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!