When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pagoda Handbag

A year ago I posted about Enid Collins purses and Jewel Tone Handbag kits.  My dream purse, numero uno on my wish list, was the black Pagoda bag.  All year long, I have been looking at flea markets, on Etsy and Ebay.  On the rare occasion I found it on line, it was way over my price range, $50+ for the finished bag.  I even bid on a few on Ebay, but again, it rose to over $50.  I thought I would never find one I could afford.

A few weeks ago while skimming through Ebay, I did a double take.  Someone was selling an unopened, shrink wrapped, complete 1967 Pagoda Kit!   It was listed in the embroidery kit section, not the purse section.  It had four days left and no bids.   I immediately put a maximum bid of $51.00 on it.  My bid was the first at $19.99.   There were no further bids on it until the last two minutes when someone put a bid in.  My auto bid came back with $28.00 - AND I WON!!!!

The seller even lives 30 minutes from me, so she mailed it to me Monday morning, and I received it Tuesday afternoon.  Tuesday night I cracked it open, eager to get started.  I am taking photos along the way.

 I opened the box and and checked out the contents.  The glue, over 50 years old, had turned brown, but was still liquid!  I won't use it, but will be using Aleene's Jewel It glue.    I read over the instruction sheet, which is starting to get brittle, and is browning.

Step one was to attach all the hardware to the purse.  I nailed tiny nails to secure the wooden bottom piece in.  Then I attached the clasp pieces.
The first jewels are attached!  It can get a bit messy with all the glue on tiny pieces.  I am afraid to use too little as I don't want the jewels to fall off.  I didn't do anything else that night, as I wanted what I did to dry.  So I had fun looking at the pristine catalog that was included in the kit!

Night Two:  Glued on the rest of the jewels.  Its turning out so cute!      

Night Three: The last step is to apply the gold braid on the roof.    This was the tricky part, as the cording ravels at the ends.  I dipped the ends in glue to keep them from raveling after I cut the braid.

Here is the finished purse.   My cell phone photos are awful, and this bag looks so much better in person.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Addition:   I won a second jewel tone kit - Zodiac, unmade and in the box, for only $17!  That will be my next project :)  


  1. I can see this is becoming your "crack addiction". :) But I also feel the excitement in doing it.

    1. Yes, Val. You have watched me become addicted from day 1. On to the next unmade purse kit - Sagittarius!

  2. Congrats on the great find and thanks for sharing your experience. I wish I had half your skills! I will be sharing your post on The Vintage Purse Gallery's Facebook page today.

    1. Thanks Wendy! You always inspire me with your beautiful site.