Tag Archives: dress

Favorite Fabrics: The Feedsack Dress

There is something so appealing to me about the feedsack dress.  Though sometimes viewed as a symbol of the necessary frugality (or, poverty,) of the Depression era, it was also a way to “[give] rural women a sense of fashion.”  I’d love to see this type of practical reuse come back (though granted, less people are living in rural settings and don’t usually find themselves purchasing large bags of feed…)

I know “the good old days” were not always a fairy tale, but you have to admit this aspect of past times is pretty dreamy.  And aside from the upcycling aspect, the prints were so fun and cheerful!

Yellow tiered feedsack dress from Dreem Co, $165
’30s feedsack dress from Vintage Clothing and Co, $114.99
1940s Dress from Carla and Carla, $145

When searching for examples, I even found this children’s play costume of Cleopatra!

Vintage feedsack from Maudelynn, $98

Of course, these colorful fabrics were also utilized for crafting quilts and other items that were useful around the house…

Yo-yo Twin Size Quilt from Upswing Vintage, $225
Floral Feedsack Apron from Hatfeathers Vintage, $32.49

Craftsy has a lovely post about feedsack quilting that talks a bit more about feedsack fabric, which you can read here.

Book Review: The Lost Art of Dress

 Recently, I finished reading The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski; I first learned about the book on Thread Cult (a favorite podcast about sewing and fashion.)  Being a fan of both fashion and history, the topic itself was tempting enough.  I found, though, that beyond simply providing a historical account of fashion, this book offers up a lot of food for thought on the way society has changed over time.

The book begins by introducing Mary Brooks Picken, one of the first “Dress Doctors,” or women who were designers, teachers, and writers, educating others on how to dress well, and even getting the government involved via the Bureau of Home Economics.

The Dress Doctors looked to the Five Principles of Art–harmony rhythm, balance, proportion, and emphasis–to advise women in their dress.  (Part of the reason vintage fashions are still so appealing is because they adhere to these very effective principles.)  The book discusses the “duties” and occasions of dress, offers lots of interesting facts and anecdotes, and finally looks at the decline of the Dress Doctors  (hint: it had a lot to do with the 1960s.)

What I enjoyed most about this book, though, was that it provided a bit of a window into the mindset of women of the past–a time when being sophisticated (read: over 30) was actually something young girls looked forward to, a time when people didn’t have the compulsion to tell every stranger they met about every detail of their life, a time when certain colors or articles of dress had a significant meaning.

You may not care to follow all the Dress Doctors’ rules for dress, but you may be inspired to take a cue from their outlook on living.  To them, fashion wasn’t just superficial, but ultimately held a connection to deeper things.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history, art, fashion, or sociology.