Friday 26 March 2021

Feedsack fabric heaven.


Who ever said less is more never had a desert and she certainly never bought fabric !!

Gary Clausing

Vintage feed sack fabric is a particular weakness of mine, some are, in my opinion, a little to loud in colour for me but oh my most are glorious.  To be honest feedsacks were used for stitching well before the depression and for years after. It was ingenuity and very clever marketing.  To begin with it was farm and food products that were shipped in barrels that went

to sacks.  It was between 1840 and 1890 cotton sacks gradually replaced them as food containers. 

With the development of the industrial sewing machine which were capable of going through thick fabric they became very popular way of storing food grains and flour.

Clever marketing of food suppliers part came up with pretty patterned food sacks and so thrifty housewives began making things from them such as dresses and quilts.

They started to print on them, cut out doll patterns and then you could make a rag doll and dress her for your children.  Some very early examples still survive today in museums and private collections.

The rag doll darling cloth doll (1937 onwards) the sea Island sugar dolls ( mid 1930's) And the Southern Flour Mills dolls (1930's) which included the Sailor Boy too.  In addition some companies produced seasonal patterns which included Santa Stockings ....

Small bed quilts for dolls were also included it was a good method of using up small scraps, whilst

teaching girls how to quilt and was seen as an essential skill for many households and house/farm wives.

Pot holders, tablecloths and peg bags also featured and of course some absolutely fabulous large quilts were made and are very popular and coveted now (at least by me!) Some clever manufactures even printed designs on some for embroidery.

Indeed in their time Feed sacks are a perfect example of a utilitarian  product turned into something beautiful and useful. This reminds me of a William Morris quote -

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, 

or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris  1834 - 1896

So sorting through my collection of gorgeous fabrics I have been picking out my precious Feed Sack fabrics I have acquired over several years and I do not have very many and do wish to try and truffle some more.  I have an idea in my head to utilise some of my favourites.

Steadily here at Thimble I am finding time and inspiration to sort out my sewing things in a way that it is tidy and also beautiful to me.  Tying bundles of fabrics together with vintage ribbon and a label ... trying to put bigger pieces together with measurements on the label for ease.

A selection of patches of vintage seed sack quilt I bought are at the top of the page.  I also have somewhere!! a little bundle of feed sack fabric  - thus the hunt and tying together!!

Something else I am doing at the moment is making a little list of things I would like so that when the vintage fairs start I have an idea of what it is I would really like.  Trying to be organised not to just go wild in the isles .. who am I kidding its going to happen anyway but with list in hand I might have a little restraint ..

At least I am trying to attempt to be good!

And firmly on my list is some wonderful antique feed sack pieces to make something personally for myself.  I have decided it would be great.  The search continues for just the right pieces that will do the job or at least in my minds eye.  I have an idea of what I would like you see.  The truffling of finding just the right fabrics or buttons and threads is all part of my joy!

In other news my letter writing is going well and I am but 2 letters away from total catch up. I have been enjoying the process so much.  Choosing the paper and envelopes.  Choosing pretty stickers to make it all look pretty and using my hot wax gun with beautiful seals.  It has been a joy writing to friends and hopefully when they drop through their letter box it will make them

feel the day is starting well.

Later today I may go on a otter hunt and see if I can see the family that is living in this part of the River Stour, I have only seen one, which I have told you about but soon Mum and Dad will be having some more young and the yearlings they have with them now will go it alone I should suspect.  A photo of them would make my day.

I have tried to capture photos of the beautiful Kingfishers but I can not get close enough to them or even zoom in enough to do them justice at all.  I would need a proper almost professional camera for that.  To the naked eye they are very close but not when a camera goes on them, still I sit and watch them with their gorgeous coloured feathers and that is enough.

Well that is it for today I must stop rambling and get on with tying little gorgeous bundles of happiness together and get a little order into my life.  It will be a lot easier.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and as always HAPPY STITCHING and Stay Safe.

Sarah X


  1. What a joy to visit your blog today and learn a little about feed sack fabric. I love the idea of using vintage ribbon to keep things together.

    1. Thank you I am glad you enjoyed your read. I thought vintage ribbon would be the ticket! Look pretty and useful ..
      Thank you for your feedback.

      Sarah x

  2. A joy as always Sarah. Your sewing room organisation sounds much better than mine, which at the moment is chaotic. I’m hoping to spend a few hours today tidying it, but, and I think you said this also, one invariably finds things long forgotten, which have to be investigated and the room then ends up just as bad as it was to start with!! However, thankfully the weather up here is dreadful and so indoor pursuits are the order of the day.
    Grain sacks are gorgeous I agree - so resourceful were they in those days. Enjoy your day - I hope you find the otters. Love, Mo xx