It’s official: I’ve become my grandmother. My mormor, a farm-raised woman who lived her whole life outside a little town in southern Norway, wore aprons every day. So do I. At any time I can be found puttering around the kitchen attending to artisan sourdough loaves, honing my weaving skills, or relaxing with knitting needles clicking under my fingers. So when my lover-of-aprons friend E (a skilled needle woman – not so much the knitting needle kind but the sewing and needlework kind), asked if I had seen the linen wrap pinafore aprons of Deb Spofford and emailed me the link, I knew it was worth looking investigating. (Pic to the right from Made on 23rd website.)
Deb Spofford is owner and designer of Made on 23rd in Vancouver, Washington, a proverbial stone’s throw southwest of where Thor and I live.
I exchanged a few emails with Spofford, and soon I was on my way through the bright green rolling hills dotted with blooming trees (the dogwoods are particularly amazing this time of year), of Clark County, Washington, to visit her studio.
One word: Wow.
I’m not going to repeat what you can read or describe what you can see on Made on 23rd’s website. While all of Spofford’s work impressed me, I knew as soon as I saw them that I just had to have one of her aprons. (Okay, two – one in teal and one in indigo.)
Made on 23rd’s aprons are marvelous. First, Spofford uses a wonderful weight European linen. It is heavy enough to be durable and protective yet light enough to drape nicely. Color choices are teal, indigo, grey and oatmeal.
Second, you can select a hand-blocked design or none at all. You have a choice of a design on the pocket – Mod Flower (pic to the right), Pompom Dalia (pic on the aprons below), or Sunflower (pic on the apron above). Or you might opt for a row of flowers on the hem – Mixed Flowers (pic on top left), or Ball Flowers (pic on the bottom left).
Next, the aprons are very easy to slip on. I still had one on (dusted with flour), as I carried a loaf of fresh sourdough bread to my neighbors’ house. He – a man who relies on crutches – immediately said he wanted one of those aprons because he can’t tie standard aprons behind him. I imagine these would be wonderful for wheelchair bound people as well!
Fourth, they are made to be a comfortable fit for many sizes. They are made in two lengths (but the short length was still long enough for me to wear). A picture is often worth a thousand words …
In the picture to the left, I’m wearing the apron. To the right, K (about a head shorter and two clothing sizes larger than I), models the same apron.
In the picture below K, I’ve turned around so you can see the cross-back. (In retrospect, I should have worn something other than those silly patterned leggings [which I do not wear out of the house!].)
Last, and by no means least, these aprons are locally made. Granted, they are not cheap, but you generally get what you pay for. These are no “fast fashion” sweatshop made items, to be used a few times and discarded.
I quickly realized these aprons were to wear no matter what I was doing – baking, cooking, weaving, knitting or gardening! Maybe I should get (dare I say, need?) one for every day of the week.
I urge you to look at the creative designs of Deb Spofford at Made on 23rd!
(P.S. For a fun read about the history of the modern apron, click here. If you are interested in sewing your own cross back apron (also known as a “Japanese style” apron), you may find these links useful: Purl Soho’s Cross Back Apron; Martha Stewart’s Baker’s Linen Apron, and The Hearty Home’s Japanese Style Apron Tutorial.)