The Versatility of Flour Sacks
Throughout history weavers, sewers, and other fiber workers have found ways to reuse fibers, yarns, and textiles. We wrote here briefly before about how flour sacks were used during the American Depression as tea towels, but there's more to the story than just a few towels. While we tend to think of just flour sacks being used to sew all sorts of garments and household items, sacks of all kinds from sugar to beans to chicken feed were repurposed for many years before the Great Depression. It was around 1925, though, that the manufacturers realized this and began putting out sacks with floral and other designs. During the 1930s when competition was tough among manufacturers to get what little money was being spent artists were hired to specially design the sacks and some were even designed so they could be easily turned into pillowcases. Often consumers then would purchase not based on brand, but on what designs she liked best for future sewing projects. Those without a need for the frilly flour and feed sacks could sell the empty sacks back to the stores so local women could purchase any designs that might be "out of print." These sacks were used well into the 1940s to sew clothing, quilts, pillows, toys, and so much more. Think you have some old flour sack textiles? The best way to find out of a fabric was a sack or purchased from a bolt is to look for holes from the stitches at the seams. Flour sack fabric has them, bolt fabric does not.