The Scarlett O’Hara Apron

The movie Gone With the Wind made a big impression on me when I was a kid. It seemed to be on TV an awful lot on Sunday afternoons, right up there with The Sound of Music, so I saw it a lot. But Carol Burnett’s spoof of GWTW might have made a bigger impression. I’ll never forget how she spoofed the scene where Scarlett, having no money but needing to look like she does, takes a set of green velvet curtains and makes a gown out of them to go impress Rhett. Carol, as Scarlett, comes down the stairs in a gown still with the curtain rod in it across her shoulders. God, she was funny. (And she was a successful comedian long before society had really come to accept women as comedians…you could argue it still hasn’t if you listen to any internet comedy stream — so few women to be heard. But that’s a topic for another post.) You can see part of the Carol Burnett skit here.

So I pulled a Scarlett O’Hara and used an old roman blind that I had sewn from Ikea fabric, and turned it into an apron. I’m taking a screen printing course at the Art Gallery of Ontario and we had to bring our own smock. Having too much time on my hands at the moment, I thought I’d make my own. And this seemed like a good way to re-purpose those roman blinds that have been sitting rolled up in the basement since I replaced them a couple of years ago.

I simply cut out a basic apron shape from the fabric, without measuring (of course). Well, ok, I admit I measured how wide it needed to be. But I actually did that thing where I held my hands apart about the distance I needed and walked over to the fabric with my hands still held in the air and measured that way! I’m absolutely incorrigible. Then I folded over the edges and topstitched all around. One strap across the top, and two ties at each edge, and viola.  The top strap is long so that it easily slips over the head; just make a knot at the top once it’s on for a better fit.

The basic shape of the apron. Authentically smeared with screen printing ink!
The basic shape of the apron. Authentically smeared with screen printing ink!

The other true-to-form thing I did was cut it too short, cause I was just kinda eyeballing it. So I attached an extra piece across the bottom (you can see the seam). Measure once, cut twice, kids! But who cares? It’s a smock for painting! Having used it a couple of times already, I realize it could use a pocket for holding a tool or whatever while working. Eventually I’ll attach a patch pocket to the front.

Scarlett O'Hara, eat your heart out.
Scarlett O’Hara, eat your heart out.

Here’s a picture of the fabric I’m screen-printing, in progress. My inspiration comes from I Heart Fink on Etsy, who makes gorgeous tops & dresses from screen-printed jersey fabric. I’ve got two Fink shirts in my wardrobe and they’re super-flattering. I’m going to use one of them as a template to sew my own copy with my own screenprint on it. I have a new appreciation for the detail in the Fink pieces — I’m not likely to get nearly as beautiful a screen print myself.

My screen printed fabric in progress
Second pass of screen printing: peach coloured circles have been added.

This is my first time in a very long time I’ve attempted to mix actual paint colours (most of my colour selections have been digital over the last decade or so). I was kinda hoping for a more light-magenta colour but instead I got mauve. Oh well, not a tragedy. I just got some metallic gold ink so we’ll see how that adds to the mix.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.34.06 PM
My top from I Heart Fink
Another gorgeous I Heart Fink top I bought.
Another gorgeous I Heart Fink top I bought.

I just love those I Heart Fink designs, but they’re pretty spendy so they’re not an every-day purchase. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can make something half as nice with my own fabric.

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