Handmade Flour Sack Shirt - Leafcutter Designs


Cotton Flour Sack Clothes

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The history of cotton flour sacks is a story of thrift and creative re-use. Up until the 1930s, when paper sacks came into use (boring!), people purchased their flour in sewn cotton sacks. How cool? The stylish shirt below is one that I made by hand from vintage flour sacks I found on eBay.

Handmade Flour Sack Shirt

The flour producers would print flowers and other patterns on the sacks as a loyalty program to encourage customers to buy their brand. Housewives would soak off the paper labels and save the fabric to make clothes (including super soft underwear), curtains, and pillowcases. Some sacks even arrived with doll or toy patterns printed on them so they could be turned into stuffed playthings for the kiddos once the flour was gone. Check out these vintage flour sacks to get a feel for this long gone form of creative marketing.



Want to pick up a few vintage sacks of your own? Or start collecting with an eye towards making your own flour sack duds?

These live eBay auctions will get you started…

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Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, makes the world more playful and peaceful one little experience at a time.

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie

    March 13, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Oh man, back when you needed to buy a large quantity of flour because all of the bread was home made! Wish they still packaged in cloth, I used to get my rice in cotton sacks just for the cloth, now I’m lucky to find burlap, which is good for other stuff. Never knew about the dolls or printed toys, what a fabulous idea, packaging that is useful instead of landfill. It so has to change!

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