Recently, I received a request for 125 Nautical Burlap Wine Bags. They would be used as gifts for the attendees of a wedding. The wedding is taking place on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
I’ve made this bag for a couple of different weddings now but only in quantities of 10 or so. The bride saw this bag in my Etsy shop & contacted me about her order.
Making 125 of anything is a lot of work. Ordering the supplies in bulk takes time. Some suppliers only have a small quantity on hand & in stores…even smaller.
The materials include: soft cotton woven rope, grosgrain ribbon, designer burlap & a good quality thread.
Ordering the burlap wasn’t a problem as the supplier was fully stocked for the summer. There have been periods of time when it has been back ordered for months. Finding the striped wide grosgrain ribbon took a little bit of time to find the right supplier but worked out perfectly. Matching the thread to the burlap & ordering in bulk will make all future projects a dream. The last piece & finishing touch the braided rope. As the saying goes…never let them see you sweat.
Finding the rope!! Arg!! Doesn’t begin to describe this piece of the puzzle. I ordered the rope from a supplier. Fantastic until it arrived. It arrived in a natural color not white. Cream is not white. So I have 400 yards of rope that I do not need. The hunt goes on…and I finally break down & contact a local fabric shop. They say not a problem & will deliver on time. The date quickly approaching & several calls & appearances & excuses later…the rope is back ordered at the manufacturer. This is information that was known by them & not shared with me. I had to make some quick decisions. I could have just adjusted my whole order had they just told me. I had 110 yards as each bag requires 1 yard of rope. I needed 15 yards of rope. Several visits to other stores produced zero yards. I am always outside the box thinker…what about a different size rope, certainly something must be close in size?? Oh why yes…there is not much difference between 1/2 inch and 5/8th inch, the untrained eye can not distinguish. Oy vey!!
So the shop that failed me, orders the remaining yardage 2 days before due date. I don’t trust them so I go online when I get home & order a back up supply and pay up the wazoo for next day air.
The bride & groom arrive on Friday. The order complete & utterly perfect. The grooms remarks on seeing 125 of them was “oh wow you’ve been busy.” Yes, 125 wine bags looks a lot different than 125 pennies.
To the bride & groom, thank you for your trust. I hope your guests love them. It was a challenge physically & emotionally and so worth it. I would do it again.
This production would not have been possible without the help of my husband who designed my labels and pinned ribbon on bags; mom who came for a visit & hemmed bags; my friend/household assistant Nancy who cut rope & turned bags & pinned; my 4 yo who ran under the desk to pull out the printed copies of my labels while I used my industrial paper cutter just 2 hours before delivery. My whole family who tolerated my endless hours of production. You are all so amazing. We’ll look back when I am almost famous and laugh.
No project this large is complete without a photo journey.
Here are some of the bags on my table getting ready to be serged. All woven fabrics should be finished properly or it will unravel & have holes.
After the serging…then each bag must be turned right side out. Burlap fibers go everywhere.
The next step is pinning the top hem so that the edging of the burlap is underneath & does not come unraveled. Takes a very steady hand to make sure the stitching is even. Also, the opening is so small, it does not fit on a free arm.
This was just about 2/3 of the bags when they were pinned & ready for their final hem. Sorry that I didn’t take pictures of the next step which was packing them in the box for delivery. I was so focused & close to my deadline.
The final step of this sewing project was cutting the 125 yards of rope used to tie a bow or nautical tie around the top of each wine bottle.
Thanks for taking the time to read about what it is really like being a designer & not having the resources of a manufacturing facility or other seamstresses helping me sew. I learn so much about my strength & determination with each turn that this business has taken.