Favorite Fabrics And A Fun Farmgirl Tutorial!

 

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When you have weather like this it is time to sit and sew (after you sled with the grand-girls of course)! My craft room is my happy place.  One of the things that makes me the happiest is to pull out some fabric scraps and create!

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I also have certain types of fabric that really, really get me excited.  And you want to know something very Farmgirl-ish?  My favorite fabrics are the 1930’s Feedsack fabric.

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I love hearing stories from my mother about how exciting it was when she was a little girl and she would go with her parents to purchase supplies.  She would get to pick out the decorative flour and sugar sacks that they used for making aprons, bonnets, clothing and quilts. The apron in the above picture was my grandmother’s – it is yellowed with age but still my very favorite apron! 

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At a time when resources were limited, the fabric from these bags was almost as precious as the contents inside them.  When mills started producing sacks with prints it was with the hope that ambitious women would convince their husbands to buy additional bags of feed and supplies in order to have enough fabric to complete a dress!

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I have a few quilts made from Feedsack fabric that have been passed down to me from loved ones.  I cherish them.

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Today you can purchase some of the original Feedsack fabric on ebay, but there are also a lot of 1930’s reproductions that are beautiful.

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One that is out right now that I am really enjoying is Fresh Air by Moda.  It is a very fun 1930’s vintage look.

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I’ve enjoyed using different Feedsack reproduction fabrics for many projects.  One of the projects I love the most are the pieced and embroidered art work I made and framed for my bathroom.  The reds, blues, yellows, and greens go so well together and make such a statement when you enter the room.

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Recently I decided the window in the bathroom really needed a little boost of color, but I did not want a curtain.  I’m sure you’ve seen all the buntings on Pinterest and Etsy these days? I decided it was time to make one.

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However, I wanted it small and a little different than the standard triangular shaped ones you see everywhere.  So I drew up a little pattern and got busy.

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It was such a fast and simple project I decided to share a little tutorial so you could make one too!

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Here is what you’ll need:  fabric scraps, self healing matt and rotary cutter (not necessary, but sure makes the job easier), your little pattern and a package of double fold bias tape.

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Cut your fabric to size using your pattern and rotary cutter.  You will want to figure out how many little bunting pieces you’ll be making and then cut two of each (a front and a back).

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I was making enough for a 2 foot wide window, and I calculated that I needed 12 little pieces for my bunting so I cut 24 (4 of each fabric scrap).

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A few easy steps above: 

1) sew right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving top end open 

2) turn right sides out, using a sharp instrument

3) push corners out thoroughly

4) press flat with a hot iron

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Now place each piece into your bias tape.  You can either pin them, use Wonder Clips, or just use your fingers to hold and sew as you go.  They don’t need to be spaced perfectly.

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If you can see in the above picture, the bias tape has a bit of a longer side… that is the side that you want to the back of your fabric when you slip your little bunting pieces in.  The reason for this is because you can sew very close to the bias edge on the top and still completely pick up the back of the bias tape.

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And that is it!  I hung mine by attaching to the top of the window trim with little thumb tacks.

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Isn’t it funny how some of the simplest projects give us the greatest amount of joy?  This bunting just makes me smile!

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It also makes for a fun gift for a friend that you know is waiting for Spring just as much as you are and a colorful little bunting is a fun way to brighten a day!

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I’d love to know what you’ve been working on while waiting for Spring!  (And if you make a bunting, email me a picture!)

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Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

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Dori

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P.S.  Just to prove that we DO get great sledding snow here in Middle Tennessee here is a little video of my daughter and I sledding down our hilltop (I’m in pink Carhart of course)… and yes, my throat hurt from screaming and laughing!

