The bags have a drawstring which can be tied in a bow at the back (or secured with an anorak-type cord toggle/grip) either to cover the whole bottle or, when it’s time to pour, to leave the top of the neck poking out while keeping any neck label hidden.
Full credit to MD Haworth who published a similar Wine Bags I'ble some years ago. My version is a little simpler, using only one piece of fabric for each bag.
What you will need (per bag)
- A 13” x 18” piece of dark coloured lightweight fabric – buy a fat quarter (18” x 22” approx.) for one bag or 3/8 yd of 36” wide fabric will just make two
- A scrap of plain or patterned fabric in a contrasting colour
- Matching thread
- Fabric glue, bonding powder or fusible webbing (such as Vilene Bondaweb)
- An 18” shoelace or a similar length of cord or narrow tape, in a colour to match 1 or 2 above
- A small piece of tracing paper (greaseproof paper) and a pencil
- Tailor’s chalk or a water soluble crayon that will show up on 1 above
- A sewing machine with a zigzag stitch (although you could do it by hand instead)
- The usual sewing kit: pins, needles, tape measure, small scissors, etc
- A pair of dressmaking scissors or a roller cutter, cutting mat and long straight edge
- A computer (or some other source of large numerals)
- An iron
- A cord toggle (optional)
- A small safety pin (may not be required)
The bag fabric (1. above) should be washable but it still needs to be black or another dark colour so that red wine stains don’t show. The bottom of the bag is “bagged out” by sewing across the corners (see Step 4), which means that the fabric shouldn’t be too thick or the bottom will be bulky and unstable when a wine bottle is standing upright in the bag. A fine, tightly woven cotton lawn is ideal. Shrink it by washing it in hottish water before cutting out, and shrink the scrap fabric that will be used for the appliqued numbers too, to prevent any differential shrinkage afterwards that might make the numbers wrinkle.
You could use the same fabric for the appliqued numbers on all the bags you make, but as I was only making two I chose a black and white fabric for bag no.1 and a predominantly red fabric for no.2. That way I can easily remember that no.1 contains a white wine and no.2 a red one.
Step 1: Cutting Out
For the numbers, open a word processor on your computer and type the number you need in bold. Choose a font that isn’t too fancy and increase the font size until the letter on the screen is about 3.5” tall. Hold the tracing paper on the screen and trace off the outline of the number with a pencil. If you are using fusible webbing, iron a piece of webbing that is larger than the number onto the back of a scrap of the contrasting fabric, then trace the number (the wrong way round) onto the paper on the back of the webbing, paying attention to the grain of the fabric. Cut out the shape. If you don’t have webbing, pin the tracing paper (with the number the right way round) onto the right side of the fabric and cut through both layers.
Step 2: Appliqueing the Number
Zigzag round the edges of the numeral, or else work blanket stitch by hand. Finish off the thread ends neatly on the inside.
Step 3: Side and Lower Seams
Sew the long side seam first and check that the resulting tube will slip easily over a wine bottle before going any further. Press the side seam open (or to one side if it is a French seam) then sew the lower edges together and press that seam too. While you have the iron out, press the opposite side of the bag from the vertical seam to make a crisp fold close to the bottom seam – you will need to know where this side comes for the next stage.
Step 4: Bagging the Bottom
Do the same with the other bottom corner of the bag and then sew these two seams. Press, turn right side out and you should have a bag with a square-ish base that is about the same size as a wine bottle.
Step 5: The Draw Cord
Turn the casing to the inside along the two fold lines and sew it in place close to the lower fold. Insert the draw cord – you’ll need to use a small safety pin to feed it through the casing if you’re not using shoelaces with hard ends. Feed the two ends through an anorak toggle if you’re using one.
Give it all a good press and you’re done. Happy blind tasting!