Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vintage Thingie Thursday : Vintage Feedsacks

Welcome everyone to Vintage Thingies Thursday. If you have a love for vintage things, have come to the right place. We have a "dog-gone" good time each and every week!!!
If you are new to this party, please take the time to
read and follow the instructions for participating in Vintage Thingies Thursday, click HERE. I try and keep things fairly simple, so please make sure you follow the instructions. Please only ONE link per week. Lastly, if you link in, LINK back to my blog, so everyone can see all of the vintage goodies being showed that day. If you don't link back here, they won't know who to visit......thanks so much.

This week I want to show you a couple of feedsacks I found some time back. The thing about these two feedsacks were the fact they still had the original labels attached. I love the fact that the paper labels were still there. These were not one of my thrift-ed bargains....but sometimes the items warrant a little more spending than normal.

I love the yellow with the blue bachelor button flowers. Both sacks are so cheery and I was surprised by the overall size of these when I first found them. Oh, how I wish I would have seen the day when grains, rice, flour and sugars were sold in pretty fabric bags....I think they should bring that practice back to present day!!

I found this poem on line and thought it fitting to add to this post..and no, I don't recall ever wearing feed sack underpants....and isn't that so have missed that error in time by a few short years.

The Flour Sack - A Poem

When I was just a maiden fair,
Mama made our underwear;
With many kids and Dad's poor pay,
We had no fancy lingerie.
Monograms and fancy stitches
Did not adorn our Sunday britches;
Pantywaists that stood the test
Had 'Gold Medal' on my breast.
No lace or ruffles to enhance
Just 'Pride of Bloomington' on my pants.
One pair of panties beat them all,
For it had a scene I still recall-
Harvesters were gleaning wheat
Right across my little seat.
Rougher than a grizzly bear
Was my flour sack underwear.
Plain, not fancy and two feet wide
And tougher than a hippo's hide.
All through Depression each Jill and Jack
Wore the sturdy garb of sack.
Waste not, want not, we soon learned
That a penny saved is a penny earned.
There were curtains and tea towels too,
And that is just to name a few,
But the best beyond compare
Was my flour sack underwear.
~author unknown

I found this information on line about feedsacks and thought it was interesting so I thought I'd include it in this post.

.....The thrifty farm wife quickly discovered that this cotton bag was a great source of utilitarian fabric to be used for dish cloths, diapers, nightgowns and other household uses. Manufacturers decided to take advantage of this and started offering sacks in various prints and solid colors as a marketing ploy to create loyalty. It would take three identical sacks to make a dress, for example, and the farmer just might be induced to buy more that way.
It was not hard for the farmer to purchase his goods in feedsacks. The flour industry consumed the largest share of the feedsack market with more than 42 percent. Sugar was next with 17 percent followed by feed, seeds, rice, and fertilizer. These feedsacks came in different sizes, and the quality of the cloth varied with the item it carried. Sugar sacks, for example, were much finer in weave. By 1914, sacks came in 10, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1 pound sizes, although these sizes varied by manufacturer. President Roosevelt standardized sizes in 1937. A 50 pound feedsack measured 34 x 38 inches. A 100 pound sack measured 39 x 46.

I have been to several flea markets where the vender claims the swatches are actual feedsacks. The paper labels were easily removed from a feedsack and even with older ones the label has often been removed. So how do you know for sure you are buying an authentic feedsack. The weave of the fabric is not a good indicator as fabric like this could also be bought off the bolt as well back then.

The best indicator is a line of holes from the chain stitching that once held the sack together. And if you look at this one, it is not straight at fact, both of these sacks had the most crooked stitching I had ever seen at the top of the sack.

This shows a sample of the chain stitching....

I don't know what I am going to do with these, I really don't see myself cutting them up....we'll have to see. One thing I did notice is the quality and weave of the fabrics used in these sacks. I can say this much, there is no comparison to the high quality $10.00 to $15.00 a yard fabric we find today in the quilt shops. Far from it. And imagine, this free with purchase sack made of fabric made wonderful quilts that are so treasured today by many. All the worries of fading, rotting, not holding up for generations to enjoy don't seem to apply to these feed sacks used by quilters from yesterday....and they were free. I can not help by wonder about the hype around fabrics sold at quilt shops...sorry....but true! If we could purchase our things in feedsacks now a days, I'd never step foot in a quilt shop for fabrics again...I'd shop my local market or feed store.....just sayin'.

