Women’s Work and Sustainability: Print Textile Use in Early 20th Century America


In early twentieth century America, many women were responsible for the design and production of clothing and household textiles for the whole family. Left with increasingly smaller and smaller budgets to do so, especially during the Depression Era when one in four workers were unemployed, they were forced to use their creativity to provide textile resources. One of the most successful examples of this was a uniquely sustainable and aesthetic option: the printed flour sacks that were created by companies such as Gold Medal, Pillsbury and Gingham Girl Flour. This research examines design practices and cultural norms from this time which provided the superstructure during which industry and homemakers were able to successfully integrate sustainable design practices in the home.


Marie Botkin
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, California State University Long Beach, California, United States


Presentation Type

Poster Session


Design in Society


Sustainability, Textiles, Historic Fashion

Digital Media


Women’s Work and Sustainability (ppt)