10/5/13

What's Your Definition of VINTAGE?

Are you a 'Stickler' for correct use of Vintage, Antique, Retro and Collectible?
I wanted to get it right for the 'VINTAGE TAB' and 'ETSY Category'!
vin·tage noun \ˈvin-tij\...1: a season's yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard; 2: a collection of contemporaneous and similar persons or things.
vin·tage adj \ˈvin-tij\...1: of old, recognized and enduring interest, importance, or quality:  classic;  2: Old-Fashioned, Outmoded. 
~Definitions from my Vintage Websters Collegiate Dictionary~Edition 1965~
Whatever your definition of 'Vintage', please note that mine is used as an adjective
 and based on my date of birth, I also qualify as a noun.
In the decade before my birth...1930's...Feed and Flour Sacks were 'Useable Collectibles' and a commodity during the time of the Great Depression.  It was also a time that held some notion of romance at the idea that women could make something beautiful from something so mundane as a 'SACK'.
 
Feed Sacks were used for sewing well before the depressions and for several years after. The evolution of the feed sack is a story of ingenuity and clever marketing. 
 
 Initially farm and food products were shipped in barrels. Between 1840 and 1890 cotton sacks gradually replaced barrels and the invention of the 'stitching machine' in 1846 made it possible to sew double locking seams strong enough to hold the contents of a bag.
 
The first ones were made of heavy canvas and then of  inexpensive cotton sized to correspond to barrel sizes...one barrel bag held 196 pounds of flour.  The brand name of the flour was printed on the bag.  Women quickly discovered these bags could be used as fabric for quilts and other needs.
 
With the influx of rayon and other synthetic fabrics, the bottom dropped out of the cotton market causing Feed Sack manufactures to take a different approach in their marketing strategies.

It took awhile for feed and flour sack manufacturers to realize how popular these sacks had become with women.   The first feed sacks began to be sold in colors around 1925 in colorful prints for making dresses, aprons, shirts and children's clothing.  By the late 1930's there was a heated competition to produce the most attractive and desirable prints.  This turned out to be a great marketing ploy as women picked out flour, sugar, beans, rice, cornmeal and even the feed and fertilizer for the family farm based on which fabrics they desired. 
 
With the flour industry consuming the largest share of the feed sack market, it was not hard for the farmer and his wife to purchase their goods in feed sacks. The Sacks came in different sizes and the quality of the cloth varied with the item it carried. For example, sugar sacks were much finer in weave. By 1914, sacks came in pound sizes, and by 1937 President Roosevelt standardized sizes by measurement...50 pounds feed sack measured 24x38; 100 pounds measured 39x46.
I have been a Feed/Flour Sack Collector and Quilter for many years. The 1930's Original Fabrics as well as the Reproductions of those fabrics are my absolute favorites. When it came time to close out my Quilt Shop several years ago, I KEPT ALL of these favorites. Now as I reduce my STASH again, these Feed/Flour Sacks are going to A Quilt Store and More ETSY Shop. A few are listed THERE now, and more are to follow including the ones shown in this post.
Linking To:
Photos by CollectInTexas Gal....1925 Newspaper and Farm Life magazine from my Iowa Mother and Grandmother's collection.  Isn't that amazing?
History of Feed and Flour Sack from:  Buchanan County, Iowa Historical Society  

12 comments:

  1. Hi Sue, I love your post as always. I too love the feed sacks of old. I wore many a dress made by our mom. My Uncle owned the feed store and we had first choice of the patterns we liked the best. Is that inside trading? HA!
    Happy Pink Saturday.
    xo, Jeanne

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  2. That was so interesting. For as long as we've been buying feed up here it has been sold in heavy paper bags. No romance there at all!

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  3. Hi Sue... I loved the information you shared about the flower sack fabric! So interesting. Thank you for visiting my blog...I think my little doll needs a flower sack dress. Happy pink Saturday.
    ♥ Tami

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  4. Great lesson here on the history of flower sack fabric. I remember hearing talk of how they were used during the depression. A great collection to have. Beautiful!

    ~Emily

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  5. Either way you want to go, vintage or antique, I can relate to it. Nice post.

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  6. Hello Sue-So nice to meet You.Thank You for dropping by My blog.I was very interested in Your post.I'm not a seamstress nor quilter and so enjoyed learning about the vintage flour sacks.I'm now your newest follower.Thank You again :) Denise from Coffeeberry Cottage

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  7. What a lovely post - a bit of nostalgia for me as my mother always collected flour sacks and made family quilts, doll dresses, pot holders, etc. A simpler time which I still attempt to embrace. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving me a comment. HPS to you, Dru

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  8. this was a great read Sue. I had several outfits my Mom made from sacks, as a child. At auction the other day, the feed sacks sold for a lot of money each! I wish you much success with your new adventure. I know everyone will love it. xo

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  9. Sue always a pleasure to visit you and I love your blog here! You are a crafty girl and I so love knowing you!

    Have a Happy week !

    Hugs, Anne

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  10. When the clothes of your youth become Halloween costumes, you know you've become "vintage" and/or "antique."

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  11. What a lovely collection of old fabrics and the post about them was so interesting! Congrats on the Etsy shop opening! :)

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  12. Sue, do you get tired of me saying that you amaze me? I sure hope not because I am always amazed. You have more talent than I can imagine.

    Happy Pink Saturday, my friend.♥

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