I started making these bottle bags as carry-bags for bottles of my homemade mead. No one is going to look at these, and think, “That’s probably red wine in there.” This much bee fabric in one place ought to be an indicator that something interesting is going on.
But six finished bottle bags later, and I wonder if I’m done with this pattern? I have somewhere between sixteen and nineteen liters of mead fermenting in a carboy in my kitchen. Currently I have bags for five of those bottles — and one extra bag for an extra-large bottle that I already had.
If I have to make another fourteen bags in bee fabric, I may drive myself a little batty… or maybe just my partner. It’s enough bottle bags for now.
At the same time, they’re fun, aren’t they? I didn’t get around to attaching the handles until late in the day. Sorry about the dark picture. You can see that it’s sort of a black and gold fabric in hexagons, and that despite the bag-bodies all having different fabric for the shells and the lining, the black and gold fabric handles are quite striking in comparison.
What did I learn? First, it’s important to get the liner seams and corners lined up with the same seams and corners on the shell. It makes it easier to turn the bag, later on. Top stitch the handles all the way around. They look nicer that way, and more finished. Recognize that brewing your own alcohol is a claim on your future self — is it for drinking, or giving away? Giving away earns social capital, while drinking for yourself is several things: caloric intake, entertainment, and illness all at the same time. A bottle for yourself, decorated with proper fabric accoutrements, might be better saved for a special occasion.
Since my partner and I came home from Feast of Lights, I’ve been entertained and pleased by the experience of making something on my sewing machine every day this week. Sometimes it’s only been a quilting square from the previous days scraps. Mostly it’s been zippered bags and drawstring bags and these bottle bags. None of it has been hugely fancy. But it’s been a reminder that making things out of cloth is a way of creating practical art. I’ve enjoyed the companionship of my sewing machine this week, and I’ve found myself considering the lives of my grandmothers and their mothers, who were sewists and seamstresses of some talent and ability. (Some of those Haori sold at Feast of Lights; some bags and some geomancy sticks, too. It’s nice to make some money from my sales).