Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hermione's Beaded Purse DIY

Of course, dear readers, you all are familiar with Hermione's beaded purse, with the undetectable expansion charm, that she used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 and 2. It's actually a really cute purse, and licensed replicas of it are sold--for $65 here!

I realized that I had the perfect fabrics for this project. One day during rehearsal for The Odd Couple, the Prop Room had been cleaned and all the garbage was put in the auditorium. Now, I did stage crew for last year's musical, and when I say the Prop Room was a disaster, I mean it: shoes with broken heels under boxes of crumpled shields under wrinkled and jumbled up vintage clothes all stuffed together in a tiny, dirty, dusty, dim room. Most of the costumes and props were becoming damaged because throughout the years noone had bothered to store anything properly. Anywho, I naturally rummaged through the pile of trash to see if there was anything I'd like. And there was! I took home about two yards of this really heavy, paisley-print tapestry fabric, which I thought would be PERFECT to make a carpetbag in the future (you know, with some faux leather piping...). I also took home about 3 yards worth of purple satin, which was once some kind of tacky royal-ish banner or something. It was trimmed in a really nice gold fringe tassel trim, which was an extra win. I dug around in my stash at home and found about half a yard of this matte dark purple cotton, with a strangely shiny reverse.

From top left: the dark purple cotton, the shiny purple satin, and the paisley-print upholstery fabric
It didn't take too long to assemble the entire purse: what took longest was drafting a pattern. I was going to make a simple drawstring bag (circular bottom sewed to tube of fabric) but the purse in the movie looks like it's made with a bunch of triangles of fabric. So I tried that. I started with a rectangle that was 12 inches by 3 inches, and tapered the ends to make an equilateral triangle. I added a 1 cm seam allowance all around.

My pattern

The purple cotton panels are beaded with little translucent seed beads I pulled off an old tank top. I literally sat there all night with a seam ripper and a small dish, removing each bead. The beads are about 1 cm apart. I really like the look of the beads on the purple cotton; I think they add a nice dimension to the purse and don't conflict with the sheen and texture of the other fabrics. At present moment, the drawstring of the purse is some mauve yarn, because I didn't have ribbon on hand that was long enough/ thin enough. It threads through a casing and comes out at both ends through hand-bound eyelets. I hand-bound the eyelets on my 18th Century shift, but I still haven't completely mastered this technique, so my eyelets on the purse are a little wonky. The purse is lined with the purple costume satin, and I even included a small interior pocket perfect for loose change or chapstick.

In the process of beading the bag
Sewn to the bottom of the purse is a small gold tassel and three beaded strands. Unfortunately, you can't see the beaded strands well in the picture. The three beaded strands represent the three Deathly Hallows! I hope you're all mindblown by now.

Undetectable Expansion charm not included!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


In case any of you dear readers were wondering, I am, indeed, still alive. I am really bad at this blogging-every-day thing. Really. Like, I would sign in and read what was on my dashboard and analyze my stats and then just NOT BLOG. I am a terrible blogger. And, I can give you readers the excuse that I'm a senior in high school, I have homework and extracurriculars, and those college applications, and the female version of the Odd Couple I played Vera in a few weekends ago, but you, readers, YOU are working adults with lives and jobs and bills and children and even more things on your sewing table than I. So really, there is no excuse, I am a bad blogger D:

But, seeing as you loyal readers are still reading this, why don't I give you a breakdown of what you missed of the past month of my life?

Towards the end of November, when I entered in American Duchess's giveaway for the Pemberlies, she posted on Facebook about all the new blogs she was learning about. And then she linked to my bog, and said to "check out this snazzy young costumer and her gorgeous Chemise a la Reine." You hear that world? American Duchess called me snazzy! Young! And my Chemise a la Reine gorgeous!

...And then a few days later someone hacked my Facebook. The hacker messaged each of my friends, had a conversation with them, and asked them for their emails and passwords, so that "I" could do some essay or something. I only found out the next day and it took a while to solve the problem. But it wasn't a too big deal for me because I'm not a huge FB fan anyway. I feel most bad for the people who unknowingly gave their emails...

...And then it was play time, and I had lots of fun both nights, and people loved my character, and I actually socialized with different people afterward (a post on that later).

