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Recycled Seed Bags Make Colorful Totes
Gretchen Schade attracts second looks when she carries her tote bag into her favorite farm supply store. The colorful birds on the front are the same ones on the sunflower seed bags the store sells.
  The Peterson, Minn., woman makes “Gretchen’s ReTotes” out of those seed bags as well as other feed and seed bags. The idea isn’t new – FARM SHOW featured a Maine woman who makes Tess’s Totes (Vol. 33, No. 4). But each seamstress’s design is just a little different.
  “I created my own pattern,” Schade explains. “The bottom is the trick. I wanted to have that flat bottom like a grocery bag.”
  She picks the prettiest parts of the bag for the front and the back, occasionally using her quilting skills to patch pieces together. The handle comes from the side of the bag. Schade sews French seams, using a technique that sews wrong sides together first before sewing a second seam to enclose it. It makes a smooth edge and nice finish. A roomy pocket inside holds a cell phone, car keys and other items, and Schade adds Velcro fasteners at the top to hold the bag shut.
  She sells small totes (about 10 by 10-in.) and medium totes (about 12 by 11-in.) for $15. Large totes (13 to 15 in. wide by 11 1/2 in. tall) sell for $18 plus postage. She is also working on a coin bag design.
  Schade initially made the totes for gifts, but found lots of people were interested in them. She enjoys working with different feedbags – a “Chick” bag with pictures of chicks is one of her favorites. She’s made bags with a variety of animals, including pets, horses and cardinals.
  Schade has found the easiest way to clean bags is to cut them open, spray them down with a hose, hang them on a clothesline and wipe them off. Most bags are pretty clean, she notes, though some dog food bags can be quite greasy, and she avoids using them.
  Between preparation and sewing time, making totes doesn’t pay very well, but the retired teacher enjoys sewing them and is happy she can recycle something.
  “They are fun to carry, and I like to show them off,” Schade says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gretchen Schade, 19918 Maland Dr., Peterson, Minn. 55962 (ph 507 875-2592).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #3