The Chicken Feed Sack
Dress and WWII
Click picture for larger image
Front and back covers of
a WWII booklet
Betty wrote: Bob: I included the feedsack dress picture only
because it brought back memories of what was going on in those
days. Some of us would collect feed sacks of the same design
until we had enough to make a garment for ourselves. My
grandmother had chickens in her back yard so I had access to the
sacks. The photo was taken in our front yard on Leschen Avenue
Betty Van C. class of 1949
The Chicken Feedsack Dress
By the 1940s the bag manufacturers were turning out
bags in bright colors and printed designs. It was felt that
these designs and colors would boost sales, because the woman of
the house would always select the brand with the most attractive
fabric. During World War II, there was a shortage of cotton
fabric for the civilian population, and the recycling of bags
became a necessity, encouraged by the government.
After the war, the bags were not only a sign of
domestic thrift; they also gave rural women a sense of fashion.
National sewing contests were organized as a way for women to
show off their skills, and manufacturers to show off their
designs. Women frequently sold their surplus bags to others as a
way of picking up cash to aid in running the home.
Our thanks to
Betty Van C. '49 and the Smithsonian for the additional
paragraphs and bag picture.
--"A Yard Saved Is a
Yard Gained for Victory."
Front and back covers of a WWII
booklet issued by the National Cotton Council of America which
sums up the homefront effort to conserve
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