Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sew for Victory... A Wartime Style Pinny

The BBC has always been a great production company.  Many of the British shows that are loved here in America, are produced by the BBC.  And it was the BBC who produced Wartime Farm.  It is a peek into the life of farmworkers during World War II, and well worth watching if you can find it where you are.
Anyway, one of the things I loved on Wartime Farm, was Ruth Goodman's apron.  She actually had several, but I loved the practicality and the bound edge.
What *I* really wanted though, was one I saw on 1940's house.
You can just about see it here:
Source here
and the side here:
Source here.
So I set to work.  Initially, I looked for a period pattern.  Ideally the pattern would feature a wrap around apron or coverall.  Well, that is a lot easier said than done!

First I found this one.

It seemed perfect.  Only I could not find it anywhere!
Then I found this one:
Right era, but it is only a PDF of the instructions for making your own from scraps.  Well, I can figure out that much.
Then I remembered.  Many women from that time would use old aprons or make their own patterns to make new aprons.  And so, my wrap apron was born.

It is shorter than I planned.  Primarily because I only realised later that I really need to make the front in two pieces rather than one.  Apron 2 will also have the ties a little higher.  You can just about see my pocket, with its bias edge.

Back.  You can see my ties.

The pinny was really quick to put together (this had 4 seams, the change will add two more).  The bias binding edge, on the other hand, took FOREVER to do.  I placed a gap in each side seam so the tie can come through, whichever way I wrap my pinny.

Side.  You can just see the tie...

The fabric, was $1.50 a yard from Walmart.  It is a polycotton blend, as far as I can tell.  They said undetermined.  But I'd guess 80-20 Poly-cotton.  That aside, it looks a lot like the kinds of fabric I remember seeing such aprons in.  I got three yards, which was plenty, and would probably be more than enough with my newest adjustments.  I'll let you know later.

I should also add something else I made recently: Kitchen Curtains.

 Here you can see the view from my window now :)  Cheery red curtains.


I made the sash to hold it back, and added some decorative stitching from my new sewing machine.

And I matched the base of the curtain to the sash, with a couple of rows of the decorative stitches.  Pretty huh? :) (You don't have to answer that!).


  1. Very cut and I love your curtains!

    1. Thanks Anthea :) They definitely warm the room!

  2. Adorable! I bet it's more fun to clean house when you get dressed up for the occassion! :-d

    1. Thanks Michelle :) Actually it is... and it prompted my DD to turn up at the bedroom door yesterday (I was cleaning it) in her own pinny LOL

  3. I LOVE that pinny!! Clever you. I've never seen a pattern for them either. I think I might just have to look a little harder :o) I always clean and wash up in my apron, a cleaning must in my book x

    1. Thanks Lucy :) Let me know if you DO find one- I'd certainly love a pattern number! I have lots of aprons (mum sends me them at Christmas) but I really liked the idea of being COVERED when spraying bleach or chemicals (I also cleaned the bathroom with it on LOL). And as for baking- if I don't wear one, then my skirts get wet (partly because I wipe my hands there from the habit of having a pinny on lol) and I get covered in flour (also partly from wiping my hands on myself LOL).

  4. What an absolutely wonderful apron/pinny, dear Rachel. I adore the serene colour palette of that timelessly pretty fabric and think the finished length looks terrific. Back when we used to live in Toronto, I often saw similar style aprons being sold in a couple of the shops in the Little Italy part of town, but none of them was anywhere near as lovely as your handmade pinny.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. Lovely! I've been looking for a WWI full apron pattern like that. I have been hesitant to purchasing the .pdf. It must be from a pamphlet of the time, like this one:

    If you watched The Wartime Kitchen & Garden on YouTube there are great examples of the wrap utility apron, which has made me want a full one!

  6. I'm back again. I've found examples of the apron, but they are house dress patterns. There are none available right now, but keep your eyes out for 1930s New York Pattern #81. #18 from the same time period has a collar, but very similar in style, also. Here's an ebay offering that has pictures of both patterns. 18 is still available:

    I also think the "Hooverette" dresses have a similar style and could be adapted to be an apron instead of a house dress.

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  8. I always like those aprons of the 30th and so I bought one through EBAY They are so comfortable doing housework and decided to order one more.They sure are cute looking and motivates me doing my housework.

  9. such a lovely apron, I too loved watching those programmes (especially all the farm ones) I've also searched for a pattern, but can only find the small ones on ebay. Any pattern advice would be helpful as yours looks so professionally made, love the pretty pattern too

  10. I love my wraparound crossover pinny apron and would not want to be without that apron. It so much motivate me to do my daily housework

  11. Rachel, I have been looking for a wrap-around pinny apron for ages. You have inspired me to make one or two. :) Yes a bit longer I think, calf length for me would be perfect. I also like this pattern . this apron gives great coverage also very feminine.



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