Depression Era: Clothes From Feed Sacks

California woman remembers her friend's mother making clothing from feed sacks on a treadle sewing machine during the depression era

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My friend told me this story about the depression era: she was from a large family. Her mother washed feed sacks, pressed them and cut out and sewed shirts for her boys for school would be starting soon. She cut out under things for her girls. My friend wanted to have school clothes from the mail order catalog.

One day the sun was starting to set and my friend's mother stopped her treadle sewing machine and said, "There. Soon as I crochet some lace on the bottom they will be ready for you for school, now I must start supper."

My friend wanted mail order clothes so badly. Soon as her mother went to start supper my friend took the scissors laying on the sewing machine and cut holes in the seats of all these pairs.

The mother never said a word, but when school started my friend wore undies made of feed sacks with crocheted lace on the bottom and a patch on the seat of all three pair!

Lucile Hebert
Yucaipa, California

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.