Feed bags are made of incredibly sturdy material and come in all sorts of pretty colors and patterns and it's a shame to just throw them out. Some communities are banning plastic grocery bags, others are taking a few cents off your grocery bill for each tote bag you use, but even if you live in an area that doesn't give an incentive to use a reusable tote bag, its still an in expensive, easy, eco-friendly way to help save the environment.
I have been sewing all our feed bags up into market tote bags which are great for groceries, knitting, books, the beach, or trips to the feed store. They don't rip, hold a lot more than a regular plastic bag and are really easy to make, only requiring basic sewing skills and maybe a half hour of your time.
40 or 50 lb. Feed Bag (washed out and dried)
44" nylon or cotton webbing (or you can use the discarded strips of bag to make straps)
Coordinating spool of thread and bobbin
Sewing machine fitted with a 90/14 medium-weight needle
Measure 21" vertically up the front of the bag, centering the design you want on the front of the bag within the middle 17". Mark your cutting lines and cut the top and bottom off the bag (save the scraps if you want to use them as straps).
Turn the bag inside out. With bag lying flat, sew along the bottom edge, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance.
Fold the bag, still inside out, flattening the sides, so the bottom corners each form a triangle. Measure 4" from the point of the triangle on either side and mark a sewing line.
Sew along the line on both sides (this forms the flat bottom) and then trim off the point of each triangle using pinking shears, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance. This is what the corners will look like with the bag turned right side out.
With the bag still inside out, fold the top edge over an inch and then another inch, making sure the top edge is folded evenly and the design is straight.
Cut the webbing in half to form the two handles and tuck one end of each handle under the fold, measuring 5" from the outer edge on both sides of the bag, with the loops facing downwards towards the bottom of the bag. Pin in place.
If you want to use bag scraps for the handles, cut two 3" wide 22" long strips, fold into thirds, pin and then sew up each edge with a zigzag stitch to make thin strap-like strips.
Once your straps are done and pinned in place, sew along the lower edge of the top of the bag using a zigzag stitch.
Then flip the handles up and sew along the top edge of the bag using a straight stitch and catching each handle to secure it in place.
This is what the finished handle will look like (I used a dark handle for this photo so you can see the stitching).
(What the completed handle looks like on the outside of the bag.)
Turn the bag right side out. Fold the bag flat along the side creases and carefully iron using a medium heat setting and a piece of cotton fabric between the iron and the bag (otherwise the bag will melt).
Voila ! There you have it - a cute upcycled, eco-friendly feed bag market tote !