Ghostsoldier's Snape Build v.1 (Pic intensive!)


Sr Member
Well, I couldn't find a decent HP-specific website that featured costume builds (the bulk of sites seem to be mostly seething pits of fangirl soft porn or fanboy homoerotic-themed fanfic), and since the RPF seems to be the premiere site for syfy/fantasy/horror costuming fans, I think I'll post my Severus Snape costume build here. There's a couple of other threads dedicated to HP subjects, but I don't want to hijack the efforts of other members and derail their threads with my own stuff, so the nice thing to do is create my own.

Bear with me, as this is a WIP, I want to make the best version I possibly can, and I've got about 100 damn irons in the fire already, besides this one...I'm trying to have it ready by Halloween, but I can use it for the Deathly Hallows premieres for the next couple of years, so it's not too critical to have it done by then. And besides, Snape's really a bad-ass DeathEater at heart...he deserves all the attention to detail! On to the build:

The Jacket

A lot of Snapeaholics who build his costume have been using the Butterick 6844 priest cassock robe as a basis for the long jacket he wears, but I found that it lacks the horizontal waist seam that the film-used hero costume shows. After some research and studying of reference materials, I found that the McCall's M 4745 Men's Civil War Jacket (version A) seems to fit the bill nicely; it has a tapered waist and horizontal skirt seam, a flat placket front, turned up collar, and tapered sleeves. The mods I will have to make will be:

1) a higher, peaked and flared collar stand
2) tighten the armscyth and retaper the sleeves, adding a flare at the cuff and the 9 fabric-covered buttons per sleeve
3) add the 12 flat, fabric-covered buttons on the front and the collar
4) add the 2 slanted patch pocket flaps to the skirts
5) lengthen the skirts themselves to the top of my kneecaps, retaining the front/rear splits.

I’ve been told by other who have used this pattern that the build fit can be snug initially, so I’ll probably rough-baste it together out of cheapo muslin to get the correct fit, before moving on to the final fabric. I’m not proud: I’ll wear a corset/girdle if I need to, in the end.

As far as jacket fabric goes, research seems to point to the hero costume as being a coal/blue black wool suiting of a medium weight. I’ve priced that at JoAnn’s, and it’s anywhere between 18 to 25 bucks a yard, and I’ll need about 7 to 8 yards, by my calculations. Being a cheap-ass at heart, I can’t swallow that much cost…no, I can’t justify it…with all the other things I’m doing, vying for my costuming dollar. So, the search goes on for a decent poly-wool mix fabric that won’t break the bank, but will look good and be representative of fine wool. If one looks closely at the hi-rez promo pics, it can almost be considered a twill weave of sorts, which fits nicely with some cotton denim cloth I have my eye on…at 3 bucks a yard at Wal-Mart.

The Pants

Although I have ordered the Laughing Moon California pants pattern, and the McCall’s CW outfit also comes with a pant set, I have decided in the mean-time to experiment with a pair of 4 dollar Goodwill pants I found over the weekend.
Those two patterns are period-perfect, and have all the desired details, but in reality, Snape’s pants are rarely shown above the knee....


... so in the interest of saving time on this build, I’ve decided to mod the Haggar slacks. They started life as a pair of ply-wool blend, ExpandoMatic waistline businessman specials, with horrid pressed seams down the front of the legs that detracted from the otherwise mod acceptability.


Using a hot iron and some white vinegar, I quickly removed the offending ridges, making them smooth again...I dropped them in the wash, drip-dried them, and now they are ready to be modded (I'll have to iron them once more).




The pants have suspender/brace buttons (which suit Snape), and a button closure, so all I had to do was rip the cuff seams to give me the extra length needed for the “scrunch”. The mods I will make will be as follows:

1) Rip the cuff seams and split them, adding 4 cloth-covered buttons per leg, and hem the placket and bottoms
2) Use the LM pattern profile as a guide, re-taper the leg fit to be tighter at the ankle and flare the bottoms slightly
The pants are a really deep black, and also have a twill weave…the seat is full and high, just like the LM pattern. I think I can make these work for now, and save a lot of time constructing drawers!

The Shirt

It appears to be a long sleeved, fine cotton Victorian dress shirt of some type, but all one ever sees is the turned-down and pressed stand collar tips, and the sleeve cuffs. I’ll be using a plain old thin cotton dress shirt with a plain weave, longer, palm-length sleeves, and will add a taller, detachable collar.

The Boots

The hero suit uses a men’s narrow-toe, pointed boot with a flat heel and spade sole. Rickman is flat-footed in real life (as am I), so his Snape shoes were also custom-made in a wide width. I can’t afford that, so the hunt for an acceptable substitute goes on.

The Scarf/stock

It looks to be a crepe or leno weave of a black material. More research to be done.

The Academic Robes

Ah, the biggie. I really hate making cloaks and robes…they are so damned cool to look at, and to wear, but the construction is a pain in the ass. Snape’s appear to be full-bodied, split-sleeved academic robes, with a W-yoke and tons of cartridge pleating. The closest think I’ve found to a pattern available commercially is the McCall’s 3789 Wizard’s Robes, but the yoke shape is wrong, the front seam fall is incorrect, and it’s too short. The sleeves are spit and it has cart pleats, but that’s it. I’ve since found a few online vintage patterns that I will be using to create my own custom pattern. I found a really nice silk noile/satin poly-blend fabric that flows really well at W-mart, and bought 11 yards at 2 bucks a pop.


