Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookbook Apron

Sometime in the last year I acquired a raggedy vintage cookbook from 1933: "Good Cooking Made Easy and Economical" that was just begging for a new life.   My plan was to rebind the cover into a recipe journal (or whatever someone wanted it to be), and use the original pages to make a apron - a full apron, with skirt and top and maybe even ruffles.

As these things go, the idea simmered for quite some time until, serendipitously, I saw a call to artists from the Catamount Fiberistas announcing an Apron themed show.  It was time.  When else would I have a chance to create and display a cookbook apron?

Initially I thought I'd just make my own pattern - after all, it's just an apron, how tough could it be?  But I kept getting stuck on the shape and how would I make the paper "fabric" fit properly?  Paper just doesn't lay the way fabric does - it's stiff and unmoving.

So, I began researching patterns, but couldn't find anything that really spoke to me.  A friend offered to let me "borrow" her vintage apron pattern.  That settled it for me, and I could finally move forward.  I cut all my cookbook pages to size, picked my thread, readied my sewing machine, and began my project.

As luck would have it, I had just started sewing my pages together to create a "cloth" from which to work and my sewing machine broke!  Panicked, yet undeterred, I revamped my plan: a mostly hand-sewn half apron.

The only part of the apron that is machine sewn are the pages - and only some of those are sewn at all.  Each set of pages were sewn together bottom to bottom, or top to top.  And they alternate to provide interest - the idea is that although they are readable cooking advice and recipes, they are also non-functional because you can't get all the information from them.  Also, I tried to include a bit from each section of the book - some desserts, some meat dishes, salads, etc.  I like my projects to be well rounded.

I overlapped the pages with each other in order to create a "kilt", providing full coverage in the "skirt" while allowing the paper flexibility and movement.  The waistband is entirely hand-sewn.  The front layer of pages were hand-sewn onto the waistband.  The back layer of pages were hand-sewn onto a strip of fabric which was hand-sewn onto the waistband.

Overall, I'm quite pleased and feel that it was a successful project.  The apron is being shown at Catamount Arts as part of the Catamount Fiberistas' "Aprons-R-Us" exhibit the entire month of December 2013.

Of course... I do have a ton of pages left - enough for a full apron once I have my sewing machine repaired.

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