Recycled Rice Bag Purses

10 Jan

I simply can not believe how long it’s been since I did a post of my own! It’s a great feeling to have so many talented crafters out there to show off – you know who you are! If you are not a Heart Handmade Featured Crafter yet, why not start the new year off right and apply for a feature?! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, and let’s talk rice bag purses…

As is my usual holiday tradition, I waited until about a week before Christmas to decide what sort of handmade goodness I was going to bestow on my most beloved family members and friends. Christmahanakwanzakkuh 2009 was the year of crochet. Those on my list last year found their stockings full of scarves, hats, mitten and headbands. Now that I knew they were all warm, I was thinking it’s due time to add some accessories.

This year I knew I wanted to go recycled. I was not really sure what to do though… I didn’t have enough clothing to spare to spin some new garments, not to mention I am not exactly a skilled seamstress. Then, what do you know, straight out of a movie – my rice timer went off and I had it – recycled rice bag purses and reusable shopping bags!

I have been saving burlap basmati rice bags for a few years, and now was time to give them a new purpose in life. I went off to find them, not surprised to see them patiently resting right where I left them, tucked away with some of my lesser-used crocheting accouterments. Let’s make recycled rice bag purses and reusable shopping bags!

Here is a quick tutorial on How to Make Rice Bag Purses:

**Note – these upcycled rice sack bags were constructed without a lining – time did not permit me to sew a lining into these bad boys… but I’ll be working on bringing my sewing skills up to par and outfitting the next generation of purses with silky, satiny liners to contrast the roughness of the burlap.

You Need:

This really depends on what you have around and your individual inspiration!
– Straps: I used old straps from a “dead” purse and crocheted new straps
– Rice Bags
– Needle
– Scissors
– Yarn – I used Medium, Sport Weight, 100% Cotton
– Stitch Remover
– Time and patience!

How It Is Done:

Step 1: Eat LOTS of rice. The bags I used were the 20-50 pound variety. The more material, the better – especially if you want to make recycled grocery bags.

Step 1.5: Eat MORE rice. Invite the neighborhood over for a fried rice party.

Step 2: Use a stitch remover to take out stitches that are currently holding the bag together – LEAVE THE ZIPPERS INTACT (unless, of course, you’re going to sew on your own zippers).

Step 3: Lay out the bag the way you want it, remembering that you’ll want to put the eventual “outside” on the inside for now as you work to piece the purse together. For a simple bag all you’ll need to do is line up two evenly sized pieces of material, with the outsides of the bag facing in. Pin these pieces in place while you decide on straps.

Step 4: Create straps or upcycle some bag handles from an old purse.

Step 5: Attach the straps with pins, and flip rice bag inside out to make sure you like the final placement.

Step 6: Sew the straps into place before sewing the bag. You’ll sew over the straps again as you put the purse together (most likely, depending on your design), giving it extra stability. For strength I recommend using a back stitch.

Step 6: Sew and join both sides of your bag together.

Step 7: Enjoy your recycled rice bag!

After writing this I have to apologize for the pretty un-descriptive tutorial on how to make a recycled purse… I really just let the materials tell me what they wanted to do, and voila – basmati rice bags for everyone! I’m hoping that with the pictures and steps this “how to” can be a good guide and will serve as inspriation for you to create your own unique purse.

6 Responses to “Recycled Rice Bag Purses”

  1. Al Riley 21. May, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Found your site helpful. Any idea where I can purchase used rice sacks, preferably from Nepal? Need just the fabric.

    • admin 21. May, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      You know, Al, I was wondering the SAME thing! Now that I’ve made a few of these, everyone seems to want one! I was thinking of posting a Craigslist wanted ad to see if anyone in my area had a connection/had some extra rice bags they wanted to get rid of… That’s about all I’ve come up with for right now though – let me know if you figure out a way to find some of the used bags 🙂

  2. Riley al 21. May, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Somebody in India, Nepal, Bangladesh should have a butt-load of these. All I need is just a couple to make “murses” for my fellow DeadHeads. Is there anyone left out there after the Rapture that can help?? Found coffee sacks from Central/South America–but they don’t carry the same Karma.

    • Mandie 21. May, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      I think the used rice bags were the only thing taken in the rapture. Well, that and The Macho Man Randy Savage…

      I did see a few used, empty burlap bags on some random auction-type sites earlier today (I think one was – not sure how reputable those sites are though… There are a handful on eBay, but looks like they want $10+ for a bag – you can get one for $20 full of rice!!


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