March 31, 2013

PUBLISHER’S CORNER – My Feedsack Wardrobe Spring!

By Dee Deuth, CSA
Weerts Funeral Home

I took care of my ”Spring Fever” yesterday by walking through the mall looking at the new spring outfits. I’m always especially interested in little girl clothing, although I have no little girl to buy a cute outfit for anymore. (My “little granddaughter” is almost 20 years old!) I still enjoy looking and am amazed at how cute kid’s clothes are compared to when I was a child.

If you have not had the opportunity to wear a dress, shorts, shirt, pajamas or at least an apron made from an old fashioned feed sack, I pity you for lack of that experience! I grew up during World War II, when many things were rationed and material was scarce, if not totally unavailable.

As a small girl, getting a new outfit was an extremely exciting and sometimes challenging experience. The first step was a trip to the feed store. Upon arrival we would examine the cotton bags filled with feed for the chickens and other animals. They came in a variety of colors and prints and some were larger than others. I enjoyed shopping for the bag that would ultimately become my new outfit and spent much time and thought making my final decision. Did I want blue, pink, red or yellow? Flowers, kittens, or dogs as the print? I didn’t enjoy the defining odor of the feed store, however!

Once the bag was selected we took it to the farm and emptied the feed into another container. Mom would then wash the bag in the wringer washing machine to remove the feed dust and odor. Stitches that held it together as a bag were removed, it was ironed and suddenly it became a piece of cloth on which a pattern (drawn on newsprint) was pinned and the pieces cut out.

The portable Singer sewing machine was placed at the end of the kitchen table after the noon meal, and the needle and bobbin were threaded with thread that matched the color of the bag. I was told not to wander far, because we had to “fit” the evolving outfit at every major interval in the sewing process. During these “fittings,” I always wondered if this garment was really going to fit when it was finished. Somehow a newspaper pattern pinned to material didn’t give me a sense of well-being for the finished product. Once sewn together, buttons (that had been removed from discarded garments) were applied.

Then came the “fashion show,” during which I modeled the new creation. I must say, my mother was usually more pleased with the final product than I was. It was usually a little big (so I could “grow into it”) — BUT it was NEW!

AND it was a garment with much love fashioned into it. Now, I realize that was really most important!

I hope you have a very enjoyable Springtime, reveling in the new life that emerges during this season of renewal and rebirth. Stay safe, healthy and happy! And maybe you can get a new outfit!

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