What exactly IS a feedsack?

child's feedsack Apron

So, as we're printing the Concert for Cash poster, Cash's mommy asks me "What exactly IS a feedsack?" And that is a great question.

Pictured above is an apron that my Granny made for Cullin recently using an old feedsack. It is not like all of these patterned pieces that I have been showing for my Daily Feedsack series, so just what is the story?

Once upon a time, storage for things like sugar, flour, feed, cornmeal, etc was all in barrels and tins – the cotton industry wanted a piece of the pie, but because the sewing machine hadn't come along yet, they couldn't sew a seam strong enough to hold the contents. Once the sewing machine entered the scene, cotton sacks were used for these staples and were stamped with the name of the company who manufactured them {much like the one above}. One thing led to another and the realization was made that people were recycling the cloth for various uses after the contents had been consumed. Aprons, underclothes, curtains, dresses, quilts and more were already being made with this cloth and so the idea was born to make a removable paper label and use printed fabrics to make the product inside even more desirable and collectible.

So there you have it, the ever-so-abbreviated story of how the feedsack came to be, or at least the beginning of the story …