Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tote bag tutorial and a winner!

Hey yall. After my post on Sunday about the dogfood bag tote bags, I had alot of questions and a  few requests for a tutorial. There are alot of different versions on the web of how to make these, but this is how I do it. And this is my first real tutorial so please bear with me and let me know if you have any questions.
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:
I use an Antibacterial Dishwashing liquid and wash both the inside and outside of the bag. I usually leave the bottom in the bag until I am almost finished washing because it will actually hold water, then I open up the bottom and finish washing it. I hang mine on the clothesline to dry.

Next determine how tall you want your bag. This one is 21" tall without the handles.

 Most of the time I make them shorter, but I wanted this one for picking corn. Also take into consideration the picture on the front of the bag. How much of the picture do you want on the front of your tote bag?
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:
To repeat "They are all awesome". I even signed up on a couple of them to read their blogs daily. The charms a beautiful and thank you for sharing this hop with us.

Congratulations Bonnie. If you will please email me with your mailing address I will get them sent to you! And the New blogger Blog hop continues this week. This coming Fridays hoppers are :
Friday, June 28
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

 Also, "Stamp On It" Blog hop begins Wednesday the 26th. Here is Wednesdays schedule:

 Please be sure to stop by each of these talented ladies and show them some bloggie love. I hope you have a quilty kinda day! And have fun making those tote sacks! Oh, and let me know if you need a recipe for Poke salad!
xo jan



  1. It is so funny because I didn't know other people were doing this. I have several "saved" bags of cat food I've been going to make into totes. I even have been thinking of lining them. Nice to see how you do it. I just need to dig in now.

  2. You are one super-smart repurpose-y lady. Wow. I missed this on Sunday (am not used to Bloglovin yet), but thank you for the tutorial! We are not feeding any dogs or birds right now, but I'm going to pin this for when we are (my husband wants a BIG dog).

  3. Hi!! This is Bonnie Pfrimmer. I can't find your e-mail anywhere. Can you please e-mail it to me. bpfrimmer@yahoo.com. Thank you.

  4. This is great Jan! Thanks for sharing it. I'm saving little juice packets with the kids in the hope we'll get enough to sew together for a bag! You should link this to the Something Old Something New Challenge! :-)

  5. Oh my gosh!! I will be saving all the dog and bird seed bags. My husband will think I've gone batty. Lol. Thanks for the tutorial!


Hey yall!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today! Your words mean so much to me. Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment and if you have a blog, feel free to grab a tractor button from the sidebar and plow along with me! Ain't no tellin what we'll get in to.
xo jan