...And then, that is when I got sucked into the time vortex that is Tumblr. Normally I only Tumbl on the weekends for the sake of my sanity, but once I began Tumbling everyday, I JUST COULDN'T STOP REBLOGGING. Tumblr is a time vortex that steals time.

...And then it was Christmas, and we all know how time-sucking the holiday season can be in itself.
This Christmas, my friends and I decided to do a Secret Santa, being that we were a bunch of jobless teenagers. Since we were only a group of 7, every time we drew the names from a hat, we'd look around and deduce who had who. For example:
We are sitting around a table in a coffee shop in this order: Sarah, Aprill, Myself, John, Bri and Deborah. Aprill takes first, then I take. I get Aprill's name. I look over and Aprill has me. That means John has either Sarah, Bri, or Deborah. Bri has either Sarah, Deborah, or John. Bri lets slip that she has John's name, and John gives up and says he has Bri. Therefore Sarah has Deborah. We had to pull the names out 4 times to get this right.

I ended up with Sarah. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought her a quill pen; although she is a Gryffindor, the quill was a dark green, because that was all that they had left. I wanted to buy her a set of monogrammed notecards, but there were none left with "S". So, I ended up buying her a Harry Potter bookmark that had tassels and beads. And then I realized, Sarah has a Kindle, she can't use a bookmark! So I waltzed back into the store and bought her a copy of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Because who doesn't love Jane Austen?

At school, we have a row of three consecutive lockers all to ourselves. We would've had four if it hadn't been for that snively freshman-she doesn't even use that locker! Anywho, we set aside our third locker for our tree. We stacked up two of those locker shelves, strung the whole locker in battery-operated Christmas lights, and put up our tree, Ilene.

A funny story about Ilene: Originally, I was supposed to bring a miniature Christmas tree from my attic for the locker, but my dad didn't want to go all the way up to the attic to get it. It's really dusty up there. Anywho, John, Bri, and I were walking home from school, frustrated over our lack of a tree, when John broke a branch off of a nearby tree and told us to use that. So Bri took the branch home, stuck in an earthenware mug with some dirt, and called it Ilene (get it? I LEAN? Ilene?? Tough crowd...). Bris' mother saw Ilene, and decided that more decoration was in order. She glued cotton balls to Ilene to give the appearance of snow, she hung earrings and tied little bows around Ilene for decoration, and she even cut out tiny foam squares and covered them in wrapping paper, and placed them at the base of the tree.

So we put up Ilene, and on the last day of school before Christmas break, we brought in our presents and placed them in the shelves beneath our tree. We had to wait until the final bell rang to rush to our locker and ceremoniously exchange our gifts. Aprill had her fancy camera ready (I call it a fancy camera because it's one of those big black ones with the huge lenses). First, Sarah gave me my was the Lego Harry Potter Knight Bus set!!

Sarah loved her present, which made me very happy. Next, John gave Deborah her present. Now, the day before, John told me to wrap Deborah's gift but troll her, because he knew she would go along with it. So I picked up a rock from my yard, drew : 3 on it with sharpie, then wrapped it up in last week's circulars, and put it in an empty Trader Joe's oatmeal box, which I then festively wrapped. Now, Deborah's real gift was a Deathly Hallows necklace that John had bought on Etsy, so I also wrapped that up nice. John kept the necklace in his pocket when he handed Deborah his gift, and yes, she went along with it, and then freaked when she opened the necklace. 

Deborah then gave Aprill her present, which was a black sweater with the Hufflepuff badge, and a red bowtie printed with Christmas trees. Bri then gave John her present, which was a brass guitar pick engraved with his favorite lyrics from a song by Ed Sheeran, and his reaction in the middle of that empty school hallway was priceless. He ran from end to end, crashing into the lockers, and finally collapsed into a fetal position at Bri's feet. I think he liked his present. Finally, Aprill gave Bri her present, which was a nice pink sweater that totally complemented her complexion. 

Possibly the funniest thing about our whole gift exchange was that most of us gave each other Harry Potter themed gifts. Just goes to show you how we are.

Anywho, to all the dear and faithful readers of my blog, I wish you Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year filled with love and happiness and health! (: