Roland Mouret on How to Create a Vacation Bag for the Summer That Wasn’t

Designer D.I.Y. SERIES

As part of our Designer D.I.Y. series, Mr. Mouret shows how to make a denim handbag inspired by a town on the French Riviera.

By Elizabeth Paton

Here, Roland Mouret, known for his feminine silhouettes and famous bodycon Galaxy dress, has chosen to create a knotted handbag out of a simple square of denim and an inexpensive metal chain. He calls it the Nimes.

“I used denim off-cuts I had at home and bought a chain from the local market to create this bag, called the Nimes because that dark indigo blue reminds me of the town in the south of France where many believe denim originated,” Mr. Mouret said.

“To me, this bag has that South of France attitude. I’d pair with wide leg trousers and a one-shoulder silk top for an al fresco drink with friends.”

Your tool kit

A square of fabric approximately 20 inches by 20 inches. A thick cotton-like denim works particularly well.

A heavy link chain or several long necklaces

A sewing machine

An optional cardboard or foam rectangle (cut from something like a yoga mat), which can be used as a base


Prepare your square of material

If you’re using a fabric similar to denim, be sure that the edges have already frayed a little. Then do a wide zigzag stitch on your sewing machine around the entire edge of the fabric square to control the fraying.


Fold the material into the shape of a kite

Lay your fabric square flat. Taking two diagonally opposite corners, fold toward the middle with a significant overlap until a point is created at one of the remaining corners. The fabric will now be in the shape of a kite. Knot the corner of the fabric where the point has been created.


Fold, then knot the opposite corner

Repeat Step 2 to create a point in the opposite corner of the fabric. This will be slightly more difficult now that the other corner is already knotted. Once your point is created, knot this corner too.


Create a knotted ‘clasp’

With the two remaining corners of the fabric folded toward to middle, knot both corners together. An optional step here is to place a foam or cardboard rectangle at the bottom of the bag to create a flat base. If you wish, you can glue the base into place.


Use your chain to make a handle

Thread your heavy link chain through the knots at the two ends to create a handle. You could use several long necklaces instead of a single chain to introduce further color or texture. Using a chain with a jewelry clasp is easiest as it will allow you to thread through the knots before closing the chain. This whole process should not take longer than an hour.

Photograph by Megan Ashcroft (Roland Mouret)

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