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Thread: Flour sacks

  1. #26
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I have been working on dresden plates made from old feedsacks. But, they are all printed ones from the 30's and 40's. I would love to buy more of these if anyone has any they want to sell. Mama told me that Grandma made her and her sisters a lot of clothes out of these old sacks. Most of them are very pretty!!

  2. #27
    Super Member gardnergal970's Avatar
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    When we went to the feed store, we knew exactly how many sacks it took to make a shirt or dress and dug through the pile until we had enough of one pattern for what our school wardrobe needed. Sometimes we had to work on it for several months but it was a big deal to pick out what we liked. It was always interesting on the first day of school to see which of your friends choose the same pattern! Mom made quilts and gave them as gifts from the scraps.

  3. #28
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    My LQS owner told me when I tea dye not to use decaf tea. She said it didn't do as well. And she liked tea leaves better than bags. Otherwise she said to do it just like with any dye, put fabric in the mix and leave it until it is a shade darker than the color you want (because rinsing will take some color away). Rinse in clear water, and set with heat. I did what she said and got a great color.

    Oh, I got some of those towels from Sam's. They don't have the same weave as the old feed sacks. They don't take color as easily when you dye them, either. Be sure you dampen them before you start.

  4. #29
    Junior Member Jeandrig's Avatar
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    I am now 75. I had the most beautiful feed sack dresses when I was little made from them. Mom and neighbors would swap around so they could come up with enough material alike to make a garment. I am hanging on to one sack now that my Mother in Law gave me, also have one with a printed doll on the cloth. I need to get it made up one of these days.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by brookemarie19
    So how do I tea dye things? just make some tea and put it in a plastic tub with the flour sacks? How long do you keep it in there?
    it is not really that easy..you need to know WHICH tea to use and how much..

    for a yard of fabric you would need say 20 tea bags...place into a pot(not aluminum) with about 6 quarts of water..I use a stock pot with a steamer lining, makes it easy to keep the tea bags on the bottom and fabric on the top..

    bring the water to a boil, place the fabric in and turn it off..allow to sit for about an hour... then remove and wring it out...I prefer line drying, but you can machine dry...when I line dry I then starch and iron before cutting!

    just remember, that is only a staining..NOT a dying, in time it will wear off!

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen
    I saw Eleanor Burns in Paducah when she was talking about flour sacks...told a story about her grandmother making underwear for her grandfather out of flour sacks and right across the front of one pair it said "Self Rising". I thought the tent would collapse. Sooooo funny.
    oh my...that would bring down the house for sure...

  7. #32
    Super Member dphelps's Avatar
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    I love hearing the stories about the clothing made from feed sacks and I am sure my great grandmother's quilt was made from feed sacks. I would love to have some to mend an old quilt I wish to restore.

  8. #33
    Super Member ksea's Avatar
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    Just brew some tea and soak them.

  9. #34
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    I have a questions about flour sacks used for selling flour and sugar. Didn't the flour and sugar seep out of the fabric??? I don't ever remember my Mom buying flour and sugar in fabric sacks, before my time maybe, I'd imagine, I'm 54. Did you actually get a lb. of food if it was packaged in fabric sacks??? Just a silly question I've always wondered about.
    I'm a sack collector and have found sacks used for flour, salt, alfalfa and clover seed, chicken mash, dog food, scratch feed, horse supplement, and sugar. Except for salt, these bags were large, 50 lbs or less. I have some beautiful (at least to me) coarse but closely woven bags that were 'returnables' which I think were sent to bakeries using large amounts of flour/sugar and then went back to the mill. Many were printed with a very attractive company logo and contents in two colors on natural fabric. The housewife could then wash/boil/bleach off the printing and have a nice piece of goods for whatever purpose--pillow slips, tea towels, underclothing, quilts. I'm sure if you tossed the flour sacks there would be a 'puff' of flour but not spillage as they were securely chain stitched. A lot less spillage than modern paper bags.

    The all over printed feed sacks that were used for clothing were, in MHO, more coarse than regular dress goods and according to the literature of the time, dressing in feed sack material marked you as "country." The companies did their best, though, to produce attractive (for the time) patterns knowing that nice looking material could tilt sales in their favor.

  10. #35
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    The flour sacks I remember did not have labels printed on them. The labels were printed on paper that was glued to the fabric. A good soaking removed the label. And they made lovely clothes.

    As for tea dyeing, just follow amma's instructions and you should be good. Let the sacks soak to the shade you like. You can always soak them again if you decide you want them darker after they are dried.

  11. #36
    Super Member Just Jan's Avatar
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    If there is a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store near you, look and see if they still have the cured hams for sale. They are/were sold in the printed cloth sacks. Make really cute toss pillows.

