As soon as Karl Lagerfeld showed those ridiculous(ly sublime) hula-hoop bags on the Chanel runway for spring, my colleague Dodai and I knew we had to make one. "It's not up to me to say it is chic," said the always-modest Chanel designer after the show. "I thought it was but I cannot say it myself." Well, Karl, we thought it was chic! So, we boned up: we studied runway photographs in extremely high resolution, talked a lot about lambskin, watched videos of the bag in motion, and tried our best to channel the spirit of Karl himself. Then we poured some gin, put on some Kraftwerk, and began our craft work.
Okay, then we got bored and put on some Brandy. But eventually, we had a purse. Here's how we did it. All of these photos are by Dodai — some of them are a little grainy because we were working in low light conditions. And because gin.
For these first steps, you'll need some black duct tape, black spray paint (unless you have the good fortune to find black hula-hoops), and some quilted fabric for the bag body. Dodai had the bright idea to use those quilted mattress protectors they put in babies' cribs. Soft and waterproof — perfect considering that Karl Lagerfeld apparently intends this purse to serve as a beach bag.
First, Dodai sprayed the hoops black.
I sketched this very, very basic drawing of our pattern pieces: one semi-circular bag front, one semi-circular bag back with an attached flap, and one long, narrow bag bottom.
For this next part, you will need: white thread, black thread, pins, needles, sewing scissors, your black hoops, and your quilted fabric.
Hula hoops are way bigger than either of us had remembered, so our quilted fabric wasn't quite big enough to cover the whole front and back of the bag. We had to cheat it so that the quilted fabric would be on the front of the bag and the bag flap — we didn't care so much about the back. Our solution was to essentially make the bag out of cheap canvas and stitch the quilted fabric onto the canvas backing in the relevant places. First, put a hula hoop on top of your canvas (or, if you have enough quilted fabric, your quilted fabric) and trace around it.
Then cut. You now have a bag front. Repeat for the bag back. Measure the length of the rounded edge of your pattern pieces — ours were 53" — and then cut a bag bottom piece to that length. We made our bag bottom 9" wide in the center, narrowing to 3" wide at the edges.
Our quilted fabric was also a little bit too narrow to reach the whole way across the top of our bag — hula hoops are really big, you guys — so we had to stitch our two baby crib pads together.
I pinned the two pads very carefully so that the quilting lines would match across the seam. I couldn't help but feel that Karl would have approved.
And then I ran it up on the sewing machine.
Press the seam allowance open and give the entire quilted fabric piece a once-over with the iron to remove any creases from folding.
Cut out a bag flap.
And then cut out the bag front (if you haven't done so already).
Here are our quilted pieces sandwiched over the canvas pieces — see how we're using the canvas to cheat the quilted pieces to the front? Zig-zag around the edges of the quilted fabric to attach it to the canvas.
Then, pin and stitch the bag bottom.
Press the seam allowances open, and voilà: a fully functional bag awaiting its hula-hoop. Ignore the fact that the bag sort of looks like a deflated quesedilla.
Stretch the bag to meet the hula-hoop.
Using black thread, hand-stich the bag to the hula-hoop frame using long whip-stitches. Sew along the front and back bottom seams. This part is fiddly: if you have heavy-duty thread, use it. And tie strong knots.
First hoop is on and I'm so excited!
Once you have attached the bag to both hoops, all you have left to do is to join the hoops together at the top with the black duct tape.
And now you, friends, are ready for the beach. Or to dress as Karl Lagerfeld for Halloween. Or for your local hula-hoop purse convention. Whatever floats your boat.
Dodai reports that when she got the purse home:
My neighbor was like, WHAT IS THAT
I said, "It's a purse."
It is. It is. Carry it with pride.
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