Photos by author
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!
My top choice in chicken feed just happens to have the most attractive option for a bag; Purina Layena SunFresh Recipe Poultry Feed: the one with the picture of the Barred Plymouth Rock that shares a striking resemblance to my own Cleopatra!
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) …
Tools and Materials
#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).
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
This is probably the trickiest step to explain, but boxed bottom corners, as in a paper grocery sack, will make your bag much more functional than just simply a flat tote. Lay the bag flat (right sides together) and fold the center sides of the bag together. This makes two large triangles at the bottom of the bag with the bottom seam in the middle (see photo).
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.
Using the binder clips, fold down 3 1/2 inches from the top edge and with your fingers crease this fold.
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.
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.
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).
That’s it! One less feed sack to throw in the trash and several less plastic grocery bags you’ll be tempted to use. If you’re anything like me the hardest part about using reusable shopping bags is remembering to pack them in the car. This bag is big, bright and a visible reminder to grab this tote before going to the market. It might also help you remember to feed the chickens!
To see what else is happening on our Southwest Missouri property, visit …the garden-roof coop.