Thrift Style

August 1 – December 16, 2017, Ruth Ann Wefald Gallery

This exhibition of textiles from the collection of the Historic Costume and Textile Museum of Kansas State University explores the reuse of feed sacks to make clothing and other household objects. The exhibition illuminates how “upcycling” of textile materials mutually benefitted twentieth-century consumers and commercial businesses, and might inform today’s individuals and enterprises as they seek ways to contribute to sustainability.

The reuse of feed, flour, and sugar sacks was a cost‐saving and resource‐saving approach employed by homemakers to make new items to meet their families’ needs. The practice became especially popular during the mid-1920s, when businesses began capitalizing on interest by introducing bags with increasingly varied printed patterns. The sacks and other fabric scraps from manufacturers served thrifty home sewers through the Great Depression and into the 1960s. A collectors market for the bags and fabric remnants thrives today.

The feed sacks from mill towns across Kansas in the exhibition are from a 2016 gift to the Historic Costume and Textile Museum by Richard D. Rees in memory of Janet Lee Rees.

This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from the Caroline Peine Charitable Foundation/The Manhattan Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

Related event:

Public conversation with Marla Day and Edie McGinnis
Thursday, September 21, 5:30 p.m.

"Thrift Style" and "Reclaimed Creations" exhibition flyer