Nov 06 2010

Hello to Marilyn in South Carolina!
Thank you for sending this great tribute to Grandma’s Apron.

The History of Aprons

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.  After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

People now would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love…

Lots of heartwarming thoughts with that e-mail circulating about. Although it’s one of those anonymous postings that’s traveled around the world because it strikes a chord with so many people, this one seems to have a beginning. I found what appears to be its origin here. And there are many links to enjoy in that on-line article, so set time aside to browse.

One thing, though, that needs to be updated from this article is how aprons are making a come back. The warmth and love that comes from the kitchen and good, nutritious food is not lost on the present generation. People are turning in droves to healthier lifestyles and eating at home with a seated meal at the dinner hour. Homemade biscuits and the aprons worn to catch the airborne flour are the natural accompaniments and it is a blessing they are showing up more and more. Just think of the memories waiting to be made! The old Pillsbury ad that said, “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven” did say it best.

Welcome an apron back into your life, if they ever went away. Looking into the future of Sunbonnet Smart, I can forecast a great many apron patterns coming along. Cooking like your grandmother will get that much easier the minute you put one on and tie the strings around in back.

If you love aprons, the styles and the colors
like I do, then preview this book by hovering
your mouse over the link:

  The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort

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Filed under: Clothes,Readymade — admin @ 3:27 pm Comments (0)
Oct 15 2010

Have you ever look closely at a zipper
and wondered what the YKK stands for?

Anyone who sews and inserts zippers into clothing has probably noticed the YKK on the zipper tab. And anyone who wears zippers and has the time to contemplate theirs with an eagle eye has probably noticed the YKK as well. But, why is it there? What does it stand for? These are some of the pressing issues of our times.
Well, suffer no longer. You have a right to know that the YKK found on every zipper stands for the man who founded Yoshida Industries Limited, intent on conquering the world’s zipper market and bringing it to its knees. In 1934, Yoshida’s founder, Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, had a beautiful philosophy in that he considered something as seemingly utilitarian as a zipper to be integral to the whole of mankind in a very important way.
Mr. Kabushikikaisha believed in the “Cycle of Goodness” meaning that everyone prospers when one provides a service that is of benefit. In other words, Mr. Kabushikikaisha decided to provide the best zipper he possibly could for the price and not cut corners. Rather than count on zippers wearing out and needing to be replaced to gain market share, he decided to provide a zipper that would last as long as possible and be the best with its intended purpose.
His zipper would benefit the manufacturers who bought them from him and the customers who, in turn, bought their clothes from the manufacturers. This goodness would eventually cycle back to his company and it did work just the way he envisioned. Today Yoshida Industries is the world’s foremost manufacturer of zippers, making about 90% of all of them. There are over 206 facilities making YKK zippers in 52 countries. Here, in  the United States, Yoshida Industries in the State of Georgia makes over seven million zippers A DAY!
If you are interested in learning more about the zipper and its benefactor, click here.

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Filed under: Clothes,Sewing Tips — admin @ 2:37 pm Comments (0)
Sep 21 2010

Have you been frustrated while trying to sew for yourself or family? Well, I can understand. I experienced this disableing emotion quite a bit when I was learning sewing as a child. The patience it took to plod incrementally through a sewing project, “do this, then this, then this” was so didactic for someone who loved colors and wanted to combine them to see the final effect. I wanted to hurry up and get things finished!

Talk about SHABBY! Kitty says she never worries about
construction technique and gets along just fine.

But how did that finished project look? Well…a little shabby and homemade, I suppose. And so, for a while my sewing efforts abated while I finished high school, disappointed that I “couldn’t sew” no matter “how hard I tried.” Then, I was facing going to college on my own and stayed out a year, between high school and college, to make money and sew clothes. But! I had to face lots of demons to conquer my bad attitude about sewing for myself. I decided I had to change and, where before, I was sewing seams by eye that looked like 5/8.” now I was going to measure every seam line and draw it on the wrong side of the fabric with a pencil. That was what I decided to do and that is what I did.

Home sewing saves money and allows a greater selection of style.

And it worked! First I made a pair of culottes, then blouses, dresses, skirts and all sorts of things to wear. At the time, in the early 1970s, I could get on a bus, go to J.C. Penny’s and buy, on the clearance rack, a yard of fabric for 33 cents! So, needing three yards of fabric for a dress, I could make a dress for a dollar.

But, don’t fret, once you get into sewing, if you’re not already, you’ll find the savings are proportionally just as great today.

You’ll find the more you visit Sunbonnet Smart, the
more you’ll want to create things yourself. It’s fun!

Come back for lessons, patterns and a guiding hand.

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Filed under: Clothes,Lessons — admin @ 8:37 pm Comments (0)
Sep 08 2010

100% Cotton Quilting Fabric hanging in the fresh air.

