Sirius Black costume (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)


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I know the Harry Potter series isn't the most contemporary of fandoms, however, I imagine there is some interest in it with the various stage shows and the ongoing Fantastic Beasts series still doing the rounds. I was surprised that the Sirius Black character from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix didn't have a thread on this forum and so, probably 12 years too late, I have decided to start one.

The costume that I am wanting to break down and make is the one that Sirius wears in his final battle when he (spoilers) gets killed by Bellatrix Lestrange. My daughter and I have been doing a pretty convincing Snape and Bellatrix cosplay for years now and it is starting to get a bit old. I think at least pairing Bellatrix up with Sirius might be a refreshing change. Gary Oldman is of a similar age to me and I have natural hair which is pretty much identical to Sirius' in the movie, so I figured it would be an easy costume to wear around a con (I would be glad not to have to wear a wig again).

With that being said, I really want to make the costume as screen accurate as I can and am hoping to get feed back and ideas from other members of the RPF who might want to participate in this discussion. I am hoping to have the costume done by this September (2019) at the earliest but, realistically, will probably end up getting it finished for June next year when the first major Sydney con is held.

For those not familiar with the costume this is it.

harry potter gary oldman sirius black 2248x3000 wallpaper_www.wallpapername.com_86.jpg

I figure that the shoes and the trousers are going to be off the shelf items so the pieces which this thread will concentrate on are the following:
1. The shirt.
2. The waistcoat.
3. The frock coat.

In addition to these there will be the sourcing of accoutrements like wands, jewellery, buttons, buckles, etc. These will hopefully be off the shelf items but some may need to be modified or manufactured.

There are some reasonable high resolution images on line but not too many. Most of the pictures seem to be publicity shots and I have been unable to find any photos from costume exhibitions. I will include the best source pictures that I have been able to find during my research but would be appreciative of anything else that any other members may have, including your own creations. There is a video on Youtube called Harry Potter: The Costume Drama which, despite being very low quality, does give several hints on how the costume was made. The most difficult part is going to be finding the fabrics but as a lot of the work was hand done I guess I am going to have to go about it in exactly the same way as it was done by the studio (see the video above as they pretty much tell you exactly how they did it which is great). Like most costumes these days, there are companies out there that will sell you a "replica", but none of them, in my opinion, are much chop.

I am going to start mainly with analysis and patterning. I am not sure when I will get around to construction but that will come eventually when I have worked out exactly how I am going to go about it. The most difficult of the three main pieces is going to be the waistcoat so that is what I am going to start with. I also have a number of ongoing projects so it may be some time between posts.

TL/DR I am going to try to make a screen accurate version of Sirius Black's costume from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


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Sirius Black's Waistcoat

Sirius Black Waist Coat.jpg

My apologies if it sounds like I am trying to teach people how to suck eggs, but I figured I would just put everything that I have found out about the costume and how it is made in this post. It should make it easy for anyone to replicate what I have done. However, little of it the information here is original and has been mainly stolen from the work that other people have done, or from the video referred to below.

If you were to watch the video Harry Potter: The Costume Drama there is a fairly good explanation of how the waistcoat is made. The front of it is made of velvet which has had a devoré technique used on it. Devoré (also called "burn out", "fibre etching" or "voided velvet") works on fabrics which are composed of different types of fibres one of which is cellulose. The solution will burn the cellulose fibres and leave the backing. With velvet the backing is often silk, which the fibre etch solution will not effect, while the nap is cotton or rayon or some other natural cellulose fibre. The costumers used a silk screen to burn the pattern into the fabric and then painted over the burnt-out areas of the velvet to give the impression of a pattern of small embroidered flowers. The idea was to leave some of the burnt-out areas unpainted so that it would look like parts of the embroidered pattern had worn away over time and fallen out of the velvet leaving the bare silk backing.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 6.35.55 pm.png
Close up of the painted "voided" areas.

If you are going to use this technique it is important to ensure that you are not using polyester velvet - it won't work.

