Harry Potter Stage Production - Gladstone Bag

Rebecca Eaton

Posted on March 31 2022

Harry Potter Stage Production - Gladstone Bag

Over the last few month we have been working on a really exciting project. We were commission to make 8  replica Gladstone bags for the Harry Potter musical, which were destined for Japan and Australia. 

The brief: To make an identical sample based on the existing original bag. The bag required a box to be fitted inside. The box was a light projector and it needed to have a switch fitted through the leather so it could be worked on stage. They wanted to leather to be nicer than the original but size to be identical.

What we have to work on initially:

* We took the dimensions from the original bag and created a cardboard template pattern. We had to take into consideration the thickness of the leather required as this can change the dimensions of each panel.

* We then had to find a company to make the steel frame for the closure of the bag, this is what creates the structure. After having had some astronomical quotes we found a local metalwork company that were so kind that they made the frames for very cheap as they were avid fans of Harry Potter. We needed to tweak the dimensions a few times as the leather needed to cover the frame and depending and the thickness of the leather really effected the function of the frame. 

* We sourced numerous leather samples to try and find the perfect match for the colour. Originally we sourced tumbled vegtan leather that was 2.8mm thick from Metropolitan leathers, we needed to stabilise this to create the structure but that ended up not being the correct colour. We then sourced a beautiful vegtan leather from S.C.Hall and Son in Partridge green. This was 4mm thick and required skiving in the seam allowance and we also stabilised the main body. 

This is an image of the original bag that we needed to replicate.

This was the original bag. It contained a box that projected a light from it.

We covered the bolt head with leather. Skiving the leather to 1mm thick, then cutting circles, creating small holes for the bolt to thread through, gluing another layer of leather on top, polishing and edge painting. 

This nut and bolt held the frame together at the pivot hole allowing the frame to hinge open. 

 

 

 

This hole was required  to feed the button through, so the light could be switched on and off on stage. We were only told this right at the end of production so it was a little scary to punch the hole after so many hours of working on the piece. 

We hand to hand stitch the entire bag. The tabs for the handle were mounted onto the leather and hand stitched in place. The leather was then glued onto the steel frame and a rivet was mounted through the steel frame and tab to secure the handle. The whole bag would take the strain from this point so it needed to be very secure.

After many painstaking hours, pierced fingers, giggles and cups of tea all 8 were finished. Then as if by magic they were collected and flown off to their final destinations. I always find the final moment when the commission order is finished and picked up and they are taken away , really sad moment. It feels like your little children all grown up and flying the nest. Bon voyage Gladstone bags.

All finished! 

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