Sunbonnets and Feed Sacks

Posting pictures of my extensive cotton crop (4 plants) in Guess the Plant the other day, I remembered a couple of sunbonnets and a feed sack I had tucked away.

The pale blue sunbonnet has a brim that buttons on with 5 shell buttons.  The fabric is either a crisp cotton or linen. The dark blue flowered sunbonnet has a brim that is stiffened by rows of machine stitching.  There are at least two layers of fabric, maybe three.  All the stitching on both bonnets is machine-done.


Two sunbonnets and a feed sack, probably from the 1930s

insides of the sunbonnets

The sunbonnets flipped inside out to show construction and unfaded fabric

This feed sack is double-woven in a tube.  Both layers of warp were woven together for about an inch, to form a closed bottom to the sack.  Then the two layers are woven separately to form the tube, meaning that there are no side seams to tear.

close-up of feed sack

Close-up of feed sack showing weave and bottom of tube

The close-up shows that the yarn is a singles, but this is not a balanced plain weave – there are two warp threads lifting together but only one weft – it’s not a basket weave.  Checking my weaving pattern books, the only one I can find like it is the “alternating singles”  from the 1957 version of Mary Black’s New Key to Weaving.

I love textiles like these – they don’t look like much, but they feel sturdy and soft, and I know they were part of someone’s everyday work life.