Feed Sack Tote Bag

Making a feed sack tote bag is a relatively simple sewing project anyone can do! So many feed sacks just end up in the garbage, why not up-cycle one and make a functional and cool bag out of it?

Full disclosure, this is technically an old compost bag and not a feed sack. BUT! It is made of the same poly material and the design was just so darn cute I couldn’t help myself.

cowsmo compost bag

Since I’m being honest, I should also say that I am the LAST person who should be making a sewing tutorial. I just got my sewing machine a few months ago and I am definitely still learning the ropes. So far I have made a couple of aprons, reusable popcorn bags, patched up some jeans, and these totes.

If you are an experienced sewer reading this tutorial I guarantee you are going to find a lot of errors. If you have suggestions for ways to do it better, please let me know in the comments! I’m teaching myself to sew via YouTube for the most part so I am far from knowledgeable on this topic.

That’s not going stop me from sharing my method for making this cute tote bag.

Getting Started with your DIY Feed Sack Tote Bag

Before you start this project, a word of warning. Poly bags are made of a woven plastic like material. As you make cuts, it is going to un-weave itself at an incredibly frustrating rate. While this project is a simple one, you need a certain amount of zen/patience when tackling it.


  • Feed sack or compost bag like pictured
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins

How to make an Up-Cycled Tote Bag

Important Tid Bit

This is the first and most important thing, DON’T PULL LOOSE STRANDS. As I mentioned above, this material is going to unweave itself at an alarming rate. Don’t pull any loose pieces until everything is sewn into place. Trust me on this one.

First Steps

Prep your bobbin and thread your machine. You can use whatever thread you like. I recommend a polyester.

Lay your bag out and take a look at the design. For my tote, I knew where I roughly wanted the top and bottom to be. Since mine has a clear design and a bag I can see easily through, I didn’t have to make any marks.

If the bag is made of a dark material, make a very small snip in the edge where you intend the bottom of the bag to be. Do the same where you’d like the top of your bag to be. Remember, we are going to be making some hems so leave about 1.5-2 inches of extra space.

Turn your bag inside out.

inside out bag rough and tumble farmhouse
Even inside out I can easily see the pattern on my bag for making cuts.

Next, sew a simple straight seam across where you’d like the bottom of your bag to be. The best way to keep a straight seam is to pick a row of weaving and follow along that.

sewing a seam rough and tumble farmhouse

Now, cut off the excess bottom, leaving about 1/2 inch between the new end of your bag and your straight seem.

cutting the bag bottom rough and tumble farmhouse

Switch your machine to the zig-zag stitch.

Run that little bit of excess through on the zig-zag to tighten up your hem and reinforce the bottom of your bag.

Next, cut off the top portion of your bag. If you made a little snip before, this is your cutting spot. If you didn’t, look at where you’d like the top of you bag to be and cut a little above that to allow for hemming.

Now you should have the body of your bag, and a smaller tube type part that that is about to become your straps.

Making the Tote Bag Straps

Take the tube and cut across one end, breaking the loop.

feed sack tote bag rough and tumble farmhouse
We are going to cut that apart.
cut end rough and tumble farmhouse

Next, leave it folded, and from the end that is still connected, cut right down the middle, longwise.

cutting feed sack tote bag straps

You now have two straps.

straps for tote bag rough and tumble farmhouse

Take one strap and fold down the edge about 3/4 of an inch, then fold it over on itself. Crease it like you would a piece of paper and it should keep its positioning pretty well. If you’d like to use pins, feel free. Run this through your machine.

folding edges
Fold each edge of your straps twice to create a smooth hem.

Do the same with the other side. I do not recommend creasing and folding the other side until you are ready to sew it. The less you handle this material the better it will stay together for you.

Repeat this with your other strap piece.

finished straps rough and tumble farmhouse
Finished straps!

Lay your bag out and fold over the top part of your bag to create a hem, about 3/4 of an inch. I placed my handles so the outside edge is about three inches from the edge of the bag. Tuck the end of a strap piece in under the hem, right side (the pretty side) up.

adding the straps rough and tumble farmhouse

Fold your hem over again.

second fold on hem rough and tumble farmhouse

Now flip your handle up while holding the hem in place. Pin the strap.

pinning the strap rough an tumble farmhouse
Strap pinned and ready for sewing!

Take the other end of the strap, and repeat the same thing on this same side of the bag.

Flip your bag over and do the same process with your other strap.

Make sure you fold your hem down all the way around the bag so it is even.

Finishing Up the Feed Sack Tote Bag

Now you can sew your bag inside out, which is what I do, or at this point you an flip it right side out. Your call.

Run a straight stitch all across the edge of your hem, doing the entire top of the bag.

sewing the bottom edge rough and tumble farmhouse feed sack tote

Next, I do the same thing along the top edge of the bag. This makes it so the handles are sewn on in two places and gives a consistent look all the way around. If you wanted to, you could just do another row across the top hem where your straps connect.

feed sack tote bag straps rough and tumble farmhouse

If you haven’t yet, turn your bag inside out. Finally, trim away any of the loose bits that you are bound to have.

ben with feed sack tote bag
My husband modeling the bag. He insisted on changing into a nice shirt for the photo.

Pin it for later!

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