Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What You Should Know About Peasant Cottage Aprons

On occasion I receive questions about my etsy shop, Peasant Cottage. Not necessarily how to run one (though I get questions like that, too) but more detailed ones that brings me to the making of this post, of which I hope will prove helpful. I wrote it in a Q&A format, and will most likely keep updating this post so if you have any questions for me, write them down!

Where do you buy your fabrics?
Literally all over the country. Ebay, etsy shops, thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, quilt shops, JoAnns, and (very rarely) Walmart.

How do you choose your fabrics?
Quality of fabric is very important to me, which is why I rarely buy from the $2 table at Walmart. Once in a very blue moon, I'll find something decent from there.

If possible, I love to buy vintage fabrics since, obviously, they are from the time periods I'm seeking to represent in making an apron. Again, the quality of the fabric is screened closely. At times they don't come to me in perfect conditions, so that means I get to make myself another apron (ha! sorry friends!) or I'll sell it in the shop with a reduced price and explain why it is reduced

Choosing fabrics for me is generally along the lines of, "Is this something that I or previous customers would like?" As with our own tastes and personalities, the aprons I make are not at all like vintage-inspired aprons you'll find in other shops. "The bigger, the bolder, the brighter the fabric" is not something I personally gravitate towards. Next I ask myself, "Would this look good in an apron?" and "Would this look better in a Ginnie apron or a Gracie apron? or in the Margaret style? or a Tasha Tudor style?"

Sometimes I'll get notes from would-be-customers or returning customers asking if I could make a solid white apron, or "the next time you make a Gracie in blue, let me know!" or "my colors are butter cream and purple, could you find a fabric like that?" It's fun for me to please customers, so I always welcome suggestions!

Can you tell me more about your trims?
Bias Tape: Since all of my patterns are from actual vintage aprons, most of them call for bias tape which seems to be a signature look among those well-loved. Most of the time I buy this brand-new, though there are times I'll come across a few packages of vintage bias tape. There are a few times where I'll make my own using the same fabric I'm using for the apron. While it doesn't give the fun contrast like the solid color gives, it provides a uniform finish.

Rick rack: All of the rick rack I own is unused vintage. There was maybe one or two aprons when I first started out that came with modern rick rack, but I quickly discovered that I didn't care for it for several reasons: it looked to much like polyester, felt at times like recycled plastic, limited color choices, the points and overall shape of the rick rack did not compare with the vintage cards I was glad to find.

Lace: The laces I will occasionally use are a mixture of vintage and modern.

Buttons: My button collection looks like I'm a professional hoarder, but only because I was at a thrift store once and saw a huge bag of vintage buttons weighing nearly a pound for just a couple dollars. Once in awhile you'll find buttons on my aprons but they usually go on my historical garments, tote bags, or other modern wear.

Can you make me an apron like the one that just sold?
This is a frequent question and my reply is always that I rarely make the same apron twice. As a seamstress, it would be boring repetition if I were to make 5 aprons all identical. (Though I think I've come close to making 5 aprons out of an all-time favorite fabric. I've been combing ebay and etsy on a regular basis to find more of it! I'd tell you what I was looking for, but then I'd be afraid you'd snatch it!) ;) Since many of the fabrics I purchase are pre-cut, what I get is what I get to work with. If it's less than 2 yards, I'm only getting one apron out of it.

Do you sell patterns?
There have been times when I've considered making patterns off of the ones I use to make the aprons in my shop, but there are to many factors involved for me to do it, some of which are:

1. I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to begin that process.
2. I like sewing aprons and if I were to sell patterns, I think I'd go out of business. ;)
3. There are SO many apron patterns out in the sewing realm (the "big four" pattern companies, ebay, and etsy for example) that I don't think it's worth trying to sell my own.

Oddly enough, I've never been able to find actual vintage patterns of the Ginnie, Gracie, and Margaret aprons I sell. Maybe they were designed by the seamstress who made them? :)

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