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    How To Turn A Feed Bag Into A Shopping Bag | Winter 2012 Out Here Magazine

    Sew a shopping bag from a feed bag

    Out Here

    By Page Ivey

    Photography by Mary Ann Chastain

    Animal feed bags, which contain everything from birdseed to horse feed, are made of woven plastic material and decorated with bright colors and images of animals.

    Even though some of those bags have already put recycling into practice — some are made of recycled plastic bottles — a couple of ladies in central South Carolina have a way to recycle them yet again, into shopping bags that they give in return for a $10 donation to the local animal shelter.

    The money goes to pay for spaying and neutering shelter cats to make them more adoptable.

    Anyone with a sewing machine can make these bags, say Doris Winstead, director of the Lee County (S.C.) Animal Shelter, and her quilting buddy Judy Ingle of Sumter, S.C.

    They have gotten so good at it, they can sew a bag in just 15 minutes and much of that time is spent coaxing the thick plastic material through their sewing machines.

    They offer two key bits of advice: Make sure your finished bag is not bigger than 24 inches long (it gets unwieldy when filled) and don’t wash the bags in a top-loading washing machine because the agitator will tear them up.

    No. 1. Turn bag inside out and wash by hand and allow to air dry. If you don’t have a front-loading machine, then wash by hand.


    No. 2. Cut the top of the bag to create a clean, straight edge.


    No. 3. Fold over about an inch and a half from the top of the bag and sew a seam all the way around.


    No. 4. Cut a 3-inch strip off the bottom of the bag to make the handles. Fold into thirds lengthwise to create a 1-inch strip.


    No. 5. Sew a seam in the center of the handle strip.


    No. 6. Cut strip into two equal pieces to make the handles. When the ladies first started making the bags, they used ribbon for the handles, but decided the folded strips from the bag were stronger. It also helps hold down the cost by not adding any material to the bag.


    No. 7. Mark handle location on bag. You don’t want them so far apart that the handles become too short to sling the bag over your shoulder.


    No. 8. Attach the handles to the bag with double-stitched square and an ‘X’ for strength.


    No. 9. Close the bottom of the bag with a double seam across the bottom.


    No. 10. Flatten the bottom of the bag with the seam in the center.


    No. 11. Measure 5 inches in each direction from tip of the seam and mark.


    No. 12. Stitch a double seam perpendicular to the main seam on each side of the bag.


    No. 13. Remove the excess corner flap.

    Pictured Judy Ingle (left) and Doris Winstead.

    No. 14. Turn bag right-side out and go shopping!

    No. 15. After showing off your bag to all your friends and neighbors, go home, make dozens more, donate them to your local animal shelter to use as fundraisers and help save some kitties.

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    Winter 2012 Out Here Magazine Home Page

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