Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cheryl St.John: American West: Waste not, Want Not

The flour sack was the most versatile thing that came into the Homesteader's cabin. They were used to make underwear for the whole family, diapers and clothing for the baby. These thrifty women used them to fashion aprons and even dresses. 4-6 were sewn together, either with briar stitching or by crocheting a narrow insert, to make tablecloths. Quilters lined their home-pieced quilts with them, and pieced more together for sheets and pillowcases.

Flour and 10lb sugar sacks were used for kitchen and bedroom curtains and for towels. They even furnished the fabric for dolls and stuffed animals. After dying them bright colors, the women cut the material into strips and wove the strips into carpets. Homesteaders stored grains and beans in them, too, as well as using them to wrap cured hams. Sometimes settlers sewed bags into narrow tubes and stuffed them full of sausage. Once the sausage was cooked, the fabric was removed.

Frontier woman also made handkerchiefs out of the little salt sacks.

1 comment:

Marie Bellevaux said...

Wow, I didn't know this. Thanks for the piece of research trivia!