Friday, June 5, 2009

A Really Green Bag.

Dog Food Tote Tutorial

We have two dogs, and they eat a LOT of dog food. These bags are really strong, after all, they are designed to hold 50 pounds of dog food. Sadly, they are not marked for recycling, so our recycling co. won't take them. I figured, as long as this bag was destined for the landfill, why not see if I could do a little recycling of my own?

Here is my Dog Food Tote Tutorial. (Oooh, alliteration!)

Step 1. Begin with an empty dog food bag. Be sure you wipe out the inside pretty well, or your bag will smell like kibble.

Step 2: Cut the bag down to a nice, manageable size. You can decide where the best size is. Also, cut off the binding from the bottom of the bag.

Step 3: After you cut off the bottom, sew a double seam along the bottom of the bag. After some trial and error I discovered that the best needle for the task is a vinyl/leather needle. The stuff doesn't seem really tough, but I guess the plastic is enough to make it not work too well with other types. Also, I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, Deuce was my photographer, and the light was not optimal in my sewing area for a good shot. I think she did pretty well, considering. Anyway, because I wanted the bottom of the bag to be squared, after I sewed the bottom seam, I also sewed perpendicularly across the bottom seam on each edge to make square bottom corners. No photo of that, sorry.

Step 4: Now you have a basic bag shape, so turn it inside out (or right side in, if you prefer) so t hat the seams are on the inside, anyway. I didn't want my tote to scream "DOG FOOD!" so I put the label and stuff on the inside of the bag. If you have a really
pretty bag that you are re-using, like some of the bird-seed bags have lovely designs on them, or if you really like the funky look of a dog-food bag, by all means, flip it around before you start to sew, so your design is on the outside. Your bag, your choice. Fold down the top edge, in any event.

Step 5. Now we come to the (sorta) tricky part, the handles. Cut a couple of strips from the leftover dog food bag. I eyeballed them, but I think 4 or 5 inches wide is probably a good guess.

Fold one side in and finger press it, then the other side, then fold the whole thing in half. Note: An iron on this is really NOT a good idea on this sort of plastic. It gets all shrinky and weird. Please learn from my mistakes! Fortunately, I didn't ruin my iron.

Finally, sew along the edges to close up the strap.

Step 6: Now take the folded up strap portion and cut it into straps
that are a nice size. I found that the right size was half of the strap that I had just made. If you need it longer, you might need to sew another piece of strap. To attach the strap, you need to slip the ends of the strap under the folded down edge of the bag, then sew around the top of the bag. That will attach the straps, and finish the edge of the bag. When the top is stitched down, flip the straps up, and sew across the top of the strap, so they go the right way. You can also reinforce this connection with a little square of sewing. Your choice, although I've never had one go on me before, on the other totes I've made, They do look good, though.
Tada! Finished tote!


Angela said...

mommmmmmmmmmmmmm, you have to update my picture!!!

RecycleCindy said...

Love your recycled bag! Great tutorial too. What a cool bag and great way to upcycle those old dog food bags.

Summer said...

Now that is some super re-purposing! said...

Wow, this is a fantastic idea, I love it!

Melonie said...

That is a really great idea!!! So chic :)

Margaret's Ramblings said...

What a brilliant idea, I would never off thought of doing this. I hope you don't think it too cheeky but I wondered if I could ask you to link your page to a Friday post I do. The aim of the posts, called 'Buddy's Friday', is to help families that are suffering in today's economic climate by showing them there are ways of doing things well that may be frugal but are definately not cheap and nasty - they are usually of more value and most of all fun. Once again I hope you don't mind that I have asked you.

thank you


Bridgette Boudreaux said...

This is genius!