Monday, May 16, 2011

Becoming Bellatrix (Stage I)

So some of you might not know this already, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

I'm a dork. A big one.

Shock and appall, right? ;)

Anyway, every year I've attended the midnight premier of Harry Potter and every year I've done so dressing up as Professor McGonagall.

(That's me in the green.)

Anyway, with the final movie almost upon us, it felt wrong to bring out the McGonagall robe and hat. I mean, this movie is going to be so much darker and more serious than the last ones. For this movie, I need to be a death eater. But not just any death eater...

I wanted to be Bellatrix. The craziest, nastiest of them all. And with the movie premiere only a couple of months away, now is the time to get crackin' on the costume.

So, I went down to my local JoAnn's Fabrics to search through their Simplicity patterns. I'll be honest, I'm a self-taught seamstress. Sometimes my creations aren't all that pretty so, while I'd love to have the talent to just whip up a dress off the top of my head, I don't. So I needed a pattern that I could use as a base and that I found comfortable modifying.

I found this:

I know the face you're making right now. The huh? But trust me. The base for the Bellatrix dress is there. All I'd have to do was runch the front, lengthen the hem, and make the skirt a little fuller.

Next, I cut out the pattern.

Then I laid out the fabric, pinned the pattern to it, and began cutting it out. This is where I took some liberties making sure to add more fabric to the skirt.

Now it was sewing time! But before I started piecing things together, I pulled a thread down the center of the front bodice and runched it.

There! Nice and runchy.

Next, I pinned the front pieces to the side pieces and start sewing.

Here the front has been pieced together.

And now for the back. Note that I left a slit open to add a zipper.

Now I sew the two pieces together and viola! I have something resembling a dress - or a large black sack. Either way, viola!

Now it's zipper time!!! Which is a little like hammer time but without the baggy pants.
I'm just so proud. This was the first time I put a zipper in that didn't look like two caterpillars getting it on under the fabric. Seriously. But I digress...

Next I added the neck facing.

And then it was time to pin on the arm-hole facing and sew that on, too.

Now I have something that looks more like a dress instead of a sheet with holes in it. As Charlie Sheen would say, WIN!

So, if you look at the original Bellatrix photo you can see how tattered the hem is. What's nice about this cheap fabric I bought is that it naturally frays like the dickens. But to give it that tattered look I went ahead and cut some lines into the hem.

Now, to try it on...
A perfect fit!!!

Okay, not. I ended up having to take it in a couple of times before I snapped that pic. But that's okay. It's always better to have to take things in than let them out. In fact, I don't even know how to let things out...

So, now I have the base for my Bellatrix dress. There's one more thing I have to do before I call it a night. If you look at the original photo, you'll see that Bellatrix's dress has silver swirly embroidery on it. While I can embroider, I can only do it by hand and, people, I don't have that kind of time. Enter my new bff:


Not too shabby. I'll probably add a few more silver swirlys after I finish the corset so I know exactly where I should be drawing those things.

So what do you think? Stay tuned for future posts where I make the arm gauntlets, the corset, tease up and spray paint a wig, and, finally, put the whole thing together opening night!


  1. You write and have stitching skills--very cool!

    I tried to talk my teenage son into dressing up as a pirate for On Stranger Tides. He said if I wanted to, that was fine, but I'd be going it alone.

    Evidently, the dork gene skips a generation.

  2. you're such a rockstar! i wish i was as cool as you.

  3. I am IMPRESSED! You are going to look so cool! Be sure to post pics of you all dressed up! :)

  4. This will be EPIC. :D
    Seriously, it will be so awesome that you might actually scare a few kids.

  5. lol ditto to what Matt said :D I can't sew to save my life. I've tried. It's not pretty. I can't WAIT to see the full costume! :D

  6. That is awesome, Cole. It's just not fair though. You're a stupendous seamstress, a comic fan extraordinaire, AND an awesome writer? No fair, I cry. You obviously have perfected the art of cloning and are actually three different talented clones.

    Yeah, that's it!