Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry:Sirius Black*Finished.....for now*

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**This costume is now done for the contest. It is still not complete or finished all the way, but whatever else I do will be for my own creating pleasure, for experimenting and for a late Halloween party with friends**

Last year for Halloween I saw the contest but wanted to focus on just getting the costume done, attending a big party and all.

This year I forgot about it a few days ago when I saw it, and so I decided that since I'll never finish my Edward Scissorhands costume in time, at least not in a satisfactory quality, I could look in my idea box and see what other costumes I've thought about and do one of those.

Last year one of the possible costumes that I thought would be neat was the escaped Sirius Black from The Prisoner of Azkaban, and since I found that I have a lot of usable materials I've decided to make it my entry.

So let's break it down


Costume Parts:

Striped prison shirt and pants.
The plan is to sew it from either a basic pajama pattern or just eyeball it. I'm putting greater focus on getting a more correct fabric and stripe placement than if its cut is 100% accurate.
Fact is that one of the reasons I didn't make this costume last year was because I couldn't find any good striped fabric, so if you know you want to do this costume; look out for good fabric because it could be really difficult to find in a hurry.

Linen Duster:

I have an old lab coat that's very close to the duster he wears over the prison uniform. Despite being dissolved in placed by acid it hardly has any stains that could ruin it for this project. It is also sparkly white and has a belt and some breast pockets, so that's going to have to change. I'll also add a collar made from suede or soft leather depending on what I can find.
I apologize for the dark photo, but with any other setting the extreme reflectiveness of the white coat overpowered the camera and made it impossible to get any features to show. The angle also makes it seem shorter than what it is, but it reaches pretty much exactly where it should.
Lab coat_duster base.jpg

I have two pairs of boots that I could use. One is less accurate but has the right "feel" to them and the other pair is more accurate but they're much darker and doesn't have the same old, worn out feel to them. They might be possible to weather with sandpaper to get more correct, which I will try before I remove them as a possibility.


I decided on the more accurate pairand although the are huge. I can still walk in them kind of comfortably and I'm going to stand still for the photos anyway. The only downside is that they might make the proportions comical, like clown boots. Only time will tell.

In the book Sirius takes Ron's wand and to me it makes a lot more sense to have that as a prop than his own personal wand or the prison plate.
I started with getting all the references I could, which mostly consisted of the noble collection images and what exhibit photos there are with enough detail.
I started with an old dowel rod that was just laying around and which was incidentally just over 14 inches, the exact measurement of Ron's wand.
Dowel_rod wand Base 1.jpg
So I cut away the excess material with a figure saw.
Wand Progress 1.jpg
I then sanded it with a rotary tool until the basic shape was somewhat recognizable.
Wand Progress 2.jpg Wand Progress 3.jpg

After two hours I had a decent base to work from.
At this point I regretted not paying closer attention to the shape of the original, so while I'll have to sand and shape some more I'll also have to add some material. I'm most likely going to use papier machier or carpenters wood filler to model up what needs to be added and then finish it with more rotary tool goodness.

I'm looking for acrylic colors to paint it with. I remember having a lot of colors somewhere so hopefully I'll be having some progress pictures or even a video of the painting process in a few days.

*NOTE: I did not finish the wand in time. All I need to do is to paint it, but since the costume took more work to dye than I had anticipated I put the wand on the shelf for the contest.
As most of you that read this looking for tips or lessons, the lesson here is that if it is not essential to your costume then it's the first thing to go when time runs short. This might seem really obvious, but when you've put +20 hours of pure work into something it can be hard to just let it go. It's tough to do this, but it's often better to have a solid costume without bells and whistles than one that's just so-so with all the mentioned bells/whistles/small hovering cats.*

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black 2.jpg

While I do have some facial hair it's not nearly enough to make this work. I do however have a theater quality beard with some different mustaches, but I'll have to glue extra hair on by hand to really get enough of it.

For the hair I'll just go with my own, since I probably might even have a little too much, and it's the right general shade.

He has a lot of tattoos and I remember seeing a design document with a sketch that showed the front of his torso clearly. I seem to recall that they might be supposed to be protective in nature, as to shield him from the dementors. Any way they are an important part of the costume and should not be forgotten. Most likely I'll draw on myself with a sharpie or have someone assist me. vlcsnap-2013-10-25-02h30m40s11.png
For the ones on his hands it will be a trickier thing to figure out. I have found one good screenshot of his left hand that shows a decent amount of detail, so that's going to go on my fingers for sure.
As for the right one I'm still searching. I'm going to comb the movies for some defining moment where his hands are visible and hope for some luck.