Leave a comment 37 Comments

  1. Doris Hall says:

    Dori,
    I absolutely love your post!! I love feed sacks, too. A lot of my dresses were made from feed sacks, I have one on in my fifth grade school picture. I sold most of mine a few years ago as sewing/quilting has become too painful. Enjoy those grandgirls they grow up so fast. You have blessed my day with your talents!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Oh, thank you Doris. I asked my mother if she still had any of her dresses made from feed sacks. She said she didn’t think so. Which makes me kind of sad. But you can’t save everything can you? Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  2. Ann says:

    Oh, your bunting is so sweet! And easy to sew. I was recently introduced to 1930’s fabric at a quilt shop where I participated in a quilting retreat. The fabrics are really sweet and do seem to remind me of earlier times. And feedsack lore and materials are so wonderful. I cherish the apron and quilt from my maternal grandmother made from feedbacks. They are both unique and charming and such a lovely testiment to the skill and resourcefulness of women from that time period. The original “repurposers and recyclers” of their day! Thanks for column. I enjoy and look forward to it each month.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Ann, I agree with you – the 1930’s fabrics are so very sweet. They just give you a good feeling. I think that women from those days could teach us a lot and I try to keep that in mind when I’m visiting from ladies of that time – like my mother. Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  3. Cheryl says:

    Loved your post! I love the vintage fabric also. I have being working everyday on a school house quilt with pine trees and deer in the border. Cold weather forced us inside and that is where I wanted to stay, close to my fabric and sewing machine!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cheryl, Your quilt sounds lovely. Are you hand quilting it? I’ve recently been making a nursery ensemble for a cousin and I’ve decided to machine quilt the quilt… which I hate to do, but I just don’t have time to hand quilt it. It sure is a perfect winter time project isn’t it? And there’s nothing better in the wintertime than being close to our fabric and sewing machine!! :-) – Dori –

  4. Debbie says:

    Hi Dori,
    Oh how I loved this post! Feed sack fabrics make me swoon and I just adore the artwork you’ve created for your bathroom along with your buntings too! YOU are ONE talented farmgirl!!! I feel so inspired and cheery after reading your post today! Thank you!
    hugs from the beach farmgirl Deb

    PS. Here’s my post on working with feed-sack fabric a while back! http://www.farmgirlbloggers.com/196#more-196

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Deb! The fabric and embroidery artwork I did in my bathroom ended up being a fun surprise. I started it out of boredom about 6 months ago and it just kind of grew and got more fun as I went. I had the idea that I put each of them (there are 6) in a six-pane old window and hang that. But when I did it, I wasn’t happy with it at all. Somehow putting them in individual frames of different colors, sizes and styles actually really made it pop.

      I’m glad I was able to cheer your day… do you still have feet upon feet of snow?

      Heading over to read your feed-sack fabric blog post. :-)

      – Dori –

  5. kim says:

    Ok wow! Loved the screaming laugher in the video. Yes I too adore feed sack cloth and I am fortunate to have received a large supply of it upon my mother’s recent passing. I just may sew one of those adorable buntings with it, now that you inspired me. I’m so over the snow and this would be a great project. Best, Kim

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Kim, yes… screaming and laughing is the best isn’t it? I just can’t seem to sled without it, no matter how many times I go down the hill!

      Oh, my word. How FUN it would be to have a large supply of feed sack cloth. (Sad you lost your mother though.) What other projects do you think you’ll do with it?

      Share your bunting picture with me if you make one! – Dori –

  6. Bonnie ellis says:

    Great post. All my clothes were made from feed sacks and I used it for doll clothes too. Cute video. Looks like minnesota in the winter. Cute pictures you made and what a treasure to have your grandma’s apron.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie, I’m planning to make some doll clothes for grand-daughter. She has an American Girl doll and the clothes are so expensive. So, that will probably be my next project! Our snow was wonderful and fun and only lasted 2 days! :-) The perfect kind of snow right? Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  7. Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya says:

    Dear Dori,
    As you know I love, love, love your posts and blog. You are the kindest, sweetest person I have come across. Thank you for sharing the fabric and pattern for the bunting. I really love it and plan to do it in my kitchen when I get my forever home. The prices are a little steep for this old gal but I plan n purchasing a little at a time. I like making aprons and stuffed animals. I also got 2 patterns off line for a pillow case and a baby receiving blanket. I plan on making. I did pick up some material at Goodwill that will work for both. I will also watch for sales on the material I will need. I have a picture “black and white” of me in a dress my older sister made for me. She was quite a seamstress. She could make anything without a pattern. I was the youngest of 5 so things were tight for my parents. I was born 17 years after her. We all have memories of our wonderful, amazing families. I realize some don’t and I feel for them.
    Hugs from this old Farm/Ranch gal.
    Kay

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Kay, I think a bunting in the kitchen of your “forever” home is a great idea. Fabric is TERRIBLY expensive. Finding clothing in the thrift store with fabric you like is great… you can cut it up and repurpose it.

      How fun that you had a sister that sewed for you. Some people are so talented with sewing without patterns. I’m a great seamstress…. IF I have a pattern and instructions. I once made my grand-girls little matching dresses from a German pattern. It was a simple dress and I really thought I’d be fine without instructions in English and for some reason I got so panicky about the language problem I couldn’t even figure out the pattern!!! I did do a google translate on some of the tricky things and it helped a tiny bit!

      Hope you’re having a good day! – Dori –

  8. H Waddell says:

    I have several old aprons collected from who-knows-where. They are getting pretty worn, so I have them ready to trace off their patterns … I like the design/fit and modern apron patterns do not have the comfortable neckline like these old ones. Maybe you could do that with your grandma’s, too, before it is too worn out. (I wear an apron most every day and for sure when I’m cooking … saves those grease spot on my clothes and gotta have those extra pockets and a hand towel attached.)
    Here is a tip for your bunting pattern fans … if you need to purchase new fabric, consider a charm pack (a selection of prints from one fabric family pre-cut to 5″ square) and adjust the bunting length and width to take advantage of the 5″. For visual aesthetics, you may want to make it narrower than 5″ so the “flag” is longer than it is wide. At any rate, this streamlines cutting from 5 cuts using whole fabric down to 2 or 3 with the pre-cuts.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Thank you!!! You are absolutely right about using a charm pack. I actually had a jelly roll (pictured) of the Fresh Air fabric, but I wasn’t happy with the fact that it is only 2 1/2 inches wide. So yes, a charm pack really would’ve been great! I do like projects like this one though that are small enough to use scraps.

      My mother has her mother’s apron pattern. And it is so true – those aprons just fit and feel better than the new-fangled ones! I must get the pattern from my mother and make a few.

      Thanks for writing and thanks for the charm pack suggestion! – Dori –

  9. Esther George says:

    I love the photos of the feedsack quilts! I can remember visiting at my grandparent’s farm and being there when the feed delivery truck came. Grandpa called my Grandma to come outside and pick out the prints she wanted. Seems like it took 2 or 3 sacks to make a dress. I had lots of feedsack dresses when I was a little girl.

    My Mother used bleached white feedsacks sewed together to make tablecloths which she embroidered. I admire these great ladies who did so much with what they had!

    I always enjoy your posts!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Esther, I love those quilts. One of them is really tattered in places and I’ve looked at how to fix it and have decided I love it just the way it is. My mother mentioned the feed delivery truck too! Can you imagine how exciting that would’ve been? Do you have any of the tablecloths your mother made?? I bet they are gorgeous. Thanks for writing – Dori –

  10. Colleen says:

    Hi Dori,
    Thanks for sharing your fun projects. And the sled ride! My two youngest watched too and we are all jealous! We live where we are SUPPOSE to have the greatest snow on earth but this year…not so much. One of my favorite things to do is drag the sleds up to the bus stop to meet the kids and sled all the way home. Miss that this year. Oh well. Take care and stay warm. :)
    Colleen

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Colleen, we had heard that you weren’t getting much snow this year. Won’t be good for the snow melt in the lakes down below will it? We’ve had a lot of ice here – that is scary to me. What an awesome memory your kiddos will have when they are grown – their Momma meeting the bus with the sleds. I love that. Hugs to you and your family Colleen. We miss you. – Dori –

  11. Donna says:

    Such a lovely idea for the bathroom, the bunting and the framed pieces. The fabric is so sweet.

