A couple weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a chicken feed bag, thinking I might want to do something with it. So I looked around on the internet and, apparently, making tote bags from animal feed bags is a thing.
And because I don’t do anything half-assed, I put out the call on Facebook that I was looking for empty feed bags and my friends really came through in droves. I think I must have at least 40 feed bags in my garage — horses, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and more chickens and more horses. Some really fun and colorful designs.
A Facebook friend even mailed me some all the way from Maryland! And tonight I decided that I was ready to dig in and make a bag. And I actually ended up making two!
The feed bags are made from a synthetic plastic coated fabric that has strong thread running through it. So it’s really strong, but it’s a little stiff. I knew that it would be very different than sewing on quilting cotton.
There are a lot of tutorials out there for making these totes. I kind of got ideas from several different ones and applied them to these bags.
I made the sheep bag first and learned a few things that made the chicken bag so much easier and quicker.
First, on the sheep bag, after trimming the bag square, I sewed the bottom seam first, cut squares out of the corners to make gussets, and then sewed the gussets. Once this was all done I finished the top.
On the second bag I trimmed the bag top and bottom square, and then finished the top and added the handles first.
This meant that I was doing all of this manipulation of the bag when it was a tube.
And that made it all much easier to manipulate. The top on the chicken bag was so much easier and quicker to sew and the finish was much nicer.
To finish the top I turned down about one inch at the top of the bag and then turned it over again. Then I marked where I wanted the handles, slipped the handle ends up under the fold and clipped them in place.
Then I ran a line of stitching along the bottom edge of the folded piece, enclosing the handle ends in the fold.
Then I ran another line of stitching about 1/8 inch from the very top of the bag, folded the handles up to catch them in this line of stitching and adding some reinforcing stitching across the handles where they overlapped the folded edge.
Here’s the reinforcing stitching.
To finish the gussets on the second bag I simply did it with the folding and flattening method and then stitched a line across the folded corner.
I did two lines of stitching to reinforce the gussets and then trimmed away the excess fabric.
The gussets were faster and easier with this method.
I also made the gussets on the fist bag a little do deep so I made them an inch smaller on the second bag and the proportions are better.
Most of the tutorials I looked at made the handles from strips of the bag fabric. But I decided to purchase some nylon webbing instead. I’m glad I didn’t spend time making the handles. I like the feel of the nylon handles much better. And they took a lot less time.
I’m guessing the second bag took half the time of the first bag. I just love figuring out quicker and more efficient ways to make things.
Here’s more photos of these fun little bags. Even the backs are fun!
A couple of the tutorials show people lining the bags, but I think it’s overkill for the purpose. I see these as very utilitarian… like for groceries or packing stuff to toss in the trunk of the car for the beach.
Big thanks to Judy Jaudon for sending me these fun feed bags!
I’ve gotten a few photos of Frankenbags in the last week to share with you.
First up is this bag from Sabine Müller-Rückriem from Germany. I just love these bright blues and greens together. She’s also included some cool curved piecing. And I love the peek at what looks like a really good lining!
Next up is this bag made by Anita Goodson. She made her bag from a solid piece of fabric with a contrasting fabric on the bottom. And I love that she added a zipper placket. The inside of this bag with all the black and white is so cool! Love it!
Last up tonight is this bag made by Cookie Little. I love her saturated blues with the pops of green and the sunbursts are always so good! And she used one of my favorite fabrics for her lining! The last photo shows the key fob she added. It’s a great way to secure your wallet or keys.
Thanks to everyone who sent photos!