Maren Carpenter-Vos, of Rochester Hills, poses with her vintage-inspired aprons (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Maren Carpenter-Vos of Rochester Hills prides herself on her well-crafted sewing skills, and rightfully so since she’s been at it for over 60 years, having started when she was a small child growing up surrounded by family members who sewed.
“My grandmother was a quilter and my mother was a sewer who was into doing more garment-type things,” recalls Carpenter-Vos. In the past year, she’s turned her sewing into recycling projects by making vintage-inspired aprons using old items she finds at resale shops for embellishments.
“I go to the Salvation Army, church rummage sales and the Goodwill to shop for dresser scarves,” says Carpenter-Vos. “I take a variety of fabrics and coordinate them with ruffles on the bib portion.” She purchases new material from quilt shops, rather than fabric stores, because there she’s more likely to find retro or vintage looking fabrics.
“The mills started coming out with retro fabrics a couple years ago, but now it’s kind of waning,” she says. “They had that ’30s and ’40s look and that’s what I like with the vintage items I find.”
Carpenter-Vos says she got the idea for making the aprons while visiting Mackinac Island where she “saw something similar.” She now sells them under the name Sew What’s New for prices starting at $35 each, and they can be found at Color Me Vintage in Rochester and Simply Charmed in Gladwin. Her range of customers includes sewers and quilters living in Florida “who aren’t into it, but who can appreciate the workmanship and beauty” of her aprons, she says.
Vintage Inspired Apron
Estimated time: 4 hours
Tools: Sewing machine, scissors, pins, scissors, sewing needle, mild soap, washing machine, iron
Supplies: Apron pattern (one-piece front style with ties and neck band), fabric (yardage according to pattern), matching thread, old doily or embroidered dresser scarf, old handkerchief(s), small buttons.
1. Prewash fabric and iron. Hand wash and press old dresser scarves.
2. Lay pattern pieces out on fabric according to directions, pin in place and cut out. Also, use bib portion of pattern to cut a piece of fabric for facing. Make facing as long as fabric allows, but not past waist area.
3. Cut scarf/doily to fit size/shape of area to be placed over.
4. Lay apron out, with right side up. Place dresser scarf/doily over bib area with right side up and top edges evenly aligned. Pin along top edge, then stitch lower part of scarf/doily to apron.
5. Sew neckband and place at top of bib according to pattern instructions.
6. Hem bottom side of bib facing. With right sides of bib pieces facing, pin together at top and sides, and stitch around pinned areas.
7. Trim points of corners, turn right side out and press.
8. Now, complete apron according to pattern instructions.
9. Attach handkerchief(s) for pocket(s) and embellish with buttons.
Contact Maren Carpenter-Vos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Detroit News Staff Writer Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. For more craft news and giveaways, visit her blog at detroitnews.com/crafts. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150 or email@example.com.