I've seen some really nice costumes of Sirius in his escapee condition, but I've never seen one which included the horrible teeth.
Considering that magic in the Harry Potter universe has been confirmed to be able to fix dental trouble pretty much instantly the conditions in Azkaban must be truly horrifying for his teeth to be this bad. Don't they allow the prisoners toothbrushes? Maybe he's been driven to such lengths that he simply doesn't care about his body any more...

I'm going to look for help with this, as I have pretty much no experience with more advanced makeup effects.

*Update: I did not get any makeup done at all. There was simply no time.*
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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black

Wand Update.

Wand Progress 5.jpg Wand Progress 4.jpg

I've started to scribble notes and guidelines on it because keeping the design in your head is not easy when you're dealing with something this complex and unstructured.

It's at this point that I find it most difficult to proceed; just when something has started to take shape and kind of begins looking similar to what you're aiming for.
So I often put whatever it is I'm working on down for a while and then come back to it and compare it to the goal, which in this case is something similar to Ron's second wand.
I get my references mostly form reviews and it's really difficult to get the shape of this thing right because the perspective is never the same and pretty much never do you have the big picture.

It's an organic shape and it's tilted and twisted here and there, with sharp edges and soft turns blending into each other and all of it is covered in rough craggy texture that varies in itself. In short it's chaotic and weird. I also find it to be the most interesting and beautiful between the wands of the three protagonists.

I've added woodworking filler to sculpt up some parts that I removed by mistake or that extends beyond what the initial rod covered. Hopefully it will not crack and fall off, as well as hold up when sanded.
Otherwise I'll get some kind of epoxy sculpt or paper mache clay and make it with that.

Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black


This entry just needs a proof pic and a pic in the gallery. :)
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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black

It's still being worked on.

I thought I was supposed to add the proof picture when I'm finished.


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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black

Some progress on the wand.

Wand_progress 6.jpg Wand_progress 7.jpg

I put some wood filler onto it, which was difficult as it does not hold shapes very well. It did harden well despite being put on there pretty thick, but when I sanded it down to shape some pieces shot off.
It is starting to take shape now and with the limited time I have to do this I can't really dwell on it any more than I already have. I've bought some air hardening clay and will repair the damaged parts as well as model the finer details, and then it's on to painting.

I've removed the belt and the upper pockets of the lab coat as well as tearing out the left low pocket, which is destroyed in a similar fashion in the movies.

Duster_progress 2.jpg

I've also run it through the washer twice to try to remove any chemicals that might have been left on there which could've messed up the dyeing process later on. I also ironed it between the two washes to try to "heal" the ridges and holes where the breast pockets were before. It's better than before but needs more of the same, so that's on tomorrows to-do list.

I also bought the fabric that I'll be using for the uniform.


Last year I could not for the life of me find the kind of broad striped fabric that's needed for the prison uniform, but I really searched these last few days and came up with a few candidates. The winner is a cotton fabric from IKEA of all places, and it's cheap too. The only downside is that the colors were all way too bright and vibrant to be dyed over, so I'm planning to bleach the fabric and then dye over it lightly with sand and gray colors.
I bought the blue one because I thought that was the one that I had the biggest chance to convert successfully. The others were red and green, and a black striped one that I would have gone with if it wasn't for me remembering hearing that bleaching black often does not yield a gray result but completely different colors.
I'm going to take my chances with the blue one, and I have a lot of fabric so I can experiment with dyes.

As a last resort if the bleaching and dyeing fails I'm going flip it and use the backside of the fabric, which is a much more subdued blue color, and which will not need bleaching. The downside is of course that I don't know if it will show the difference as well on that side, as the difference in color is a bit too low for my taste, but it's a plan B at least.

As a side note I can also add that I've found why the camera was wrecking havoc on the whitebalance: Auto correct set to weird levels. So now I can take (marginally) better photographs.

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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black *Update pics 31/10*

Uniform Update


I made a test fitting for the uniform, and immediately had to make a bigger one. It seems to be nothing more than a sack, but it looks similar when I put it on.
I cut the length by eye, which made one front side shorter than the other. I'll just copy the other side to the pattern. I also only made one sleeve, mostly to test the width and approximate length, which also seemed to be pretty similar on the first draft.



