Last summer I made a paper-bag inspired beer koozie. My design took inspiration from a few places, our mean North Philadelphia streets being one of them. It also came from – I feel like I should be ashamed to admit this – Urban Outfitter’s 40-ounce koozie, which was made to look like a scrunched paper bag around the bottle.
The rest of my inspiration came from many hours of boredom while my roommates were doing a summer course and I was just hanging out. Considering 40s are not exactly my go-to adult beverage – I’ll stick to craft beers, please – I decided to make my own paper- bag koozies out of felt for a no-rip, but still fun, solution to most, if not all, of my day-drinking woes.
If I’m going to be technical, I suppose the felt-paper bag acts more as a koozie cover than anything else. Regardless, the best part about them is that that they work for cans – even tall boys – or bottles. Disclaimer: If you are not yet of legal age to imbibe, stick to soda. After all, underage drinking is illegal as is drinking in public, so you should consider avoiding that, too.
I’ll be honest: The pattern is almost entirely freehanded in a terrible and somewhat shameful way. I sort of threw the pattern together while sitting in my living room, watching “Silent Library” because the remote went missing. Clearly, I really haven’t come that far in my crafting process since last year.
The pattern is mostly based on me being lazy and wanting to have the bulk of what I was doing be based on folding felt in half and cutting. So my pieces were hardly exact, but the koozies still came out fine.
Although if you have a Type-A personality, you can cut everything out to be much more exact, with corners much more squared than mine were. The best tip I can offer is to leave a bit of a seam allowance so you can trim off any bizarre, uneven edges and corners later. Because I’m pretty sure none of us really feel like taking out a straight edge or protractor to measure those perfect right angles that no one will notice anyway.
– Two pieces of felt – I used a light tan because it was the closest color to a real paper bag
– Thread – I used dark brown embroidery thread, which made mine look more ‘campy’ and homemade, and also because I didn’t have thread that matched perfectly. Feel free to use a matching thread if that’s your thing
– Koozie – this is optional, but provides maximum drink insulation
1. Cut two pieces of felt into 8-inch by 4.25-inch rectangles. Set aside.
2. Cut two pieces of felt into 8-inch by 4.75-inch rectangles. Set apart from the first two rectangles. It seems trivial now, but it will make piecing the bag together easier, I promise.
3. Cut a final rectangle 4.25-inches by 4.75-inches.
4. Match up the sides of the bags and start piecing together the bag, securing with straight pins. The 8-inch by 4.75-inch pieces will be facing each other attached to the 4.75-inch sides of the bottom of the bag.
5. Repeat the process for the narrower pieces.
6. If you’re hand sewing, do a quick running stitch on all of the vertical sides of the bag.
7. This will form a tunnel.
8. Attach the bottom of the bag to the rest of the bag.
9. Trim up any wonky edges, make corners into more of right angles and do whatever you need or want to do for you to be satisfied with the look of your koozie. You can also turn your koozie inside out if you really want cleaner edges.
10. Put your actual koozie into the felt paper bag, along with a drink.
11. Drink up.
As far as the sewing goes, these would be easier to churn out with a sewing machine. Or, if you’re going for that extra-fancy look, try a nice embroidery stitch to hold the bag together. But really, you’re making a felt paper bag and there’s no need to be fancy.
The koozie isn’t attached to the felt paper bag because I figured I could use the inner koozie individually if I wanted. Or, more importantly, clean things when something inevitably gets spilled, someone taps your bottle with theirs or after hauling the beer to the park to drink, when it’s a little bit shaken up and you’re too impatient to wait for it to settle. That said, if you want some more permanence in your koozie, you could easily attach the two pieces together with hot glue.
Meghan White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.