I like making the most of what we have, and I have accumulated quite the pile of feed sacks of late. They have lot’s of uses, like trash bags and weed prevention in the garden, but my latest endeavor has been entering the world of “feed sack tote making”. This is a great way to help our environment! Now, I don’t go with the whole “green” thing, mostly because I see a lot of negatives with some of the popular stuff being pushed, but I do believe in reusing to cut down on waste, and I also prefer bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I was terribly disappointed when I went to the local Walmart with a collection of bags to recycle and the staff told me to throw them away as that’s what they do at the end of the day. They all go in a dumpster instead of being re-cycled, and the bags are so weak you have to double-bag most stuff anyway.
Feed sack totes on the other hand, are great! You not only save your feed sacks from going in the landfill, you get a strong bag that will carry your groceries for a long time, is safe for putting wet things in, and can be used for almost anything (like going to the beach, library, on a picnic). I am making these and am working on a video to show you how to do them yourself as well. I hope to sell my extra’s locally to offset some of our feed costs. These take about 20 minutes to make up after the bags are washed and dried, so it’s not real quick, but it’s also pretty easy if you have the time and the sacks laying around.
Anyway, if you want to make these before I get the video tutorial done, here are the basics.
- Wash a feed sack with soapy water and rinse well and hang to dry.
- Cut the bottom end off the bag close to the seam in a straight line (I use a quilting ruler and pen to mark the bag, then cut with a good pair of scissors)
- Decide where the picture will sit to decide where to cut your straps from. Some bags I cut straps from the bottom, some from the top, and some taking one each from the top and the bottom. When you know where you want to cut, make two strips 3 inches wide, cutting across the bags bottom or top to make two loops.
- Cut the straps apart so you have 2 long lengths, then fold one side in half way, and fold the other in and over to cover the other side, then stitch down the center.
- hem the top of your bag by folding the edge to the inside about 1/2 inch, then folding it over again and top stitch it down. You can add trim or ribbon at this time as well.
- Turn the bag inside-out and sew a straight seam across the bottom of the bag about 1/2-5/8 inch in from the edge, then zig-zag the raw edge to keep it from fraying.
- Fold the bag flat on the bottom and mark the corners 5 inches from the point in a wedge, then sew the line from mark to mark to make a corner.
- Turn your bag right-side out and mark where you want the handles. Fold the handle ends over and sew them on about three inches from the top edge, making sure to reinforce them with an “x”.
- Now you have a bag to use! I will give more details when I finish my video, this is just the basics for an experienced seamstress.