Flour sack towel apron go way back in time but can still be found in homes across the world. These aprons have been used for a very long time and have a strong place in the future kitchen and home decor. Since they have a wide variety, you can use them for virtually anything and everything. While the material also contributed to its popularity, the main reason was the design, which made it trendier for both: kitchen and clothing.
What is Flour Sack?
A flour sack is made of 100% cotton that was used to store flour, as the name suggests. Flour sacks are robust and often printed with modest yet colorful designs and trademarks of companies that manufacture the flour. Since the design on the sack was vibrant and exciting, in many parts of the world, they reuse it for producing clothing items.
The 1930s were the prime time when flour sacks proved to be the most useful. In those days, you would have often seen women sewing something out of flour sack. During the days of austerity, i.e., the 1930’s, when nothing that could be used in the future, was wasted, flour sacks were as important a part of daily living as they were for flour storage.
History of Flour Sack
When the Great Depression hit the USA during the 1930s, millions of people had to scrimp and save, reuse everything possible, which ultimately became a way of life. To survive in a time when the country’s economy was crashing with everything except misery in short supply, making do was the only option. Clothes turned out to be a classic selection.
Today, people still love to save money and get a bit creative through crafty DIY projects, but in those days, “Do It Yourself” was not a trend instead of a necessity. To provide for their families, women had to get artistic, especially in clothing, which was by far the first consideration. Desperate and worried, they realized that one of their food staples, flour, came in cotton sacks. Innovative thinking led them to empty the sacks and making clothes for their children, initially. During this period, they were fortunate to have those flour sacks because previously flour and animal feed used to be transported through barrels, but now due to reasons of cost, manufacturers started using cotton sacks.
Since turning the flour sacks into dresses, towels, aprons, diapers and etc. became a custom, it was not a surprise when companies found out what was happening, and they hopped onto the bandwagon as well to help the women. Manufacturers started packing their flour in pretty patterns like sunshine, flowers, bees, and toys; hence there was something for everyone! Soon, a wide variety of bright and unique patterns was introduced. Families widely appreciated this step.
The sack was labeled, but the ink was washable. When this trend continued, booklets on how to remove the ink were also given out, and later, soluble inks were used to make the process easier. DIY articles on how to turn the sack into something useful were also printed. This was also a means of making money for some women, who used to sew dresses for their friends and neighbors. It is estimated that during the Depression, 3.5 million women and children were wearing clothing made from flour sacks. When the clothes are worn out, they would be cut up to make aprons, tea towels, and quilts.
However, things transformed with the start of World War II, Cotton started being transported to make uniforms for the soldiers, and the people had to give up that fabric to support the war effort. This might have ended up to be a fashion trend, but the flour sack dresses and aprons were a sign of poverty during the 1930s.
How to Make a Flour Sack Apron?
Flour sack apron towel are simple and easy to make. The aprons can be 30 x35 inches with double stitched 6-inch front pockets, strong metal grommets holes, and straps for increased stability and comfort. These can be made in flat planes or with a bit of ruffle. Firstly, on a flour sack, a large fabric panel is made, attaching with it two apron strings. Then, to create a ruffle style, a single cut around the waistband about two inches wide and long enough to tie around the waist is to be made. To enhance the ruffled look, pin the flour sack material at the top into 1/8” pleats. Place the waistband that was cut over the pleated part of the flour sack and pin at the center. Finally, remove all the pins, sewing the waistband from left to right by removing the center pin.
Uses of Flour Sack Aprons
Turn it into Flour Sack covers for appliances
Kitchens have small appliances that need to be kept dust-free. This method will also make the kitchen look neater and more attractive. By taking accurate measurements, the cover can be made easily. Covers can be made for coffee makers, toasters, electric mixers and etc.
Another very popular and trendy use is to cut the flour sack apron into oval or square fabric according to the seat size and shape. Saving all leftover cutouts to tie the chair pad to the rungs of the chair.
Using a flour sack apron and turning it into a shopping bag is an environmentally friendly step. One could make bags in small, medium, and large sizes to use for all purposes. This bag is washable and reusable hence much better than the plastic bags, which also tend to pile up.
Headband & Neckbands
By using old buttons and jewelry, a gorgeous piece of accessory can be created. By cutting half an inch of fabric long enough to fit the head or neck and narrow sewing hems on both sides, a DIY head or neckband can be easily made.
Other Major Uses of Flour Sack Aprons
Apart from the uses that are mentioned above, there are also some other useful ways available we can transform flour sack aprons for our own benefit. Some of them are mentioned below.
- Flour Sack Rag Toy
- Make a towel out of it! Cut out a piece from the flour sack apron to make flour sack tea towels. It can be used to dry dishes and cutlery
- Cut it into a potholder or Oven mitts
- Use it to polish silverware
- Flour sack fabric does not leave behind streaks and shines the cutlery
- Cut it into a piece of fabric that helps to keep the food warm
- Cut it and use it for wiping hands, countertops and chopping boards
- A piece could be used to line a bread basket
- Use as a placemat
- Pieces could be cut and used for dusting and cleaning windows
- Extra embroidery can be done on the piece and presented as a gift
- Can be used as a diaper
- Use it to take strains out of fabric and carpet
Benefits of Flour Sack Aprons
In modern times, vintage is still stylish and holds value; flour apron is no exception. Many houses still sport these aprons for this reason. Not only do they look exceptionally good but they are also very efficient in their job, better than traditional kitchen aprons.
