by Rebecca Nickols
Here's a great way to repurpose, reuse and recycle your empty chicken feed sacks. It's not a new idea: I've seen several online sites with instructions on how to make grocery totes out of all sorts of creative materials. I read them all ... then took what I liked out of each example and came up with my version of a reusable bag that's easy to construct, functional and even somewhat fashionable!
This bag only took me a little over an hour to complete, and I'll try to go over each step in detail (photos included) ...
#14 needle (for heavy-weight fabrics)
Rotary cutter - cutting mat - ruler
50 lb. plastic feed sack
Step 1: Cutting the Bag
Open the bottom of the bag, lay it flat and--using the rotary cutter, ruler and mat--cut off the bottom 8 1/2 inches of the bag (right below the sun on the front of the Purina bag).
Step 2: Sew the Bottom Seam
With right sides together, using a 1/2-inch seam allowance--sew the bottom seam. Sew another row of stitches about a 1/4-inch from the edge.
Step 3: Boxed Corners
Next, measure and mark a 9-inch line across each triangle. To keep the line straight, use the 45-degree line on your ruler.
Sew across this line and reinforce this stitching by sewing again about 1/4 inch away from your first stitching line (toward the triangle's point). Turn the bag right side out. It should be able to stand on its own and have a square bottom.
Step 4: Top Edge
Using the binder clips, fold down 3 1/2 inches from the top edge and with your fingers crease this fold.
Next, remove the clips and fold the raw edge to the crease line.
Fold again and it should be the finished height of the bag. Secure this fold with binder clips.
Step 5: The Handles
Using the leftover material from the end of the bag, cut off 2 1/2 inches. Cut this piece in half. Now there are two strips, 3 inches each.
Cut these strips at each end, creating four strips total.
With right sides together, stitch a 1/2 inch seam on one side of each handle.
Open the strip and fold 1/2 inch down on each long end (secure and crease fold with binder clips).
Now fold these sides together and sew 1/4 inch from edge.
Sew another edge stitching 1/4 inch from the other end of the handle strip.
Next, position the handles on each side of the bag, but slip them into the inside fold at the top of the bag. (They will be on the inside of the bag--see photo.)
Sew the top edge down 1/4 inch from the folded edge.
Fold your handles back up so they stick out of the bag.
Secure them in place by stitching a square pattern with an X through the box (see photos).
For more detailed photos and instructions, please refer to the best online instructions I found: Grocery tote bag made out of 40-lb birdseed sack and Make your own Feed Bag Tote.
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