Thursday, 13 October 2011

Domestic Goddess

I am a self-confessed collector/hoarder of almost anything and that includes aprons or ‘pinnies’ as my Scottish Nanny used to refer to them.

My Mum ALWAYS wore a pinny and  a slick of red lipstick for when my father walked through the door after a hard day's work.  I can remember her wearing beautifully handmade, half – pinnies  all rick-rack, embroidery and gingham and looking quite the domestic goddess. 

So maybe these vivid memories have something to do with me collecting vintage ones from 1940-1960.They’ve been picked up for a few pennies in charity shops - laundered and ironed but never worn. Partly due to the fact that everyone in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s appears to have had a waspish waist of less than 22 inches and my waist, sadly, is now way beyond that and they are SO beautiful, I wouldn't want to spoil them with real cooking! 

My vintage collection of colourful pinnies.

I’m no Delia or Nigella in the kitchen, (though I do have one or two of their books, and certain pages are splattered with food stains) but I adore cooking when given the time.

At the last count I had 8 aprons, all of which are used from time to time and some reserved for special occasions. There is a clear pecking order within the collection. Two very plain, white, cotton ones, (Why does white predominate in the kitchen - food stains are NOT white) these are for everyday use and have been washed countless times, nay boiled to within an inch of their lives and they still persist with stains from long-gone Indians, pasta sauces and the like.

The blue one to the far right is the only manufactured one,( St Michael's!) the rest are all handmade.

Around about 11 years old, I was forced to make  a white apron at school. It took me all of 9 months to make it and the sewing teacher said that I was a lost cause and should be kept away from the needlework department for fear of her having a nervous breakdown. She was a self-confessed chain-smoker, confirmed by  my many 'visits' to the staff room to 'explain' my behaviour in class.  Yet  her nicotine-stained fingers were surprisingly nibble as she unpicked my work for the hundredth time …I just hope that  I wasn’t solely  responsible for her habit.

My favourite one is in the middle.

The old M and S pinny.

Anyway, here’s a little peek at my vintage collection; I will at some point get around to selling them as they are wasted in the attic.

Three rows of rick-rack painstakingly handstitched. 

This beautifully handmade apron must have taken literally hours to make. I adore the bias binding pockets...

and the hand-embroidered fruit along the bottom panel; far too good to wear unless it was for a little soiree where I wasn't doing the cooking!

I was so inspired by these wonderful creations, I've had a go at making my own pinny.

Pure cotton with linen ties and double pocket.

As always...Kiss the Cook and you might just be lucky enough to get something to eat!

The dicitonary definition!
A pinafore/ colloquially  a pinny/ British English/ is a sleeveless garment wore as an apron.
Pinafores may be worn by girls as a decorative garment and by both girls and women as a protective apron.

So... not TOO sexist then!


  1. just love this post and all the photos of aprons on washing lines. Beautiful in and of themself.

    what do I want in an apron you ask - an adustable neck (I'm short), and invisible corsetry to make me look thinner while I cook - like those body con dresses (ok so that's a wish list thing really isn't it). Not that jokey kind of corsetry either that's supposed to make a soul look silly and naked. Big floppy bow at the back is nice. And in spain saw some gorgeous plain beige linen ones, with a little bit of coloured stitching on, pale pinks and blues. They were totally gorgeous. Need at least two pockets - one slim and one bigger. Bet you're glad you asked now. xx

  2. I'm actually a big fan of the pinny as my nan used to wear them whilst cooking and I remember her standing at the cooker doing that when making our tea.

    Mrs Jason made a really nice one for grandson Ted earlier this year to help me with the cooking. I just need one now! I've tried hinting, but no luck so far.

  3. Hello Fi. So many great ideas in your comment to this post. I love the idea of a big, flouncy bow at the back. not sure I'll be able to fit in the corsetry though, might end up looking like a Vivienne Westwood dress. On the other hand.....perhaps that's not a bad idea.....

  4. @jason @ gold work embroidery Hi Jason, thank you so much for leaving a comment - it's good to know there are 'readers' out there as well as pinny fans! My Nan also wore pinnies, everyday in fact. It was one of those old-fashioned types that wrap around you! She used to wear it whether she was cooking or not!good luck with your request fro a pinny, you might need to drop a non too subtle hint!