Friday, July 20, 2012

Depression Era Calico Prints

     I decided to record some of the calico prints used in the quilts tucked away inside my closets. These particular prints date from approximately 1925 to 1940. Many of these prints were used in 1930s feed sacks. Several of my great grandmothers worked these colorful calicoes into their own quilts during the Great Depression after using up the majority of the "free" fabric to sew play cloths for their little girls. 
      Farmer's wives would purchase flour that came in these reusable cloth bags. The print was on the inside of the bag, so that it would not be damaged during shipping. My great grandmothers would empty out the flour into a large tin container and then turn the bag inside out. Then they would cut carefully along the seams and press the sack out with coal heated irons. My mother told me that farmer's wives would get together on Sundays and trade flour sack fabrics with each other in order to obtain enough of one print for a complete dress. The majority of the prints were juvenile because there would only be enough of the calico for an infant's clothing to be made from an individual flour sack.
Left, a small girl in bonnet playing with a sand shovel. Center, hickory-dickory-dock. Right, black swirls.
Left blue, red and yellow calico printed flowers. Center, white and lavender print. Right, red, orange, and white flower field print.
Left, Delft blue rose and orange stripes. Center, blue checkered duck. Right lavender and white daisy.
Left, green sky and white moons. Center pink bunny with Easter eggs. Right pink and white ribbon pattern.
More links to Depression Era Prints:

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