Monday, October 31, 2011

Making a Hop Bag

Making bags on a sewing machine is almost as easy as falling out of bed. Hop bags can be used for a variety of things in brewing: grain bags, hop bags, filters or even a scrubby in a pinch. In a variety of sizes and shapes they can be quite useful for all home brewers: novice to grandmaster of the order of the wooden mash paddle.

The first step here is gathering the materials:
A yard+ of voile (fabric is measured in square yards)
white cotton thread (no need for dyes)
Butcher's string (ask your butcher)

Simple Bag

If you're making a simple bag cut a rectangle, roughly an inch longer in each direction then you want your bag to be. For the simplest bag possible take in inch from the short end of your rectangle fold pin and sew. Run your string through the folds you just created leaving 3 inches to either ends and knot off with a simple knot. Now pin the sides and sew up to the string, which you should push up against the lip. Be careful not to immobilize the string, sewing over it will immobilize it. Do not turn the bag outside in so all of your seams are on the inside; this isn't a beauty contest. Stitching whether by hand or on a machine is acceptable for making bags. Stitching on a machine takes a lot less time and works really well.

(Read more after the break.)

I've made these in 3 unique form factors Small, Large, and Long. The long bag is for kegs, when keg hopping or dry hopping in kegs I want lots of surface area for the hops so I want a long area of liquid. The large bag is for lots of hops in the boil kettle or for steeping grains. The small bags are for small hop additions in the boil. Each bag is sewn with a draw string. Other than the one hand sewn bag which I did in red thread all of the green threaded bags were done on the sewing machine. Sewing machines make sewing very easy. You shouldn't let them be intimidating. Making my BIAB bags were the first time I sat down at a sewing machine. All in all this process was super easy and for less than 15 dollars I got a bunch of high quality hop bags.

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