by Andrea J. Mahoney
50 lb. feed bag
1 yd of cotton fabric for lining
Grosgrain ribbon or nylon webbing (The size is personal preference. I used ⅞” wide, and 2 lengths of 27” each)
Water soluble fabric pen
Grid Ruler or tape measure
Sewing machine with Heavy duty needle
*note about scissors : You don’t want to use your good fabric scissors for cutting the feed bag. You can use a rotary cutter, though you may want to change the blade after. You can also use your “junk drawer” scissors for cutting the feed bag.
1. Take a good look at your feed bag, wash it, and make sure it is completely clean and dry. Decide what parts of your bag you want to include, and the size of your bag. I decided on 15” tall for my tote, and I centered the cute chickens in that area to make it work for me. I used a grid ruler and rotary cutter but you can also achieve this with just scissors and a tape measure. I cut off the bottom to have a decent start to the bag (keep in mind that some of it will be folded in the seam allowance for creating square corners) and measured up 15.”
2. Next, turn the bag right side in, and line up the bottom as you clip the edges together. Sew a ¼” seam allowance along the bottom edge, and I like to add another seam closer to the edge to help reinforce the bag.
3. For the next step, you will want to place your hands inside your tote bag to flatten out the bottom. This picture is of the inside after I’ve pressed down the seam we just sewed. You’ll notice when pushing down, little triangles appear on the outside. We’ll be sewing these to form the bottom of the bag.
4. I then laid down the side onto the bottom seam, making sure to push out the corner and line up the bottom seam with the side crease of the feed bag.
5. Next, I aligned the corner on a straight line and placed two clips on either side of the corner. I then ran a grid ruler down, perpendicular to the crease until I reached 3” since that is the width I wanted to make my tote. I then used a fabric marker/chalk to mark the line for stitching.
6. Then, stitch down the line you drew, and add another line of stitching within the seam allowance for reinforcement.
7. Using non-fabric scissors or a rotary cutter, trim the corner. You can barely see the yellow thread of the second stitch just above the 3” base stitch.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 for the other corner. Turn the bag right side out.
9. Now, we are going to prep the straps! I used ⅞” polyester grosgrain ribbon, just what I had on hand. You can also use nylon webbing. I only had 54” left, so I split that in half to create 27” for each strap. Feel free to adjust the length to what works for you! I used fray check to seal the ends. If using synthetic ribbon, you can also melt the ends. With the way 2020 is going, I didn’t want to chance using a lighter for this project.
10. In looking at my current tote bags around the house, I noticed some had a middle part sewn together. So, I folded the ribbon in half, marked it with a pin as I folded the short sides together. I then measured 2” from each side of the pin, to give me a 4” length of the folded ribbon in the middle. I then sewed close to the edge of the two sides.
11. To attach the straps, I measured 4” over from the edge of the front/back, and then 2” down from the top edge of the edge. I then clipped the ribbon in place.
12. I sketched out a rectangle, and drew an “X” on the inside for me to follow when sewing. Repeat these same steps for the other side.
13. Next, we will prepare the lining. I measured the size of my feed bag, and then added a ¼” on one side as well as the bottom to allow for the seam. I used a fold line of the fabric as one of the sides so I could make one less stitch, but if you do not have enough fabric for a fold, be sure to add another ¼” so that you can sew up the other side as well. Cut out your material.
14. With right sides together, clip the side seam together. Stitch a ¼” seam allowance.
15. Now, line up the bottom of your lining, right sides together and clip. You will want to leave around a 6” opening in the middle of the bottom for turning. *I tried it with 5” and it was quite snug to pull it through when turning.* Stitch ¼” seam allowance, and you may want to run another seam inside of the seam allowance to help make it stronger. Make sure you double stitch at the opening with both seams.
16. Now, repeat steps 3-7 to square up the corners of your lining.
17. Next, with the feed bag facing right side out, slide the lining around it with right sides together. Clip around and make sure the handles are hanging down and away from where you will sew. Stitch around the top, and make sure you are not sewing the handles.
18. Then, pull the feed bag out of the lining. Gently, place your hand inside the opening in the lining, and begin to pull the material through the opening. After everything is pulled through, you can sew the lining opening shut with your preferred way. I used my machine for ease in this project, and since it will be inside the bag. Then, push your lining inside the bag.
19. I really loved this fabric, so I wanted a little border of it peeking out. I clipped the material together around the top, and stitched around the top. Again, I made sure the handles were out of the way. Do a quick check to trim any extra threads on your bag.
Your bag is ready to enjoy!