As I remember, the clothes drier and the refrigerator are the two most burdensome draws on the home energy bills. When one is financially downsizing, reining in these two money guzzlers is the first place to start.

But whether your clothes drier is gas or electric, you will reduce expenses in two ways when you save its use for clothes drying emergencies or, as I call them, “Have-to-Have-Its.” Many people don’t realize how clothes driers shorten the life of their clothes, making them look shabby far sooner than necessary. The heat and tumbling of the drier abrades the surfaces of clothes and linens, quickly wearing them down. So, not only does it cost more to use the drier rather than a clothesline, drier use increases the clothes budget as clothes need to be more quickly replaced.

Being a fabric lover, I had quit using clothes driers except when necessary years ago. I did not do without one entirely, though, until I moved in with my Dad to take care of him in his needful years, before he left his physical body. My Dad didn’t believe in clothes driers and always thought they were a waste. We didn’t have one when I was growing up and I would marvel at the appliance when I went to visit friends. Dad had built a clothesline for mother (odd that only mother used it so I call it hers….) in the basement and it was a study apparatus, made of plumping pipe so that, except for the ephemeral cord and clothespins, it would survive a direct nuclear hit.

Hanging wash outside raises the energy of all your clothing fabric, not just quilt fabric.

Growing up sewing, I had learned to prewash fabric to get the sizings out and to set the grain of the threads. Clothes constructed with prewashed fabric always turned out better and looked less homemade. This prewash knowledge crossed over into a good habit when I started to quilt and rounded the bend into a freak-a-zoid obsession when I began to teach quilting in 1976 and opened my storefront quilting store in 1984.

And so, my obsession with air drying clothes led to an interest in the olde tyme methods of clothesline construction, the travel accessories for temporary bathtub lines and the finer points of collapsible racks for quicky living space displays of freshly washed laundry and 100% cotton quilt fabric.

As we walk into the future together on this blog, I hope you will join me in considering clothesline use. When you see how fresh your clothes are hung free in the open air, I am sure you will agree it is worth the thought, small expense and effort to change your laundry lifestyle, if you haven’t already.

To summerize. I find clotheslines a lengthy topic, h-m-m-m…you might as well, and I have planned many entries based on sharing the subtle intracacies of their use. I hope this short introduction has you on the edge of your seat.

Clark Gable’s clothesline won the Academy Award for Best Supporting String.


A Famous Clothesline quote:

“Behold the walls of Jericho. Maybe not as thick as the ones that Joshua blew down with his trumpet, but a lot safer. See, I have no trumpet. Now just to show you my heart’s in the right place, I’ll give you my best pair of pajamas. Do you mind joining the Israelites?”

Spoken by Peter (Clark Gable,) in the movie It Happened One Night, to Ellie (Claudette Colbert) after dividing their room with a blanket on a clothesline (1934). Written by Robert Riskin (1897–1955), U.S. screenwriter.

If you don’t remember this scene from the movie, It Happened One Night, then take a few moments to enjoy it by clicking play below:

It Happened One Night is available on NetFlix, and you can stream it through the Internet if you have a NetFlix account.

Here are some lines from a NetFlix user review that nicely sum up my feelings:

There is not a single flaw in Frank Capra’s classic It Happened One Night. Gable, particularly, is a joy to watch in his swashbuckling but roguish role. It is that brusque charm that foreshadows Rhett Butler two years down the road from this production. I will always highly recommend It Happened One Night to those who are fans of classic films, fans of Frank Capra’s light and romantic comedies, fans of stunning black and white photography. And–this film contains two terrific treats: Roscoe Karns as the most annoying bus passenger ever, and Alan Hale as a singing thief.

If you are emotionally attached to Clark Gable as I am, then please consider the book, Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography. It is a non-tabloid, scholarly approach to Clark Gable and his life that I have found to be the most complete.

To preview the book, hover your mouse over the following link:

Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography

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Filed under: Care,Clothes — admin @ 1:22 pm Comments (0)
Aug 25 2010

Dresses from times past are coming back in style.
They are flattering, feminine and tasteful.

Sunbonnet Smart is a working blog. In other words, we won’t just sit and talk with you all morning at the kitchen table. I am personally going to take you into my sewing room to look around and have fun. And, by the way, accomplish lots of work in the process. I want to be sure and pass on my hints and tips on clothing construction, quilt making and interior design, so I will be sharing patterns I have created from my collection of vintage looks and styles. Right now, we are fine tuning the workings of the Blog, but when the dust settles, we will be posting lots and lots of patterns for you to download. Based on the idea that “they just don’t make things like they used to,” Sunbonnet Smart will help you economize on your fabric goods and enjoy the process.

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Filed under: Clothes,Patterns — admin @ 6:23 pm Comments (0)
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