I know that half the crafters on etsy think they invented DIY (do it yourself) but here’s proof that we Seventies hippie girls were the actual inventors of repurposing.
I’m joking, of course. Remaking textile items has been going on as long as there have been textiles. What changed were attitudes toward remodeling old textile items. Whereas our grandmother and mothers during the Great Depression and WWII were well acquainted with making things last, the prosperity of the 1950s made remodeling old clothing unnecessary for many.
But then, in the late Sixties, we discovered the delights of old textiles. To get in on the action companies that made new textiles pushed using their products as crafting materials. This poster from Cannon Mills is a great example.
There’s no date on the poster, but all the Simplicity and McCall’s patterns featured are dated 1970. That seems right to me. I was in the ninth grade, and I was really into these type of Peter Max-ish graphics.
Cannon Mills was located in Kannapolis, NC. The town was a mill town, but was the largest of its type with around 1600 homes, a hospital and YMCA. By 1918 the factory had become the largest producer of towels in the world. Other Cannon factories produced sheets and kitchen linens. At the height of the company’s prosperity, there were 30,000 employees. Starting in the 1980s there were a series of company mergers and sell-offs, and on one dark day in 2003, the Kannapolis mill closed, putting 4340 at that mill and 3310 others out of their jobs. The Cannon name was sold, and products with the name are now produced in Asia.