V30: An Embroidered Apron – My First Williamsburg Piece

I was pleased to receive my vintage embroidered panel in the mail the other day, but it needed some tweaks.

Firstly, it was dirty and smelled of vintage.  (You know that smell…that thrift store smell)  So I washed it by hand in Woolite, pleased to see the water murk up, but the piece was still quite ecru in color, and I needed it to be closer to white, so I let it soak in a mostly-water-with-a-little-tiny-bit-o’-bleach in it, which brightened it remarkably.  Another rinse in water with a little vinegar, then another wash in Woolite, and it was looking pretty good.

The construction of the apron was easy – just gathered the top edge of the panel onto a tape, and I wanted to try out “the dip” that Hallie was talking about on her blog, but I didn’t like the result.

“The dip” makes the sides of the apron longer than the middle, and I think now, after doing it, it is meant for very broad aprons, so that they will appear to hang straight when tied onto the full skirt.  In my case, my apron is quite narrow, and the dip was causing the sides to hang inward instead of straight, whereas I would prefer it to splay out nicely over the skirt.  So unpick it (carefully) I did, and re-cut the top to be straight, then stitched it to a new waist tape.  It hangs much more nicely now – a note for future aprons!


  • Zach

    January 30, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I love the way that apron looks! Great find! White on white embroidery is one of my favorite things–it can be a crazy pattern but no where near as overpowering as if it were in another color.

    On a side note: is spy something purple and shiny in the background. 😉

    • Lauren R

      January 30, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Ah, yes, I have been working on the 1912 but haven't been posting about it – I will soon! I'm a bit reluctant to start on the sleeves, that's why

    • Lauren R

      January 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      I was nervous too – everything I read said to avoid bleach completely, so I tried just a tiny little bit of it and it worked so well I threw the whole thing in. There was so little bleach in the water, though – more might have caused damage. The vinegar rinse and extra wash afterwards, I hope, neutralized any bleach left in there.

  • Cassie

    January 30, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Biz used as a soak does a *very* good job of whitening old cottons, and isn't as risky as chlorine bleach. (Just don't use it to soak silk or wool).

  • Julia

    January 31, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    Nice! That's so pretty!
    Looking at that link, it seems like the "dip" must only work with heavier fabrics, that would weight the waistband down. I think your apron looks great, and the fabric is really cool!

  • Unknown

    December 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Just to die for, now that you have yours, where is a costumer just beginning to work with the 18th century to find such a panel?


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