The Accessories

The Wig: Ongoing. Looking at some Motown tress wigs that might work.

The Wand: Another ongoing, parallel project, I’m trying my hand at sculpting a movie-accurate version of Snape’s ebony wand, using resin and hardwood. I’m basically making a handle with a removable wand shaft (using an Allen set-screw or a peg system), as these things can get broken pretty easily. The Noble Collection has a nice resin version available for about 40 bucks, but it’s fragile, and I want mine to have a more “round” handle as opposed to the flatter Noble sculpt. A member here was kind enough to send me some hi-rez snaps of his Noble wand handle, and I’ve replicated it in 2-D Autocad (without the curvature).



My idea is to sculpt it in clay, cast a mold, and create 4 identical faces from resin that can be attached to a sleeved handle base. We’ll see how it goes.

Potions Bottles: haven’t gotten that far yet….

Potions Book: Found a nice tutorial online for making one…

Well, that about covers it for now; I’ll be adding more to this post as I progress in the build!
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Sr Member
Re: Ghostsoldier's Snape Build v.1

Oh are some reference pics:

Hero suit (exhibit in Chi-Town):

Hi-rez studio promos:









Movie Stills.....





Statue and toys.....












It looks basically unchanged from movie-to-movie...more to come...
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Sr Member
UPDATE: I finally settled on a robe pattern to modify....a theological or scholar's robe from "The Cutter's Practical Guide of 1898"...

It's the pattern at the top left; it looks the most like Snape's.


Sr Member
After printing out my patterns in Autocad, I tried my hand at yoke-making last night, and have decided against using the Wal-Mart curtain material shown in the photo....

Although it is thick, very black, and affordable, it's the wrong's just too flat for the yoke (as seen in the screen caps)...


I may end up using it for the jacket material; it's a brushed twill, and though not a wool blend, it does have a tight thread weave and is very dense (plus, it has a polyester lining built-in, which acts like an interfacing).

I put it together using some grey scrap fabric pinned to the bottom, just to see what it would look like, and although I'm pleased with it generally, I think it's a bit small and has some SA issues....I have 8 inches between the lower curve points, but in the screensnap of Snape's above, his looks to be around 10" wide (compared to the relative size of his gob)...also, his drops lower on the back, and seems to be wider at the shoulder....

Tonight I will re-draw and print a larger pattern, by re-shaping the neck hole and yoke ends, then widen and deepen it a little, and put it together with a different black fabric (this time with a little more silky-sheen)....

I also picked up a cheapo, 36" black 6-dollar wig from gives me something to play around with, until I settle on a real-hair tress wig...
.....more to come!


Sr Member
Thanks, PWL! :cool

Opinion: Does this close-up of the robe and jacket materials look to be a ribbed twill?

It really looks a lot like the Wal-Mart drape fabric I bought....hmmm...I'm having second thoughts about the sheen issue...


Master Member
Dang, Snape's robes were more complicated than I thought! :wacko Can't wait to see more dude! :cool


Master Member
Hey man, I took a look at the fabric at Wal-Mart, and your right, it does look quite a bit alike! :D In fact, you get quite a bit of material in two section for $16. I deffintly think that'll work out good.


Sr Member
Thanks, brother cheapo costuming guys have to look at the most unlikely sources for cheap fabric! :lol The per square yard price might be a bit higher than, say, a place like Jo-Ann's (suiting wool is 20 bucks per yard there :eek) ; but at least at WM, you can always canvas the area stores and buy all the drapes you need, plus the panels are 40" x 84" long, which is more than enough material to make a jacket. Like you said, for less than 20 bucks, I bought enough of the black canvas twill to make Snape's jacket and the yoke for the robes...

...updated my pattern last night to fit the SA yoke better; I'll take some pics later tonight of the new yoke...right now, I've gotta go out to the shop and work on my son's '74 Duster hot rod today....duty calls! :cool


Well-Known Member
As for the 'Cartridge-pleats' (or bullet pleats), my wife has a site bookmarked on-line.
I'll find it and post it here for you.


Sr Member
For Those Interested: I haven't had time to work on the robes lately (just trying to make a living, you know--and I've been farting around with the wand), but I thought I'd post a few cartridge pleating tutorials (sometimes known as "bullet pleats") for folks trying to give this a whirl...

Hope these help! :thumbsup

ATL Kenobi

Sr Member
Found these online....

Looks like the original costume from the movie at one of the events....

Rob - That looks to be the Prof. Snape outfit that's touring with the Harry Potter Exhibition. I was fortunate enough to see it in Toronto while vacationing in Buffalo, NY in July. Despite my earlier conviction that the coat/cassock is black (and I made mine black), it really does look to be dark dark blue/purple.

BTW-I had many great comments at Dragon*Con regarding my Prof. Snape outfit. Thanks for all the research you've done and help you provided!



Sr Member
BTW-I had many great comments at Dragon*Con regarding my Prof. Snape outfit. Thanks for all the research you've done and help you provided!

Mike...I count you as one of my close friends, as you have helped my with my costume immeasurably, and you are quite welcome to anything I have! :thumbsup

I'm glad to hear D*Con went OK for you....and now, for the good part: Do you have any photos you could post? I'd love to see your outfit! :thumbsup


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