A few weeks ago I cleared everything out of my mother’s Lane cedar chest. We have had the chest for about three years, but I didn’t feel like sorting through it until now. It is a traditional hope chest with mahogany veneer. My mother stored her best table linens, my baptismal dress and baby slippers, her mink pill box hat and detachable mink collar, and other things she treasured in that chest. My parents were solidly middle class, but mom had a few really nice things that she kept in that chest for decades. I felt that I took a trip back to the 1950’s as I sorted through everything.
My parents didn’t entertain very often. Mom would have ladies over for sewing club or coffee occasionally, and the relatives, of course, but nothing that she really dressed up for. I was surprised to find this apron in the chest. It is clearly an apron a woman would wear at a gathering as she served the ladies the elegant luncheon she had prepared. The photo doesn’t do it justice, and I am not wearing the requisite full skirted dress it should go over. It is made of a very heavy linen/cotton fabric. It is very long and full, with a wide waist band and wide ties in the back that are meant to create a lovely bow.
The insets on the pocket, on the ties, and near the hem look like this.
The apron appears to be hand made. The hemming stitches are extremely uniform and perfectly spaced.
The bands of insets were also attached by hand onto the fabric with perfect, even stitches.
Someone went to a lot of work to make this apron. When I took it out of the chest it appeared to be carefully ironed and the fabric did not seem to ever have been washed. I don’t remember my mom ever wearing it. She wouldn’t have spent good money on a fancy apron like that, so I assume it was given to her as a gift. I wish I knew its history. I have decided to wear it. That apron has been in the chest too many years. I feel taller and quite elegant when I wear it.
I kept most of the things mom had in the chest but I will try to use them when I can. I kept the mink hat and collar, but I don’t think I will ever wear them, though. Our kitten thought the hat was the best thing and I had to retrieve it from her several times after she dragged it down the hall.
Have you ever worn vintage clothes? What era of vintage clothing would you like to wear? What is the oldest article of clothing you own?