Feed Sack Dresses

Did you ever wear feed sack dresses or know of someone who did?

My Grandma Thomasson was a great seamstress and she made me several dresses from feed sacks. Feed sacks were just what they sound like; they were sacks that were filled with flour, seeds for planting, corn or chicken feed.  At first, they were just plain unbleached cotton but in 1925, the sacks began to be sold in colorful prints and were soon being used not only for dresses, but aprons, shirts and children’s clothing.  Feed sacks were also made into dishrags, dish towels, and such for household use.

By the late 1930’s there was competition to see which manufacturer could produce the most attractive and desirable prints.  Artists were hired to design these prints. This ended up being a good marketing ploy because the women of the house picked out flour, sugar, beans, rice, cornmeal and even the feed and fertilizer for the family farm based on which fabrics they liked best. Some sacks even had border prints for pillowcases. Now, if you were born after 1950, you probably don’t have a clue as to what feed sack dresses are.

Until I went to high school, most of my dresses were made by either Grandma or Aunt Avis or I wore my cousin’s hand-me-downs.  One of my favorite materials was gingham and I had several outfits made from different colors of gingham.  If you remember in one of my earlier posts, Aunt Avis made a gingham dress for my doll in the Fall Festival Doll Walk.

I remember one of my favorite store-bought dresses was bought when I made my first trip to the dentist.  I was really scared but my mom promised that if I didn’t cry, she would buy me a new dress and let me pick it out.  And, boy howdy, I sat in that chair and never shed a tear – I got my new dress too.  It was a silver-blue dress with dark blue velvet dots and a blue velvet collar.  Here I am wearing my new dress with my dad and little sister.

See ya next Wednesday.