March 3, 2017

Feedsack Fabric Bonanza

What a gift!

Not long ago I was the happy recipient of a cardboard box labeled "old fabric."  
The story:

I belong to the North Suburban Needlearts Guild.  It's a really inspiring group of fiber artists - first because the guild explores every kind of fiber and needlework you can imagine, and second because of the dedicated, super productive, and amazingly talented members.

The guild is often given fabrics and yarns and decades old needlework magazines, and on and on.  The lovely ladies whose job it is to sort and bring things to the meetings set aside this box for me! They had never opened it, so it was a total mystery.

Lo and behold, what met my eyes was a huge stack of feedsack fabrics.  And more feedsack fabrics.  Many of them are still full feedsacks.  In amongst them were a few partially constructed pieces of clothing.  And there were other cool fabrics from other decades, too.  Here come the photos:

(Please excuse the wrinkles.  I generally don't iron until I am ready to use fabric, since it will need to be ironed at that point anyway.  And this is even more important for vintage fabrics that are drier and more prone to scorching if over ironed.)


And more feedsacks.

The purple one up at the top of this post is my favorite.  Which do you like best?

A few of the feedsack pieces were faded.  Lots of folks would probably feel sad about this, but for me, who's always looking to match the fabrics in faded old quilts, it's a real godsend.  Golly, this blue one even has pieces faded in two different ways!


And here's my wire lady, named Edna after my artistic and spiritual great-aunt, modeling the clothes.

The dress.  It has quite a few tears.

The skirt.  It's a gored skirt, lots of bias.  It's made of one of the faded fabrics I showed earlier, so I wonder if it had been finished, worn and washed, and then partly taken apart.  Maybe it had been a dress and the bodice removed.  I pinned some tucks around the waist so it would stay on Edna.  It either had been a gathered skirt or a wrap-around.  I think gathered is much more likely for a 1940s item.  And then again, it's long for a 40s who knows?

The blouse.  I love this pattern with the fun peplum styling!

Here's the inside so you can see the construction a bit better.  The first photo shows the front opening on the left and the center back on the right, armhole at the top.  The second photo shows one of the sections opened flat so you can see the shape of it that creates the peplum.

Next.  We move on to another decade.  Here are several border print fabrics.  I'm guessing they are 1950s or 60s, but I haven't done any research into that as of yet.

Close-up of the Old Mother Hubbard print, rebus style!

Close-up of the hoedown fabric.

And finally, some fun conversation prints that were in the mix.  The one on the left is a feedsack scrap.

The red one there has probably the wackiest mushrooms ever put on fabric!  If you enlarge the photo, you'll see that the flowers on the left are in delicate glass vases, a really pleasant print.

I loved placing these two together.  On the right, true toile style illustrations, and on the left a 20th century treatment of the same themes.

What a joy this gift has been!!

(Links to articles on the history of feedsack fabrics can be found in the previous post.)


  1. These feedsacks are so much fun! I've heard about Depression-era feedsacks, of course -- my grandma made feedsack clothes. In fact, I was thinking of having the heroine in my story having a much-prized stash of this kind of material in her sewing room. So thanks for the visual guides for my ideas. :)

    1. Well, I guess that "much-prized stash" is in my sewing room at this point! Hee, hee!