This simple feed-bag tote re-purposes almost all of the feed bags we use around a farm with 200+ animals, and with Spring Chick Season around the corner, many of you are about to have a lot more bags lying around.
With selling these bags on our website (www.choppingblockfarm.com,) etsy, ebay and Farmer's Markets- we pay for our feed completely! What better way to save money for spring projects than to make money from what you already have lying around.
You will need:
* a feed bag
* Sewing Machine (thread)
*ruler (if you wanna be picky)
Free (if you use the feed, and potential profit if sold at farmer's markets)
9-19$ if you purchase the feed just for the bag, but most people will happily give theirs away!
I made this entire bag INCLUDING time to take pictures for this instructable in 50 minutes. Without stopping to take pictures (or measure exactly) I can finish one in about 40 minutes. This is literally the first sewing project I have ever started to try to reuse some of our bags and I have made about 10 of these so far. It is very simple :)
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Step 1: Acquire 40-50lb Feed Bag.
We use 40/50 lb bags for this project. Chicken, cow, goat, rabbit and bird food bags have been used by us. Generally speaking, avoid dog or cat food bags as they contain meat products and the oils from the meat put a gross film all over the bag. You CAN use the dog/cat food bags if you'd like, but I would wash them with dawn dish soap after cutting top and bottom off then hang to dry before starting project :)
Step 2: Cut the Bag
Cut approximately 6" off the top of the bag in as straight of a line as possible (as these will be your handles.) On Nutrena bags, we usually cut along the top of the word "Wise."
Cut the bottom of the bag off. We generally cut only 1-2" off, but keep in mind you can cut off as much as you'd like but it will affect bag dimensions.
Step 3: Turn Bag Inside Out.
I generally use this time to wipe any dust or debris from the bag using a paper towel or damp cloth.
The bags wipe clean easily and this can be cleaned easily as completed bags. For this reason I do not use a liner as I like them to be easily cleanable.
Step 4: Thread
I'm no seamstress- far from it, but I use a heavy weight thread for the bag and regular weight for the bobbin thread. Use whatever you/your machine is comfortable with and feel free to mix up some neat color combinations!
Step 5: Sew the Bottom
(Make sure it is the bottom- I've made that mistake before and you have an upsides down bag.) Sew the bottom of the bag closed, approximately 1/2" from cut edge. (Don't forget to back sew your edges during this whole project so they don't fray!)
Step 6: Resew the Bottom
After sewing, fold up approximately 1/2" from the seam...and once again. This will conceal your sewn edge. Sew this fold.
Step 7: Fold Down Top
Fold down the top of your bag approximately 1/2 " . Sew this fold.
Step 8: Measure and Fold Bottom to Create Gusset
Measure in 3" from each bottom edge of the bag. Fold these towards you and sew each 3" fold individually.
Step 9: Turn Bag "right-side Out."
Your top fold should now be on the inside.
Fold your bottom flaps in and pull taught to reveal gussets. Your bag should now stand freely (or at least close, depending on how wrinkled your bag is.)
Step 10: Fold Top Seam In.
Take the seam along the top that was sewn while the bag was inside out. Fold this seam in (towards inside of bag) approximately 3/4" of an inch. Fold inside again to conceal sewn edge.
Keep in mind that we like our Meatbird totes to clearly read "Meatbird" at the top. That having been said, you can adjust your fold to wherever you like as this will permanently be the front of your bag. Just make sure to sew near the fold to leave extra room for the next step!
I sew this fold with a "pattern" on my machine. There are many to choose from, but I like the simple "zig zag."
Step 11: Make Handles
Using strip cut from top, find the seam in the bag and pull apart by unsealing seam. This should reveal one long piece of bag material. Cut this piece in 1/2 for two 6" wide equally long pieces of material.
Step 12: Fold Handle
Fold one piece in 1/2 lengthwise. Unfold and use the original crease as template line. Fold top and bottom edge to that line. Then fold entire piece creating one handle. At this time I use my ruler to make a crisp fold.
Step 13: Sew Handle
Sew edges and side of handle to connect any unsewn edges.
Repeat folding and sewing on other handle.
Step 14: Place Handle
Measure in approximately 3-4" from edge of bag and place handle edge under lip. This is where you get to decide which side of your handle material you want facing which direction. I generally choose the side with the most design facing out. That of course means I seem to always have a barcode visible. I put the barcode strap on the "back" of the bag.
When you have placed the corner under, fold this around to create one side of your handle and sew in place. I have chosen an "X" type shape, but sew to your comfort level and preference. Just remember that your bag will only be as sturdy as your seams.
Also remember to make sure you measure equally on both sides or your handles will be lopsided. Also make sure they are not twisted.
Step 15: Continue
Continue this process on the other side, and for the "front" of the bag. I usually do the back first to get "in the groove" of sewing the "X" pattern before moving to the front.
Step 16: Enjoy Your New Bag!
Not too shabby, huh? Check out our website at www.choppingblockfarm.com for these bags for sale and other great stuff!