The solution you need to use is available from Dharma Trading and is called Fiber Etch.


Dharma trading also sells black silk/rayon velvet. However, I have not used either of these products so I can not recommend them. I assume they work and when I get around to constructing this waistcoat Dharma is where I will be getting my supplies from.

I have made my own version of the silk screen pattern which is seen in the video and I think it is pretty close to what was used on the screen used waistcoat.

Sirius Black Waistcoat Pattern (A1) 20190527-03.png

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 4.05.44 pm.png

I have used the pattern on a 1:1 mock-up of one front of the waistcoat and it seems to be a pretty close approximate to the image that I have included at the top of this post in terms of the number and regularity of the little "embroidered" elements. Following is a screen grab of my embroidery screen pattern applied to the front of the waistcoat.

Sirius Black Waistcoat Pattern (A1) 20190527-02.png

As most of the costumes in the Harry Potter movies tend to be based on 19th century patterns, I have come up with a pattern which moves the shoulder seams further back than would be usual on a more modern waistcoat. It looks like the waistcoat has four single welt pockets although I am not certain about the two at the top. However, I intend to put four into my waistcoat as you can never have enough pockets at a con. Following is a screen grab of the pattern I have drafted for myself. It might be able to be scaled for someone else but I give no guarantees. There is an excellent video of how to sew a single welt pocket on Youtube. Inluding the four pockets will also help to give the front of the waistcoat some structure and body.

Sirius Black Waistcoat Pattern (A1) 20190527-01.png

In the absence of any other information I intend to line the waistcoat with black or grey silk.

That is it for now.


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Sirius Black's Shirt


As you will not see much more of Sirius' shirt but the collar, I imagine that most people would normally try to make do with a striped, off-the-rack item. However, I intend to make my shirt. The striped pattern is quite irregular and I want to capture this in my costume and rather than spend a fortune and a lot of time looking for just the right fabric, I intend to print my own using Spoonflower's online fabric printing. I have used them several times before and they are awesome. Even with shipping, the cost of the fabric is often not much more than it would be to buy from a bricks n' mortar store once you take into account the cost of travel and, if you were to include your time as part of your costs, then it is hands-down cheaper than trying to find something that may not do the job as well.

For example here is a pattern I wanted to replicate from a character in Assassin's Creed and the printed fabric that I got back from Spoonflower.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.04.53 pm.png Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.04.40 pm.png 60479704_327505341265833_1818554685737402368_n.jpg
The fabric I had printed by Spoonflower (right) for an Elise De La Serre costume

I was really happy wth the pattern that I had printed onto Spoonflower's light canvas fabric. So I am confident that they will do a decent job with Sirius' shirt fabric. One caveat I will pass on is to always test your colours first by getting a test swatch printed first if colour matching is critical. Spoonflower will print a colour map for you for US$17.50, which is well worth it.

I have created a pattern and intend to print on Spoonflower's Cotton Poplin Ultra (3.3 oz per square yard). I am currently waiting for a test swatch of the printed pattern.

Sirius Black Shirt Fabric Pattern.png

The pattern for cutting the shirt will be fairly straight forward. You could find a shirt at a charity store that fits and pull it apart and use it as a pattern. Easy! However, the changes I intend are to make the collar stand and collar deeper and also to make the cuffs deeper. In my particular case I have made the cuffs 100mm deep and the collar stand about 60mm and the collar about 80mm.

Screen Shot 2019-05-27 at 6.28.04 pm.png
Cuffs look significantly deeper than on a modern shirt

Here are some rough patterns which I will be using for the construction of my shirt with a mock-up of what the pieces might look like in the fabric I am having printed. There is no seam allowance applied to any of the pieces and it is clearly set up for my own measurements, so use it as a guide at your own risk.

Sirius Black Shirt Pattern (A1) 20190529-01.png Sirius Black Shirt Pattern (A1) 20190529-02.png

That is about all I have on making Sirius' shirt. I am going to eventually cover buttons and the like in one post for the whole costume.


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Sirius Black's Frock Coat


Sirius' coat is probably the most difficult of the parts of this costume. For a start it is a frock coat so it is unlikely that you are going to find a close approximate to it by finding something at a charity store. Not only is it is made of velvet, but it is made of a sort of olive/green/brown coloured velvet with a double yellow stripe through it. Don't waste your time looking - I have and you are unlikely to find the fabric anywhere. A fella called Gregory Dickens had a go at making this costume and literally painted his stripes onto his shirt and jacket and that gave me an idea.

I thought of three ways that I could recreate the fabric for Sirius' frock coat:
  1. Silk screen yellow stripes over the top of a velvet fabric.
  2. Bleach and dye the stripes.
  3. Print the fabric.
1. Silk screen
I figure that because silk screening the pin stripes is going to be applying an ink rather than an dye to the fabric that the stripes are going to be obvious on top of the pile of the velvet. I want to avoid this if I can.

2. Bleach and dye
I have had an idea that still involve a silk screen but, instead of applying ink to the velvet, I will apply bleach. Just the normal thick type of cleaning bleach you will find under any kitchen sink. After bleaching the stripes into the fabric I will dye the fabric yellow. Hopefully that will make the bleached lines yellow and change the base colour of the velvet enough so that it matches the frock coat used in the movie.

I have started ordering swatches of fabric. Some of it is very expensive but I am willing to pay for the right fabric. What I intend to do is experiments with bleaching stripes into each of the swatches and then dying them all to see how my colours come out. So far I have received two swatches with the colours "Leaf" and "Olive". I have experimented with bleaching lines into the fabric and found that half an hour of a light application of bleach does the job perfectly. I used adhesive tape to define my lines and on some I really rubbed the bleach in and on others I gave it a fairly light coat. Where I rubbed the bleach predictably bled into the pile. A light application for half an hour was by far the best. There was no destruction of the pile and the lines were fairly sharp. Once my other swatches arrive I will bleach some lines into them and then dye them all at the same time to see what results I get. The olive colour seems the most promising at the moment but I will have to see what it looks like once it is overdyed.

Oxford Velvet Leaf 2.jpg Oxford Velvet Leaf 1.jpg Olive Velvet 1.jpg Olive Velvet 2.jpg Olive Velvet 3.jpg

3. Printing
Once again I will be using Spoonflower to print my velvet fabric. I don't really trust that a printed velvet will come out as well as a dyed velvet and so I have been experimenting with bleaching and dying as outlined above. However, I have ordered a swatch printed with a pattern I have created and if it works out then I would be more than happy to use it. It will save a lot of time and mess.

Tailoring a frock coat is going to be a bit of a challenge because I will probably try to build it around an inner canvas and pad the shoulders to give it a bit of shape. Because the coat has vertical stripes I am going to avoid pleats in the front, which appears to be the case from all of the pictures I can find. I am going to use a basic modern coat pattern and just extend it to bring it down much closer to the knees. I am also going to keep the lines fairly straight because that is how it appears to be in most of the pictures (i.e. it is not too fitted at the waist).

I have come up with a basic form for the frock coat pattern. You are free to use it or adapt it but I have not tested it myself. I basically just eye-balled it from something I found on line. I will have to adjust it to my measurements once I have the shirt and the waistcoat made.

Sirius Black Frock Coat Pattern (A1) 20190529-01.png Sirius Black Frock Coat Pattern (A1) 20190529-02.png

So that is basically it. That is my starting point and is about all of the research and thought I have put in to this costume so far. I will add more posts as this build progresses. Please feel free to suggest changes or to ask questions.
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Update June 13, 2019

It has been a while since I updated this post which is because this is a long term project and I have been working on another costume at the same time. However, today my sample of fabric arrived from Spoonflower of the striped velvet I need for Sirius' frock coat and it is pretty much perfect. So I am going to order it this week.

