Sunday, July 6, 2008

McCall 2550 - Ladies One-Piece Work Apron

1909. This pattern was shown in the Spring-Summer 1909 Ready Reference Catalog of McCall Patterns.

I bought this entirely because I thought the frou-frou fashion illustration was so wonderful - a Gibson Girl artist, palette in hand, a perky bow in her hair.

The joke was on me. Of all the apron patterns I've bought this is the one that shows the hardest use. There are many small tears in the neckline and lots of pin holes in all the expected places. I can imagine a woman making this up repeatedly not only for herself but perhaps for her sisters or daughters.

Made up, this reminds me of a surgical gown. It's very comfortable. The weird little cap sleeves wrap around the arm comfortably and don't look at all strange. This apron has no shoulder seam; it's cut in one piece and was designed for 36" wide fabric, very common for aprons of this period. This raises an interesting point. If this apron is made up in a print showing a decided direction, the print will appear upside-down on the back. You and I might think twice about this, but its possible this wasn't such a big deal to the original makers/wearers. Anybody who has studied originals, please feel free to pipe up here.

I took the easy way out and made this up in a cotton stripe.  As usual, there were no instructions for finishing the neck or side openings.  I cut a shaped facing for the neck but just turned under the edges of the sleeve/side openings. This was a huge mistake.  There is a lot of strain at the bottom of the sleeves, and if you blow up the photo, you can see where I'm beginning to rip out the bottoms of the sleeves.  The next time I make this up I'll either cut shaped facings or I'll bias bind these edges.  I'll also drop the pockets down a couple of inches.  The original pattern doesn't include pockets, but I can't be bothered with an apron that doesn't have them, so I put them on.

There was no indication on the pattern as to how the apron closed.  I used a skirt hook at the neck edge and am careful to wrap one back side over the other when I tie the apron.  Note that no pattern piece was provided for the strings; the instructions state "If desired, cut tie strings," and the pattern indicates where these are to be sewn to the apron.

The designation as a work apron is important; this distinguishes it from tea or sewing aprons.

5 comments: said...

Your apron looks great. Aprons are sort of addictive to make; they don't cost too much, you can work with wonderful mixes of fabrics, and after you've made a couple you realize the appeal of having a stack of nice fresh coverall aprons to cover up whatever horrible schlumpfy thing you grabbed off the closet floor to put on in the dark this morning.

Will you be selling the pattern for your apron?

Little Black Car said...

Tangent: Here at my office, we have a partial scrapbook from the First World War, and (speaking of surgical gowns) scrubs haven't changed at all in 90 years.

Dianne said...

Wow, just discovered your blog. I was searching on "Hoover Apron" because I can't ask my mom any more. She was a young woman when they came to be called that.
I am a painter, and I also attend "Period" events in costume. I've been looking for patterns and designs I can use in which to attend these events and paint while I'm there. This pattern is great, it can be worn for "decades."Probably why it's worn out.
I love that it really covers, is simple to make, and isn't going to be too hot.

Non de Plume said...

I wish you would copy this one and sell it!

Non de Plume said...

I wish you would copy this one and sell it! I'd buy a pattern!