counting sheep

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Feed Sack Fabrics, Yesteryear's Stash...

I am a sap for old sewing booklets. I pick them up anytime I see them. I am like a mushroom hunter when it comes to old sewing booklets. I say that because I see booklets that other people look right over.  Which leads me to tonight's ramblings....

 I was thinking about feed sack fabrics. Maybe some of you who are young sewers don't know what the heck I am talking about but back during the war days of WW2 sewers didn't have the money or the time to keep the big and beautiful stashes that we hoard today. I am ashamed to say I have quite a load and not just one load either... I often wonder if my Mother would think I had lost my mind or would she swoon and sway and go gaga over my stash (I think she might)?

Anyway I pulled out one of my little booklets that was put out by The National Cotton Council of America which is located in Memphis, TN.  I thought you might like to see a few scraps from the book, no pun intended.

Now if you are new in the land of sewing you might think "big deal." Well actually its more like big money, well maybe a little money anyway...  Just look on eBay any given day and use the search words "feed sack fabric" and see what comes up.  Open up the listing and if the seller has good pictures look closely at the fabrics, they are kinda awesome. They were made into lovely quilts, doll clothes, dresses for all, dish towels, pillow cases, shirts for guys, table cloths, baby clothes, maternity outfits and you name it!

Well you ask, "how did they get this fabric called feed sack"?  Their sugar came in a sack, their flour came in a sack as well as coffee, salt, cornmeal, oatmeal and even chicken feed. My own Mother bought flour in a 50 pound bag  (she made biscuits 3 times a day) which gave her a 30x34 inch piece of fabric. The fabrics were vivid with cheerful patterns too. She would wash the sack after taking it apart, hang it on the clothes line and when it was dry it became part of her stash. Think how we get ours these days... kind of makes ya feel guilty...  They would even save the string from the bags.  The largest pieces of fabric would come from feed bags, about a 40x54 inch piece and who could have needed it more but the farm wife.

Patterns were available that told you what kind of sacks you needed to make the garment.  Can you imagine having to do that. At least the math would have been simple!  So if anything should inspire us to finish that sewing project it would be the simple story of America's original stash...the lowly feed sack. Remember this "waste not-want not."  so... LETS GET SEWING GIRLS!


  1. You might like a feed sack booklet I found;

    They give exactly how many sacks of which sizes you need to make the garments shown. Terrific!

  2. Another booklet addict! lol thanks, I will certainly check that out, thanks for stopping by!