About a year ago, one of my followers, Kim, sent me a vintage European grain sack that she had acquired, didn’t need, and knew that I would find a use for.
(I love the word “Follower”, it has a slight Jim Jones sound to it)
I’m sure she thought I’d make a few more pillows. But I have another plan.
Here’s our victim….
If you aren’t familiar with European grain sacks, they are usually a heavy woven flax linen. The stripes, different on every bag, are a way to quickly identify what was in each bag and the farm from which it came.
This one is pretty thick – the thicker, the better BTW – so I use sharp scissors to cut the bag down to from 44 inches deep to about 24 inches.
I want a deep bag.
I turn the bag inside out, and fold down about an inch from the newly cut top, and use a hot iron to press the flap flat.
I’ve had this scrap yardage of khaki/blue linen lying around the garage. No real purpose for it, I can just never throw anything away.
No worries, because now it has an actual purpose. I thought it would make a great lining for my bag.
I fold a piece in half and run a stitch up each side.
I turn this one inside out, so the raw edges are inside, and I now have 2 sacks about the same size. (18 inches X 21 inches)
Now, I slip the blue linen sack over the grain sack, like a pillow case, and tuck the edge under the flap.
I pin it down and give it a quick stitch around the entire edge.
Then I fold the edge down once more, but about 2 inches this time.
Once more, using a really hot iron I press the edge down.
I stitch this edge down to. It’s thick. Broke 2 needles on my sewing machine doing this.
Flip the whole thing right-side out and I’m left with a linen-lined grain sack with a thick top edge.
For the bag strap…..we went to Wally World.
I know, I know….they are the Evil Empire of stores, and their customers seem to dress like every day is Halloween in New Orleans, but I knew we’d find cheap leather belts there.
And in (Ahem, as I clear my throat) VERY large sizes.
Like, size 48,
In a beautiful Cuoio leather color. I even like the brushed stainless buckle.
16 bucks each.
Because I need 2 … and up until this point I haven’t spent a penny … 32 bucks is pretty good deal.
I use tin snips to cut the buckle off one of the belts, that leaves me with a 52 inch strap with a row of holes. The other belt I cut down to 12 inches with the buckle still attached.
I buckle the 2 together to make one long, 63 inch, belt.
I draw out 4 holes in each end of my belt strap and use a hammer and nail to poke holes.
I line the holes up with the edge of my bag and mark their locations with a pen.
See? All my holes will be centered on the double thick edge of the sack.
I use the same big nail and a hammer to make holes on each mark through the layers of fabric.
To attach the strap, we asked ourselves, “What would Ron Swanson do?” Ron would be a man, and think that there was already way too much sewing involved in this project. Pretty sure he would use nuts and bolts.
1/4 inch bolts, 3/4 inch long.
I want a pretty tight connection, so I screwed these into the leather….
….and pushed each through the holes I made in the sack….I won’t lie, this took some work.
When they finally did poke through, I attached each with a washer and bolt.
Did this 4 times for each strap
Ron Swanson would be proud.
Don’t know about where you live, but in Dallas our city council passed a new proposal encouraging retailers to charge for one-time-use to bags.
Way to go.
Feels like we live in a REAL city now. Where everybody rides a bike and recycles.
We have decided to make a conscious effort to bring our own bags to the grocery store.
This one is plenty big and deep. Perfect size for Jamie to run to the grocery store for ice cream and beer…….I mean, baguettes and bottled water.
Wanna make your own? And we certainly hope that we’ve inspired you to.
Ebay and Etsy both offer European grain sacks for sale. Expect to pay anywhere from 15 – 30 bones. The rest is up to you.
I’m willing to bet that about right now Kim wants hers back……
(well she ain’t gettin’ it)
Thanks again Kim. Told ya I’d do something cool with it.