Flock-o-Fun Birds Apron Kit, 1969

I’ve been aware of this funny little bird print for some time now.   When I first saw it, I thought it was so adorable, and so I put it on my list of things to search for.  I kept running across the print  (at a price I wasn’t willing to pay) and I began to see that it was always made into an apron and it always had the same green ties.  This was in spite of the fact that most of the examples I saw were definitely home sewn.

After years of having this in the back of my mind, I ran across the apron last weekend.  It was simply too cute to pass up, so it came home with me.  An examination of the piece led me to believe that this one was also home sewn.  So why was it that this print was always in the form of an apron, always had green ties, and was always home sewn?

I went searching for more examples, and quickly found some on eBay and Etsy.  I also found something else: several kits that included the fabrics and the instructions to make an apron.  That explained a lot.  The kit was produced by the National Handicraft Institute of Des Moines and was marketed under the name Flock-o-Fun.

Included in the kit was this letter, which explains that there are matching placemats and napkins, and that there is a pot holder kit.  It is signed by the “Club Secretary”, as this is part of the Fad of the Month Club.  A search of Fad of the Month Club and for National Handicraft Institute  found quite a few handicraft kits, and some magazine ads dating back to the 1950s.  According to one eBay ad, the company existed from 1947 until 1981.

It’s my guess that the fabric was printed specifically for the National Handicraft Institute.  That would explain why it’s not seen elsewhere.

This card came with the kit, and shows the placemats and napkins.   The photos of the kit came from eBay seller GypsyGirl6923, who currently has one of the kits for sale.  Since I first started looking for this print, the price for it has come down, and most examples that I found are very reasonably priced.

This would be a great first project for someone who is wanting to take up sewing, but is afraid to tackle a more involved garment.  And I can think of lots of different uses for the fabric.  Two or three of the panels would make an adorable full skirt, and it would make a sweet dress for a little girl.  Someone has an handbag she made from the fabric on Etsy.  Search for “bird apron” in the vintage category.

Many thanks to GypsyGirl6923 for the use of her photos.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Novelty Prints, Sewing

25 responses to “Flock-o-Fun Birds Apron Kit, 1969

  1. This fabric can’t help but make people smile. I think my three-year old granddaughter would love a skirt made out of it.


  2. Long ago, I remember saving a copy of a photo of one of these on my computer because the print was just so adorable! Interesting to learn more about it – thanks!


  3. I love the way the people in the letter are drawn to look like the birds. Especially that lady with the bun hairstyle and hairpins that echo the birds’ tails. What a fun find!


  4. Oh no, “Fad of the Month,” so unbelievably 60s! I’m surprised I didn’t get one of those kits under the Christmas tree. Those sewing and embroidery kits were a lot of fun back then.
    I keep meaning to make up a version of the Claire McCardell mother/daughter “hostess” aprons you could order in the 50s with coupons from Modess. The woman’s version has long straps that you wrap around twice.


  5. I had this apron once! You’ll probably be upset to know that I used it to bottle-feed kittens and force-feed them antibiotics when I fostered litters regularly and it ended up stained pink by the medicine. I thought it was newer – I had no idea it was really vintage, although I suppose it was old!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. seaside

    I love this print – it reminds me of Charley Harper’s geometrical bird designs.


  7. Sunny birds, funny birds, funny people birds… The little letter inclosed in the kit is as cute as the fabric is sweet. I quote “they attracted a bevy (like a flock of quail) of orders”.

    I enjoyed your detective work solving this mystery more than any other you solved….why???…why..??? were all the belts green… always hand sewn …AND always an apron….like a plot unraveling….the wheels in your braino were turning. Soooo detective of you.
    Glad you solved the mystery, so I can get some sleep tonight. Smile. (It was fun reading your blog today…I enjoyed it much.) Thanks.


  8. Totally adorable! Will you search for the matching placemats now?


  9. I adore this print and I am so happy I found your blog 🙂


  10. Love the story of your apron hunt. The fat little colored birds are adorable. A gorgeous find!


  11. jgf

    Ah, what a “blast from the past”! My mother subscribed to the Fad-of-the-Month Club through most of the sixties; many involved woodworking and/or paint and varnish work, for which I was drafted. I still have a rather worn pair of bookends from one of those kits (I’m now a grandfather). and still recall one of the last kits – a wooden fork and spoon set for the kitchen, with a wall mounted wooden box to hold them; I finished the box but my mother never got around to sewing the chef’s hat and other decorations for it. Years later I found this unfinished project in my “archives” (dusty boxes in the attic) and gave it to a neighbor, who finally finished it.


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