1930s Hand Knitted Jumper & Feedsack Skirt

1930s summer separates

Outfit Details

1930s Hand Knitted Jumper  – Made by Kate-Em
1930s Feedsack Skirt – Shepton Mallet Flea Market
White 1940s Style Shoes – Miss L Fire
Bright Pink Straw Handbag – Marks & Spencer
Turquoise Drop Earrings – Made by Me

1930s feedsack skirt and jumper

Before I learnt how to crochet last year I was still rather obsessed with vintage knitwear. However, as I couldn’t knit or crochet I relied entirely on other people making these pretty little garments for me. Initially one of my mum’s friends produced several pieces for me, including my most favourite winter jumper. However, she had to give up knitting due to a shoulder injury, so no more pretties could be made.

This led me to seeking other sources to make my knitwear. The lovely Mim patiently knitted a stunning 1930s style Fair Isle pullover/tank top (whatever you want to call it!), which I absolutely love and which keeps me warm in those too-cold-to-go-with-just-a-blouse-on days. However, the second I bought this amazing original 1930s feedsack skirt I knew I needed a cute little 1930s jumper to go with it. Who could I turn to? The wonderful Kate-Em of course!

1930s hand knitted jumper

I’ve avidly followed Kate-Em’s wool exploits on both her blog and Instagram for a few years now and I’m happy to count her amongst my wonderful online friends. (We really must meet up in real life at some point!). Like Mim, Kate-Em is an incredibly talented knitter and some of the designs she chooses to do really are mind-boggling. I knew she’d be perfect for the job as she shares my love of 1930s knitwear and has an extensive collection of vintage patterns.

1930s hand knitted jumper and feedsack skirt

I had several requirements for the jumper, I wanted it to have short sleeves, to be fairly lightweight for the warmer months and it had to match the turquoisey-blue flowers in the skirt. After much discussion Kate-Em sent me pictures of the patterns she had that fitted the bill. There were so many lovely ones that it was very had to choose but eventually I settled on this beautiful tennis jumper.

Now all I needed to do was find the perfectly matching yarn! After much discussion with Kate-Em (as I literally had no knowledge of yarn weights, fibres and etc) I finally chose Rowan Panama, a cotton/linen/viscose blend, in cornflower and daisy. I bought one more ball of the cornflower yarn than she specified to make sure she had enough as it was being discontinued or was out of stock on most of the websites I went on. In the end another ball was quickly purchased when it looked like she was running out!

1930s hand knitted jumper and feedsack skirt

I’m so grateful for all the work Kate-Em put into it and for all of the invaluable advice she gave me about yarns. It really did give me good grounding for my own crochet and I now feel confident when choosing what I need for each project.

I absolutely love how the jumper turned out. The colours match perfectly and the shape of it and the feel of the yarn is so 1930s. It’s got a good weight to it but it is still light enough to wear on the hotter days, like the one when we took these photos.

1930s hand knitted jumper

The little bow was actually crocheted by me. I had expressed that I needed something to break up the neckline because round necks don’t always suit me. Kate-Em kindly knitted a long strip of the daisy coloured yarn for me to have a play with but in the end a longer bow just didn’t suit the style. As I had been to my crochet workshop by then, and there was a tiny amount of the yarn left, I decided to make a smaller cute version.

1930s feedsack skirt and jumper

I can’t finish off before talking about the authentic 1930s feedsack skirt. I bought this at my favourite flea market held at The Bath & West Showground and it cost me just £15! I really don’t think the seller knew what she had here and had marked it low because the waist is quite small. I can only comfortably wear it with a girdle on that sucks in my middle area!

When I spotted it on her rails I did that intrepid approach towards it, not really believing what I was seeing. I pulled it off the hanger and slipped it over what I was wearing. I immediately convinced myself that I could make it fit, despite not being able to quite do the poppers up on the waistband, as there was no way I was leaving this behind. I then quickly went and paid without saying a word!

When I got home I took all of the poppers off the opening to reposition them slightly and underneath a couple of them were the tell-tale signs of it once being a feedsack, little neat holes that were originally part of the stitching line of the sack’s closure. I’m sure you can imagine what my little happy dance was like!

I absolutely adore this skirt and will treasure it for many, many years to come. It’s in immaculate condition and fits me so well (with a girdle of course!) and the print is just so incredible. Coincidentally, i.e. not planned in the slightest, my pink 1930s crochet jumper goes perfectly with this skirt too. Yay!

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. Lover of all things old, lingerie obsessive, crafter and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

32 Comments

  1. Lovely outfit! I love that jumper and I can hardly believe that there’s still a feedsack skirt in such lovely condition.

    • Thank you Norma! I know, I couldn’t believe it either and I really will treasure it so dearly. xx

    • Thanks Colette! Yes, it’s perfect for Spring and it feels great to finally be able to wear it after the darker colours of my winter clothes. xx

  2. How beautiful you look! It’s a lovely outfit, how clever of Kate Em to craft just what you wanted. She’s a talented lady! As for the skirt, it’s just gorgeous. I keep on hearing ‘feedsack’ though and don’t understsnd what it is, so I’ll search online now! Xx

    • Aw, thank you Sarah! Kate-Em really is a wiz with wool, I can tell you. I’m so pleased to have such a lovely garment made by her fair hands. xx

  3. Ok, so I’ve googled. I understand sacks from flour etc. being used in clothing, good upcycling there, but why would they be printed with that nice floral pattern?? Surely that made it an expensive bag of flour?!

