A serious cook gets seriously messy and needs an apron that's up to the task, hence the need for plus size aprons that cover the chest and wrap comfortably around the hips. A few designers who understand cooking have started designing aprons with these needs in mind.
Traditions in Plus Size Aprons
Traditional cooks' aprons were large white garments that covered a dress from the neck to nearly the hem. They often had sleeves, and the dress underneath was meant to have the sleeves rolled up. One could even slip coverings over the rolls to further protect this fabric. Cooking, for many years, was a backbreaking and messy business. Most women only had one or two dresses, so they required an apron that was up the task of protecting the dress.
While many people think of housewives' aprons from the 1950s as frilly pieces worn only over the skirt, it should be understood that these were hostess aprons. They protected a skirt while serving drinks and hors d'oeuvres, but were predominantly decorative. Real aprons, then and now, went over the head and covered one's chest and skirt.
An apron can be adorable - many are bright and fun - but it must also be a practical item. In addition to covering one's clothes to protect from the many splatters associated with cooking, it should also be of a sturdy material to protect from scalding and singeing. Finally, of course, it must be easily to wash.
If you are looking for plus size aprons designed by cooks and for cooks of size who like to wear something fun while having fun in the kitchen, there are a few excellent sources.
Sassy Chef Aprons
Sassy Chef Aprons are designs by a woman who loves to cook and look good at the same time. A number of the designs are for women size 14 and up. These aprons are made by hand, one at a time, so all styles are limited editions. They are as durable as they are adorable.
While the fabrics will change regularly, you'll find the basic style is the same - they are cut in an A-line shape and fall to about mid-thigh with a fun flounce around the hem. They have contrasting sashes and full coverage on the chest. They are made of machine-washable cotton - it is advised that you put them in a mesh bag before tossing them in the wash.
For the very hardcore chef, there are Gloveables aprons in laminated oilcloth. They feature continuous neck and waist straps, so can be adjusted to any size. There are three pockets on every apron for holding all your tools.The regular Gloveables collection features vintage-inspired designs combined with practicality. The Gloveables aprons are designed to fit a number of body shapes and look great. They all have the option to tie the straps in front, adding to the retro style. There are several styles, all featuring adjustable neck straps either with ties or buttons, generous chests for protecting clothing and a roomy pocket for your tools.
You should also look at Boojiboo aprons on Etsy. Again, these are made by a single designer with an eye for combining retro fashion and practicality. The Betty line features plus size aprons in many charming fabrics. They all have a sweetheart neckline, two pockets and adjustable straps.
Try Making Your Own
Individual designers can run a business making plus size aprons because, once you have a pattern in place, it is very easy to whip up an apron. An experienced seamstress can make two a day and perhaps more. An apron is a great project for a beginning seamstress, as it requires almost no fitting and shaping. You can find a number of free patterns at Tipnut. If you love the retro style, you should also check out the patterns at So Vintage Patterns. You will be hostessing in style!
While style is, of course, very important, bear in mind that function is key when it comes to getting the most out of your apron. A good one will feel comfortable and protect you in the kitchen - and offer the added bonus of looking fabulous!