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The Chicken Feed Sack Dress and WWII

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Front and back covers of a WWII booklet

Feedsack Dress
    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 in Wellston.
              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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