A Wine Bag to Make and Share

Make these reusable and re-giftable wine bags; they'll be a hit at your next get-together.

Have you heard of a "re-giftable wine bag" before? Neither had we, so we made it up. By "we" I mean the friends who brought a bottle of wine to me one night when I had invited them to dinner. The wine was nice, but the bag they put it in was gorgeous. It was a heavy damask type of material in soft but shimmery silver with beautiful figures on it.

As I "oohed" and "aahed" over it, they explained that it had been given to them by a friend whom they had invited to dinner and who presented them with a bottle of wine in that particular bag. They were re-using it with the stipulation that I in turn pass it along to someone. So I did. We added the idea of making a small book with empty pages that was inserted in the pocket we put on the bag. This way a record could be kept of who gave wine to whom, on what occasion and the date.

Materials and Tools:

1/2 yard fabric, 43- to 45-inches wide
1 yard wired silk ribbon
chipboard or mat board
paper for book pages
white thread
sewing needle
scissors

Steps:

1. Cut or tear a 9-inch wide strip of the fabric crossways.

2. Cut a 3-3/4-by-4-inch piece of the fabric to use for a pocket on the side of the bag.

3. Ravel all four sides of the pocket fabric about 1/4 inch. Ravel the two sides of the strip of bag fabric about 1/4 inch, too.

4. Fold the bag fabric in half crosswise. The fold will be the bottom of the bag. Position the pocket fabric in the middle of the fabric from side to side and about 2 inches up from the fold. If you are in doubt about the placement of the pocket, open up the strip of fabric and place the bottle along the middle fold. Pull the fabric up around the bottle and determine where you want to place the pocket.

5. After positioning the pocket stitch around the three sides (both sides and across the bottom) to secure to the bag.

6. Refold fabric strip in half. Fold the length of ribbon in half. Insert the folded end of the ribbon in between the fabric about 11 inches up from the folded (bottom) edge. Stitch up both sides just inside of the raveled area of the bag, catching the silk ribbon in the stitching as you go.

7. Fold the top 2 or 3 inches of the fabric down inside the bag. This should be the selvedge, so no hemming will be required.

8. To make the little book: Cut a piece of the silk about 4-by-6 inches. Cut three pieces of the mat board or chipboard. Cut two 2-by-3-inch pieces for the cover and one 1/4-by-3-inch piece as the spine. Position them on the silk piece in sequence: cover, spine, cover; leave a tiny space between the pieces.

9. Fold the extending corners and edges back over the board and glue to hold. Cut two more pieces of fabric slightly smaller than 2-by-3 inches and glue to the inside covers to hide the raw edges of the folded over silk.

10. Cut several 3-by-5-inch pieces of paper, fold in half crossways, and stitch along the fold of the paper to the spine of the book cover.

11. On our book we added a glass bead between each stitch so they lined up on the spine on the outside of the book.

12. Place the wine bottle in the holder, tie the ribbon in a bow with lengthy streamers, and insert the little book for keeping track of who, what, where and when in the holder.

Other Holders

Another bag that we made in the same way had an entirely different and more casual look. The fabric was a heavy cotton that featured bunches of purple grapes on a black background with a glass of wine here and there. Though the fabric was heavier than the silk and did not ravel as easily, we made the bag in the same way and pulled the threads by hand.

A third bag was made of heavy burgundy velvet. In this case we used the standard way of folding the fabric with right sides together, stitching up the sides, and then turning the bag right side out.

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