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Monday, January 5, 2015

Flour Sack Sheets

Have you seen the flour-cloth dishtowels sold in Walmart and other places? They don't match my memory of flour sacks and various other sacks that people used to make clothing from in the early part of the 20th century. Sacks were used for many goods, and the fabric was from coarse to fine for making dresses.

When I was a child, we had flour sack sheets that my maternal grandmother, Memaw, made for our family. The sacks were heavy and rough and white. Finally, when I was seven, we had real sheets--1953.

Until I was seven-years-old, I had to move my ankle bone or wrist from the heavy seams. This move was a big deal because I could never just lie down and sleep. I could not simply turn over. Each time I came to rest, I had to slightly adjust one or more body parts to get away from the seam. Sometimes, it was my cheek resting on a heavy seam.

However, I never realized how inconvenient those seams were until I did not have to adjust my body each time I lay down. Inconvenient seams were just a part of life, like shading your eyes from the sun or savoring good cold water instead of Cokes or Kool Aid every day.

I suppose we could have bought at least some sheets if we had not bought books. I think that is a fair enough trade-off. Those books from my early years still exist, but who knows what happened to the flour-sack sheets or the store-bought ones?

Here is a site that gives the uses and reasons for using sacks for home goods and clothing. The Depression is not the primary reason people used sacks for sewing.

Flour sack sheets were not my mother's idea, it was all she could have. My father would not provide, so my grandmother did. And, we did not buy so many books that they were an excess in our lives.

Another day, I will address other things I have that are made from flour sacks. But, in the meantime, I have specific questions.

Your turn
Did you ever sleep on sheets made from flour sacks? Did you know anyone who did? Have you ever heard of anyone who used sheets made from flour sacks?


  1. No flour sack sheets here. But plenty of make do and mend. So sheets were turned sides to middle - resulting in a centre seam.
    Books were a constant - and well worth the trade off.

    1. I have heard of turning the outside edge into an inside seam. But, I have never had a flat sheet wear out in the center. Yes, books are worth sacrifice, even when I did not know it was a sacrifice.

  2. No flour sack sheets here either, but I do remember my grandmother having some hemmed flour sack dish towels.

    1. Anne,
      Oh, we had the dishtowels, too. But, it was not just my grandmother. We had them at home, too. Silly me wanted store-bought dishtowels...silly me. Thanks.

  3. my mum talks about sheets turned sides to middle and how she hated the seam but we never had them when i was growing up.
    Pretty much all the sheets in this house wear through the middle.

    Our dog died recently while i was not at home and my son wrapped him in a sheet, he has seen me shroud birds and rabbits in cloth many times. Unfortunately he picked one of the better sheets but I couldnt disturb the dog so the sheet went along with the dear pup to the great meadow in the sky :(

  4. kylie,
    Only would seam in sheet fabric would be heaven. There were multiple horizontal and horizontal seams. The seams were thick like blue jean seams, very hard and unyielding.

    A shroud, huh? When our dog was hit by a car, he came home from the vet with needs--soft food (expensive), sleep indoors (only in basement), and warm, soft bedding....there is where I was upset. He had to have, according to my son, a good blanket, not one of the worn ones. The dog lived, but I made my ex take the blanket to the laundry to wash.

    If my son had had his way, the dog would have had more expensive food, slept in the bed with him, and every blanket in the house under and over the dog.

    Sorry his dog died.

  5. In my husband's family they made underwear and dresses out of flour sacks. That way they had enough money to buy sheets. They did mend the sheets by ripping the worn centers and resewing the side together. Sugar sacks were saved to make quilts.

    1. Sue,
      I think I would rather make the sheets and buy the underwear. lol Thanks for that view from his family. .


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