Priscilla’s Aprons

One of the perks of having someone in your household empty out a large storage closet in another state is the profusion of Fedex boxes that soon show up, offering wonderful new places to nap (Blackie), or to “shop” for new outfits (Charlotte).

Charlotte Goes Shopping

Miss Charlotte hit pay dirt about three boxes into her latest “shopping trip” yesterday, when she came across some beautiful hand-sewn aprons that my mom Priscilla had made when my sister Carol and I were tots. Much too small for either Carol or me now, of course, but just about the right size for an overfed tortoiseshell cat.

It was wonderful for me to rediscover these aprons again, too. I’m not sure where Mom got the inspiration for them, but they were (and are) pretty special. Originally envisioned to wear over our clothes when we tackled messy art projects, I think, we girls also wore them as summer shifts, back when we were age 4 and 6. Mom designed large, graphic appliques for the front of each—some of which also functioned as pockets, like this lion, now separated from his apron.

Lion Pocket by Priscilla Tuttle

(Yes, you can see from how he’s designed that Mom definitely was a fan of, and influenced by, Alice and Martin Provensen’s 1950s-era illustrations—as am I.)

Here are a few more images, of  Carol wearing an apron with two heart-shaped pockets, atop our backyard swing set, and of me in our kitchen, wearing what was probably my favorite—a pale mocha apron with a little brown bear pocket (that you can just see peeking out over the edge of the table).

(I seem to be cross or concerned about something here, yes? Perhaps even saying, “Now Mom, please don’t throw this apron away during one of your cleaning binges in the mid-1970s!”)

Aprons Designed by Priscilla TuttleAnd it’s true that a few of the aprons that I loved and remember are now gone—including the one with the little bear, another with an ice cream cone pocket, and a white apron with a large red apple over the tummy. But I’m just happy (and grateful) that this handful of others have survived.

Tomorrow I’m going to deal with finding places for some of the rest of the (16— yikes) Fedex boxes and their contents, but today it was lovely just to relax and watch Charlotte discover some new treasures, and reflect on my own memories.

I hope everyone had an excellent rest of the work week since we last visited, and is looking forward to a fun weekend ahead—however you end up spending it. See you on here next time!

P.S. Thanks again, Annette, for all your help getting these Fedex boxes shipped out from Denver—I could not have done it without you!

P.S. to Dorothy: Here’s an extra scribble from Dad’s breakfast table showing our resident seamstress’s updates to the collection.

Charlotte’s New Apron

About Jean Tuttle

Jean Tuttle is a Chicago-area illustrator, designer, and doodler.
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10 Responses to Priscilla’s Aprons

  1. Susan says:

    What fabulous aprons, and memories. Lucky girls in the Tuttle home.

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Sue. It’s funny how when we are small, we delight in things like these aprons that our moms might make or do for us, but don’t really appreciate the time and care behind them. (I sure do now, however!)

  2. Barbara says:

    I love these Jean! These designs could be/should be reproduced…whimsical, sweet,
    and definitely eye catchers! I also loved the Provensens! I think I also liked Charley Harper and Mary Blair….

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks Barbara! — And oh yes, the amazing Mary Blair. Those delicious palettes she came up with for those Disney tales, like Cinderella. And her wonderful illos for Golden Books, too. Googling around just now came across this site put together by her nieces:

      Thanks for reminding me about her!

      (Love Charley Harper’s work also, but was not aware of him until more recently.)

  3. Karen says:

    What delightful designs! I agree, I would love to see aprons like these reproduced and available at places like (Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrell, etc., etc.) for both little kids and big people too….
    Beauty shared can put smiles on so many faces!

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Karen! I would probably still dress in these today if I could. –Maybe it is a good thing that I am not able to sew — despite Mrs. Wollney’s kind patience trying to teach me, over in the field house at the park district, back when I was in 4-H. :-)

  4. Jean,
    Those aprons are so cute. The designs are so timeless, they could be made for kids today. Very nice!

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Dorothy! Since Charlotte unearthed these aprons, Momma Mouse has been hard at work doing a few alterations, as well as whipping out some smaller size versions for a few of the household mice (and chipmunks). They’ve been wearing them in some of the more informal breakfast table cartoons that only Dad tends to get to see. I just added one in there for you in a P.S. :-)

  5. mary says:

    beautiful memories and appreciations of our wonderful mothers! i love all the aprons and the pix! btw, lots of appreciation for you too, sharing charlotte and all!

    • Jean Tuttle says:

      Thanks, Cousin — It means a lot to me to be in touch, and know that we cherish some of the same childhood memories…along with our love for Alice & Pris.

      This made me think of one of my favorite (albeit blurry) photos of the two of them, relaxing on a swing together at Resthaven when they were young (Young) women:

      Thanks again, Mary — Always enjoy seeing you on here, and special regards from Charlotte. :-)

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