How often do you eat rice? Our refugee seamstresses from Myanmar love rice. Lots of rice. In fact, in Myanmar where many of our ladies are from, rice is the staple of breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Check out this awesome Burmese Fried Rice recipe.)  That’s why they buy rice in large quantities in up to 20lb rice bags.
Refugee women in Charlotte, upcycling used rice bags into totes and purses.

One of our designers was inspired by these burlap bags to create a purse tote. She taught our first class of refugee sewing students to make them. These bags sold out and we had an “Ah hah” moment, realizing that transforming these used burlap rice bags into upcycled fashion was a way to create a unique product that was both eco-friendly and sustainable.

Designing purses out of used rice burlap bags

The types of rice bags that our artisans buy has changed. We’ve sometimes been tasked with using plastic and burlap, sometimes making wristlets and sometimes totes. It’s always an adventure! Through the process, we’ve developed many unique burlap bag purses and plastic fabric totes. They’re not only fun to sew but also create a unique upcycled fashion statement for our customers.

Purses made from upcycled used rice bags

The most recent iteration is the small upcycled burlap wristlet. This fun little bag can be a wallet, a bridesmaid gift, a diaper bag insert, etc. We’ve currently got a limited number in stock, and you can buy yours straight from this post! If you do, leave a comment in the purchase notes and we’ll send an extra freebie along with your order. Check out our FAQs for more info on shipping & returns.

Otherwise, head over to the Persona Grata Goods Etsy store to see more of our upcycled fashion statements!


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