Which of these apron fabrics do you favour as a school or children's day nursery? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below.
A P R O N: Always Put Responsibility Over Negligence.
"Roll up your sleeves, aprons on, time to get creative!"
Those highly inspirational words of my form teacher way back in the days of primary school never ceased to fill me with overwhelming feelings of determination and positivity.
I recollect we had two sets of aprons: polycotton for domestic science and PVC for all art-based activities.
Even as a small child, I would often find myself marvelling at how much more protection the PVC apron afforded me and my clothes than that of the cotton drill variety.
On one occasion, disaster struck. I was nine at the time, happily minding my own business, standing at my work table, thoughtfully modelling something out of clay, when a small boy accidently staggered full pelt into my work table. He was carrying a plastic jug full of red paint at the time.
I shall spare you the graphic details. However, needless to say there was a mighty thud, followed by an anguished gasp from the boy as the jug he was cradling, flew clean from his hand and struck me squarely on the chest, sending out a tongue of paint that drenched my apron neck to hem.
Had I been wearing a cotton apron at the time, the consequences would have undoubtedly proved fatal, with the contents soaking through and immediately staining my sleeveless woolen jersey. Thankfully, the PVC apron saved my clothes on that occasion.
admitted, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) may not be the most environmentally friendly of the two fabrics with fewer options for recycling with the majority going to landfill. Nevertheless, PVC is longer-lasting, easy to clean, protects against moisture and bacteria and has the ability to retard flame.
Whereas cotton - a seemingly more child-friendly natural alternative, softer to the touch and breatheable - is a costly material to produce, averaging 7.8 megalitres of water per hectare. Regrettably, once woven, cotton aprons do not repell moisture in the same way as their PVC counterparts as in the above example, fail to protect against flame and invariably command lengthy sterilising routines involving washing at 90 degrees plus.
Yet, how we manage our plastic waste here in the UK is crucial. The greatest challenge came in the wake of China's recent decision in 2017 not to accept anymore imports of the UK's plastic waste.
It is understood that the UK Government is investing in new recycling projects. However, the end result for managing the vast quantity of plastic waste currently produced is a long way off, with 2042 set as the current date for achieving the country's present targets.
With more and more schools converting to plastic-free zones, the PVC apron may shortly fall out of vogue as a protective garment worn by pupils in the classroom, with many looking to more eco-friendly alternatives.
In the meantime, we'd very much welcome your thoughts on the cotton vs the PVC apron and which of these two options you feel work best for you as a school/children's day nursery.
When all said and done, a form of absolute protection really does help obviate negligence and the need for an apron of some description is most definitely essential, regardless.
All Shorts sells a variety of both PVC & Cotton bib aprons for Parents and Schools.
Parents: Click here.
Schools/Youth Groups: Click here.
Besides being a practical garment one wears to safeguard one's clothes against stains, spills and in certain cases, permanent damage, an apron serves to mark the start and end of a given activity; something one puts on at the outset and discards at the finish.
This is of particular importance in a child's case. They quickly learn to associate a craft or cooking session with the wearing of an apron provided the habit is introduced at the start, irrespective of whether they understand its true significance initially. The wearing of an apron is something which they come to put on as a matter of routine, just as one would do a coat when it is raining. All those other reasons as to why this is necessary will become evident as they develop cognitively.
In this - and subsequent guides - we'll explore the many styles of aprons available on the market and their respective fabrics, I.e.: PVC, Cotton, polyester, etc, as well as their individual fabric characteristics such as tare strength, durability, flammability and waterproofing, since these all play a vital role in the decision-making process.
Creating the right Experience
It may seem like a simple task, but how we introduce our child to their first apron could have either a negative or positive outcome.
part of the decision-making process requires you knowing your child's likes and dislikes. What is his or her favourite colour, for example? Is there a particular fictional character they follow and admire? If so, then maybe choosing their first apron on this basis will undoubtedly culminate in creating the right experience for your child. Rather than shying away from the apron, they will be keen to wear it.
Children with aspergers tendencies or with inclinations towards claustrophobia may react unfavourably to wearing an apron, particularly if it restricts them in any way. EG.: feels too tight, or they cannot discard independently whenever the need arises.
Hence, it is imperative we approach wisely. A wrong step - however meaningful - could lead to your child taking a dislike to the apron and - worse still - to its associated activity in turn. Why the activity? Because he or she will undoubtedly have come to recognise the connections between the task and its related clothing - the apron in this case.
Aprons with shorter halter straps often prove problematic since they constrict about the face in the donning process as you attempt to place it over their heads which can invariably cause he or she to panic.
Studies indicate that bad experiences in early infancy often turn out to be the most memorable and thus hardest to rectify - depending on the circumstances and level of the trauma.
