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

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Update 30 August, 2019

I haven't updated in ages but I have been doing some work intermittently.

My fabric arrived from Spoonflower. I gave it a wash and dried it. In total I think I had to print about four meters to print all the parts of the shirt.


It looks fairly blue in the picture but it is a little darker in person. I think if I am doing it again I will darken it up just a little.

I cut the pieces out which were already printed.

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Sewing the front placket.

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Attaching the yoke it fairly easy but awkward. Attach both yokes to the back panel (which has a couple of darts which you have to sew first).

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Pin the front panels to one of the yokes. Then roll all of the panels into a tube so that you can attach both yokes to the front panels.

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Once you have sewn the yokes to the front panels bag the whole thing out and most of the bodice should be done.


Attach the placket to the sleeve. This is a little hard to explain but the pictures below should make it clear if you follow it carefully. There are also Youtube videos which show how to do this.

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I forgot to take pictures of the collar and the cuffs but there are plenty of Youtube tutorials showing how to do it. If you compare the lines to the reference pictures you will see that I am pretty much spot on with how they align on the front vent placket, the fold back cuffs and the collar. That is the reason I printed the cutting pattern onto the fabric so that I could get the lines exactly in place.


I still have to do the button holes but I have this excellent attachment that I use with my vintage machine so it should only be half an hour's work.


Overall I am really happy with the shirt, but if I were to make it again I would change the colour slightly, changed the position of the sleeve plackets and lengthened the body by a couple of inches.

I have made these changes to the pattern and will post it here after I have finished the whole costume.
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Update 3 September, 2019.

I need some advice. I want to know how I can etch this pattern into a mild steel buckle blank?

I have based the pattern off the only images I can find, which I took from a really low quality Youtube video. I want to etch the steel, then blue it with heat and then I want to grind down some ball bearings and superglue them around the outside. Then I can paint the etched parts black.

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Update 9 September, 2019

I've done a load of work but haven't had time to upload it. However, here is my (almost finished) waistcoat. It needs to have some flowers embroidered (painted) onto it, just like the original.

I used a screen printed devoré technique to make the gaps in the velvet. I will update the process when I get more time.




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Update 10 September 2019

Shirt and waistcoat together with antique double Albert fob trombone link chain that I modified to look as close to the original as possible. It is a shame to modify a 99 year old silver chain but I think it will be worth it to get the look as exact as possible.



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Update 12 September 2019.

This is going to cover some the work I have done over the last week or so.

First, the waistcoat.

To do the front panels I used the screen that I had made (see above) to screen print devoré (fibre etch) paste onto the back of white silk/rayon velvet. Once the paste air dried I heat treated the fabric to activate the devoré paste. At first I used an iron, however I found that a heat gun worked better. At first it is quite disconcerting because the area treated actually goes a dark brown or even black as if the fibres are burnt. However, once the fabric has been washed the "burnt" fibres wash away and the fabric goes back to being white. I was surprised at how accurately the design on the screen was transferred to the fabric. What you end up with is the treated rayon fibres dropping out of the silk backing. Because rayon is a cellulose product (and I always thought it was some sort of polyester) it gets effected by the paste while the silk doesn't. So it has to be a particular type of velvet for this technique to work. In Australia the place to go to is Kraft Kolour and in the States Dharma Trading . Kraft Kolour are amazing. I ordered on a Friday afternoon and received my delivery on Monday morning and their prices are good.

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Once I had etched the velvet, I dyed it black. Because the rayon areas where the fibre etch had eaten away at rayon were now quite transparent I backed the velvet with black poplin. Then pieced the whole thing together in the normal way. I included four single welt pockets with this waistcoat just like the screen used item. I also found the exact buttons which were used in the screen used costume.

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Eventually I will need to paint flowers onto some of the fibre etched areas, but it already looks good enough for anyone but people hwo have taken a very close look at the costume.

The problems I had.

I screen printed a large piece of fabric (enough to do both panels of the waistcoat). A large piece is unwieldy and I moved the screen while I was doing the print and parts of the print were smeared. I should have done two smaller pieces of fabric.

I should have used a stiffer fabric for backing the velvet. The poplin doesn't feel robust enough. Perhaps a black fusible interfacing might be a better choice.

In terms of the pattern, I think that the break line of the front of the waistcoat should be a little bit lower and the whole thing might be a little on the tight side, but I am the only one who will notice it.
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Update 13 September 2019.

Now for the frock coat.

First things first - Diane Deziel! This cutter, pattern maker and her "Toolfully" Youtube channel was an excellent resource for this project. Her videos are to the point and easy to follow. I often hear people say that they can't sew. Sewing isn't that hard if you have a decent machine, a bit of patience and good tutorials like Diane's. Among the tutorials I used were her:
Laurie Kurutz's Youtube channel is also excellent. She is a theatre tailor and she spends a lot of her time explaining stuff which isn't always great when you are looking for a specific hint, but when you have time to sit, watch and learn her channel is excellent and very practical. I used her videos on collars and lapels in particular.