Happy Vintage Thingies Thursday everyone!! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead filled with love and laughter.


  1. Loved the feed sack poem. My grandmother made several dresses for me out of flour sacks. I loved each one! Thanks for the post!

  2. Thanks for the advice. I've yet to come across one at the antique shops.

  3. Very informative post today! There's many fabrics on ebay that claim to be feed or flour sacks - now we know how to tell the difference, thanks to you!

  4. What a terrific informative post! And what a clever little poem! I have always loved things made from feedsacks and have to agree with every word! Love Vintage! Jacqueline

  5. Such a terrific post. I looove that poem, and I also love that mentality, letting nothing go to waste. Nothing like the way people live today! One of these days I'll get to travel again and perhaps I'll be able to add some feed/flour sacks to my stash of vintage thingies. Thanks for all the info, I always wondered at these sacks being made out of such cute fabrics, I should have realized it was promotional.

  6. Great post! Thanks for sharing the advice.


  7. Well, we have reusable shopping bags these days, who knows but what we may have other reusable packaging before we know it?

  8. I really like the feedsacks, but I sure wouldn't want to wear feedsack underwear.

  9. What a great find and great info on feed sacks. I can imagine these were very popular considering how they could be reused. Lots of fun with these.

  10. Suzanne, I fondly remember my grandmother's stash of feed sacks. She used them for quilts, but my sister and I would go through the stack and pick out our favorites to use for doll dresses or perhaps another small project. I can still remember some of the color combinations and little calico patterns on many. Thanks for this delightful flash of memory! ~ Sarah

  11. very interesting. they are so pretty. My mom told me she used to have dresses made from feed sack fabric.

  12. A very informative post.
    Have to share - last weekend I was out at a craft sale. A person there was making totebags from dog food bags - coated paper. (Charging $10 each.) The next generation of feed sack repurposing? A poor replacement.

  13. I love feedsacks, Suzanne. Yours are wonderful. I have a blogging friend who sells feedsacks on-line. Her name is Marydon and she's at Blushing Rose ( This is my first VTT with you :) Thanks for hosting it.

  14. I know exactly how you feel about the feed sack fabric. I love it when I buy something that is packaged in a way that I can re-use the packaging for something. There is a shop I frequent that uses paper bags in a gingham check, no logo. They don't have handles, so I don't re-use them as shopping bags. They make awesome wrapping paper, and it's all I've used for years!

  15. I was just thinking...I have a couple of vintage flour sacks. They're not the pretty fabric kind, they're plain muslin with the company name stamped on them. When I had a big kitchen, I used to display them, one on an antique scale and the other next to the scale. I filled them with batting and tied them shut with twine. It looked really cute.

  16. Love the patterns you found. And thanks for the lesson on how to identify authentic feed sack fabric- Very interesting!

  17. what a fabulous post, Suzanne! i love vintage feedsacks too and agree with you totally!! how great would it be to be able to purchse goods in them these days!!

  18. I do not remember my panties being made from feed sacks. I do know all the other cloths we had were made from them. These are pretty designs.

  19. The poem is beautiful. I am old enough to remember that my Mama made all of my short outfits from feedsacks when I was a little girl. I wish she had saved at least one of the outfits. Love your blog!!

  20. Wonderful feed sacks!! That is something I have never bought for myself. Now I feel like I am missing out on something! Browsed around the rest of your blog and checking out how you did the tabs. I am still trying to figure out how to do that and what to put there.

    Hope all is well with you!


  21. Hi Suzanne! Oh how I wish that we could buy staples in feed sacks once again. I enjoyed this post so much. Thank you for bringing all the facts to life about a time of struggle and a time of ingenuity. It's a lesson we may well need again. I wish I could go to sleep tonight under a quilt lovingly made from a feedsack. Happy VTT and thank you for being such a lovely hostess!!

