from work and going right to the stove to cook dinner – grease on a silk blouse that didn’t come out despite serious hand washing and a trip to the dry cleaner’s was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  I decided I needed an apron that would cover not just the skirt but also my front.

So I searched the internet and found an array of patterns – many for free, and started tracing them out on sheets of newsprint before sewing them together from  vintage-like fabric.  The one Paul admired was even trimmed in bias tape, further enhancing the retro look.  I bought a cute old pillowcase from the thrift store and made an apron from that – the decorative hem of the pillowcase became the hem of the skirt, and the waistband and ties were cut and sewn from the other end.  The one I like best is cut from just one yard of fabric, but on the bias.  It wraps around to my back, and meets the criteria my friend said an apron requires – covering the backside where she wipes her hands when cooking.  
The blessing in all of this is a return to the sewing machine.  It’s been sitting unused for some time – which is a big change from my junior high and high school years when I sewed nearly all my own clothes.  When the kids were going to Halloween parties, I sewed a number of costumes, the most memorable being Big Bird for pre schooler Heather and Cookie Monster for toddler Jason.   In more recent years I’d use the machine to make an occasional Christmas gift – like the year I made a nightshirt of wild bear printed flannel for Heather in remembrance of her encounter with bears while backpacking the previous summer. 

Heather says she and her friends lament the fact that their generation seems to have lost the art of taking care of themselves – many don’t know how to cook from scratch, sew clothing, can vegetables, or grow a garden.  I was blessed to have a mother who taught me to sew – I still laugh when I think of her teaching me to match plaids by telling of a jumper she made with matching plaids, but the zipper installed inside out so she had to pull it closed by reaching INSIDE to pull it up.  I guess it was such an ordeal that she was reluctant to take it apart for fear she’d never get those plaids to line up again!
In my current apron sewing spree, I’m discovering a renewed love for sewing - the act of taking a piece of fabric and cutting and sewing it to fit around the body to make something pretty and practical all at the same time.  Eventually I’ll lose interest in sewing yet another apron design, and move on to other creative pursuits.  In the meantime, I’m blessed by my time at the sewing machine as I put creative juices to work making aprons – that make me look like Miss Lynch!