18th century clothes, apron, checks, common dress, Fort Dobbs, linen, mending, North Carolina, War for Empire
My poor old apron. It’s almost– but not quite– the firstarticle of historical clothing I made. (The first was a shift. Infrastructure and fundamentals, people.) It acquired some new wear (actual holes!) in New Jersey, and required mending.
First, it needed to be washed. I hadn’t taken a objective look at my apron in a while, but after we got home from Salem, I knew I had to mend it, which meant washing.
Reader, it smelled.
You get used to smells, and even enjoy them: wet wool, gunpowder, wood smoke. And then there’s tallow. I’ve never gotten used to the smell of tallow, and I don’t remember when this apron encountered hard fat, but the odor is unmistakable.
So is the water.
This past weekend, I had a chance to mend this favorite apron while I peddled luxury goods at Fort Dobbs’ War for Empire event.
Although I have a sturdy plain linen apron, I’m fond of checks, and of the hand this apron has achieved after much wearing and some washing.
It will never be really clean again, but for now, the apron is mended and back in rotation.
Chris O said:
Now that’s an apron!
Sally Bennett said:
I love your apron – I have stains and soot on mine – but no patches yet. Is it true that aprons around fires were wool?
Some were wool and some were linen. It’s pretty clear that blue & white Check linen was super common in New England. What the percentages are is hard to know without doing extensive analysis of inventories. I know a wool apron is documentable— though it, too, can end up patched. (See an earlier post of mine about cooking at Coggeshall Farm’s winter frolic.)
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