I was concerned that the dye sublimation colouring process wouldn't work with the velvet but it will do the job. The only problem with it will be that the backing fabric is still white, so if I try to distress the fabric then I am going to end up with white backing rather than the green that you would expect to see with traditional velvet. Perhaps there is some way to colour the backing in the areas where it is distressed.




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Update June 18, 2019

Just a quick update. Yes, trying to distress this fabric is going to leave very annoying white marks where the underlying backing material shows through. In fact it appears that the printing process only really catches the top half of the pile so that wherever you get a fold in the material you tend to get a white edge as the pile tends to show through (as you will see in the image below). How obvious and annoying is this going to be in the final garment? I don't know. Maybe I will be the only one who notices it. I am thinking that I may at least be able to use a coloured marker to fix the distressed areas where the backing is showing through. Maybe the same process with the marker can be used on the folded seams.



EDIT: Just now arrived in the post, a sample of the cotton poplin fabric I have had printed by Spoonflower for Sirius' shirt. Looks pretty good.

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I have just tracked down a picture of Oldman without his frock coat which shows costume details which I haven't seen before.

Fortunately I haven't printed the fabric for his shirt yet and this image provides much better detail of what that pattern should look like. I will be adjusting mine now before I send it off to be printed.

I have still not worked out what his trousers are made of, I am assuming they are just made of pin or chalk strip navy wool. However, there is some good detail in this picture of the front pockets which is great. I had intended to use a pair of navy pinstripe trousers that I happen to have hanging in my wardrobe but if I can find some good reference pictures I would be keen to make a copy.

Also note: the cufflink; what appears to be substantial fold back cuffs; the small button on the mid point of the cuff vent placket; the chain and watch(? - I assume it is a watch); the depth of the waistcoat; and, the height of the shirt collar.

I may be delusional but it also looks like the back of the waistcoat might have pattern woven into it such as a brocade or jacquard.

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Is this a bit obsessive?

I have never been able to get a good look at the right hand side of Sirius' coat until I found this picture recently. I used the number of stripes to on the left hand side to work out the size of my pattern for the printing of the velvet. On the left hand side it is 15 but on the right hand side it is 13 (unless I am mistaken). I have already ordered my fabric so the question is now an academic one but I will leave the image here for anyone else who cares to attempt to make this costume in the same way I have.

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 11.49.06 am.png

The other thing that is happening today is that I am making a mock-up of the body of the coat (sans arms). I will post a picture of the mock-up when I am done.



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Here is the mock-up of the pattern I posted above for Sirius' frock coat.

It isn't lined of course which will make a huge difference to the way it hangs and it is literally made of kids block-out curtain material (see the last picture) which probably doesn't drape as well as other fabric would. I am thinking that the pattern I have drafted is probably a little long. At the moment, when I put this mock-up on, the pattern sits just above my knee which is probably a little long. I will adjust the length so it matches the distance between Oldman's hand and the hemline in the reference picture. As for the fit it looks a little structured but you will notice that there are no darts in the front so all of the structuring is going to have to be done on the rear and two side seams. That might be a bit awkward as the more I try to tighten the waist the more angular the vertical stripes are going to get so this frock coat is going have a little more on the "sack" side of a "structured" fit. Sirius never seems to have it buttoned up so I am going to have to take that into account so that the front opening and lapel break, falls just the right way when it is unbuttoned over a shirt and a waistcoat. I haven't allowed for a vent in the back at the moment but I guess that in the absence of any other photo evidence I will just make it a central one.

I haven't thought about the arm holes much yet, but perhaps they should be quite tight in order to accomodate all of that defensive wand waving Sirius has to do against Bellatrix Lestrange.

IMG_0614.JPG IMG_0616.JPG IMG_0617.JPG Sirius-Black-sirius-black-2219129-800-1067.jpg



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Update July 1, 2019

Having checked the mock-up of the coat and I have made some adjustments - slimmed it down a little, raised the hemline by two inches and redrafted the collar - drafted a new pattern with a lining as well (with a pocket large enough for the con program which I never seem to be able to hold on to). Still waiting for the fabric to arrive from Spoonflower but hopefully that will be any day now.