    Susan and Bentley

  22. Hi Suzanne~ I've just discovered your great blog and have really enjoyed my visit! It's really fun for me to see how these feedsacks originally looked! I just received a wonderful quilt and I think feedsacks were used in it. I linked my post to your fun party! I also appreciate the cleaning tutorial for linens! I'm looking forward to reading more...I'm a new follower!

  23. In Australia I don't think feedsacks were used for anything other than dish cloths and tea towels, but my Mum made all my underwear, panties with elastic in the legs [for modesty], slips etc & they were made from a very fine fabric called "lawn", iIt's sort of like a swiss batiste.

  24. Terrific post and terrific feedsacks! Have you tried to do any research on the companies on the labels...I was able to find out quite a bit from the stamped sugar sack labels on the back of my Umbrella Girl summer quilt. It was a lot of fun.

    Loved the poem!

  25. I remember my dad buying feed in sacks like these. My mother and grandmother used them for quilts.

  26. Good morning Suzanne, I love the flour and feed sacks too. When we lived on a farm my mom made clothes for us and we loved our new dresses. My uncle owned the feed store so mom got the pick of the new patterns. Gosh, that was a long time ago.

    My dtr is here recovering from surgery and Bill's sister and dg are here too. A full house as usual. I am longing to be on my computer but no time for that.

    The poem is so perfect and I am wondering where in the world you found it Good one Suzanne.

    Wishing you a wonderful day.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  27. Oh Suzanne, our Mom mad all out clothes, dresses and underwear. They were so soft and everyone I knew wore them. When I was very young we only wore dresses and even our play clothes were dresses. LOL. Great information too. Love this meme.

  28. I like your yellow and blue feedsack very much. I wouldn't cut into it! you know I love feedsacks.

  29. G'morning, Suzanne. I was by last night but had to leave in such a hurry, I didn't have time to say hello. So, here I am this ;morning...

    This is a great post...very interesting. I didn't have feed sack mom made everything I wore but, for some reason, no feed sacks. I am now wondering WHY ...Being the age I am, feed sacks were plentiful during my childhood. hmmm...another mystery I will never solve. bummer....
    Thanks so much for hosting this fun day.
    xo bj

  30. Suzanne I finally finally finally sent the last mug! I'm so sorry it was a month late but I put it aside and then lost it until a week ago!


  31. Girl, I was so excited to tag in today but I cannot get thru the linky?? Same thing happens on Rednesday to me. I cannot get the pic to upload on that type of linky party.

    You got a great post there!!

  32. Fun post - I love the little poem.

  33. The vintage feedsack fabrics you found are wonderful! My grandmother made all my moms school clothes from feedsacks. She was a dressmaker, so she made lovely clothes for her little girl, even if she had to use cheap/free fabric. Depression years and then the lean war years made these folks very frugal.

  34. Hi Suzanne,
    Great post! Oh! I love your feed sacks, so charming. Thank you so much for all the background info and the poem, so much fun.

    Happy VTT,

  35. Suzanne,

    I loved that poem! So sweet and cute. I like the vintage feedsacks to...especially the one with the bachelors buttons. I have been seeing lots of pretty table linens and pillows made with vintage feedsacks. Just love 'em!


  36. Great post for today loved it! Thanks for doing all this! Blessings, Denise

  37. I adore feed sacks, I found two with Kansas Flour Companies on them a few months ago on ebay but they went for MUCHO BUCKS. I guess I'm not ready to spend that much yet. The poem is darling. Happy VTT

  38. Hi Suzanne! Great story and a very informative post! I can't measure up to you but I sure have lots of fun trying! Thanks for sharing. Anne

  39. Ugh! I just had a long comment typed out and then poof! It wouldn't load.

    Anyway, loved your feedsacks. What a informative post & the poem was great too.

    Someone above mentioned not being able to add a picture when using Mr. Linky. I had that problem too when I was using my regular (firefox) browser and I ended up having to add to Mr. Linky by using Internet Explorer. Also, there are a lot of blogs that I visit on VTT that I cannot comment on unless I'm in IE - not sure why I can't do it through Firefox but it just doesn't work!!


Sometimes someone says something really small, and it's like it fits into this empty space in your heart!

Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts here, they really mean a lot to me!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...