The idea originated from an Indiana woman who adopted a dog in Clark County. She carried a similar sack that was sold at a shelter in her home state.
"I took pictures of it, and I messed around with a couple of them," Bowman said.
Since February, Bowman and volunteers have sewn several dozen. The shelter's food is sold in plain white packaging, so Bowman has relied on donations of empty food bags from pet owners.
Anything made from the plastic mesh material will work she said, including sacks for cat and dog food, cat litter, bird seed and even horse feed.
"Everything is 100 percent donated," said Bowman. "Everything is all-volunteer work."
Bowman does not follow a specific sewing pattern when making the bags, but the concept is pretty simple. The top is cut from a food sack. The bottom portion forms the bag, while material from the top is used to sew straps or handles.
A basic bag takes about 30 minutes to stitch together. However, more complicated renditions, such as bags with cloth liners inside, take longer.
The final product comes in various sizes, and all seams are double-stitched for strength. Bowman said the bags are easy to clean, and some of the material is designed to carry up to 50 pounds, which makes the bags sturdy enough for "anything and everything."
Bowman has several herself. She uses one to carry garden tools, and another hauls items for her dog while traveling. Bowman has even taken the bags grocery shopping.
So far the shelter has sold $30 worth. The basic bags range in price from about $2-$7, Bowman said, but the charge increases for bags with liners.
Within the next two months, Bowman hopes to accumulate enough inventory to begin a sales push at locations around town such as vet clinics and the Clark County Farmers Market.
The Homeowners Association (Correction: The Dreamakers Homemaker Club) also plans to take up the project in June. But Bowman said she needs more volunteers in the meantime.
"I haven't sewn for many years," she said. "If I can make these bags, anyone who knows how to use a sewing machine can make these bags."
Bowman has given volunteers the green light to be creative. Two volunteers are already innovating new designs, she said.
"We are going to work on doing more with the liners in them," said Bowman. "I have some working on having the liner on the outside and the plastic on the inside."
Right now, the bags are on sale at the shelter. Bowman said workers need more donations of empty sacks to continue the project, and materials can be donated during regular hours. Individuals can volunteer by calling the shelter at 737-0053.
Bowman said she plans to continue the effort indefinitely.
"We need repairs at the shelter so a lot of that money will be going to repairs," she said.
That's something that even the most stylish can get behind.
Contact Mike Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.