18th Century Embroidered Apron

What’s this? Another blog post so *relatively* soon after my last? It’s shocking I know…

But in keeping with the spirit of my blog- the idea of creating an ensemble from the 18th century from the beginning, I’m going to be skipping around a little bit in the next few posts. Meaning, I’m going to be posting about pieces in a different order than when they were sewn.  I think this will help to keep everything organized a little better, while also showcasing the inside/ out approach to getting dressed in the 18th century.

So here we go…

After making my frilly, floofly, ruffled apron from the “American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking” (find it here) and realizing how much I loved it, I knew I needed something more practical.  I have recently fallen down the rabbit hole of 1780s fashion (more on that later…) and I’m in the process of building a few pieces for that decade. Hence my decision to make the ruffled apron so early in my learning process. However, most of my living history events and much of my impressions were based more on the 1750s and 60s. I have a camp apron or two that I use when cooking over an open hearth, aka it can get dirty and singed,  but I wanted something a little prettier yet still toned down.

Enter, JoAnn Fabrics.

Image result for fabric store meme

Now, I will caveat this by saying that JoAnn Fabrics is rarely the place to find historically accurate materials. I personally think that their linen/ rayon blend fabric is great to work with, and has a range of colors that is pretty inexpensive when on sale. It’s great to start with. Their 100% linen is a little pricey when not on sale, and the weave is a little loose so it’s not great for every project. But I’ve made some handkerchiefs and a shift out of it, and it was good!

So when patrolling the cottons aisles, I stumbled upon an embroidered edge cotton that I immediately fell in love with. I kept coming back to it, but convinced myself that it wasn’t accurate enough to make it worth it. Fast forward a few weeks and it goes on sale, plus I had a coupon. So oops…it came home with me!


I was inspired by some of the embroidered aprons I had seen from various portraits and extant pieces in various collections.

H6964 Apron, woman's, embroidered net, [England], 1840-1860.(OF). Embroidered net apron, c. 1850.(SB).. Click to enlarge.
Found here
Found on Pinterest and never able to find the provenance…let me know if you know where it is from!


Found here
Found here

And so on, and so forth.

My creation…


My process went the same as the ruffled apron. I hemmed the sides but left the bottom since it was the embroidered edge. Stroke gathered (is that a word?…) the top, and then used 1 inch wide cotton tape from Burnley and Trowbridge. The whole thing sewn with their 60/2 white linen thread that I waxed to keep it smooth and tangle free.


It was a pretty quick little project I used to help keep my sewing mojo up, and it did the trick. I also paired well with my rust colored jacket and petticoat I made. That blog post coming next!


Until next time y’all!

❤ Caitlin

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