Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fabulous Feedsack

I am absolutely in love with my feedsack fabric stash. The colors, prints and 100% cotton weaves are so much fun to work with. Here in Oklahoma, most of the ladies I have met in their 80s call them "tow sacks" and remember going to the local feed mill as children to help their fathers select the best designs of the day.
In the first part of last century, feedsacks were sold in solid colors. Then, in 1925, colorful prints for making dresses, aprons, shirts and children’s clothing began to appear. During the Depression, manufacturers began to paste on paper labels with soaking instructions for their removal and heated competition to produce the most attractive and desirable prints arose. This turned out to be a great marketing strategy as picking out flour, sugar, cornmeal and even the farm feed became an exciting family affair.

Feedsack production continued until the late 1950s when the streamlined production of paper bags became a much less expensive packaging material. By the 1960s, feedsacks were phased out completely. Luckily for vintage sewing enthusiasts, feedsack bundles can still be found at farm estate sales and online. Soon, I plan to thin out my stash and list some fat quarter bundles in my Etsy shop.
I am quite partial to the aqua/purple/pink designs but also love the red/white/blue combinations. As I become a more confident sewer, I turn to my feedsack stash more and more for sewing projects, like this patchwork tote.

I just love how these fabrics give everything vintage cottage feel.

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