Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feedsack Pillows

My name is Deborah Jean and I'm a feedsackaholic...There, I said it!
What could be more fun than handling fabric covered in flowers in late winter? I'm starving for all the colors of my yard flowers right about now but the vintage feedsack fabric I've been gathering for making pillows is feeding my appetite for the bold and brilliant colors of a summertime garden at it's  peak! Instead of getting my hands dirty in garden soil I've been humming along with my grandmothers sewing machine making more VINTAGE pillows for my booth at the Antique Mall.

Working with these homespun fabrics also got my detective juices going.
I found a great site with some feedsack history.
Sometime in the 1920's, an enterprising manufacturer of cloth bags hit upon an interesting idea - maybe he could sell more sacks if they were decorated to be more desirable for the farmer's wife. And the era of the printed feedsack began. No longer just beige muslin, with advertising for the feed company, now sacks began to appear in a wide variety of popular colors and prints. And paper labels were applied, like the one pictured above, so that the fabric could be reused without the advertising. Sharons Antiques

Feedsack fabric has been used for making doll clothes, P.J's, dresses, aprons, quilts, hand towels, curtains and more by clever farmwives over the years. I bet today's clever farmwives can come up with many more uses for these beautiful fabrics of yesteryear. It's also highly collectable and desirable to fabric-aholics. I would love any resources you have for these lovely pieces of the past! 

No pattern necessary! 
  • measure and cut your fabric in to a 22 x 22 square.
  • turn fabric inside out and sew three sides together with a 1 inch seem allowance.
  • leave a large enough opening to insert your pillow form.
  • turn fabric right side out and insert pillow.
  • pin opening together and sew it closed by hand or with your machine. 
Up-cycled feedsack fabric makes adorable cafe' curtains, valances, aprons, tote bags, framed artwork and of course pillows! 
This suburban farmwife is having more fun whipping up these beautiful pillows... The feedsack cloth is soft to the touch but sturdy enough for accent pillows on an over stuffed chair, tossed on the bed for a bit of vintage charm or just simply propped up on your favorite side chair in the kitchen to admire and enjoy all day long! I've got a few more on the work table and more feedsack fabric on the way which I'll post soon PLUS a beautiful up cycled pillow created from embroidered pillow case edges.

Here is another wonderful resource for vintage feedsacks.

Here's a peek!

Sharing with Tillys' Nest Down Home Blog hop today!


Country Gal said...

Oh I love them what wonderful prints ! They look awesome ! What a great idea ! Thanks for feed sack history info interesting . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

Unknown said...

Aren't they great Elaine? Thanks for the note and hope you're staying warm up north!

Sue Frelick said...

There is a piece of history I never heard! Regular unbleached cotton feed sacks yes, but I didn't know they came printed. What a lovely post!

Michelle said...

They are very lovely.

Unknown said...

I'm having fun learning about it too ! thanks for your note...

Unknown said...

Thank you Michelle...They are fun to create...:)

JES said...

You have a happy place here :) Love feed sacks and especially the resourceful women who have used them in the past and present to re-create… Have a wonderful week!

Farmlife Chick said...

I have a book on the great depression and it talks about how people made their children's clothes out of these beautiful feed sacks since they could not afford clothes. Lovely post! Wish our feed sacks still looked like this;).

Libby said...

These are great prints and fabric. Actually I've never seen feedsack cloth in colors and prints such as this. I'll have to be on the lookout. Gorgeous!

Chenille Cottage said...

Hi Deborah,
Oh...I'm one of those feedsack junkies, too. I have several folded neatly in my sewing just waiting for me to do something with them. Your pillows are a perfect solution.
Thanks for sharing, my friend!
Carolynn xoxo

Unknown said...

Hi Jes! Thank you! We like to keep things upbeat around these parts!
I'm loving these vintage feedsacks so you can expect to see more in the future!

Unknown said...

It is amazing the condition they are in... Look at Amazon for books on other feedsack projects! Very inspiring!


I really like those and the prints are you! the yellows and reds..pretty!

Unknown said...

Hi Libby, Since I've found some amazing prints as I've been shopping on EBay... I never knew they came in such a wide range of colors and prints... Very inspiring... something for every taste for sure!

Unknown said...

Hi Carolynn,
Well, get going girl and write a post so we can see them when you are done!

Unknown said...

Thanks Dolly! The prints are so cheery and bright!

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb~~~I am so lovin' your pillow & the adorable feedsacks!! The colors & prints are perfect farmhouse charm. Thanks for the instructions too~~~& I like the size.
XOXO, Linda Farmgirl sister #971

Unknown said...

Hi Linda!
Well, thanks... I am lovin' finding the sacks and creating with them too! I'll be posting more as I go along... thanks so much for the note sister!!!

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

So, I think I knew this about feed sacks being produced in such a way to appeal to the farmer's wife...but I'm wondering, these are not produced this way anymore? All my feed comes in paper or the nylon woven types. These are vintage sacks?
I think that is fantastic.
I don't think I've ever come across any. I do come across vintage sheets and pillow cases!
But am not to the point of sewing much yet. Still trying to get my house situated with other OVER DUE projects!

I think your pillows are so pretty.

Pamela said...

I have been saying lately that it would be lovely if feed producers would go back to this type of grain sack for animal feed, especially chicken feed (since that is what I buy). So much better to repurpose the fabric rather than throw away plastic or paper bags. My Grandmother said they would ask the feedstore to gather several sacks of feed in the same print for them to purchase at one time so they would have enough matching fabric to make curtains or what have you and the feed store would gladly comply. Such customer service! Hefting 50 pound sacks around is not small effort. I have a favorite quilt my Grandmother made from feed sacks, it is a personal treasure.

Nancy said...

This vintage fabric is gorgeous and l love the idea of the would be pretty amazing if they made fabric feed sacks again! :)

Bonnie K said...

They are lovely. I really like the yellow flowers. Thanks for the idea on how to make them.

Nancy said...

These are so pretty Deborah and have such a vintage look to them. Well done!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

They really are charming and the history of them is very interesting!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I do love that fabric! Our feedsacks come with company logos on them, ha ha. ;-) Love your pillows!

I'd love it if you came and shared this (and up to two other posts, if you'd like) at Blog Fest #20. It's live now! :)

Farm Girl Blog Fest #20

Hope to see you over there!
~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

daisy g said...


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