a different sort of recipe

It all started with a tweet from Maggie, a photo of the fabric she’d chosen for an apron she was making. As I admired the burst chrysanthemums (did I really just spell that right?) and imagined her custom pockets and towel loop, an idea began to take shape. A silly idea, because I don’t own a sewing machine and the only project I’ve ever embarked on resulted in some decidedly crooked kitchen curtains.

Weeks later I found myself in a rest area in Vermont, staring at a display from the Waterwheel House Quilt Shop. The fabrics were contemporary, vibrant. The sort of thing Anthropologie would make $300 table cloths out of… or aprons. I had to go. Aprons. I wanted to make aprons.

Nevermind that it was in the middle of nowhere or that I drove by it three times before I finally found it. Nevermind that I own several aprons. I picked up a pattern and thought “how hard can it be?” I read the directions the way I would a recipe, and ordered a yard of this and a half yard of that. And then, because I’m cheap and impulsive I bought a few “fat quarters” figuring I could sew them together and make… something.

I found out later that these fabrics are all made by Amy Butler Designs, and that no less than three quilting shops in the Boston area carry them, including the Stitch House in Dorchester and J.P. Stitch and Knit. So if you’re similarly inspired, you don’t have to go all the way to Vermont.

When I got home, I called the one person I knew would be able to help: my mom. She’s had a sewing machine sitting in the basement for as long as I can remember. When I was really little, she made some of our clothes, and for a while she was into quilting. She didn’t seem too surprised when I called out of the blue and announced that I was going to make aprons. Then again, this is the same daughter who called out of the blue almost four years ago and announced she was moving to Boston.

My mom had dusted off the sewing machine when I arrived. Old boxes of needles, thread, assorted buttons and other miscellany were on the dining room table. And so we set to work. She showed me how to rig up the sewing machine, how to attach the pattern to the fabric and sew it all together. Just as I’d thought, it wasn’t much different from following a recipe. As long as you did things in order, it would turn out ok.

Granted, it was a time-consuming process. My back started to get sore from bending over the table to adjust pins. I broke three needles on the sewing machine. But when it was finished…

With two pockets and a towel loop. I still might add some pom-poms or other embellishment… but for now, this is it.

Next up: a full apron.

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11 thoughts on “a different sort of recipe

  1. Such a classy lady! Love it! This make me want to motivate to get a new sewer foot for my machine… I quilt on special occasions and I totally have an apron pattern moldering in my closet. You are adorable. <3<3<3<3

  2. So cute! That fabric does look so very anthropologies! I’m impressed, my mom used to sew all the time but I’ve never given it a thought – looks so hard!

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