Feed Sack Dresses

image image image image image image image image image imageClothing made from feed sacks was a great boon to the economy of the cash-strapped depression.  Farm wives eagerly collected and traded these pretty printed bags.  Three would make a nice ladies dress, provided the skirt was not too full.  Two would make a short-sleeved shirt for a man when plaids and stripes came in.  My mother was born deep in The Great Depression and remembers her mother showing the store-owner a scrap and asking him to  “Try to get me one more of this nice rose print if any come in.”  Crisply starched and ironed, they made sturdy, attractive dresses.  Fading was a problem.  Hems were deep so they could be let down.  Her mother frequently used rick-rack to conceal the fade line when the hem was dropped.  The tie belts at the waist made it possible to adjust for longer wear.

Underwear was made from the soft cotton flour bags.  As often as not, my grandmother used strips of rubber cut from inner tubes for elastic.  It was not unknown for the rubber to snap and bloomers drop to the floor, humiliating the wearer and delighting onlookers.  Fabric remnants went into a scrap bag to be made into patchwork quilts.