Great Depression Era Flour Feed Sacks Dresses History | The Homestead Survival
The Great Depression Era Flour Feed sacks Dresses was designed to tell the unique history of where the beautifully patterned material came from that was used for the women and girl’s dresses and even quilts. Times were so hard and it was such a blessing that the sacks that family’s bought their flour in had a variety of cute little printed patterns.
The popular feed sack dresses and quilts that began popping up during the Great Depression actually had their roots in a time period much earlier. The fabric that was used to make the quilts and dresses came directly from the sacks that were used to hold bulk feed, grains and other things directly from the mill. These dresses were made from flour and livestock feed bags sacks.[/caption]
The author of this article was looking to educate homesteading readers about how the very fabric that the Great Depression era dresses and quilts first came about.
Knowing the big part of how families were able to survive the harsh living environment that was created by the economic conditions during the time period of the Great Depression.
Finding new and unique ways to repurpose as much of the materials that were being used as packaging for any and all household goods became second nature to people who lived through it.
By the late 19th century, flour sacks were often printed in various colors and designs, and recycled for clothing and other purposes. “With feed sacks and flour bags, farm women took thriftiness to new heights of creativity, transforming the humble bags into dresses, underwear, towels, curtains, quilts, and other household necessities.
During the Great Depression in the US, many families sewed clothing from discarded flour sacks. Often flour would be purchased according to the patterns printed on the bag. The sacks had so many uses, and the clothing made from them was so common, that flour sacks entered the local folklore. Kendra Brandes found that “as an element of material culture, the clothing and clothing practices of rural populations reflect the life and times of the era to the same extent as that of the general population. However, it is the activities of these farm wives, clothing their families in feed sacks, that offer a view of life that was unique to rural communities during this time period.”
Several people from rural Virginia spoke about their clothes made from sacks during the depression. “Back then, feed was sold in sacks. I believe they held almost 100 pounds of seeds. A number of farmers who didn’t sew returned the sacks for resale… I actually made hair bows, pants and dresses from the sacks.” “Mama always sewed on a Singer treadle sewing machine and made our dresses from flour sacks. She made sure Dad would get two sacks just alike. That was what the pattern took to make the dresses right.” “Mama made me pinafores out of flour sacks. Flour sacks were made of cotton with pretty prints.” “Dresses made for my sister and me were sometimes made out of cotton feed bags (I guess my brothers were lucky).” “My mother made shirts out of feed sacks, which a lot of cow feed, came in.”
An estimated 3.5 million women and children wore flour sack clothing during the Great Depression. It just became a way of life, as times were very hard.
Flour sack towels are being used in domestic residences for quite some. In the past, flour sacks would be bleached, washed, cut and sewed by the homemakers so as to use them in many different ways. At present, all these long-standing practices have been revitalized and these sack towels have become more eco-friendly and absorbent than before.
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