    • Sorry, that’s my bad, I really shouldn’t just assume people know about these things! The original sacks were plain with the company’s logo on them but thrifty housewives started using them for garments. The producers of the feedsacks realised the marketing potential of this and started producing them with colourful prints. Women would then instruct their husbands to buy several sacks of flour with the same print on it so they could make a complete dress.

      Have a read of this post on the Etsy blog – https://blog.etsy.com/en/feed-sacks-a-sustainable-fabric-history/. It’s one of the better ones out there, although it does seem to just sweep over the 1930s when feedsacks were probably in the greatest demand. Many Hooverette dresses (1930s wrap-around house dresses) were made from feedsack. Hope that helps! xx

  4. Although I’d heard about the feedsack thing, I’d never actually seen a garment made from feedsacks. What a find! The print is lovely and very combinable. It would be nice with a green top too. Kate-Em’s jumper is lovely She really is a talented knitter. xxx

    • Oh yes, there are still some about, although mainly in the US. I honestly couldn’t believe I’d found one in the UK, although it probably winged its way here from America somehow. xx

  5. What a fabulous jumper! Well done Kate-Em, as usual 🙂 The whole outfit comes together so perfectly and I love your hair here too!

    • She’s a star, isn’t she? I like my hair here too. I actually made a conscious decision to set the curls lower than I normally do. It wasn’t easy with my thick hair as I had to stack one curl on top of the other rather than in rows, but it seemed to work! xx

  6. That is such an interesting fact about the flour sacks! My mum remembers making things from flour sacks. In fact I have several pillow cases that she made with embroidered edges. I don’t use them anymore but just pat them when I open my linen drawer. I’d never part with them
    You sweater is lovely. I scavenged a few vintage 40’s knitting patterns from my Mum’s box of old patterns. You’ve inspired me to try to make something from them instead of just looking at the pictures:)

    • Oh that’s so lovely that you have your mum’s original feedsack pillow cases! I’m sure you treasure them dearly. Yes, you should definitely dig out some old knitting patterns. I don’t knot but I do crochet and I love make vintage knitwear for myself. xx

    • Oh, I know and I’m sure you can imagine just how excited I was when I spotted those stitch holes! xx

  7. What a fabulous spring look! That skirt was an amazing find, and the sweater is just perfect with it – way to go, Kate-Em! She’s so talented, I’d actually love to commission something from her at some point. 30s style knitwear is just gorgeous, but so hard to find, so it’s handy to know a talented knitter if you’re not one yourself!

    • Oh you should defintiely ask her, she’s such a fabulous knitter. I’ve never been able to find decent vintage knitwear, I have no idea where other people get it from. xx

  8. That is such a pretty outfit. Kate-Em did a wonderful job there.
    I never knew we had feedsack fabrics in the UK, I always thought that was more of an American thing. That skirt was a tremendous find. I wonder if it did make its way here from the States – what a journey it might have had.

    • I don’t think printed feedsacks were ever available in the UK. I do think this was brought over from the US at point, although perhaps not from the seller I bought it from. She obviously didn’t know the significance of it, she just said she thought it was a pretty skirt! xx

    • Thank you! Yes, the texture is so unusual which is mainly due to the type of yarn, it was quite different to most other ones.

  9. (sorry catching up on some blogs)

    Lovely outfit!! Such great colors! Kate-Em is so talented! I was already drooling about this jumper on her Instagram account.

    • Thanks Anthea! She really is a whizz with knitting and has been such a massive help to me with my crochet xx

  10. Fabulous set of pictures. The colours are so pretty. How wonderful to have an original piece made from a feed sack, I’m so glad that it fitted. It is just lovely for me to see the jumper being bought to life here, I’m so pleased to see it on you. Thank you for your very kind comments. Perfect hair too! As for meeting up, we need to get that arranged!

    • I’m so glad you like the full ensemble and, once again, thank you so much for knitting this cute jumper. I’ve been wearing it a lot now the weather has got a bit warmer and it looks fabulous with my brown skirt too! xx

  11. Well done Kate-em! The top is just marvelous on you and especially with your fantastic find of a skirt. So nice to have friends who are talented 🙂

    • Oh, isn’t it? I feel so lucky to have so many crafting friends who all do lots of different things. xx

  12. What a pretty spring look! The colour of yarn you chose is so perfectly soft and feminine! And I’m not surprised that Kate-Em did such a stellar job, she is a knitting genius!!

    • Isn’t she just? I love this jumper and wear it a lot, I even have it on right now! xx

  13. You look absolutely beautiful in this outfit! The hand-knitted jumper from Kate-Em is so pretty and perfectly matches the gorgeous feedsack skirt! What a find!! I love the look of 1930’s dresses/skirts/blouses made from feedsacks, even though the history behind them is so sad and so deeply touching.

    • Thank you! Yes, feedsack garments are a bit of a holy grail for me, so when I spotted this skirt there was no way I was leaving it behind. xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.