House Dresses Came in Apron Style 
acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
From 1900 through the 1920s, well-heeled women wore ornate, heavily embroidered aprons. In the 1920s, women started to achieve gender equality. Consequently, their bodies looked youthful, wearing long and shapeless clothes. Which naturally echoed in the style of the flat chest, and shapeless off-the-cuff apron that lost the gathered waist of earlier decades, with round edges and patch pockets in shape and in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the equally linear Art Deco style.
In this painting, I want to represent the house dress styled after the apron. They looked like aprons worn over dresses but were sewn all together. These were especially common for working women becoming a uniform of sorts. It is a real style. I love it.
Lady’s Maid - in the 1930s
acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
The story of the Lady’s Maid apron goes back to the Victorian era of the1850s worn by women caring for her family or for a wealthy household. The starched cotton or linen apron had a chest-covering bib, a small waist that echoed the popular corset shape of the day, and a long full skirt with decorative ruffles that marked status within the servants. Maids and housewives wore this apron at home and out on the town, as well. In the 1920s and in the 1930s, North American women began to dissociate from domestic responsibilities and left the apron to be used by servants, butlers, maids, and cooks.
I grew up in a country where a significant source of income for lower-class women comes from domestic labor. Still today, I hold great stories and good memories of these wonderful women.
Fresh Air to Her Daily Chores
acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches
At the end of World War II, with husbands coming back home, women left their wartime jobs to resume the household chores. It was the return of the “happy”, elegant woman to the center of family life. At the same time, the apron became very popular; some came with practical designs and others with sophisticated styles.
In this painting, I represent a pretty classic apron from the late 40s that I love. It had a full front bib with straight shoulder straps, and an A-line skirt covered only part of the skirt dress and tie that brought in the wasp waist, trendy in those days.
My Grandmother Lutz’s Apron
The stock market crash of 1929 and the resultant Depression of the 1930s caused severe financial difficulty for many homemakers. Due to fabric shortages, the apron was designed to use a minimum of fabric for its construction, while still providing maximum coverage.  Flour companies made their packaging of fabric, so they introduced the idea of the feed sack or flour sack material for the aprons.
My friend Barbara sometimes uses a flour sack apron when she paints at the Bunkhouse. She shared her beautiful memories around it.
“My grandmother Lutz was raised in the Depression, and as a result, she was a wonderful cook and seamstress. She grew her own garden and wore a clean apron with each different task around the house. She encouraged me to learn to sew, and I remember her wearing this apron when we made peanut brittle from scratch on her kitchen table. She was meticulous and put all the final trim and touches on her pieces, including labels that indicted the fabric content in her woolen coats! Her meticulous nature served her well as she nursed children with polio throughout an entire county in Kansas! I’m sure she encouraged them all to learn how to sew”. —Barbara Rathwick
Warmth and Hospitality Apron
In the early 1940s, most feed sacks were white and had to be dyed if a colorful cloth was desired for the aprons. During World War II, the feed sacks were of brightly and attractively designed materials, which women used to sew aprons, clothing, towels, and the like. After the Great Depression and World War II, the apron became the uniform of the “Happy” housewife. 
The appearance of the apron that showed a slimmer and cinched waist symbolized a return to normalcy, the comfort of home, and a bountiful dining table.  In the middle 40s, the pinafore apron like the one in the painting was trendy, a sleeveless decorative garment with ruffles and big pockets and a full-frontal coverage dress to keep them clean.
Big Mama’s Apron