As I have now washed and dried the striped fabric I tested the pattern, and it seems like I overestimated the width of the stripes. While these are 58 mm wide the ones in the movie must be a bit slimmer, seeing as how they repeat more times there than they do in mine. Something to keep in mind if I ever revisit this.
It might also be a case of me making the uniform slightly too short, even in the long side. I'll be leaving a bit to turn over and make a finished edge, even as I plan on ruining that edge completely, so maybe I'll lengthen it slightly to adjust the pattern.

The backside of the fabric seems to be closer than I first thought. Now that I compare them I contemplate turning plan B into plan A, and use the backside with just the added colors. I'll still test out the bleaching alternative though, just to get some experience with it. If I end up going with the backside I'm going to have to line the whole thing. This might actually be accurate, as when it's flipped over is not striped at all, but then again it might just be that the color doesn't go all the way through, seeing as how it's really frayed at the edges without anything that seems like a double edge. I don't know what to think about this. I'll just go with the most practical at this point.

The sleeve seem too long in the pictures because it was sown onto the short side. In the movie it seems long enough to cover his hands completely when it hangs down, but in the exhibits it looks like it stops at the wrist. I went with the wrist length to make it easy for me.


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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry: Sirius Black *Update pics 1/11*

Bleaching, dyeing and a general Duster Update.

After I measured and cut the pants and jacket of the uniform they got another round in the washing machine while I tried to figure out the bleaching and coloring process.
Turns out that the blue fabric most likely is the green fabric with some extra dye. After 2 hours of bleaching it didn't seem to be any more use to go any further.
So I tried to color it with a third of the recommended amount of a dark brown dye at 10 minutes instead of 30. That ought to give a slight brown, right? Right.....
It came out a flat black, no difference between the stripes at all.
So I got those samples rinsed and started to dye the others by dipping them by hand, which turned out much better. The best result is a slight dip of the 2 hour bleached fabric, so tomorrow the uniform is getting bleached and dyed after I sewed it together.

After I did the test pieces I also dyed the modified lab coat, and once more after it had come back from the washing machine too light. Now it's more of a mix of ash and light plum.


It's more neutral in the photograph, since my camera ate the batteries and the camera on my phone does not show color great.
Oddly enough this color is fairly close to the original if the photos of the auction and the exhibits are to be believed.

siriusblack.jpg IMG_5208.JPG

It also shifts with the light and takes on some of the color of the environment, just like the original did in the movie. For this reason it's really hard to pin down. I might tan it a little with some sand dye after all, or darkening it some with grey.
I also have to grime it up with dirt and blood, it looks weird being the same color all over right now.

I also also made an interesting and rather terrifying discovery concerning the fall of the fabric: When wet from the washer it falls much better than if it's dry.
The perfectionist in me is battling my survival instinct. It might not be a good idea to go out in November in a coat that's soaked all over, but if it's for a photo shoot....hmmmm......

Does anyone know of any good ways of softening cotton drastically really quickly? My health would thank you.

Michael Bergeron

Legendary Member
Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry *Update pics 2/11*

Looking good! Just need a proof pic and a pic in the gallery and you're done.


Active Member
Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry *Update pics 2/11*

My brother is photographing me tomorrow, so it's going to be a close call. =)

I cut the fabric for the uniform and bleached it. For some reason it didn't take 2 hours this time, but maybe I was just impatient. The last hour only removed a fraction of the color that was left so it didn't matter much in the overall scheme of things.

Bleaching.jpg Bleaching done.jpg

I then dyed it by dipping it in big pots of fabric dye, alternating between a pot with dark gray and one with a mix of the old brown dye and some moss green. It came out gray color that is close to some shots of the original, but when it dried it got much lighter.
I think that the old brown dye had waited too long at that point and that's why it made some things plum and didn't take well on the uniform. I've decided to redye it when it's sewn together because I didn't have any dye material left to do it immediately and I wanted to move forward even though the store had closed for the day.

Dye washed .jpg

The duster also went from plum to medium gray, which is okay but I want it more brown. I'll need to redye it too.
Duster_progresss4.jpg Duster_progress4 hanging.jpg

I ironed out the uniform fabric, pinned it all together and ran it on the machine with some cotton thread in a similar color to make redyeing less of a pain.
I remember there being a lot of fray on the inside seam of the pants, and it looks to me like the whole thing is sewn with the edge on the outside. Because the fabric is so tightly woven and does not fray easily, and also because the inside had dark stripes that could show and look bad, I decided to line the pants with the same old cotton bedsheets that I used for the test fitting.

poapic_sirius_in_azkaban.jpg Uniform_pants_sewing.jpg

Here's one of the legs finished and the other laid out to be pinned and sown. I only fitted it loosely to the cotton bedsheet, and after sewing the whole thing I ripped off the excess. It makes for a pretty good finished product.

