Saturday, December 27, 2008


Here at Baby Bean we make a lot of our dresses with vintage cotton feedsacks. I love the history of the feedsack. Feedsacks were first made of heavy canvas, and were used to obtain flour, sugar, meal, grain, salt and feed from the mills. The story starts in the early 1800's when North East Mills started using inexpensive white cotton fabric instead of the heavy canvas and farmers wives started using this feedsack fabric for dishtowels, diapers, and nightgowns. Manufacturers of the feedsacks decided to offer the sacks in colors and prints as a marketing ploy to get the the wives to pick the sack by print or color, instead of the brand of feed. Also it took three feedsacks to make one adult dress so the farmer would likely buy more. Flour was the most popular item sold in these feedsacks.
Magazines and pattern companies began to take notice of the feedsack popularity and published patterns for the feedsack prints. A 1942 estimate showed that three million woman and children or all income levels were wearing print feedsack garments.
So manufacturers started to compete with each other to provide the best prints and some came with preprinted patterns for aprons and dolls.
Here are some of the feedsacks we have collected over the past few years. Most of them have been made into dresses and shipped to stores or customers. The prints are so amazing and sometimes I just can't cut them up for dresses!
Information written found here at Quilt History.


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