Buying aprons: cotton, canvas or gaberdine?

Buying aprons: cotton, canvas or gaberdine?

It could be said that an apron is not worth worrying about. Many homes wouldn’t even have an apron on hand these days. But aprons are not just for hospitality professionals and cooking enthusiasts. Aprons come in all all sorts - even washed blue denim and gelato colors. What manner of apron should be used for any particular purpose is a topic for another discussion. Here we are looking at various apron materials that are widely in use and which one would suit your messy situation best.

Cotton aprons: colourful for light duty

You’ll find plenty of cotton aprons and these are quite the tradition. Cotton aprons are mostly made from cotton drill, and this choice is great for home kitchens and light commercial duties if it’s heavy enough. Plain cotton aprons are available in more colours than any other fabric\material. For example - aside from the usual utilitarian selection – we’ve seen wilder colours like hot pink, lime green and aqua blue.

For: natural material; many colours available

Against: needs ironing; stain removal can fade bright colours

Heavy-duty canvas aprons

Canvas is definitely the fabric choice for aprons when needed for hotels and bar work, restaurants, cafes, commercial kitchens and workshops. Heavy duty canvas aprons will stand up to more or less any kind of punishment. Natural canvas is made of cotton – it’s a much thicker weave though, the greater density and absorbency meaning more protection. Heavier to wear than cotton drill perhaps but it is what the professionals wear.

Pros: natural material; very absorbant; very hard wearing

Disadvantages: needs ironing; rarely available in bright colours

Gaberdine aprons: carefree clothing protection

When they say “easy care aprons” they’re usually talking around gaberdine, a blend of polyester and cotton that is frequently coated with Teflon® to make it not only stain resistant, but also crease resistant. This is great news for messy situations involving people who are too busy to iron. Weight-wise, most gaberdine aprons are a little heavier than cotton drill aprons. Gaberdine aprons are suitable for light to medium duties, and they’re often used in food serving areas where smart looks and stain resistance is important. The colour ranges are usually about as exciting as a rack of school tunics: navy blue, royal blue, burgundy or maroon, bottle green, black.

Pros: little ironing needed; usually treated for stain resistance

Against: boring colours, partly synthetic; fabric treatments can be allergenic

The above examples are not conclusive. Certainly there are other fabrics used to make aprons – polyester and nylon for example – but these are far less common (nylon is often used when waterproofing is needed). We went looking for aprons wholesale and quizzed a leading provider of blank aprons to make sure that our sampling represented mainstream commercial and consumer demands.

Where to find plain aprons: the informed choice

You will find aprons online, also at specialisation stores for specific-purpose aprons (such as butcher’s aprons), and of course at retailers everywhere. Kitchen boutiques and home-making stores usually carry upper end brands and decorated examples. People with commercial needs are more in all likelihood to have their own suppliers. Remember the days when suppliers sent representatives to call on people speculatively, to see if they might like to buy their wares? That doesn’t brush so much any more, but you will find it relatively easy to track down the right aprons now that you know a little more about what fabric you should be looking for.