- It is made from 100% pure, high-quality cotton.
- It is made for durability and high absorbance. These aprons are meant to last for quite a good time, and flour sack is a thirsty material meaning it naturally has a very high absorbance trait. This is why so many utilize them while cooking because it is a task that deals with a lot of liquid.
- It is widely utilized in crafting projects such as embroidery.
- Machine wash and dry.
- It does not leave lint. Flour sack aprons offer a lint-free experience for individuals who are cleaning or cooking. Lint on glass cooking utensils does not give a good first impression to your guests so you would not want to use any other material
- It is highly appealing. Flour sack gives a simple look, not too bright and not dull either. It is a vintage fabric hence could be used for future home products too. It will blend well with the home décor, and customization will make it look exceptionally unique. It is a classic looking item, so even if you do not personalize, it will present itself nicely.
- It is all-natural – perfect for making it into a diaper for your baby.
How to Wash, Clean, and Maintain Flour Sack Aprons?
Flour sack aprons have been used for decades. It is made with 100% cotton, the flour sack aprons are highly absorbent, which makes it easier to soak up the spilled liquid. They are also lint-free, but the key, of course, is to maintain and wash the flour sack aprons so that they can last the test of time. With proper care, this fabric can last for years, and by the time they become softer and more absorbent. It is better to make a proper investment once and use it for the longest time possible. Unlike other pieces of cloth, flour sack becomes stronger and more effective with every use. Flour sack aprons can be washed through a washing machine.
Do Not Use Bleach
People often feel the need to use bleach to protect the apron’s crisp white material. It will be a disservice to this valuable piece of fabric if bleach is used. The majority of the store stocked bleaches have chlorine dye, which harms the natural filaments and causes wear and tear of the flour sack apron. Their lifespan of utilization will automatically decrease. The best way to whiten the flour sack apron is to use non-chlorine bleaches made with hydrogen peroxide. This is not only better for the aprons but also for the environment.
Avoid Fabric Softeners
Do not use fabric softeners if you want to maintain your flour sack aprons. This may keep your flour sack apron soft and plush, but internally it will be damaging its quality. Fabric softener makes the flour sack apron less effective by making it harder to absorb the liquid. The fabric softener also leaves behind residues. Instead, people should use white vinegar, which is less harmful, to clean the flour sack aprons.
Remove Smell from Aprons
Since apron is the kind of item that is used daily, the regular touch of water makes your flour sack apron smell bad. Baking soda can be used to enhance the maintenance of the apron. This item is commonly found in every household, and it increases the apron’s absorbency. Before throwing the apron into the washing machine with hot water, add a cup of white vinegar. After the wash cycle is over, you will need to fill the machine again with water, and this time add half a cup of baking soda and dry normally. This makes sure that the apron does not smell, remains fresh and absorbent, and any dirt, particle, or residue is also removed. This combination also removes any persistent stains. If a stain is hard to remove, apply baking soda directly on it and let it sit for a few minutes. This is necessary for wine and sauce stains that need to be removed immediately.
Should the Flour Sack Aprons Be Washed Separately?
One of the most common issues is overfilled washing machines. If the machine is overcrowded, the cleaning will be subpar. Too many items in the machine mean that residue will be left on the apron, and if the fibers are clogged, the apron becomes less absorbent. One should remember to wash the aprons regularly to remove bacteria. If it is possible, do not wash any other items with the apron, but if you cannot help it wash all the white cotton items together. This is preferred to avoid any dye getting on the apron or to avoid your items coming off half dried or half washed.
Use Proper Machine Settings
As you use and wash the apron, wear and tear are common, but you can limit the shrinkage and other issues that make it less effective, with proper care. Make sure that you choose light cycle settings and cold water for flour sack aprons. Washing them by hand is also acceptable. When it is the turn to dry them, make sure you air dry them properly. If you do not have space or time to air dry the items, you can also tumble dry them. Avoid high heat drying since it causes shrinkage.
Keep your Aprons Germ-free by investing in proper storage
Flour sack aprons can be easily contaminated, so make sure after washing them, you keep them in a basket away from your countertop, since that is where most of the bacteria are. It only takes 10 seconds for the apron to get dirty, so if after washing the apron, we are keeping it near the sink, then the washing was for nothing. Invest in proper storage, and since you wear the apron bringing it closer to your body; make sure you clean it well. You can also hang them on individual hooks and leave them to dry.
Know When It Is Time to Bring the Next Batch In!
Having a flour sack apron for a long time is possible. However, you should know when it is time to throw them out and buy a new batch. Remember that quality should always top quantity. Using a subpar apron means you are not using that item for what it is made for.
By following the tips mentioned above, you can keep the flour sack aprons clean, highly absorbent, and white for a long time. Regular washing is the key to improving its efficiency. If you are able to limit cross-contamination, you can keep your house germ free. The 100% cotton apron is indeed a very rich investment for a house but a long-lasting one.
Americans have been using flour sack fabric for generations, and some regions of the world still love carrying this fine tradition. Everything around us has a history, and some of that history also touches our daily life. They make a great gift and can help in making a number of DIY projects, even today.
You can even customize or tailored them with a name or monogram or any feature you like. While it started with clothes specifically, it transformed into a thousand different things. The fact that people made an ordinary apron from pretty patterned flour sacks just goes to show how creative we can be with the things in our homes.