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Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:26pm

Aprons with chicken scratch embroidery and gingham fabric go together like peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Chips and salsa! OK, so you get the point.

Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Gingham fabric typically comes in 4, 8 or 16 checker squares to the square inch. These checker squares naturally lend themselves to being embellished with cross-stitch.

Chicken Scratch embroidery pattern

Once upon a time, many years ago, in a land far, far away... I've always secretly wanted to write a children's fairy tale. Sorry, I digress. Actually, sometime in the 1930's and somewhere in the United States, Canada and/or Australia (depending on who you ask), the story goes like this... Dresses and aprons were often decorated with lace to spruce them up. However, during the Great Depression, lace became very expensive and scarce, so cross-stitch embroidery became an alternative to lace. Cross-stitch embroidery, like those shown in the vintage embroidery pattern above, can inexpensively turn a plain and simple apron into something more fancy.

how to make chicken scratch embroidery stitches

There was an old woman who lived in shoe... No, wait, somebody already wrote that one. How about this... The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife, Hi-ho the derry-o, the farmer takes a wife... Dang, I think somebody wrote that one already too. But, my story is about a farmer's wife. It goes like this...

There is an old story that tells of a poor farmer's wife who wanted to enhance her simple gingham dress, but could not afford expensive lace due to the Great Depression. Being ever so clever and resourceful, she set about to create her own lace-like pattern with a simple needle and thread. This poor farmer's wife is said to be the inventor of "Depression Lace", as illustrated in the vintage embroidery pattern above. It is also said that her husband discovered her sewing and curiously asked what she was doing- to which she replied, "I'm putting lace on my dress." and he commented, "It just looks like a lot of chicken scratches to me." (Typical husband!) This is the legend of how "chicken scratch embroidery" got it's name.

Here is an example of chicken scratch embroidery on gingham:

chicken scratch embroidery stitches

Isn't it just gorgeous?

chicken scratch apron

Wouldn't you just love to own a vintage apron made of gingham?With chicken scratch embroidery on the waistband...

apron with chicken scratch

And with chicken scratch embroidery on the cutle little pocket and on the apron ties?


depression lacevintage apron

A vintage apron just like this...


chicken scratch embroidery

Yes! Yes! Yes! Well, then today is your lucky day because I am having an apron giveaway! I am giving away this very apron! To be placed in the drawing...

1) Scroll down & find my post from Monday, March 3rd (the one about cookies & tea)

2) Place your vote for your favorite Girl Scout cookie in the poll on the sidebar

3) Leave me a comment on Monday's post that you participated & want to be included in the drawing. Be sure to leave your e-mail address.

4) E-mail all your friends & fellow vintage apron fans and tell them to come participate too!

You have until Monday night at 11:59pm Central Time to participate. I'll hold a drawing on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 & give away the vintage apron shown above to the lucky winner! I'll even throw in free shipping to anywhere in the world. GOOD LUCK!!



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