Thursday, December 6, 2012

DIY Wine Tote: AKA Booze Bag

A dear friend of mine had a great bag.  She was shopping for wine in Canada and when she got to the register she discovered that the store did not provide bags, you were expected to bring your own.  Lucky for her, and her husband, they also sold reusable bags for $2.  So they bought a four wine bottle reusable bag and went back to their hotel room with four bottles of wine and a great little bag.

When I saw her Booze Bag, I thought: Now that is a good idea, I want one.

So we got together, got out our sewing machines and got to work.  Now, I'm not a great seamstress.  My mom taught me how to sew a straight line, gather, and top stitch.  Everything else I have learned on my own.  But my friend, she is great, she can sew just about anything she sets her mind to.  So, she helped me make my own Booze Bag.

Six hours later, and two glasses of light egg-nog, and we were done.  We figured it was probably cheaper and easier to drive to Canada (five hours from here) and buy a Booze Bag next time.  But, we did have fun.  Now we have two matching Booze Bags in these fun colors and I know how to do it again if I ever want to.

I didn't bring my camera, and we didn't even think to record our steps until half way through, but this may help you if you are further away from Canada, or just crazy enough to try.  

How to make a Wine Tote (or Booze Bag)


Fabric, not much more than a yard or two, you can also use two differnt kinds of fabric like we did (I used a large defective Ikea pillowcase and got two bags with a separate piece of fabric for the interior and handles)  you can use your scraps for this, which is great, because you don't need a lot of large pieces.

General Sewing Supplies (you know ... thread, needles, pins, scissors)

Patience (bring lots of that)


1.  Cut two side pieces (like image above) 14" x 9 1/2" (this includes a 2" seam allowance at top and 1/2" at bottom).  The side pieces are curved on the bottom.  Then cut one long rectangle to attach them, 7" x 32" (includes a 1/2" seam allowance on sides and a 1" seam allowance on the short ends).  It has to be the full length around three sides of the smaller, rounded side pieces.  You will end up with a bag with two pieces on the side and a long band in between.

See how the side pieces are flat and they are attached by one long piece?  The rectangle piece goes from the top down, along the bottom, and back up.  I'm not sure how else to explain it.  Hope that makes sense.

2. Sew the top of all three pieces over twice.  That means for the long rectangular piece you will sew both short ends.  Top stitch along the folded edge and the other side of the folded fabric to add strength.

3. Make the handles by cutting a two inch wide by 16" length strip of fabric.  Sew together with front of fabric facing inward along the length of the fabric and turn right side out.  Then top stitch both edges just like above.

4. Pin handles to the inside of each side of the two curved pieces.

5. Stitch handles with "X" pattern.

6. To make the dividers in the bag, cut two rectangles of fabric about the size of your smaller (rounded) pieces 11" x 10".  Finish the top and bottom of these pieces.  We added a decorative stitch at the top for fun.  Then pin the two pieces together and stitch right down the middle.  The dividers do not attach to the bag at the bottom, so they can be shorter than the bag itself.

Now comes the hard part.

7. Pin the long rectangle piece to the two smaller side pieces with one edge of the divider fabric in between on both sides.  Make sure you have the correct flap of the divider fabric attached to each side of the curved outer bag fabric.  In the end you want an nice "X" dividing the bag into fours with the complete divider fabric parallel to the wider side of the bag. You will be sewing three pieces of fabric together at this point.  Be sure to gather some of the long rectangular fabric as you go around the curved edges.  You will be pinning the long rectangle along three sides of the smaller piece, and the divider fabric alone the two edges.

We pinned one side, then sewed it.  Pin and sew the front of the fabric facing outward.   You will later cover the seam with fabric so it is ok that you will have the seam on the outside of the bag.  Then we pinned the next side and sewed that side too.  At this point the shape of the bag will be complete.

8. Cut a strip of fabric 34" long and 1 1/2" wide to cover the exposed edges on the outside of the bag.   Fold both long edges inward to create about a 1/4" or 1/2" "cover" to go around the exposed edge.  Iron these folds in place, it will help.  If you do not have a long enough scrap of fabric you can cut multiple strips and sew together by cutting the strip at a 45 degree angle and sewing together.

9. Sew your edging over the exposed seam with a top stitch.  We cut off any extra fabric outside the seam of the bag to make as much room as possible for the "cover."  We only had a 1/4" edging so it was very tight.  Needless to say, my friend did the sewing on this part.  Sew this top stitch as close to the inner edge of the seam cover as you can.  We literally had about 1/16" space between the stitch and the edge of the seam cover.  In the name of ease we left the top of the "cover" edging raw.  You could also fold it inward and stitch it closed. (I know there is a name for the cover of the bag edge that I am describing over and over again, but I just can't think of it or find in on google.  That is the problem with google, if you don't know the name it is very hard to find it.)

10.  Cut any stray strings of thread and admire your handiwork.  We had to go back and sew any spots where the stitching strayed from the covering edge.

I really want to make more of these.  I might alter the height and make one for the glass milk bottles I buy (from a local milk company) and need to return weekly.  The pockets are big enough that you can fit more than just wine.  Need four half gallons of milk or juice?  It will fit.

What do you think?  Is the United States ready for liquor stores to stop giving out bags?  Do you use reusable bags or is it too much trouble?  (We often forget them at home, hehe)


  1. i like that there's 4 different spaces. i use canvas bags all the time-so i don't forget them, i keep them in the truck of my car and the boyfriend's car so we get them before we go into a store.

  2. Hello,
    I have included your wine bottle holder in my 10 Great and Quick Hostess Gifts for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - what a great tote!
    Thanks, Hannah

  3. In the #9 instructions, the word you are looking for is binding. Thanks for the tut!

  4. I'm a little lost on the divider. Which is the top the 10" side or the 11"?


    1. The top of the divider is the shorter length, the 10". The size of the divider can vary, so use your judgment. Hope you enjoy making a bag for yourself.

    2. Thanks! For whatever reason I could not wrap my brain around the divider that night. It's been set aside while I finished up some other projects. I'll get it out and put together this weekend. Fun stuff! Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. I'm confused by step #8. Is there a picture or could someone explain how you cover the seam. Could you not just sew the bag inside out and flip it? If you're sewing another strip of fabric right on top wouldn't that just create another seam? Sorry I'm new.

    1. Hi Kendra, sorry I'm so late in seeing this. You could just turn the whole bag inside-out and sew it that way, or look up how to make sew fabric around raw edges. I decided to do the later because it made the bag stronger. Hope your bag worked out.

  6. Tank you for this il whill try it.


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