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Mama-San Apron

sewelegant | Posted in Patterns on

I had this apron back in the 70’s when I copied a “small” size from a neighbor’s pattern.  She just had a brown paper copy she had drawn off from someone else… I didn’t know who the original patten maker was because it was out of print by the time I discovered it.  I have been waiting all these years for it to be brought out again!  It’s just a “mama-san” apron, but patterns for them have not been plentiful and I was delighted to see this in JoAnn’s and snatched one up.  I like these aprons because they protect your sleeves, something I really need because I seem to get ingredients all over me when I cook, bake or whatever and this is just in time for the Holiday baking season!

 View Image    Simplicity 2950

Edited 10/2/2008 3:19 pm by sewelegant


  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    You mean that practical smocks are back? HOORaY! Thanks for the tip! Cathy

  2. JeanM | | #2

    "...I seem to get ingredients all over me...."   You too, huh?

    Approximately the late 70s Sunset magazine had an article on these aprons and the reader had to request the information.  They sent the 2-page information sheet with a front and back view plus the dimensions for drawing out the pattern.  Their version had dropped shoulders; thus, the pieces were pretty much rectangles and the pattern was easy to make.

    These aprons could have been worn by Japanese women since the 19th century.  They are kappogi, which literally means "garment for cooking."  I got that from the article as my knowledge isn't that extensive.

    What's wonderful about them, besides covering a lot of clothing, is that the design can be varied and a lot of embellishments can be added if one chooses.

    I'm glad you posted this, cause I'm thinking of one or two on my XMas list who could use these.





    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #3

      Jean Thank you for the bit o history! Love that kind of info. Cathy

    2. sewelegant | | #4

      Except for the time period, that Sunset Magazine information seems like a very reaonable explanation for my neighbor having a brown paper copy of the pattern.  I left Chula Vista, CA in 1973 so that was a bit earlier.  When Simplicity patterns published this pattern as a retro pattern I just figured it was the same one.  This pattern has shirt sleeves so if you make it big enough it could be drop sleeve.

      This following site shows the mama san apron pattern I did buy quite a while ago.  I took it out several times but never got it made up.  It's the only pattern of this apron that I have seen.  I wonder if Japan would have one?  Maybe it's so simple they don't need one!


      1. Josefly | | #6

        I love that pattern - the "Oriental Traditional Japanese 'Mama-San' Apron" pattern. Looks like it can be ordered? I love the details at the neckline.

    3. sewelegant | | #5

      By the way... if you still have those Sunset directions I would love to have them.

      Thanks. M.A.

      1. JeanM | | #7

        It is possible that the Sunset article is a repro of one they had done several years earlier.  Then it would fit your time frame.

        I do have the article but there is no way for me to post it.  It would be complex to describe as the schematic is about 2" x 7" and has all the dimensions for making the pattern.

        I did quite a bit of searching and finally found a blog of a mama-san apron.  The sketch is quite basic.  She has you cut the smaller pieces from what is left of the fabric, which is exactly what is done with the Sunset one except all the pieces are cut at one time.  I hope it is OK to link this; if it isn't, I guess someone will let me know. LOL.


        1. sewelegant | | #8

          Thank you JeanM that was a fun blog to visit.  I think there is no real need for a pattern for this apron, but I am a pattern person (just look at my collection!!!)  This gal gives me a lot of ideas on making one that will be uniquely ME.  By the way, to anyone reading this who likes that Japanese kappogi pattern, the second picture I sent... the only reason I didn't make it is because by the time I got ready to do it I had outgrown the sizes and it was a little too fussy for me to make the pattern bigger so I just put it away.  I thought it would be a lot of fun to do the embroidery too, but I needed something practical.

    4. CarolineinMA | | #10

      re Sunset Mama San Apron pattern mentioned in October 2008

      Hello Jean, 

      I know it's been years since you wrote this post - don't know how I missed it so long, since I have been searching for this for decades, having lost the originals. Do you still have a copy of this pattern and instructions?  If you would be willing to scan them and email a copy, I'd be grateful to have them.


      Caroline in MA

      1. CarolineinMA | | #11

        re Sunset Mama San Apron pattern mentioned in October 2008

        This is in response to Joy, who asked me via PM to send my email address - I'm a new member, and can't reply via email, nor can I see other users' email addresses.  I don't really want to post my email address in a forum, but the FAQ says that you should be able to see it in my profile. 

        The patterns I've found online have batwing sleeves, or scooped fronts and necklines, or they're like a skirt.  My apron has sleeves, and is, as Jean described the Sunset pattern, made from basically rectangular pieces, except that there is some taper in the sleeves, and the hemline is like a shirt's.  If I can't find a copy of the Sunset pattern, I could take mine apart and turn it into pattern pieces - but it has sentimental value (made for me by a friend, 40 yrs ago), so I'd rather not, if the pattern is available anywhere.

        If I ever get a copy of the pattern and instructions, I will post it (once my account has permission) - this is my FAVORITE apron, and as you can see from the photos, I have used it every time I cooked, for the past 40 years.  (I have soaked it overnight in shout and biz, but failed to get the oil stains out - anyone have any suggestions that would work?  I think the fabric is polyester or cotton-poly blend.)

        Sunset Magazine's archives, alas, go back to 2008, not 1970.  Any librarians out there who have access to older archives, that have Sunset?


        Caroline in MA

  3. HelgaPataki | | #9

    free pattern download pdf

    I don't know anything about a mama san apron so I copied your simplicity 2950 and my search came up as a jumper.  anyways searched under mama san apron and found that fabric.com has a free pdf pattern download.  only the difference is an over body apron and this pattern download is more of a skirt. 

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