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Grocery tote bag made out of 40lb birdseed sack

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This tote bag is made with the pretty sack our birdseed came in.  The finished bag is about 15" tall, 14" wide and 9 inches deep. 
It's made with
one plastic birdseed bag
thread and sewing machine
quilt batting (poly, cotton, wool, doesn't matter) about 6 x 40 inches
rotary cutter, ruler and mat, but you can use scissors if you don't have that.

I wash the bags first with dishsoap.  Let them dry.  Undo the stitching across the bottom.
I have two options for finishing the bottom seam.

 
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Step 1: More preparation for the sack...

1 prepping bagSvedbergIMG_6994 refold sides to measure7.JPG
1 prepping bagSvedbergIMG_6995 cut off bottom8.JPG
2 Sides SvedbergIMG_6996 refold sides at new bag width01.JPG
2 Sides SvedbergIMG_6997 one side refolded02.JPG
2 Sides SvedbergIMG_6999 side refolded04.JPG
2 Sides SvedbergIMG_7002 folding side on back of bag07.JPG
2 Sides SvedbergIMG_7005 both sides with new width10.JPG

A.   Fold down the edge of the bag (to the inside) so that the design on the bag is at the edge.  Crease this fold.  This particular bag has side creases folded in (like a paper grocery bag), so fold those in.  Don't worry about the actual edge of the plastic yet, we'll tackle that later.  Lay it flat on your cutting surface. 
I don't advise using any types of pins, so when you need to have something held tight, use binder clips or large paperclips.

B. and C.   I want 20" of bag from that top fold down to my bottom seam.  On my cutting board I aligned the top edge of the bag with the 30" mark, and I aligned my ruler to cut at the 10" mark.

D. and E.   The next step I did is to make deeper sides.  Currently my birdseed sack would have a really wide front and back, but the sides would be narrow. 
I start out by making my front right edge close to the design on the sack by making a new fold like along the design.

F.  I repeat for the front left side.

G. and H.  and I.   Then I turn the sack over...and hopefully I can describe this so you can understand.  I want the back to be the same width as the front.
With my new crease for the front of the bag and the original side center crease I make the bag lie flat so I'm creating a new side crease for the back that matches the front...and I repeat it on the other side.
Crease the sides well so that when the come 'undone' you can see where they're suppose to be.

Your directions are fine. But, being a man and NOT a Seamster, I am sure that my wife will be in stitches watching me man handle this project. Being a retired engineer I have read and reread the instructions so I can get it right.
foobear9 months ago
So beautiful! You could actually sell that for sure
saosport1 year ago
Just what I was looking for. I was going to make one out of empty dog food bags. Thanks
artquilter (author)  saosport1 year ago
Great!
I just made 5 more last week.
I saved one of my plastic bags from my Chicken feed that was Pink for Breast Cancer awareness. The Layena Brand. I'm going to try to make one of these out of it! GREAT IDEA! I'll post pic if it turns out. I'm not very crafty but this looks like an easy tutorial to follow! Thanks so much for sharing!
snomoon1 year ago
You might want to try Upholstery thread. I use it when I make these and it is nice and strong and don't have the problem with my machine (maybe will not work on yours, but may be worth a try) thinking it is too thick. I have a fickle machine too!
sitnsew2 years ago
I had been saving these bird seed bags for something and then I came across you tutorial. Followed your directions and made one in about one hour. Turned out real nice. Thanks for the detailed steps.
artquilter (author)  sitnsew2 years ago
AWESOME!
Thanks!
It's beautiful. I think I am going to dismantal a grocery store re-usable bag, and use it as a pattern. If my idea works out, then I would have a template for other projects. Thanks for posting. I'd much rather carry your beautiful bag than the ugly store brand ones. Can't wait to see more of your ingenious creations.
morgano3 years ago
Thanks for the 'ible - I plan to do this with an empty bag of malted barley that I used for all-grain brewing.
artquilter (author)  morgano3 years ago
Awesome! Please post a picture when you're done!
artquilter (author) 3 years ago
In the Minneapolis/St.Paul area you can find these birdseed bags at Fleet Farm.
vtbeachldy3 years ago
Tote bags can also be made from woven plastic dog food bags. We buy Pur*** and all are the plastic "tarp" material. Easy to sew. DON'T TRY TO IRON OUT THE CREASES!!!
bluenebe4 years ago
Looks wonderful!!! Great idea, good job. Thanks for this instructable. It is a pity that such nice birdseed bags are not purchasable in ahops around here... 
ChrysN4 years ago
That is such a pretty bag!
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