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Expert Shares The History Of Aprons
“Tie on your cooking skirt, Grandma.”
  A youngster’s observation is one of the best descriptions of an apron Yvonne Cory has heard. Cory has a growing collection of more than 1,000 aprons. She has given dozens of presentations to all types of groups, collecting hundreds of stories along the way.
  The fiber artist from Easton, Minn., has developed “Joys and Tears in the Apron Strings” dedicated to the “art, history and acknowledgment of those who wore the world’s aprons.”
  Cory notes her life experience set her up to collect aprons, from learning to sew on her own toy sewing machine as a child, to her needle arts studies, to 35-plus years as a Family and Consumer Science teacher. Throw in her experience as a farming wife and time on the Faribault County fair board, and the clincher - purchasing a late 1800’s apron at an estate sale in 2009.
  She only paid $5 for it, but she knew she had something special. The long, white apron resembled the ones in old photos worn over long dark dresses. The hand-sewn apron made from an open weave fabric had fine filet lace at the hemline.
  That apron, along with several she had from her own family, ignited a passion to collect aprons. She finds the aprons at sales, flea markets and in boxes delivered to her doorstep. She logs every apron on a spreadsheet: where and when she received it, the type of apron, description and special notes.
  Special notes often include the apron’s history, which is especially important to her. “It’s important to keep the memories alive - to tell younger generations about the historical value and memories of these aprons worn by our loved ones,” she says.
  They also reflect the history of how clothing evolved from hand-sewn to treadle and crank sewing machines to mass production. Her six presentations reflect some of those changes, focusing on full-bib aprons, half aprons and down through the decades, as well as fun focuses on kid’s aprons, checkered aprons and creating aprons with vintage linens. Cory also designs and sells vintage styled aprons.
  Her history in fiber arts covers the gamut: aprons made of wool during the Civil War, feed sack creations, aprons sewn out of several manmade fibers after World War II including late 1950’s plastic aprons specially made for John Deere customer appreciation meals, and delicately crocheted and home-sewn creations.
  Cory shares the diversity of aprons and is continuously awed how her programs touch lives. She recalls the excited noises a woman with disabilities at a long-term care facility made when she held an apron. Staff told Cory that the woman seldom uttered a sound.
  Beyond historic and sentimental value, aprons are practical and still useful. Besides wearing aprons in the kitchen, they are growing in popularity with quilters. They are useful for many tradesmen, and Cory is working on obtaining enough examples to develop a program about men’s aprons.
  “I’m looking for a leather welding apron and researching aprons worn in flour mills,” she says.
  She invites groups interested in one of her 40 to 90-min. programs to contact her. She has shared her apron stories to farm groups, historical societies, long-term care facilities, libraries and other groups in Minnesota and nearby states.
  “This world of aprons and vintage textiles is just amazing,” she says. “It’s become a passion for me. Touching lives is important, and if my programs stir memories, it’s a joy-filled day.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup. Yvonne Cory, 14338 470th Ave., Easton, Minn. 56025 (ph 507 327-5357 or cell ph 507 787-2523; cycory@bevcomm.net).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #3