Saturday, 4 April 2015

1790s Early 1800s Antique Extant Regency Era Apron

A couple of years ago I found this incredible Regency era apron on ebay:-

Extant Regency Apron

Occasionally I just find something totally incredible, and this was certainly one of those times. It was in such a dirty, messy state that you could barely tell what it was. 

Antique Regency Apron with Silk Ties
There are a fair few clues that point us to the early Regency period. Firstly the tambour work. This was very popular in the early Regency (the 'sprigged muslins' that we all know so well were sprigs of flower motifs often in tambour work), and during the last quarter of the 18th. The delicate, well spaced out motif on the apron reminds me of the Regency muslin tamboured dresses (and the apron fabric is certainly muslin).  The length and shape also point to the early 19th century- it is 100cm long, quite long for an apron- so perfect for the high waistline of the period.

In my opinion, it is most likely that the fabric came from a 1790s dress, which was then re-purposed and was made into an apron. There are sections of silk fabric which have been added to both ends of the waistband, and the centre join down the middle of the apron show that this is certainly an item that had been pieced together from some other article of dress or textile. The waistband is made from the same fabric as the body, and cream, silk sections of 8 1/2" have been added to each end. The flower motifs are stitched in pink, blue, and white, with drawn thread-work in the middle of some of them- it is quite remarkable. Some of the fabric has been gathered in to the waistband, at the middle and on either side a little away from that main part. A cotton fringe adorns the apron edges.

Tambour work was introduced to Europe around 1760. The embroidery is applied with a small hook, creating a chain stitch effect on the top side, and leaves a small series of straight stitches on the reverse.

Details of Tamboured Regency Apron

Length including waistband and fringe~ 39"
Width at bottom~ 60"
Width of waistband~ 1 7/8"

This piece is in incredible condition considering that it is (at least) over 200 years old. The muslin is very fine and delicate, and is a greyish colour. In its day it would have been a wonderful bright white. It has had a gentle wash. I have very carefully combed the cotton fringe, as it was quite tangled. The tambour work has sadly lost some of its colour. I have sewn some of the bottom fringe back onto the hem of the apron, as a few inches had come adrift and were hanging down. There are some antique darns to the apron- 2 large ones at the top, which are mostly hidden by the gathers there. There is another, larger darn which can be more easily seen a little further down on one side. There are also a few small holes, and pulls along the hem of the apron, which I have left, due to wanting to keep the apron as un-touched by modern hands as possible.

This rare apron can be purchased here

Happy Easter all! If you don't celebrate Easter, then Happy Bank Holiday weekend.
Naomi x