Ginny Helphinstine Reeves grew up on a farm in rural Fleming County and has fond memories of her mother and grandmother putting feed sack material to good use.
Ginny’s recollections of rural life bring back fond memories of her mother and her grandmothers cooking and sewing and how her family made “many a garment” with feed sack cloth.
“In grade school about all I wore were feed sack dresses. Mother would save the material and send it to aunt Tootsie in Harlan, KY, she was an excellent seamstress, still is”, Ginny said. “If she had your measurements she didn’t need to see you, so even though she had a large family of her own she would make all these feed sack dresses for my sister Fran and I and send them to us by the time school started. So my sister and I had all these feed sack dresses for school. Everything was ironed back then. Even our dish towels were made from feed sacks. That’s the way it was for everyone in our community, we made do with what we had. I have dried many, many dishes with those feed sack towels”.
Collecting and trading different patterns of feed sack material was a favorite pastime for farm wives.
“Sometimes daddy would go to the store without mother, and when he did she would bring out a piece of material for him to find a piece to match, if they didn’t have it you would find someone to trade with”, Ginny said.
When Ginny was in the fourth grade she made her first apron.
“My first sewing project for 4h-H was an apron made out of feed sack”, Ginny said. “I worked on it for a long time to get the stitches real small. Christine Hurst and Mamie Morrison were 4-H leaders back then and came to the lunch room at Goddard school and helped us cut our patterns out. Miss Mamie would say” now Ginny you gotta make smaller stitches.
It seemed like I worked on that apron forever, trying to get the stitches as small as possible. I still have that apron."