Friday, February 26, 2016

Resourceful Women: Repurposing Fabric

Here is a mini history lesson for you today:

In the modern age we buy our flour at the grocery store. It comes in a little paper bag that we dispose of after the product inside is used up. In the 1930s and 1940s, people would buy flour at the mill in large cotton bags called feed sacks. These feed sacks were originally produced using plain white fabric until...  

women started repurposing the feed sacks into clothing. After this trend caught on, feed companies began printing pretty patterns and floral designs onto their cotton bags. It was a clever marketing idea that encouraged ladies to buy more flour at a time and keep coming back for specific prints. With one feed sack, a mother could make a children's dress but with three feed sacks, she could make a dress for herself. Together with feed packaging companies, fashion was brought into the home at a time when fashion was unaffordable. Repurposing feed sacks stretched pennies during the depression and World War II era when money and resources were scarce. It was said that in 1942, an estimated three million women and children were wearing feed sack garments. 
By the late 1950s, flour mills began selling their product in cheaper paper sacks. With the economy on the rise women began buying more clothing off store racks instead of sewing at home. I asked my grandmother about this trend (she was born in 1923) and her response was "I think the ladies were happy to not to sew. They were tired of the extra work." Tired or not, I feel inspired by the ingenuity of past women who created things of beauty from the mundane. 

Work Cited:

1 comment:

  1. That's so interesting! Nice blog post, I felt like I learned something new.