Upcycled Anything Interesting? Grain Bags

April 18, 2010

Cushions by VelvetBean on Etsy Image from there.

By Lily & Me Upcycled coffee bags

How beautiful is this? From the shop Bug

Made from antique Hungarian grain sacks. Boardwalk Bag by Tamara Fogle

During the depression, and the following wars, feed sacks were upcycled into many things (although it wasn’t called this).

Some grain companies even printed dress patterns on the grain bag so that wives could make the dress with as much ease as possible. This may have been some of the first seen advertising on clothing, and although it started through need, the grain companies saw it’s advertising potential.

It is curious that although the most common reuse of grain sacks was clothing (shirts and dresses) and tea towels in the past, I couldn’t find any examples of it being used like this currently. The closest I could find is the pillowcase dress ….. which used to be the grain sack dress. Can you see it?

It seems even upcycling has trends.

7 Responses to “Upcycled Anything Interesting? Grain Bags”

  1. stephanie said

    How great is the shot of Laura’s bags… I love how raw and earthy they are…

    xo Steph

  2. Laura said

    Thanks Ally for including me here.. Reverse garbage in Marrickville sell these coffee bags (the ones I use to make the bags)20 for $10. It’s economical and good for the environment. I’m not sure how the pillow case would go, it looks good but would be super scratchy. You have a good idea with the dress, I am thinking some cute lining and it might work. Patterns? That is really cool!!!

    I was walking down a street in Ultimo the other day and a coffee shop has used the coffee bags to line their counter. It looks really good, so good I am thinking of making an outing with my camera to take a photo.

    • Ally Adeney said

      Fabulous! The grain bags used traditionally for clothing were more like burlap or linen. Yes I think the scratchiness of a more hessiany (not a word) fabric would be unsuitable. Shoot me some photos too! I will add them to the post. Patterns mmmmmm. I will look for one and post soon. Ally

  3. Laura said

    Oh and Rob wants me to start making Bible covers with them too. I have a second machine for sewing this stuff though, it puts lint all through the machine and mucks up the settings. I learnt this the hard way.

    • allysonadeney said

      I’m sure you know this, but for the benefit of anyone else who is thinking of sewing fabrics like this…. make sure you use thick (denim) needles. It will save you a lot of heartache.
      ….. also do you wear a mask to stop the link going into your nose??

      Might be time you teach Rob to sew ????? I know that was cheeky! I’ll stop now.

  4. Laura said

    Hah….actually Rob has sewn some of the bags that are selling in shops. Before christmas I had more than I could keep up with and he was off work soo we spend many a night taking turns in cutting and sewing.I think he enjoys doing new things.

    Yes I use the thickest needle I could find – I think it is denim.. and yes it is not great for the machine..our neighbour gave us an old Janome so we use this. I have to shower after I cut or sew any of this fabric because it makes me itch. It’s messy but I really like the outcome.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alice & Emma. Alice & Emma said: Some beautiful photographs of upcycled grainbags here: http://dld.bz/aHtM […]

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