It took me a long time to work out the pattern for this coat and I made a lot of mock-ups particularly of the sleeves which, if you look at pictures of the screen used costume, are quite broad and long with two, deep cut, top sleeve vents at the end rather than a top and bottom vent. The sleeves are so long that when the coat is on you never see the wonderful turned back cuffs and cuff links on the shirt - such a shame.

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I wanted this coat to have plenty of pockets for carrying wands and conference booklets so I started by building all of the lining parts and putting in welt pockets (check Diane's excellent channel mentioned above for how to make double welted, single welted and handkerchief pockets).

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I didn't use a lot of chalk to mark my lines but instead sewed in tack lines. I found this more accurate. I didn't follow Diane's tutorials exactly but I should have. Her methods are so much better.

So I finished the pocketted lining and I I was pretty happy with it. If you have read my former posts you will know that I printed my own velvet and satin lining through Spoonflower.

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I had a go at using a floating canvas and pad stitching the lapels. I had always been put off by pad stitching but was easier than I thought. I used Laurie Kurutz's videos on Youtube for guidance.


I finished the jacket and here are pictures just when it had come off the machine, prior to pressing and shoulder and chest padding it into shape.

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I am totally happy with it except...

The colour is totally wrong. I don't know how I got it so wrong. I took it out into the sunlight and it was a bright green! So disappointing. I think that the problem was that I matched the colour I needed to a colour swatch which was printed onto cotton instead of onto Spoonflower's celosia velvet which I wanted to use for the coat.

Not only that - there are other problems. The celosia velvet is just too damn heavy for a jacket like this. The weight of the of the fabric is probably more suited to furnishings. The seams feel a bit thick and also, because the base velvet is white, the seams seem to "brighten up" as you see down through the pile or nap. Further more the pattern is too large. I think that the repeating pattern might be too large by about 30% but I need to work it out for certain.

I am going to have to rethink how to get the right velvet fabric for the coat. The think the velvet needs to be lighter - similar to the fabric that I used for the waistcoat and dyed the correct colour rather than the dye sublimation printing process which is used by Spoonflower which doesn't get into the lower fibres or substrate of the fabric. Taking a closer look at the screen used costume I am starting to think that the yellow pattern might have actually have been screen printed which is what I am going to try next.

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Close ups of the screen used coat which is beginning to look more to me like a silk screened pattern.

So, it seems a huge shame to have gone to all that work to end up with something that doesn't cut the mustard but, to paraphrase Thomas Edison, I haven't failed to make a Sirius Black costume, I've just found a few ways that won't work. I am going to start looking some new fabric and I will do it all over again. It is bound to be easier the second time round.
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Update 30 September 2019


This isn't really about my my Sirius costume but it is related. My daughter does Bellatrix Lestrange and for some years we have been interested in making the Bellatrix costume from the Deathly Hallows. We started researching it but got stumped on how to make the sleeves. Clearly they were smocked in some way but after hours of trawling the internet and asking questions of Facebook groups there was no definitive answer on how it was done.

Eventually we worked it out and this is the result.

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Because smocking shrinks the size of the fabric we started by overestimating the amount of fabric needed and smocked a large rectangle which took about 15 hours of hand work.

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However, the smocking pattern I am posting here should work for a sleeve 210mm wide by 585mm long. There are 263 stitch elements in the pattern which will probably take 4-4.5 hours to work through. After the smocking has been done the binding of the edge is fairly straight forward. I used twill cotton tape to bind the edge but I will probably replace it with thin leather some time in the future. I sewed the tape to the edge of the cotton duck fabric which I had cut to shape. Then I turned it over the edge and hand sewed on the back side to bind the raw edge. I then sewed on a number of those wire eyes (as opposed to eyelets which you punch into fabric) along the edge to attach the sleeve to the dress and to allow the sleeve to be laced together.

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A good resource for the basics on smocking is a Youtube video by Diane Deziel. You will find it here:
Fabric Manipulation - Smocking.

Most guides on how to do smocking tell you to draw a grid on the back of your fabric and then to use that as a stitching guide. Because my grid was so small (10mm) I found it hard to do this so I drew my pattern in Illustrator which was achieved quickly because I could just clone one basic element numerous times. Then I printed the grid out onto a large A1 (840mm x 594mm) sheet at a local printing company. Then I used an awl to punch hundreds of holes into the paper where each stitch would go and then I laid it on top of the fabric and used a paint brush with some white face paint (face paint I assume it will wash out easily) to dab the paint though each hole which gave me an accurate grid on the fabric quickly.


After I finished the smocking I ironed the pattern so it had the sort of flattened direction to it that you see in the pictures on line.

The finished sleeve before attaching to the dress.

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Update 1 October, 2019

The Bellatrix "Deathly Hallows" sleeves attached to the dress look fairly close to the film used ones. Perhaps they could be longer by a few centimetres but they have close to the same number of stitched elements to them.

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