Monday, June 6, 2016

How Women Transformed Cotton Bags into Family Clothing, 1930s

From the Greenville Gazette’s online story at To read the complete story and see more photos of items made from flour sacks, go to the newspaper's online site.

In the 1930s, flour was stored in sacks with highly colorful patterns, and few people may realize that these patters were very intentional, and served a specific purpose. During this period of time, money was very hard to come by, for many.
Even those who did have good jobs would have to reuse many of the items they were purchased to save face. It was a time when recycling wasn’t just encouraged, it was a vital part of life that was economically necessary for most families. They found ways to make sticks of gum last longer, and they would often grow their own veggies and herbs to avoid buying things at the market. But they got even craftier, when times were hard:
Some women who lived in the 1930s found ways to make money for their families, and the found ways to make sure everyone had the clothing and essentials that were necessary to survive. Flour would be in sacks that were made of cotton. Women began using the sacks to make clothing. The sacks were often used to make clothing for children because of their small size, but if pieced together, then they could be used for adult’s clothing as well.
As companies began seeing these women using their sacks for clothing, they started adding colorful patterns to the sacks so that women would have something different besides white to make clothes out of. There were also patterns on the bags that women could use to make toys for children so that they would have something for Christmas and a birthday. It was a clever money saving move on the women’s part, and a clever business growth tactic on the flour company’s part – everybody won!

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