  12. Vivian Monroe says:

    Hi Dori, I love the bunting, and I love old feedsack material as well. Just made some aprons for myself and my mom that she had saved from my grandma’s general store. I love repurposing things, and now I am making sewing kits out of vintage train cases, record cases, makeup cases, etc. just finished the first one, but how cool would it be to do one in vintage feed sack material. I don’t know how to put a pic on here or I would show you. Also just made Garden aprons out of old blue jeans, and added a little lace to the bottoms. They are really cute. Only been sewing a couple of years so still learning. :) Be Blessed and yes, I too LOVED the sledding video. :)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Vivian, your Grandma had a general store?? How cool is that? And to make aprons from the fabric. I’m just dying! I would LOVE to see a picture of the sewing kits you are making. You can email a picture to me at: redfeedsack@gmail.com. I’d love to see a picture of your garden aprons too! :-) Thanks for writing – Dori –

  13. Maxine Jelinek says:

    I love your projects & the quilts! My favorite is vintage fabrics too, and I have collected some of those same prints. LOVE Moda fabrics too! :)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Maxine, thank you! I really want to begin a collection of the “real deal” 30’s fabrics! But then I’m afraid they would be so special I would just collect them and never use them. I’m kind of famous for that! :-) Doesn’t Luanne have a stool that she refurbished and put a padded top on it with the vintage fabric in little squares? Maybe it was an old quilt she repurposed and put on the stool. I can’t remember, but something is ringing a bell there. Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  14. Angela says:

    I love the step to step directions. One could get addicted to that fabric too! And yes, they make great gifts for friends! 😉

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Angela, good morning! I’m glad you are enjoying your bunting and the pictures looked wonderful – I just want to see it in your kitchen in person now! Hugs – Dori –

  15. Sandy Mell says:

    Hi Dori, I loved your tutorial on the feed sacks and the bunting pieces. I am definately going to make one for my sewing room. Also thanks for your sledding video. It made me smile.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Sandy, I’m glad you are going to make a bunting. You’ll have to email me a picture! Thanks for writing! – Dori –

  16. TeriGrace says:

    Hi Dori, Loved your post! Brings back memories…. My first year knitting a sweater in 4-H I needed a dress for the fashion show. Money was especially tight at that time so Mom made a pink floral dress from the feed sacks she kept in the closet under the stairs. She had gotten them from her Mom and of course it was very special to me. After all these years I still have a piece of the fabric….. Always enjoy your writing and projects. Enjoy those GrandGirls!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Teri, I love memories like that. I also think it is lovely that you still have a piece of the fabric. That is so sweet. Thanks for writing. – Dori –

  17. Jane Everard says:

    Spring just starting to arrive over here in Lincolnshire UK we have a lone goose who honks to the wild geese who fly over but won’t allow any to land on his pond, we have had to give him a mirror to look at himself in as he used to look at himself in our workers hub caps and not let them get to their cars!!
    Love to read all the blogs and agree about the solitude, not just a time to be alone but a time for reflection and realisation of what we have around us.

  18. Denise Ross says:

    I love your fabric colours and your bunting looks fabulous :)

  19. Love the idea. I have made numerous quilts and have kept every single scrap. Thanks for the great idea. I’m going to take a break from my wild rags and make some cute curtains for my sewing room.
    Deanna @ rustedspur.com

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Deanna,

      I’m terrible about saving my quilt scraps… I just never seem to have room, so I end up giving away the scraps. But no more! I have a great craft room now so I’m saving all my scraps. Thanks for that inspiration!

      – Dori –

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