Saturday, 29 October 2011
An Apron for every Occasion
I confess that aprons and all 'work wear' have a special appeal for me and in France they come in a very wide variety of material, size and shape for both men and women. Many are for specific jobs and to me, are a sort of link with the daily work and lives of past generations. My collection includes indigo linen, straight, long ones for cooks and gardeners with large pockets at the front; womens' everyday cream linen and hemp on a waistband for general wear, usually with neat cross stitch initials and two pockets; then there are the housemaids' in whitest lawn with bibs and ties and pretty circular pockets at the front. Butchers and chefs have big sturdy affairs with one side higher than the other to make a good wrap, and a protective patch across the midriff, often in a hemp and cotton herringbone weave. Bistro waiters' gear are not much more than a short square across the front, with pocket for cash. The final group are the girls' dark printed cotton and serge traditional costume wear, sometimes gathered and frilled with interesting stitched detail round the waist. The most impressive (and difficult to track down) is the sommelier's (wine waiter's) apron worn in restaurants, indigo or black heavy linen with leather straps, and pockets for the corkscrews, napkin and other tools of the trade. Since typing this blog, I have sold some of the above to an opera company, so stock is very low - all now on my shopping list!