Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Feedsack Fabric!!

Last Saturday, the TMBC had an extra-special outing. We went to a class at a local fabric shop about Feedsack fabrics. Wow...WE HAD SOOO MUCH FUN!!
Connie Barr was the teacher, and she brought her amazing personal collection of vintage feedsack fabrics.
I have never seen so many feedsack fabrics in one place.  The Land O Lakes label is an example of the paper labels that used to be glued on to the bags...I'd never seen one of those.
Here's some of what we learned:

In the early 1800s, canvas bags replaced the heavier, more expensive wooden barrels and tins to store and transport things like grain, feed, flour, sugar, etc.

By the late 1800's, textile mills were producing strong, inexpensive cotton, which quickly usurped canvas as the preferred material for feedsacks.

Farmer’s wives were quick to take advantage of this new source of free fabric. The bags were white, with the product information printed on the fabric. The clever housewives would bleach the bags to remove the product information -- then they would use the newly white fabric to create everything they needed in their daily life. Dresses, aprons, diapers, dishrags...An average farm would use enough supplies to gain the farmer's wife 16 bags a month.

Some feed companies, alerted to this reuse of their bags, began to print their sacks in gaily colored patterns—since it usually took more than one bag to make a dress, the idea was to give the farmer an incentive to keep buying their products.

My Great-Aunt-Glad told me that on the first Saturday of the month, Uncle Barney would say, "C'mon, Gladys...I'm going into town to buy chicken feed, so you need to come along to pick out your new dress." She needed three bags to make her dress, and she would NEVER trust her husband to choose the fabric.

At the outset of World War II, there were dozens of U.S. textile mills producing feedsack material, from Bemis Brothers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Percy Kent of Buffalo, New York. Particularly collectible are feedsacks with prints depicting Disney characters or scenes from “Gone with the Wind,” as well as sacks that had patterns on them to help a busy homemaker turn them into an apron or doll.

Connie had a wonderful booklet in perfect condition..
Chock full of ideas for different feedsack projects
It was a WONDERFUL DAY...of course, after our class, there was a great lunch at the local dive/bar -- overlooking the Mississippi River.

YES...we are the lucky girls.

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