Here are all the basic pieces; Jacket, pants, duster and boots, all put together and worn for the first time. They're stiff as a board, so I'll have to do something about that. At this point I decided that I really needed to darken it up and make it more brown.
The arms of the jacket also became a bit too short because of the stiffness of the fabric, since it stretches far less. Since it should show below the cuff of the duster I'm going to add some length to the arms before redyeing, and since I dyed extra pieces for just such an occasion it will not take much extra time. It's good to be paranoid sometimes. :)
It also becomes clear to me now that the lab coat is far too short, but in almost every other aspect it's so good that I still wouldn't feel it enough reason to replace it, even if I had the time to.

Duster lapel test 1.jpg
While the fabric was rinsing in the machine I got some soft leather and made some test pieces for greasing.
I had three candidates; generic clear Viking shoe polish, some exclusive Lundhaags Leather Grease and some mink oil.

Duster lapel test 3.jpg
Since the Viking grease ran out 2 seconds after opening it was a close match between the other two, but I've decided on the mink oil. In a pinch I think any grease will do the job.
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Re: Froggie's 2013 Halloween Costume Contest Entry *Update pics 2/11*

So here's a proof pic. It's getting close to the finish line so I'm trying to not get cold feet and stall myself out of it.


Is this picture good or do you need more of the costume? It's hard to photograph yourself in a small room well enough to show text and a whole lot of body. If the whole costume needs to show I could always prop up the card I guess.:)

Gallery picture is going up in a moment. I need to check which one to use.
I interpret "no manipulation" as no color correction, no white balancing, no nothing. Hopefully it's correct and it does not turn out that I could have cropped the image, or fixed overexposure....

Because it's late I'm going to add the rest of the progress photos tomorrow. The speed escalated somewhat at the end and the results changed shape a lot very quickly and I captured at least parts of it on camera, but there's too much progress for me to keep track of right now, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Thanks for the confirmation on its viability.

The gallery image is now up.


It's not perfect in every way, but I think it has the best image quality and shows the costume best.

Some theme pictures.

Froggie_SB1.JPG Froggie_SB2.JPG Froggie_SB4.JPG Froggie_SB5.JPG Froggie_SB3.JPG

The coloring of the coat and the uniform varies in the movie, but here it has the coat as the brown hue and the uniform as another which makes it look a little odd.

More on that tomorrow.

Any feedback or tips are appreciated greatly.


Active Member
Color comparison2.jpg I distressed the cuffs heavily before deciding the sleeves were too short and lengthening them. I didn't have the time to distress them again and sadly it made the finished costume seem rather odd, as the front is ripped and torn but the cuffs are pristine.

Here's how they looked when distressed.


I lengthened the sleeves so that the cuffs ended below the duster cuffs by simply adding material to the end of the sleeve. I did this before I flipped the fabric, otherwise I would have added the material to the shoulder seam instead. A mistake on my part for sure, but at that point I was really stressed out.

Besides that, other things that was lost in this conversion were the two patches on the jacket and the pants.
They're visible in these photos.

The first shows the reverse patch on the left side of the jacket. I made this before reversing the costume, so this was scrapped as it didn't have the same aged appearance as the other fabric. We'll get into that later.
Sirius-Black-sirius-black-7016589-505-800.jpg DSCN1141.JPG
The other shows the patch on the right leg. It seems to be slightly discolored from the rest, so I used a test piece that I had used a different dye technique on.

Which bring us to the distressing on the patches themselves, and distressing technique in general.
The reverse patch got a sanding on the edge, with the difference between the left edge (having only been washed without stitching) and the right which have been sanded. This sanding isn't particularly rough, which only shows how quickly edges break when distressed.

Here's the leg patch, which has not just been sanded. First I unpicked the threads with a needle to build up a "fringe" of free threads. This looks kind of odd at first because the threads are unharmed but fringed at the same time. To make it look good you have to sand it with a light sandpaper, as a rough one will destroy the threads and I wanted them to remain, but damaged. This two-step technique is very useful and I should have used it on the cuffs and bottom of the pants as they look very much like this in the original, but I had already experimented there at that point and had no time to fix it. Unpicking the threads takes quite some time, as you have to make sure not to rip the threads that should remain. With a fabric like this it becomes even harder as it's so tightly woven and don't give up easily.

