No Whining, But “Wining”

Friday was a busy day, of which the crowning glory was a trip to buy wine as a gift. I bought the wine and laid the bags (small paper wine bags inside a doubled plastic grocery bag) in the trunk for the trip home. I don’t know why I didn’t bring my own bags into the store, especially since two of which were right there in the trunk. If I had, we may not be having this conversation right now.

Just before I closed the trunk I thought what a hideous wrapping that collection of bags was. Please note that I do not wrap gifts with paper. I avoid it at all costs. Once in a blue moon, if there is some good reason why I must, I will struggle through the process. Imagine a small person who has rumpled gift wrap all over the room, tape covering her hands, face and legs, a sore back and who is fuming with rage. That is me. I sincerely dislike wrapping gifts with paper. I remembered a pattern I had copied from the Bag Bazaar: 25 Stylish Bags to Sew in an Afternoon by Megan Avery for a wine bag and thought I would make a couple for the bottles.

I dutifully read through the directions, which made no sense, as per usual. I started in on following the directions. I find that if I go slowly, I will get through the pattern. Except for this one. There were two directions that were on pages that I had not made notes from. The first one was for the handle, which said ‘make handle according to directions on page 18.” I didn’t have notes from page 18 so I made the handle like I would for the Eco-Market Tote.

After I got to the instruction for the main body of the bag, which said, something like, trace pattern from next page on cardstock or a manila folder. Since I didn’t have that page either, I went online and found a pattern for gift and wine bags so I could just get the measurement. This was an okay tactic and I used some of the directions from the online pattern. I ended up, however, essentially taking my own measurements – 12″x15″ for the outside and 11.5″x14.5″ for the lining, if you are interested. I read and sort of followed the basic overall directions in both patterns, dealing with the details myself.

Wine Bag, test mode
Wine Bag, test mode

One of the first issues was fabric. I have no shortage of fabric, but I wanted to use something that wouldn’t kill me with boredom and would fit the decor of my friends. They have a gorgeous house that uses lots of earth tones with some forest and tree kind of accents. I have been trying to think of ways to use my beiges and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. Still, I didn’t want to hate the project.

I found a great mottled pinky-beige with gold leaves, tastefully, screenprinted over the background. Perfect! I also had a lot of it. I picked out a marbled beige and brown for the lining.

Wine Bag, detail
Wine Bag, detail

The directions above say to cut a piece 6″x34″. These measurements did not make sense to me. I knew that wine bottles were neither 6″ around nor 34″ tall, thus there was no way I was cutting  a piece with those measurements. I got the measurements, in the end, by measuring a bottle of wine.

NOTE to designers: please give some explanation up front when you want someone to cut a piece that seems way bigger, or more oddly shaped, than needed. I am sure you have a good reason, so please let me know.

The red wine in the bag above was my test bottle. Yes, people will be mad at me for messing up their sediment process. Oh well. I was surprised to find that a wine bottle is about 11″ inches around.

I could have used the leave-a-hole-and-turn-the-bag-and-lining-right-side-out, but I didn’t feel like figuring out where the handles were supposed to go in that process. I put the whole thing together and folded the top hem down, inserted the straps and top-stitched around. It was a tight fit in my machine, but worked in the end.

I also neatly sank my knots and threads. 😉

Wine, wrapped and ready
Wine, wrapped and ready

Above are my wine bags with the actual gift wines in them and ready to go. I have to admit that I thought about the height a bit. I wondered if I should make the bag shorter so the neck of the bottle was slightly visible. In the end, I decided the gift would be more of a surprise if the height covered the entire bottle. There would also be no interference between the neck and the handle.

I realize that some of you don’t drink wine. This pattern could be easily adapted to another gift drink such as Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, or even a bottle of soda. It might be a nice way to wrap a gift bottle during the upcoming holidays.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

4 thoughts on “No Whining, But “Wining””

  1. Just to help you out — On those 34″ x 6″ measurements, I have a feeling you’ll find that the piece is intended to be folded in half across the 6″ width, then sewn up the resulting 17″ sides. With a 1/4″ seam, that leaves you a roughly 11″ circumference. That’s a tight fit, but doable. A 6″ width also allows one to cut 6 pieces crosswise from a one-yard length of 36″ wide fabric. Since most US fabric is 44″ wide, a more efficient dimension is 7″ x 34, which leaves room for wider seams, allows for removing selvages that may have printing on them, and leaves approximately 2″ x 44 for six 7″ long carrying straps. By using a yard each of two complimentary or contrasting fabrics, one can make half a dozen nifty bags.

  2. Great analysis, Tansy. It is wonderful to have more brains working on a problem. ;-). Thanks for reading and taking the time to share.

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