“My great-grandmother Minnie Bell was called “Big Mama” even though she was so tiny that her wedding band fits my pinky finger, and her apron fit my daughter when she wore it as part of an elementary-school history day event. Big Mama’s apron is plain but pretty, a working apron that I’m sure she sewed herself because she was a quilter as well as, according to my grandmother, an excellent cook. To make ends meet for her nine children during the Great Depression, Big Mama cooked and served lunch at her home every day for women who worked in the textile factory in Bremen, Georgia. Her husband Tom was the sheriff - and also the cab driver. He owned one of the only automobiles in town. Big Mama raised - and wrung the necks of the chickens she fried and hoed. She tilled and tended the garden that grew the vegetables she prepared and served. I often wonder if this single apron that passed down to me must have been a favorite of hers. How many mornings was it tied around her waist? How many times did she wipe her flour-covered hands over its soft cotton? Did she wear it the day her husband had to arrest two of his own sons for bootlegging during Prohibition? Did she wear it as she tended her youngest, fallen fatally ill during a flu epidemic? How many nights did she take it off and shake it out before she must have dropped, exhausted, into bed? What stories, what dreams, what hopes could this apron tell me about Big Mama if only, somehow, it could talk?” —Cheryl Fries
Cheryl is Pat’s good friend who was also involved in this project. Thanks, Cheryl, for your beautiful story about this apron. 
My Friend, the Fancy Hostess
“The green apron with crocheted green and white trim came from my mother.  It probably belonged to my paternal grandmother, who had a friend who did the most intricate crochet!  Evidently, from the smudges of paint on the apron, my mother had used the apron for one of her craft projects since she was much more into arts and crafts than she was into cooking.” —Pat Flathouse
Again, in the mid-1950s, the period is most associated with the half apron that covered only below the waist and was known as the “Hostess apron.”
Grandma’s Christmas’ Gift
“The black and white apron with the hand-drawn pocket was made for my son, Craig, to give to his grandmother for Christmas one year.  I had seen one like it in a Miles Kimball Catalog, and I copied it.  It was a time when I made most of our Christmas gifts.  The yellowed tag from the Christmas gift was still in the pocket, which indicates to me that Mother did not use the apron very much!” —Pat Flathouse
Pat and I paint together every Tuesday at the Bunkhouse. How special to allow me to use two aprons and share her beautiful stories for my artistic interpretation.
Floral Flourishes
The 1950s was a time when the apron became the housewife’s uniform, with a version for every task, every season and every holiday. Housewives had to look clean, elegant, and not exhausted. Their aprons often coincided with the house dress - blurring the distinction between clothing and skirt.
In this painting, I was inspired by the hostess apron of the late 1950s with a pretty collar and slip-on style, fitted waistband with a back bow and patch pockets. 
Polka Dots make wearing apron fun!
In the mid-1950s, aprons and the American housewife were inseparable. In addition to using them in cooking and house cleaning, the perfect hostess also wore them for entertainment. These aprons were ultra-feminine with ruffled edges, often made of sheer fabrics such as organza, and were short, falling about mid-thigh in length. They distinguished the hostess from other guests in such a way that she was always seen and admired while entertaining.
While painting, a movie ran through my mind: how sassy and beautiful we can be while dancing and cooking at the same time and what a pleasant surprise for the guest will be when you are wearing an apron.
Sally’s Passion for Aprons
 “Well, out of a bin, this apron appeared and found a new home!” — Sally Fraser
Every Tuesday, Sally brings a different vintage apron to wear while creating her art in the Bunkhouse, a magical place outside Austin. This one, in particular, invokes the old “Bib Apron” that provides ample coverage for the torso and protects the clothing very well. It comes with a bow around the neck, ties around the waist, and a hem that ends near the knee. The edges are finished with biased binding.
In the 1960s —when women no longer wanted to use an apron that represented the domestic ideals— the bib apron became the most-used apron and is now offered in a multitude of variations, colors, detailing and fabrications. The bib apron is known today as the “French chef’s apron” or a “barbecue apron,” too.
Domestic Engineer
In the time when aprons were beloved, there was a cute style with the top half of the body fully covered, but only part of the skirt covered, called the Cobbler apron. It looked like a dress bodice with side ties that brought in the wasp waist. Two or three large pockets lined the front to hold a lot of items, especially useful on laundry day and to carry cleaning products or garden gloves and small hand tools. The Cobbler apron was not intended for public display.  It was designed as a practical apron most useful for moving quickly from one cleaning task to the next.
As a former engineer, I love the term "Domestic Engineer," ironically introduced just as society began to place less importance on the homemaker's role. A "Domestic Engineer" can carry out anything from cleaning to doing everyday jobs for the family.
Psychedelic Apron
At the end of the 1960s, the very idea of being a housewife seemed dull when women sought satisfaction and reward outside the home. The psychedelic forms and colors, like sunshine yellow, vibrant orange of that time were always intriguing to me. During the hippie era, the apron became a symbol of women's submission. Aprons were suddenly seen as old-fashioned clothes worn by grandmothers and fashion fans. In the 1970s, with the women liberation movement, the apron fell into disuse.
The apron in this painting is a 1970s classic. It does not symbolize the submission of women, although "El Delantal" became a garment that men wore at home proudly while mastering the barbecue.
 Happy Orchard 
Today, aprons are back in a big way, with the increased popularity of cooking and the back-to-the-kitchen movement. Fashionable boutiques offer handsomely made aprons created from different attractive and often unusual fabrics with whimsical decorations and a new generation has discovered the necessity and utility of aprons.
This brings me to a modern Colombian orchard, with trees and shrubs of fruits like oranges, bananas, papayas, guavas, and lots of other tropical fruits.
The Best Hairstylist 
Aprons are and will remain sentimental favorites. Not a woman was groomed without one or more of them – because they used to have several models depending on the tasks they performed.
La Costurera- The Dressmaker
The apron was the first thing girls learned to make in home economics classes. They added decorations to increase the value and price when they wanted to raise money at a craft bazaar.
I love sewing, and in my younger years, sometimes I used to sew my clothes. With "La Costurera," I remember those wonderful years, and the flirty hostess apron was part of my move. I imagined how to impress the guests at a party, hum! What fun.

Garden Party Apron 

There have always been many trades that have used the apron as a work uniform: waiters, baristas, cooks, nurses, domestic workers, hairdressers, shoemakers, florists and many more jobs. By in the 1980s, working women spent less time in the kitchen and new apron fashions were not present in stores. In the 21st century the apron began to be used inside and outside the kitchen, but it has been completely renovated. Today, aprons are a sign of identity of each trade and the image of the job.
The Garden party apron is simple and invites us to garden all day, with pretty paths, flowers, and happiness. 

“The Artist,” —My Apron 

Every artist wants to have one at home, workshop, or school. Always handy: it must hang on a hook on the wall in an easily accessible place. He sometimes assumes our personality, and occasionally it becomes like another crazy little painting, as we do brushstrokes on the canvas, and then we stroke and clean the brush on him, my delantal - my apron.
Since 1999, when I started painting, the apron has been there with me. I don't have one only, I have many, in different colors, styles, with lots of stories of places, studios, and art friends that have been around me over the years. There's one apron, in particular, that has a significant sentimental value, and it's not one that we see here. It’s my mom’s apron; he’s like a little bit of mom with me, like when we were together in Colombia. I think that's why I wasn't able to interpret it. Maybe one day I will paint it or perhaps not.
In my study between my art and me, "The Artist," —my apron was an inseparable companion and constant source of inspiration during these last two months with this series that I enjoyed working very much while learning about its history
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