European Grain Sacks

Grain sacks were once used to store grains!  They are made from sturdy fabric that makes them extremely useful, durable and versatile.

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A Brief History of Grain Sacks

My collection of European grain sacks range in age from the late 18th to the early 20th century.  These wonderful, often worn treasures of time were used for storing and hauling grains.  Grains sacks were hand made from long linen bolts that were painstakingly handwoven.  It took the average weaver 1 night to weave 60 centimeters ( 24 inches) of this lovely fabric.  The stripes commonly seen on these textiles acted as the signature of the farmer so that when they brought their grain to the mill, their sacks could be distinguished from the grain sacks of everyone else.  This is why you will find such a wide variety of stripes!  The plain sacks would have been either stamped or monogrammed for the same purpose.

On the other end of the spectrum jute or hessian sacks, or what may be more recognizable to some as burlap sacks, were also for agricultural use.  These were stamped with beautiful rustic lettering and designs, often in black but sometimes in multiple colors.  In this way hessian sacks often tell us exactly what they were used for or at least the company that owned them right on the bag!

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Qualities of These Textiles

Every grain sack is unique!  Each is made from either pure hemp or flax, or of a linen and cotton mix or blend.  The material and the weight of the yarn and retting process determines the overall tone and texture of the grain sack, which can vary from very coarse to smooth.  They are occasionally beautifully softly worn!  Sometimes they have a grain spout and grain ties at the opening, or wonderful hand stitched mends and patches!  The tones vary from wonderful dark caramels and grays to cream and oatmeal tones, and of course the stripes come in every color of the rainbow!  I have so many wonderful grain sacks to choose from!  I even have a few wonderful and rare printed and dyed sacks!

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Uses

Grain sacks are beautiful for display, as pillow cases or deconstruction for use in a variety of projects!  They are wonderful for upholstery, towels, rustic napkins, window treatments, dog beds, pillows, lampshades, bedding, bathmats, purses, just about anything you can dream up!  This fabric is extremely durable and sturdy, these bags were really built to last!

Hessian or jute sacks are best used for their wonderful printed stamps or logos for display, framed or in panels of doors or cupboards.  They can be used as upholstery for rustic porch furniture and decorative pillows, and they also make excellent props for theater or films.