When towels are more than towels

I was flipping through the kitchen linens at a thrift store on Saturday afternoon when a flash of vintage fabric caught my eye.

vintage feed sacks

I knew instantly I’d found a goldmine of old feedsacks made into kitchen towels. The price? One dollar each. Yes, YES, and YES!!! Can you say “Quilting Heaven”?

But after a closer look I knew I wouldn’t be cutting quilt blocks after all.

Someone invested hours to add crochet edging. It was my first clue that these towels weren’t taken for granted by the original owner.

yellow crochet trim on a feedsack towel

No rotary cutter is EVER going to touch this

fruit print feedsack detail

Not just pretty, crochet trim would have served as edge armor.

Some of the hemming had been done by hand, not zipped through a sewing machine.

crochet trim and hem detail vintage towel

All that (blurry) hand stitching–just for a towel.

But the details that made my heart melt were found on the two matching fruit print pieces. One had never been used.

used and unused feedsacks

The other had been used and used and then patched with small squares of yet another feedsack.

feedsack patches on feedsack

When’s the last time you patched a kitchen towel?

She could have tossed it in her rag basket and used the new one, but chose instead to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It must have been hard times indeed.

patch detail

Eventually they were carefully folded, right sides in, and tucked away–still too good for the rag basket. Thrifty. Frugal. You never know when you might need it.

Isn’t it funny how something as simple as towels can reveal a bit of someone’s life story?

2 Comments on “When towels are more than towels”

  1. Love finding stuff like this…the patches do tell a story. I have a vintage umbrella that is patched and hand stitched. I would never in a million years think of sewing up an umbrella to keep using it.

    • janeray says:

      I’d love to see your patched umbrella! It would never occur to me to do that, either. Now we just toss things and buy new ones–the new normal.