carry bag for my hoop petticoat

Making a Carry Bag for My Hoop Petticoat

You know those giant multi-ringed hoop petticoats worn beneath mid-Victorian (Civil War era) dresses like this one? 

Liza in a Mid-Victorian Day Dress

Did you know that most of them are made to fold up? Or, more accurately, sort of twist up? It takes patience and a certain finesse, grabbing and bending just so. If you do it right, it collapses on itself in a satisfying way. If you do it wrong, it gets bent out of shape (literally), smacks you in the face, and makes you curse. 

 my hoop petticoat

Most of the time, I avoid the drama and just throw mine, in all its ruffly gigantic glory, into the back of the minivan. Plenty of room in there.

But if space is at a premium, I take a few deep breaths, stare down the hoop, and then wrangle it -- using origami maneuvers and YouTube tutorial videos -- into a remarkably compact, manageable size.

Then, before it can pop back open and slug me, I stick it in my handy dandy carry bag! Here's how I made it:

1. I started with this standard-size vintage pillowcase (don't forget to wash your fabrics before you sew!):

my vintage southern belle pillowcase 
The Southern Belle motif was perfect for this project, but any pillowcase will work. I'd stick to regular cotton or a cotton/poly blend and avoid anything stretchy. These were very popular in the 1960s and aren't difficult to find*, if you want one similar (or you can make your own using a readily available vintage pattern). Here's a close-up of the embroidered embellishment:

detail of the southern belle embroidered embellishment

2. Create a handle from coordinating fabric, as follows:

i. Make a tube about 1-1/4" (3cm) wide and a little more than twice as long as the width of the pillowcase.

ii. Stitch the ends together and press it flat. 

iii. Place the flat tube a little less than halfway down the length of the pillowcase, on the back. For my project, the back was the side without the Southern Belle embellishment. If your pillowcase doesn't have an embellishment, just pick a side you like better and attach the strap to the other side. You want the strap slightly closer to the open end. Hide the join by placing it in the center.

iv. Pin the strap only to your chosen side. Double-check that when you flip the "right side" over, the embellishment will be face up. Stitch the strap to the chosen side. Don't sew through both sides!

Handle attached to back of pillowcase. 

3. That's it! Wrangle your hoop, stuff it into the opening, flip the end of the case over and you're done!

finished bag

4. Slip it over your shoulder and go:

on my shoulder

So simple, right? Here's my hoop outside of and inside of the bag (yes, really!):

my hoop shown outside and inside the bag 
Don't play dress-up in hoop skirts? Doesn't matter. You can carry just about anything in this simple-to-make, easy-to-clean bag.

*Look what I found at an antiques mall a couple of days after posting this. 

southern belles pillowcase

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