Sunday, 29 June 2014

1860s Fancy Apron Tutorial - Part 1 The Original

Welcome to part one of my tutorial for an 1860s fancy apron. Part two will comprise of the pattern and how to. First however I wanted to start with an exploration of the original apron that the pattern is taken from.

Left : Original 1860s apron  Right: My apron made using the pattern taken from the original apron.

Dating an apron can be a tricky business as for decades the styles remained relatively unchanged - with small variations such a size and length.  This aprons unusual shape combined with its materials, size and construction point towards it being of mid 1860s construction.  

Image of a lady wearing a fancy apron c.mid 1860s

The apron is constructed from a mid-weight black and purple striped silk taffeta and is completely hand sewn. 

Hand sewing on the edge of the apron

It is trimmed with black cotton velvet ribbon and has a small pocket attached.  The edging has been gathered onto a very fine cord before being applied. The main body of the apron has been pleated into a very small waistband, which in turn has a boot button at one end and the very desiccated remains of a piece of flat elastic at the other.  

Edge of the waistband showing velvet decoration and boot button.

The aprons is almost tear shaped and appears to have been designed to drape over a full skirt.

Left: Apron over crinoline                            Right: Apron without crinoline

Here are some other aprons from the 1860s in a similar style...

Aprons from Godey's 1861

c.1861 - 63 Decorative velvet apron

Godey's Lady's book 1860

Apron ca.1865

Part two of this post will show my attempt at recreating my 1860s fancy apron and will include a pattern should you wish to make one yourself :)


  1. Oh what fun! Your apron is so very lovely as is the original! Love the stripes and ruffles! Very well done!

  2. I am the owner of that CdV, please tell whomever had this image on Pinterest that it is mine and can be found here. It should be properly attributed.

    1. Thank you for letting me know. Sorry for the late reply, due to personal circumstances my blog has been rather neglected of late. I have now properly attributed the photo on my blog and will see if I can track it down on Pinterest.