Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Vintage Feed Sacks

Welcome everyone to Vintage Thingies Thursday. If you have a love for vintage things, have come to the right place. We have a really 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 on display 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. What great finds! I would be happy to pay a little extra for them. I never seem to come across any on my hunting trips. Happy VTT!

    Susan and Bentley

  2. Those feedsacks are amazing! Oh my goodness!
    hugs, Linda

  3. I just love old feedsacks! I made a dress for a Sadie Hawkins dance out of feed sacks in the 1960s! That's how old I am! Have a quilt with feed sack material in it as well. What a fun post that brought back lots of memories!!! Thanks for hosting!

  4. Lovely find, I never make my quilts from fabric bought specially. I always use scraps and cut up clothing. My Grandmother did too and I loved her quilts. xx

  5. Great finds and the feedsacks are awesome! Thank you for hosting again, another great party at VTT. Enjoy the rest of the week.

  6. I love your vintage feedsacks! I never find them, but always look for them. So cute! Thanks for hosting Suzanne. I'm joining in this week with post cards.

  7. Those are so neat, thanks for all the info on them! I have never seen feed sacks like that before.


  8. what a good lesson on the feed sack material , we all need to know about the hem where it was sewen up full of feed

    I use to have stacks of it because when I lived in Kentucky I always found it at yard sales and flea markets then I quit the quilting fade and sold it all at my yard sale LOL quilting took too much time I need instant results on projects

  9. What great feedsacks AND information! They would be hard for me to cut up, too! Thanks for the party!!!

  10. I really enjoyed that adorable poem, I wish we could all live by a penny earned is a penny saved. I'm sure my grandmother Jewell wore these, she was born in 1905. I don't know if I could cut them up either, they are true gems you purchased there.

  11. Hi Suzanne!Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to finally be back and bloggin. Summer flew by, but I stopped by to check out the party...your blog always brightens my day even when I can't chat.
    Thanks for hosting.

  12. Those are so beautiful!! How lucky to find them "brand new" like that! I wouldn't do a thing to them! Just display them proudly!

    I was just wishing the other day that companies still put nice premiums in with their packaging. Like the glassware pieces that used to come in the boxes of oatmeal or whatever.

  13. Thanks so much for the info about the Feed Sacks, I never thought too look for the seaming lines/holes. I tried to look for some last summer for a craft project, and was sorely disappointed for what was available in my area. In the end, I ended up overpaying for only two of them I found in an Antique shop...Now I know better, and hopefully I'll use your tip on my next trip down south.

  14. Love this post Suzanne! I've yet to see flour sacks in person and long to. Adore the poem, so much fun.

    Happy VTT!

  15. Love your post about feed sacks! I have slept under many quilts made from them and my grandmother made a lot of my dresses from them when I was a child. How fun to have found some with the paper still attached!

  16. Everything we had was made from sacks until we got a Sears catalog. Bypass #26.

  17. What a great post Suzanne! don't collect them but I know in areas where they are prevalent this information would be very helpful. I do wish the cotton we have access to at the big box craft store today were of this kind quality too.

  18. Love those flour sacks. Remember my mom making clothes with them way back when. Have a few aprons that I've found over the years made from flour sacks. Thanks for hosting.

  19. There is a flour mill in Wauneta, Nebraska that still uses flour sacks. They sell them in my local grocery store. I will try to remember to take a picture next time I'm there and send it to you.



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