Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ric Rac or Bust!

YRic Rac ~ a new paradigm for the 21st century.

Visualize World Ric Rac
. It can happen.

Over at the Cupcakes, Peaches is designing an apron with ric rac for an upcoming photo shoot that we hope she will describe--and illustrate--in full detail. But it got us all talking about ric rac. I've always wanted to sew and to sew well. But the process is too complicated for me. I jam the machine. The bobbins break. I'm not patient.
I scream. My head spins around and I vomit straight pins. If you want to test an idiot proof sewing machine on someone, I'm your person. I'll prove you wrong every time, even when I made my first (and last) sewing pattern in the early 1970s on my miniature Singer sewing machine: it was a simple apron. Hah! And as for "Simplicity" patterns, forget about it. We all have a knack for something: sewing is not my "knack".

But that doesn't mean I can't love fabric and dress patterns. Yards and yards of yummy fabrics. And notions, especially ric rac. It is so vintage, so appealing, so meandering. Such a simple design and yet so brilliant. It is something I pick up here and there at yard sales or in antique shops, even new packages of it. I've crafted occasionally with the boys using ric rac (like one Valentine's Day we had a lot of fun) but I'm not that crafty, either. I'm a sewer-crafty wannabe, but not really. Maybe I should just enjoy my status as appreciator of fine craft and leave it at that.

Here is a blog devoted to vintage sewing at Primrose Design and another to aprons called "Angry Chicken". There are also many books, recently, on aprons. They've made a firm comeback and have even starred in exhibits. EllynAnn Geisel started the trend with her traveling exhibit "Apron Chronicles" and has written a yummy little charm of a book,
The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort.

There is something comforting about an apron and easily collectible. Available in shops for $5 or more, they are a piece of domestic history. I collect vintage aprons as well as newly made Amish and Mennonite aprons (in many of those yummy colorful fabrics). For women in those orders, especially the Mennonites who allow a bit more variety in fabric and color, the apron is one of few outward forms of self-expression and joyous individuality. And yet it is highly functional. When I put on an apron I feel empowered: like super domestic diva ready to multi-task around the house in a single bound.

Down here we've discovered King's Department store in Liberty, Kentucky near the town square. They have an old-fashioned fabric and notions department. I love to go in and just wander and ogle the designs and colors. Surely they think I'm nuts. The other day I was happy to find a selection of reproduction 1930s feed sack cotton fabric. Oh my! The aprons I've envisioned. [I did buy several yards of red gingham oil cloth for my pantry shelves a few months ago, but I just cut that to fit. And my husband is delighted with their denim and barn coat selection in the clothing store.]

So for now I will continue to be an aficionado of aprons and appreciate the handiwork of others.


Rose said...

I enjoyed this post. It's funny to me that you love aprons and will wear one and feel uplifted by that but you don't sew. And I on the other hand sew all sorts of things but not aprons. And while I love to look at them and could easily be convinced to collect some, I do not like wearing them and would feel, I don't know, frumpy maybe if I did. I love to compare how much women are the same and then also how different we all are. This is just one of those small comparable things.

Anonymous said...

Another great place for fabric and sewing stuff is Paul's Discount on the outskirts of Somerset.