The uniform was way too light at this point, so I decided to stain it with dark brown dye.

Turns out the plum color was not a fluke, but actually what the fabric looks like when you don't leave it in for hours on end. Seems like the dark brown color starts as a plum one, but since I didn't want it dark I removed it before it got really brown.
As you can see from the image it got darker at least, but it made the stripes blend together even more, which is bad.

Side by side comparison

The dark stripes needed to be darkened. I briefly thought about spraypainting them with black color to get the right nuance, but since I'd have to mask the whole thing in tape which is a pain and a time eater I decided to unpick the whole thing and sew it back together inside out.

Dye_fail.jpg 408451834_cc0cd02431_o.jpg

This would make the stripes too dark and crisp, something I really didn't want. By chance I realized that if I sanded the fabric I took away some of the color and made it more gray. Here's a comparison, with the unsanded fabric below and the sanded one above.

Sanding comparison.jpg

If I had kept going I'd probably take away even more color, but I had no time.
If I had time I would have dyed it again to make it more gray, but again no time was left, so I decided to resew the whole thing.

Color comparison2.jpg

The result is that the uniform is a little too dark and much more gray or blue than the duster. So the duster is fairly close to one of the many hues that shows up in the film while the uniform is another. :facepalm

With washing the stripes also darkened somewhat again, most likely because the sandpaper left some dust behind to lighten the color. I'll most likely sand even more in a while to make them lighter again, because I feel like I'm on the right path here.
The uniform and duster needs to get closer in hue though, but maybe it's the dark stripes that's behind the odd contrast, so I'll wait with dyeing it again until I sand it some more.

Onto the leather collar. I unpicked the original collar and made one out of soft leather with the rough side facing outwards, since that's how it looks in the movie. The first attempt was a bit too small so I remade it with some extra material and started sewing.

This is the collar that was too small but you get the idea. It's really good to have a dummy to test on because you can see how it will sit on a person. It's also a good idea to the it out before sewing it, because leather is not as easy to work with as fabric. Prepare your fingers for some serious torture if you attempt to make this.
Duster leather collar1.jpg Duster Leather collar 3.jpg Duster leather collar2.jpg

The first photo here shows the rough texture on collar. The second shows that at least one side is split and sewn with a rough seam, which I neglected because it was extra work that I didn't have time for. I don't know if I'll remake it since the coat wasn't 100% accurate from the beginning, and that stuff is probably the last thing someone looking at it will notice.
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black 2.jpg siriusblack2.jpg

The second picture also shows that the uniform has some kind of collar as well. I noticed this afterwards, but will totally resew that part.


This image affirms that the uniform does have a simple, folded over collar. It also shows that while the outer fabric seems to be ended in a rough edge, the lining is most likely doubled over. The top of the outside fabric, near the collar, seems to be doubled over though, as well as lined on the edge on the right top side. There's a visible (double) seam on the outside fabric, but there'd have to be a third seam just a the edge where the lining connects with the outside fabric, to make the lining stay in place like this.
It also shows that the buttons I got were not as close as I'd hoped.

I'll adjust my own costume to reflect all this.

Back to the leather collar.

I ran out of time when sewing , and didn't finish it for the photo shoot. We simply angled me to try to catch as much of the right, finished side as possible.
Here I've gone over it with the Lundhag's leather grease, despite choosing the mink oil before. The reason was that the mink oil seemed to loose its dark color after a while.
Leather collar finishing.jpg

Sadly the grease made the texture disappear and become rather smooth, and it isn't as red and dark as I'd hoped. Maybe more grease will help here, since leather darkens with age.

I think that the most fun to see was the transformation of the lab coat.

IMG_6868 (Custom).jpg IMG_7077 (Custom).jpg Foto0055 (Custom).jpg Progress4 (Custom).jpg Color comparison2.jpg

I'll continue this thread with more alterations and much more distressing, mostly on the front which is heavily damaged. Besides the mechanical aging I'll have to add the blood and more grime to the edges to make it more believable, especially on the coat which lacks a lot of the spots and blemishes it's got in the movie.

Comments, feedback and questions are all appreciated.
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