Sewing: Wine Bottle Carrier

The mead (honey-wine) that I started fermenting last spring is continuing its slow percolation.  It’s time to think about how and when to bottle it, store it, and give it away to friends (because it’s apparently fine to make lower-proof alcohol in the US for personal use, but it’s not OK to distill it or try to sell it without an official license to do so).    My thought is to make some wine-bottle bags, and do them in a series of bee-themed bags.

This is to make sure that the bags, cute as they are, remain in circulation (if I give my mead to other mead-makers, then perhaps they shall gift me a bottle in return, or gift some of their own honey-wine to someone else in a bag that I made).  The bee theme is unlikely to be associated with red or white wine or even rosé, so I may rest assured that the bags will continue to circulate.  More than that, people are likely to remove the bottle from the bag before they store the wine… and there’s a better than even chance that they’ll simply return the bag to me right then and there… or I can say, “The bottle is a gift, but not the bag,” and leave with my bag tucked under my arm.

I think I need to add a stiffer interfacing, maybe even batting, to make the bag a little more stable.  This one still needs a strap attached, but you kind of get the idea.  Will they sell on the Etsy site? Perhaps.  But they’ll likely sell for the $18-$20 range.  In fact, $20 seems likely.

How did I learn to make them? This video on YouTube.  You might think, “How come you charge money to make something that I can learn how to make for free on the Interwebz, and that you learned how to make for free on the Interwebz?” Gee — I don’t know… it might have something to do with the facts that

  • I have a sewing machine;
  • I put it to work;
  • I collect the fabric;
  • I make design decisions about how to combine those fabrics;
  • I put in the time to make the things.

Ironically, there’s an indefinitely large number of ways that fabric can be combined with other fabric — but a relatively limited number of ways to carry a single bottle of known proportions in a pleasing fashion.  Twitter user @arnemancy of the podcast My Alchemical Bromance calls it floppy geometry, what we do with fabric — and he’s not wrong:

I went through that process with this particular project… in what order, and with what facing sides, do you assemble a bottle-bag so that, when you put the sides right-side out, the lining is on the inside of the bag and the shell is on the outside of the bag, and most of the seams of the bag don’t show?  Hard to get that all correct.

The answer, by the by, is that the shell and lining should have their insides facing one another, to the inside of the bag, when you sew the top seam.  The bag should then be turned, which means that the correct/right-sides should be pulled out through a hole deliberately left in the lining, and then the gap should be slip-stitched or top-stitched closed after the whole is pressed or ironed or at least tucked out to its farthest corners.

It’s been a productive week, really. The new design of the zipper bags, some drawstring bags, and now a bottle bag.  Making those stiffened baskets last week has helped me get a handle on what fabric I have — and how to deploy it on various projects I care about.

Time to do some more floppy geometry.

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