For hundreds of years, many items were transported in wooden crates and barrels. Beginning in the late 1800s, bags made from cotton were cheaper to produce, therefore crates and barrels were used less often. Goods like sugar, flour, grain and seeds, began to ship in these bags.
At a time when many rural families had limited resources, the bags were almost as valuable as their contents. Women would use the material to make clothing and linens for around the home. Later, around the 1920’s, manufacturers figured they could sell more goods if they made bags that were more desirable to the farmer’s wife. Feed sacks began to appear in a wide variety of colors and prints. Their theory worked! Farmers would often buy more supplies than needed so their wives had enough matching prints to make clothing. A typical women’s dress took about three feed sacks.
Fast forward to today… While we typically don’t use vintage feed sacks to make clothing, we do find other ways to repurpose them. And the interesting thing is, we tend to gravitate more towards the sacks with old ads on them than the pretty printed ones. We create things like pillows, shoulder bags, purses and even kitchen curtains. Taking something old and turning it into something hip and new, seems to be on the rise.