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Time>Money: Making my own flow through worm inn

Well I used to have more time, but now I have six jobs and no time, why isn't the money flowing in like a flood?

Anyway, I still don't feel free with my limited cash and I want to restart my vermicomposting.  i have the louvers to make a Awesome aerated worm bin but I'm skeptical about it still.  Then I saw an instructable with a flow through bag made of sewn felt and it seemed to work for folks, but it required building a wood frame and I don't have the tools. Nor do I have an Ikea store nearby, LOL.  Anyway I though, I could build a frame from PVC and make one myself.

But again, I'm cheap as hell and while at the dollar store I thought, " Well, rather than buying a drawstring closure from Joannes for $X I could just buy something from the dollar store and steal it's drawstring closure." So I bought two laundry bags for a dollar.  Then I noticed that the laundry bag is probably not made from natural fibers but some non-woven something, probably nylon, and I thought, Hey, Why not try using the bag itself? 

So here are my thoughst.

1.Cinch up the bag to a small opening, and tie off the cord.

2. Turn the bag upside down and unstitch the bottom, which is a square.

3. Fold down the bag wall and reinforce its edge, adding hanging loops. or maybe I will fold down the walls to make it half as long ( Its pretty long and reinforce the sides by quilting the two layers together up and down and around. Add loops nonetheless.

4. buy some zipper line and reattach the bottom via the zipper to make it a closure

5. Then, measure and build a PVC frame to hold it up, via the reinforced loops.

I should probably take pictures as I go along to document. If it works I'll have a cheap and easy worm flow through inn, if it doesn't work, I'll only have spend a dollar on the material and I can still scavenge the drawstring to use to make the felt version ( since I already bought the felt...)

Views: 3445

Comment by Metqa on February 8, 2013 at 7:35am

This is a job for ... SEAM RIPPER!

Comment by George on February 8, 2013 at 8:02am

I am curious to see how this progresses.

Comment by Metqa on February 8, 2013 at 9:45am

Me too. I've taken off the bottom, and the side pocket. and just to see, I stuffed it with my blanket and it  seems I'm going to have to edit the shape or I'll end up with a ballooned bottom,  I think it will need to be conical at least, so I'll stitch up the sides to make it smaller at the opening, and go straight up to the widest at the top.

Comment by Metqa on February 8, 2013 at 1:51pm

Okay, so this seems to be going well so far.

I measured in from the edges and sewed up from the drawstring to the top so that the bottom only opens up a fraction. I made my first mistake in not making sure the drawstring was on the free edge and not on the trapped edge. That  means my drawstring is directly below the hole instead of to the side of the hole. Oh well, it still works.

the next photo is the inside of the bag, you can see where there are flaps where I sewed them up to make the cone shape.  I can leave them as is or if I wanted to reduce the space, I could baste them down flat so it's a straight wall instead of a wall with flaps. For Now I'm going to leave it as is.  So the next picture is what it looks like stuffed with my blanket.  A much improved shape I think. No balloons.

Now I need to figure out how to reattach the  bottom as  a lid. I could go ahead and sew one side on and get zipper length for only 3 of the sides so it opens like a box lid.  But that requires that I leave the house and go shopping.  I have zippers but none are long enough to go around all 3 sides.

Also I need to add the loops and I'm thinking rather than add single loops, I  want to add a loop that is long and supports the edge along the PVC pipe, more like a sleeve. that way the weight is not focused on four spots that will eventually tear out.

Comment by Andrew from California on February 8, 2013 at 2:26pm

Do you really need a zippered "lid"? A few layers of newspaper or an old t-shirt on top may work just as well.

Do you have the PVC components or will you need to buy those? I don't know how much the various pieces will cost, but if it starts to go much above $20, something simpler like a 13 gal. trash can flow-through (garden stakes for grating material) might be more durable in the long run.

Comment by Metqa on February 8, 2013 at 2:41pm

Yes, I need a zipper. I've had so many awful experiences with pests that I'm convinced I need a completely sealed system.  I've tried burlap, newspaper, inches of shredded paper and some flying insect always seems to take up residence either through getting in from outside or my stupidity in putting in unfrozen scraps.  Plus, this week, I've seen tiny baby roaches and I'm freaking out! I don't want to feed them and make a nest so, Yeah, I need it to be as closed as possible .  Hm, now that I've said all that I might even sew a zippered mesh on to the bottom to keep someone from crawling in from beneath! I'm paranoid!!!! LOL.

I already have PVC pipes and pieces but I don't think I spent much for it, But I JUST saw, like 4 minutes ago, Sandy's Flow through trash bin. It's so simple and cute, that I want to make one. But having discovered this new pest, I'll wait till I'm sure nobody is alive and crawling around before I make her much simpler flow through bin. She uses PVC pipes for grating.  Maybe I could make that to keep outside where I won't worry about pest helping to eat the scraps. 

Plus, I need practice sewing zippers. I'm a new sewer as well, LOL and I've never sewn on a zipper. Better to do it for a non-fashion project first!

Comment by Metqa on February 10, 2013 at 6:27pm

Okay, I'm starting to think, ... maybe velcro?

Comment by Metqa on February 15, 2013 at 11:16am

Well, this project has taken a slight change of direction toward learning how to place a sew a zipper.  I gave up on the build-your-own zipper, because I couldn't get the slide-pull to attach. So I bought some zipper with 12 pre-threaded pulls so I just need to slide the pull to the center of the length I want and cut it to size. Now I've sewn it onto the body of the bag, on one side of the zipper, and I'm pinning the second side to the "lid" so that when I sew it down I'll have a zippered lid of the same material.

Another thought, While looking at one of my old shopping bags, occurred to me that this material is strong but not strong. It seems it can abrade easily, as seen with how my shopping bags wear out, but since as a worm bag, it won't be brushing up against anything rough, that may not be a problem. Also, my shopping bags have gotten dirty but they never mold or get grungy, so I'm hoping that is the same property as this laundry bag material. 

Overall, my biggest expense of money and time so far has been the zipper ( and the PVC material), but  the way it's sewn on, if the bag were to disintegrate, it would be easy to rip the stitches out and reuse the zipper on stronger cloth fabric should I remake it later, and since I'm learning how to do it now, later it won't take as much time to learn how to sew a zipper . Yay for the zipper foot on the sewing machine!

anyway, I'm just taking a break to update, that I haven't given up, I'm just on a learning curve with sewing, but surely making progress. I think I spent two days playing with the darn zipper pulls and I might have finished by now otherwise. I still need to sew on the hanging straps and to build the PVC frame, but that is easy.

PS. There is an iron in the photo. DO NOT TRY TO IRON THIS MATERIAL DIRECTLY. It will melt. I had some pieces that were terribly wrinkled and hard to work with so I put a separate piece of natural cloth over the material and ironed  it on Low Polyester and always moved the iron constantly. That flattened it without melting it. It will melt in an instant, so don't even try to do that without a safety cloth between.

Comment by Metqa on February 15, 2013 at 11:19am

BTW, my 10 worms are in an old bucket and they seem to be bigger and thriving on coffee grounds and the occasional bit of veggie peel I've put in. So much so that I saw one on the surface right beneath the the coffee filter. and it squiggled away vigorously. Yay!

When I finally transfer them to the bag, I'm going to recount and see if the original 10 are still all there.

Comment by Steve Lambert on February 15, 2013 at 1:13pm

Nice that you're documenting your creativity and do-it-yourself efforts to make your version of a bag-style FT.  A can-do attitude can make a lot happen.  Good job.

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