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.