Title page for ETD etd-06232005-162008

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Banning, Jennifer Lynn
Author's Email Address jbanni1@lsu.edu, jlynnbanning@yahoo.com
URN etd-06232005-162008
Title Feed Sack Fashions in South Louisiana, 1949-1968: The Use of Commodity Bags in Garment Construction
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Ecology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jenna Tedrick Kuttruff Committee Chair
Charles Shindo Committee Member
Haesun Park Committee Member
M. E. Betsy Garrison Committee Member
Barry Keim Dean's Representative
  • textile bag
  • rural dress
  • dress history
  • home sewing
  • commercial pattern
  • cotton bag
  • flour sack
  • costume history
  • twentieth century dress
Date of Defense 2005-04-28
Availability unrestricted
In the first part of this study, 37 commodity bag garments made and worn by one woman in rural South Louisiana between the years 1949-1968 were analyzed. The garments are currently in the collection of the Louisiana State University Textile and Costume Museum. A material culture study model, originally developed by Fleming and adapted from Severa and Horswill, was used to identify, evaluate, culturally analyze and interpret the design, construction, and fabric characteristics of garments. Access to this collection provided a rare opportunity to examine the attributes of a related group of commodity bag garments.

In the second part of this study, characteristics of women's daywear commodity bag garments were compared with characteristics of prevalent ready-to-wear women's daywear fashions depicted in a national magazine targeted to women of middle socio-economic status. "Fashion" sections in 120 issues of Good Housekeeping magazine were analyzed using historical analysis methodology.

The commodity bag garments were made to be worn for work on the farm where the seamstress lived and for informal social occasions. The designs were fashionable and creative and the construction was efficient and durable. Fabric, colors, and prints were consistent with those available nationally. The cotton commodity bag fabric used was also comfortable and long wearing, ideal for the temperature and humidity of the South Louisiana climate.

The commodity bag garments were similar in design, construction, and fabric characteristics to fashions that appeared in Good Housekeeping magazine between the years 1949 and 1968. This finding indicated that although the commodity bag garments were primarily made for work in a rural setting, they had many of the same fashion features as mass produced garments that could be purchased in department stores nationwide.

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