Sirius Black Coat Pattern 20190701-03.png Sirius Black Coat Pattern 20190701-01.png Sirius Black Coat Pattern 20190701-02.png
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Update July 4, 2019

Today three metres of this velvet arrived, so I guess I had better get on with finalising the design of the coat. I also got hold of this old silk screen which I will have to clean up to use for the devour technique on Sirius' waistcoat, the black velvet and fibre etch for which, I have ordered and am waiting for delivery. Sirius will be half an antagonistic cosplay with the other member being my daughter in her Bellatrix costume. We've started freshening that cosplay up with a mock-up of the leather corset she wears in the Deathly Hallows(?). I am not sure how to go about manufacturing the ornate hooks and eyes on the front of it. If anyone has any ideas I would appreciate any suggestions.

IMG_0646.JPG IMG_0651.JPG Bellatrix Corset.jpg IMG_0648.JPG IMG_0650.JPG


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Update July 7, 2019

I have now finished the pattern for the coat. Prior to this the pattern was very basic to ensure fit. Now I have added centre lining pleat, centre vent, hem allowances and adjustments for the upper and lower collar. I have also added plenty of internal pockets for wands, programs, leaflets, business cards, etc. I will draft sleeves after I have made another mock-up based on this new pattern. The seam allowance is the red outer line.

SB Coat outer.png

SB Coat lining.png


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Update July 8, 2019

I ordered some fibre etch, velvet and some dyes from an Australian company called Kraftkolour last Friday morning and this morning (Monday) the delivery arrived. Great price too. About $30 for a kilo of the stuff - more than I am ever going to need.

I have some black velvet in a box of fabric which I am testing at the moment to see if the fibre etch works on it. If not I am going to have to dye the fabric which I bought from Kraftkolour black and then do the etching. The fibre etch is part of the process for making Sirius' waistcoat as outlined above.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 7.07.27 PM.png



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Update July 10, 2019

Today I had some prints made of the coat pattern which I now have to cut out and make a new mock-up before starting on the velvet fabric I have had printed. It is the most complex single sewing project I have ever designed a pattern for and it takes up four A0 pages and that is without the sleeves which I still haven't patterned. I made a frock coat for my Snape impression some years back but it was only half lined and didn't have functional pockets on the outside. This new jacket will have functional welted pockets on the outside and inside and it will be fully lined down to the back vent.

Also, a wand arrived in the post.

IMG_0676.JPG IMG_0677.JPG


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Update July 13, 2019

I was looking for buttons for another project when I came across these ones on Ebay which looked familiar.

Buttons on Ebay.jpg

So I searched through my reference images for Sirius.

Screen Shot 2019-07-13 at 11.13.06 am.png

B-b-b-bingo! Identical!

I snapped them up straight away. I know it is a small detail but it is great to know that the buttons will be the same as the screen used costume.

Now I need to find a reasonable picture of the coat buttons which always seem to be frustratingly blurry or out of shot.


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Update July 15, 2019

I have found a jeweller who is making a sample of Sirius' black onyx cufflinks set in silver. If the price is right I might have him make a number of them for anyone else who is interested in making this costume. This is the only image I have been able to find and this is what the fella will be working from. If anyone else has a better image I would appreciate someone dropping a link here.

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 8.44.57 am.png

Also, I noticed that the toy version of Sirius has a purple waistcoat. What gives? All the real images appear to have a black waistcoat. Is the real waistcoat supposed to be a dark purple which appears as black in all of the online images?

Purple Waistcoat.jpg


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Update 25 July, 2019

I have been a bit tardy on this project of late, however, I have had a screen made by my pal Peggy at IKKE Textile Design & Print for the devoré process that I have to apply to Sirius' waistcoat. Peggy is a working screen printer and it is so much easier to get someone to make the screen for me than to try to do all that myself. So if you are on the South Coast of NSW and you need some screen print advice for a costuming project, get in touch with her. Hopefully I will be starting on the waistcoat this weekend.


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