The Fascinating History of Flour Sack Dresses

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

As this idea spread, publications popped up that showed specific patterns and interesting things that could be made with the fabric.  Many of the manufacturers made the fabric so that the ink could be washed out with some vigorous washing, and they printed instructions for this right on the sacks themselves, as seen below...

 

flour sack dresses, depression dresses, feed sack dresses, depression fashion, great depression fashion

As the Great Depression gave way to World War II, families extended out this commitment to ingenuity and thriftiness, and sack dresses became something not just for the impoverished families, but everyone.  Images like the one above that show well-to-do women in the dresses helped advance this.  

Manufacturers made a point to produce many different patterns and colors so as to appeal to both men and women, boys and girls.  This even caused some creative competition between companies as they tried to out-do each other as they took pride in seeing their fabrics used by their customers.  Here are a few of our favorite patterns from that era...