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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.