Friday, September 5

WHY IN DESIGN POST: Gettin' Cozy with Grain Sack Fabric in the Home; the history & love of this Antique Farm-Inspired Material

Photo via Gabby Stephenson
from Mulford Farm Antique Show, East Hampton 
I'm currently shopping for a grain sack piece to use on my table at
Art of The Table with Traditional Home magazine and sponsor Lenox
at  Bilotta Kitchen at the A&D Building in NYC on October 24, 2014!
~Why In Design Column~
  Why Antique Grain Sack Fabric
is a Smart Choice for your Home!
Originally created by farmers to identify their products after transporting their grain, flour or sugar from the farm to the mill, these sacks were created throughout Europe as far back as the 17th century.  The farmer transported his bounties by wagons.  They were made with materials that were meant to endure harsh elements, often a combination of spun hemp or flax.   First the farmer would grow the hemp or flax, soak it then often the farmer's wife would weave the material.  The hemp lightens and softens with age, and the beauty of these antique fabrics is that each grain sack is unique with some of them rough and loosely woven, and others tight and smooth.   The designs are often printed with either a stripe, a farm or family name or monogram for easy identification. The stripe runs through the center or side and typically in red or blue.  Over a decade ago while visiting the Provence region in France I noticed antique grain sack material on the upholstery in homes and inns, and in a way that created an elegant, yet country feel. There is something very special about the way the French combine their interiors.   
~je ne sais quoi~ 
A French term meaning an indefinable, elusive quality, especially a pleasing one
It's that je ne sais quoi, and the magic tonic the French have when putting it altogether.  In a French home, you will find a beautiful, elegant museum quality case piece of furniture residing comfortably next to a rough wire basket and perhaps to add to the view, a strikingly modern Lucite chair nearby.  The combination is extraordinary.  Today the United States is borrowing from their stylish European cousin, and over this past decade the grain sack has become quite popular in our homes.  Today, it can be seen all through shelter magazines, over on Pinterest and in the American home on pillows, upholstery, table linens and even window treatments.  The fabric wears nicely over time to creamy shades of cream, taupe, nude, white and  the once nubby material takes on a lovely patina as it ages.  One advantage to buying an original sack is that each one is a single piece of fabric hand stitched together on the sides, so when taken gently apart, you have one long piece of fabric which is perfect for upholstery or curtains. 
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

via Fabric Pin Board
love how modern this room feels by 
South African interior designer Kim Stephen who utilizes a grain sack fabric on this bed
 via Decor Pad 
a great use of an antique grain sack, then monogram added
Photo: Anita Calero via Southern Living magazine 
set against the colorful walls, these upholstered chairs create a pretty picture:
via Traditional Home magazine

There are lots of grain sack fabrics available over on etsy in varying prices ranges.  Check out some of the ones we found...