However, for the purposes of this and all other subsequent guides, I would much rather we focused on the positive steps by showing you how to derive the maximum benefits from choosing your age-related apron for your child, through to introducing them to it for the first time.
Choosing the right Apron
With so many aprons on the market today, choosing the right one for your child can often be overwhelmingly difficult to say the least. Needless to say, buying the right apron may perhaps require a little process of elimination, starting with the age of your child to the type of activities for which the apron would ultimately be required.
Assuming your child is of walking age and approaching three years old, it is probably to his or her advantage if you introduced them to a simple straight-forward tabard in either PVC or cotton drill, before graduating to the bib variety with side ties.
Firstly, tabards - because of their very nature - protect both back and front. All depending on the activities - painting, cooking, or colouring, we would strongly advocate the PVC. Not only is the PVC more durable than the polycotton, but it requires incredibly low maintenance; a quick wipe down with a damp cloth at the finish is all that is required.
In addition, it is much easier to place over your child's head since the openings tend to be much wider than your conventional halter strap.
The other selling feature of these tabards is their side fastenings.
Both our polycotton and PVC tabards come complete with durable plastic spring fasteners, deliberately set at the right angle and thus enabling your child to fasten and unfasten them independently.
In the following guide, I'll introduce you to the cross-over tie apron and talk a little more about some of the important fabric compositions.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading and please feel free to leave a comment below.
Combating the Problem of Over-Sized Halter Straps
What do we mean by 'fixed halter?' A Fixed halter apron is a style of apron in which the halter strap (or head loop) is stitched firmly to either side of the upper half of the garment, thus leaving you precious few options for adjusting the fit; unless you happen to be good with a needle and thread and can detach, shorten and re-attach the halter strap successfully.
One major problem with a fixed halter apron is that - if worn tied around the waist - can often pose a huge issue for the wearer. What you often find is that, if the strap is too long originally, you are invariably left with inches of clothing between the top of the bib and the neck uncovered as demonstrated in the photograph.
In a child's case, this particular area of clothing is the region most likely to sustain most mess, whether through eating, cooking or craft activities.
Admittedly, while the majority of today's washing detergents have the power of ridding most items of clothing of their stains and spills at low temperatures, certain substances - depending on their nature - may take several washes before they disappear completely. And we all know what happens to garments subjected to frequent washing? Fabric quality deteriorates and colours start to fade, leaving parents saddled with the added expense of purchasing replacement items of uniform, something which we know most families would rather do without in today's present economic climate.
To assist you in this regard, we have come up with three practical tried and tested solutions which have benefited consumers in the past.
One way to combat the problem of aprons with over-sized halter straps is by running one of the side ties up through the halter before knotting. This has the effect of raising the apron up to the child's neck and subsequently covering those upper regions normally exposed when fastened at the waist. Furthermore, this practical method also ensures loose clothing such as ties, etc, are held in place.
Another practical solution would be for you to purchase a similar apron with an adjustable halter strap. Such a purchase would afford you the flexibility of shortening or lengthening the height of the apron accordingly, by simply manipulating the strap in the plastic ladder/metal ring until you achieve the desired distance.
While the plastic adjusters in most cases seem the most easier of the two solutions to work with, the metal variety by their very design tend to be more durable - despite being the most awkward of the two options given their lack of security and spring tension.
A velcro fastening halter strap is probably another practical alternative for your younger child, perhaps, with their flexibility and complete lack of fasteners for you to negotiate. Unfortunately, their adhesion does tend to lose its strength after a while - and often before the rest of the apron wares out.
A third option may be for you to consider investing in something known as a 'cross tie apron', a standard bib apron which we have adapted for the younger end of the market; primarily those in the 3 to 7 year old age category.
A 'cross tie apron' - as the name suggests - is a standard apron very much like a large child's bib to look at. Instead of the halter strap, the apron comprises extra long neck ties which are attached one to each side of the neck seam that cascade over the shoulders and cross over at the back and threaded through side grommets sewn at the waist before finally secured in the customery manner.
In this way, the child's clothing receives maximum protection from neck to mid thigh or there about depending on the size of the apron purchased initially.
We would be happy to supply you with a free sample of one of these 'cross tie aprons' in return for a 50/100-word product review subject to availability.
These cross tie aprons may be purchased in PVC or cotton drill. At the time of writing, we only have PVC ones in stock.
Naturally, we'd love for you to share with us your own experiences. Perhaps you've bought a similar apron in the past for your son or daughter with a fixed large halter strap which - when placed over the head - left a considerable portion of their upper body un protected. What did you do?
In the following guide, we'll discuss apron fabric characteristics as well as how you can spot the difference between genuine and counterfeit alternatives.
Meanwhile, thank you for reading.