First you need a used bag that is made out of Dura Weave. Most dog, cat, chicken and birdseed bags will work. Dura Weave looks like this on the inside:
Next determine how tall you want your bag. This one is 21" tall without the handles.
After you get an idea of where the picture is on the bag, turn the bag inside out. Use the folded seams that are down the side of the bag to help it lie flat on the cutting mat. Cut 3 inches off of the top.( Use those old nicked rotary cutting blades for this) This will be the handles. Do not cut this apart yet. Leave it in a tube for now.
Now sew a half inch seam across the bottom of the bag using heavy weight thread and an appropriate needle. I use upholstery thread.Then go back and sew a second seam right above your first seam. This just makes it extra strong.
Now open up the bag but leave it inside out. Square up the corners like this:
I find it helpful to lay the bag on the cutting table. Using your ruler and a marker, mark across the folded corner 2.5 inches from the point: (sorry for the blurry picture)
Sew across this line then repeat on the other side.
Now fold down the top and sew with a zig zag stitch. You can double fold this is you want, but it is really not necessary. Fold it down however far you want according to the picture on the front of the bag. Then turn your bag right sides out.
Now, let's make the handles. Take the 3" strip that you cut off and cut apart once. You will have one really long 3" wide strip. Fold one side over about halfway. I use a wooden spatula to press the seam down. Then fold the other side over to about 1/4" from the opposite edge.
Sew handle with a zigzag stitch being sure to encompass the raw edge. I then sewed another seam beside the first one. Totally unnecessary, but I liked the look of two zigzags on my red checkerboard :)
Next, Fold this long strip in half and cut on the fold. You now have two handles.
Sew on your handles approximately 5 inches from each side right above the seamline of the top hem. I kinda double sewed mine. I use my Singer 401a machine, which is not a free arm machine, so it is kinda hard for me to turn the bag, so I use reverse!
I know it's not pretty but it is functional. Repeat for the other three ends of the handles.
Now, this is what the inside bottom looks like.
I like to lay a piece of stiff cardboard in the bottom. Just measure the outside bottom of your bag (mine measures 5x15) and cut a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than that. I reused a Priority Mail box. :)
Now you have a free, totally spiffy and useful recycled tote bag. I have a bazillion more to make. But I love keeping these old pet food bags out of the landfills. These are great to take to the pool or beach to carry all those wet clothes, toys, beachtowels, lotions and all the other little messy things we have to have with us. I use mine alot in the garden to pick beans, corn, tomatos, squash, turnip greens and poke salad! They hold alot of Poke Salad!
Well I am sure these instructions were just clear as mud, so if you have any questions, please let me know. I hope you enjoy repurposing all that Dura Weave stuff out there! I would love to see your tote bag if you decide to make a one.
And now I promised a winner of the charms from last friday! The winner is:
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Amira @ Little Mushroom Cap
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling