Thursday, November 6, 2014

1930's Smock

From the seller:

It is a hand swen old cotton dress. It was laundried and bleached but still have stains and spots. No holes or tears.

Armpit to armpit:22", length: 42". The color is ivory.

Please refer to the pictures for more information.
Thank you for looking and happy bidding!
(Sorry we only ship to USA address)

From Me:

I bought the twin of this shift/smock from this seller and I can confirm - 1930's. Mine even has faded written on it to tell me what feed/flour sack it came from. We tend to have this idea that, once the 1870's hit, everyone began to use the sewing machine and hand sewing was just for those places the sewing machine couldn't get to. That's not really true. Many people were too poor to afford a sewing machine and often too poor to buy clothing from a catalog. You made do with what you had. In the 1930's, that meant using the fabric from the flour sacks or feeds sacks - to the point the companies started to compete by producing pretty prints for the various sacks. My guess, this smock is from the early 1930's - right during the Great Depression and meant for a lady.


  1. I bought Marian Martin 9253 (1950's) a few years ago. I didn't finish it--I was new to sewing and didn't understand that it was a petite size, and I'm not petite, so the waist seam was up around my ribs. I'll resize it and try again, though.

    There is a handwritten notation on the envelope that says "Takes three feed sacks for this pattern same material".

    1. Are you sure that's 1950's? The pattern looks like it's trying to mimic some of the designers from about 1947 - when the New Look stuff came out and they were finally able to break away from rationing of fabrics.

      ...which is why the feedsack was still around. :-) After the Great Depression, WWII came and with it, rationing. Since you needed flour/rice/ect anyway, the fabric for it didn't count towards rationing so it was a good way to get around the 2 yards per a person per a month restrictions. (At least, those were the worst ones I heard of). Rationing went on for a couple of years after WWII in some cases and the feedsack fabric didn't end until some point in the 1950's.

  2. Congrats on your new find!

    Very interesting post. I didn't realize feedsacks lasted so long as a fashion fabric.

    1. You can read more here:

      You'll notice that there is some disagreement on when the feedsack ended. So, although by the end of the 1940's, the fabric feedsack started to give way, it didn't completely go away until probably the 1950's.