  12. #37
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtippens
    any pictures of these flower sacks
    I have some, if I can get into the right box. They are stashed. I intend to make a quilt to remind me of the lady who sold them to me.

    I will look this afternoon, and post pictures if I find them.

  13. #38
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    Where is this mill? State and city? I know there used to be one in Nebraska. Is it still the same?

  14. #39
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    As to the mill - I think it is in Humboldt, NE. I live less than 60 miles from there. If I watch, I can usually find flour in fabric sacks at the local grocery.

    For information on feedsacks, there is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvOM2Q7G2DQ

    and this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iEoF...eature=related

    Videos of Gloria Hall presenting a talk for Andover Schoolhouse. (I think that is a presentation for merchants who sell Andover fabric lines.) She gives a good explanation of the history of feed sacks and the development of fabric for the sacks. (They had to come up with good quality fabric to hold the products in the sacks. So, while the print may have been found only in the feed sack lines, the fabric was not as inferior as some may believe. It is not, however, like the quilting fabric we buy today. I think fabric quality continues to improve all the time.)

  15. #40
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Printed sack pictures: Two of these are still stitched on the bottom and side.

    Five different prints.
    Name:  Attachment-245788.jpe
Views: 38
Size:  92.4 KB

    This shows the double stitching from inside the bag.
    Name:  Attachment-245789.jpe
Views: 33
Size:  63.9 KB

    A view of the stitching from the outside. You can see the run off end of the cord.
    Name:  Attachment-245790.jpe
Views: 38
Size:  78.3 KB

  16. #41
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Here are a rabbit chow bag and a seed bag. Because the colors are badly faded I decided to embroider over the patterns. The housewife would ordinarily remove the printing so the bags could be put to other uses.

    Work in progress.
    Name:  Attachment-245792.jpe
Views: 18
Size:  70.6 KB

    This is my first embroidered sack. Half of the pattern is faded away but I loved the mother rabbit and her bunnies.
    Name:  Attachment-245793.jpe
Views: 17
Size:  61.1 KB

  17. #42
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Greenheron, I love your feedsacks! Thanks for posting them.

  18. #43
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    I used feed sacks with a border of square dancers on them to make a gathered skirt in home ec way back when. We couldn't afford fabric.

    mltquilt

  19. #44
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if you are talking about the "flour sack" towels that we can still buy, which are white, or are you talking about the feed sacks made with printed cotton fabric from years ago? I haven't seen anyone use the flour sack toweling for quilts. Has anyone used them for quilting? They have a bit of texturing to them - at least all those I've seen do.

  20. #45
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaterexp
    I'm wondering if you are talking about the "flour sack" towels that we can still buy, which are white, or are you talking about the feed sacks made with printed cotton fabric from years ago? I haven't seen anyone use the flour sack toweling for quilts. Has anyone used them for quilting? They have a bit of texturing to them - at least all those I've seen do.
    I would agree - the flour sack towels available now are great for wiping dishes, very absorbent - but I would not use them in quilts. The weave is too open. I have been referring to fabric used by a local flour mill used to package their flour, and to the vintage sacks sometimes found at auctions or for sale by quilters/collectors.

  21. #46
    AllStitchedUp's Avatar
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    I don't like messing with the tea bags, I just use instant coffee granules..

  22. #47
    Super Member dphelps's Avatar
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    Here is a quilt that I need to restore and I am hoping that flour sacks are suitable.
    Attached Images Attached Images



  23. #48
    Super Member psychonurse's Avatar
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    Every summer Granma made me shorts and tops to match out of flour sacks. Good memories.
    I loved going with her to the store to choose which one I wanted.

  24. #49
    Senior Member SUZAG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenheron
    Printed sack pictures: Two of these are still stitched on the bottom and side.
    Thank you so much for posting these pics, I had always wondered what type of prints they were!

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilt Mom
    A little research into flour sacks will also show that the sacks originally used were printed. In the depression, companies sold goods (flour, sugar, animal feed, etc.) in fabric sacks. As added incentive to buy, the companies used fabrics that the housewife/mother would use for clothing, curtains, quilts. It is quite interesting to see the variety of items made from the old sacks. A friend of my mother's told of wearing underclothing that still had the brand name of the sugar company on it.

    As to current flour sacks, there are still companies that use the fabric. We pay a premium for it here, to get flour in fabric. I have not used the flour sack (towels?) from Sam's. Let us know how it works.
    My mother made my underpants from Gold Medal flour sacks during the Depression. Their motto was "Eventually, Why not now?" One time I had that across the seat of my underpants!! But remember I am a great grandmother and 85 so only the smiles remain today and not the embarrassments!!

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