29 January 2010

Feed Sack Frenzy

You know that the days of conspicuous consumption are gone when the hottest trend in decorating is anything made from an old feed sack. Vintage French grain sacks are fetching $75 or more on ebay and sometimes in the hundreds of dollars for finished goods in boutiques. Stylish and green, it's the “hautest” thing on the farm.

Older sacks were reused by frugal wives of years gone by. The cotton bags were soaked in harsh lye solutions to remove the printed labels and the fabric was ready to use for more humble applications. In the 1920s the bags began to appear with allover patterns as a result of their popularity for using after holding animal feed. The Great Depression created the first feed sack trend and our current recession has brought the modest bag full circle.

The latest incarnation of the trend involves real or fake French feed sacks and American ones. both evoking different styles. The American sacks are often more colorful and kitschy. The French are more, well, just French. The other main difference lies in the price. Generally the French sacks, real or faux, command a premium price. You see them in many different settings, from rustic looking pillows to upholstery on an industrial design chair. Their American cousins are far more cheerful looking and lend themselves to retro and country style d├ęcor. Both are are often juxtaposed against an item of more refined style perhaps underscoring the irony of this often pricey trend.
I love this one from Pink Pig in Westport N.Y. Many thanks to Pink Pig for the use of the lovely photos here and in my article for Examiner.com
Also check out the fabulous feedsack chic article at Cote De Texas with lots of yummy photos from Olivine in Houston.


  1. OMG! I bought one of those french tote bags on etsy for my mom for xmas. They were in the Simon Pearce store in NYC and sold out so I searched and searched and finally found them! My mom also bought french grain sack chairs like your picture! Ha ha! I love them!

  2. Hello Kerry - I am honestly not sure what I think of this grain sack trend. I grew up in the country and spent a lot of time in barns (grandpa, neighbours) and we were always doing something inventive with grain sacks and hay ropes. So they don't have quite the cachet for me!! But some are very pretty and I love the printed words on some!!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and sharing your thoughts. I never knew what an Austrian blind was, so thanks for enlightening me! What a pretty idea!!

    xo Terri

  3. Terri, I think the the whole trend is kind of a "so ugly it's pretty" thing. I've always been a fan of the ugly/pretty in life.