Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Feed Sack Dress


I remember spending some of my summer vacation as a teenager with my great grandma and listening to her stories about being a teenager during the depression. I loved looking through her crumbling photo albums with pictures of her first boyfriend, the family car, her sisters when they were little. When it came time for my prom, she helped me to sew a wrap and matching bag for my prom dress. While sewing her dainty, perfect stitches on that pink satin, she remembered some of the most important dresses of her life. One of which, was the dress she wore on the first day of school...a dress that her mother made out of old feed sacks and flour bags. "Because, that's all we had! We didn't have Joanne fabrics right up the street!" She laughed.

During the depression and into the war years, fabrics were in short supply and high demand. Flour and feed manufacturers began releasing gorgeous prints to take advantage of the mend and make do effort at home. Today, we learn from our grandmothers as the world sees things from a "greener" point of view. Looking in trendy boutiques and online we see items made of old jeans, plastic bags, car tires, and so on. While the material may be modern, the idea is not. It all goes back to that age old "Mend and Make Do" idea.
Today, feed sacks are still used in quilts and doll clothes. Printed feed sacks can be found on ebay, etsy, at auctions and estate sales. There are still many surviving (and wearable) feed sack dresses from the 1930's and 40's. These beauties are all available on etsy:
(bust size 44 for you curvy ladies)
The Vintage Baroness in this fantastic coral dress (38 inch bust)


Lilac stripe feed sack dress from RabbitWhiskerVintage


I love the colors and print on this one! This dress is a smaller size.
Feedsack Dress from RabbitWhiskerVintage (36 inch bust)

This feed sack beauty has such bold colors!
Dorothy in Kansas Dress by MissFarfalla (bust 38)

5 comments:

  1. wow! who would've thought that feed sacks could be so saucy! I love that purple one! I saw the most amazing dress with flour bag print
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/49392756/amazing-1950s-novelty-printed-kitsch-art
    and that is kind of what i expected of a "feed sack" style..what a surprise! Thank you for sharing this! I feel much more educated now...LOL

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  2. I wish I could make a feedsack dress *sigh*. I love the Lilac striped one. :]

    redlipsandcorsets.blogspot.com

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  3. I find feedsack dresses so fascinating, the Baroness always makes them look so good! I'm going to take a closer look at these, even though I will be tempted!

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  4. well, the Baroness makes -everything- look good! I adore her style!
    I know, I wish I could make a feed sack dress too! I have the skills but finding that much feed sack fabric in the same print is pretty much impossible! Luckily, the lovely and adorable Charlotte of Tuppence Ha'Penny has been putting feed sack prints on spoonflower.com so if any of you gals sew, you can order some "repro" feed sack prints by following this link
    http://www.spoonflower.com/tags/feedsack

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  5. HEY! Thanks for featuring that dress from the shop. Oh dear, you and Stef. are really too kind. Blushing!!

    Needless to say, I ADORE the sweetness of feedsack frocks!

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