Top left picture – ties at the top of the bag
Middle picture – hoop inside bag with top tied Left picture – closeup of the tie stitching
Bottom picture – ties wrapped around top
Last two pictures is a flouced hoop (meaning it has ruffles). This hoop fits into my hoop bag.
This is for the hoops that are covered with fabric, not a cage hoop. A cage hoop bag may be a little different from what I will describe in this article, but could still use the same theory. I currently use a fabric hoop and this is the type of bag I made for mine.
When I first started reenacting, I would carry my hoop as it would look like after I took it off. Rather a large ring of material and ruffles lying flat. After packing the car, it would get placed on top of everything and when storing it in the tent, I would place it between my cot and the side of the tent. This worked for a few events until one night it rained and it got damp on the one side. This is when I was told about a “hoop bag”. No one had ever told me how to store or travel with these, so I did the best I could. After making one of these bags, I would recommend all ladies who reenact to use one of these. If you aren’t a seamstress, you can also use a queen or king size pillow case. You can use an old pillow case or you can find inexpensive odds and ends of pillow cases on clearance tables. I started out with a queen size pillow case, but about 3″ of the top of the hoop would stick out and could still get soiled. I used this for a little while but then decided to make my own hoop bag.
These bags can sell anywhere from $15.00 to $25.00, or even more, depending on the type of material used. I shop the sales and actually made mine for less than $8.00. It takes approximately 2 1/2 to 3 yards of material, depending on the size of your hoop. Mine is a 110″ circumference hoop and I used approximately 2 1/2 yards, give or take a few inches here and there! I actually measured the size of the queen size pillow case and added a few inches to the sides and to the top to allow for enough room for the hoop. First sew (with wrong sides together) the side and bottom. After completing this step, sew a hem at the top. If you choose to use a drawstring, leave a large enough hem to form a casing and leave an opening at each end so you can pull the drawstring through the top. I chose to mine different. Instead, I measured a strip of material approximately 3″ wide by about 1 yard long. Turn both ends over and stitch to form end hems. Then turn both of the long sides over until the meet in the middle and fold again to meet both of the long sides together. This will prevent any fraying. Start by stitching one of the short ends, turn, and stitch all along the long side, turn, and stitch the other short end. Fold this in half to find the middle. After finding the middle, pin this section to one side of bag at the top. Stitch this to the bag. To help reinforce this stitching, I stitched a small square to help secure the tie to the bag. This will give you two nice long ends to tie around the top of the bag.
After you are finished sewing, grab your hoop by one hand and pull the section you have in your hand into the bag. This will not bend the hoops if you are careful. The hoops are relatively durable, but you still need to be careful not to bend them. Keep feeding the hoop skirt into the bag until you have completely fit the hoop into the bag. On the bag I made, I left about 4-5″ at the top for enough room to tie the bag closed. Using the long ties, I wrap the ties around once, and then again, and then tie the bag.
The material I used is not “period correct” but I got it for a bargain and had actually planned on using it for something else, but it wasn’t correct. I didn’t want to waste this material, so I made a hoop bag instead! I have seen other sold on-line and at sutlers that were not “period correct” colors, but then again, you are only using it to transport from your home to your tent. This is not something the public will see you wearing!! If you want to make a period correct bag, you may want to consider using muslin, a light tapestry material, or a paisley print. Any of these would work. Then again, like I said, the public doesn’t see this, so if you have leftover material or that piece you just don’t know what to make with it, this could be an option!