The Fascinating History of Flour Sack Dresses

A portrait of a different way of life in the 1930's and 1940's

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In the 1920s and early 1930s, families were growing larger than ever as they spread out across the country; however, when the Depression hit, things like new clothes for their growing children became less important than food and shelter!  In those days, flour and feed sacks were made of cotton, and when the manufacturers saw that women were using the cotton fabric to make dresses and other items for the family, they stepped up and began printing the fabrics with colorful patterns!

The photo above from LIFE Magazine shows a shipper picking up some of the patterned bags.


In this image from the LIFE Magazine Archives, a worker for the Sunbonnet Sue Flour company prepares one of the pattern bags to be loaded with flour.  In the foreground, you see some of the static patterns; however, you'll notice that the man is holding a cutout pattern for what appears to be a stuffed bunny rabbit!  How cool!