Bellatrix LeStrange (Ministry for Magic ) - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In Progress




I love both the character of Bellatrix in the books and the movies and the costumes themselves. I thought the use of slightly worn and faded finery for Bella was wonderful in the movie adaptions. There is this sense that she was once a fabulous, wealthy and rather glamorous witch and her years in Azkaban have taken their toll on her. Her hair is ravaged, her teeth and nails are worn and stained and her clothing is frayed around the edges, rather like her sanity.

The wig I reworked from an old one as this was just meant to be a fairly simple costume thrown together on a budget. The dress is made from two layers, the under layer is a black crepe with an overlayer of black muslin. The sleeves are laced with leather thong. The corset is entirely made from real leather, cut and repieced together with more leather cord. The necklace is made from fimo, with a drybrush antiquing done over the top. I still need to make a ring in the same way!

I usually draft all of my own patterns, but for this I ended up draping it rather than working on my usual math based blocking work. The bodice is a fairly simple cut with a straight cut back with darts from the waist and the shape in the front is created by the gather you can see just above the line of the corset. The hood of the dress was also draped, pinning multiple times to get the point to hang correctly down the back. The skirt is made like a regular circle skirt but is slightly less than a full circle.

The sleeves were fabulously fun to make. They are extremely close fitting, as such that I need to put them on separately to the dress and then lace them on afterwards.

The dress itself will be hand painted and hand embroidered to finish.


Sapphistar posted on 15 March, 2012 - 12:56
the corset looks great and nice touch working so hard on the nail ! :)

Yuka posted on 15 March, 2012 - 14:19
Oh gosh those nails are looking gnarly XD I can't wait to see this all together <3

Sephirayne posted on 15 March, 2012 - 15:06
Loving the progress. Can't wait to see. Love Bellatrix.

Ranma1-2 posted on 16 March, 2012 - 08:30
This is so impressive!

Darkiekun posted on 16 March, 2012 - 09:51
Awesome! hope My Bellatrix will look just as awesome!

Lozzie posted on 18 March, 2012 - 20:35
OMG! This is gonna look FANTASTIC!! :3

Tofu posted on 19 March, 2012 - 06:59
Thanks guys! @Darkiekun Look forward to seeing your Bella! Now to try and find the time to get all that detailing done!

No thanks posted on 28 March, 2012 - 20:10
This is GORGEOUS I'm loving it! I'll definatly keep a keen eye to see any shots of you in the entire finished thing!

Kacela posted on 28 March, 2012 - 22:05
This is gorgeous! Loving all the details =D

Siouxsie James posted on 29 March, 2012 - 07:43
Very cool!!

Progress Journal

25th July 2012

Embroidery is the bane of my life

Started the hand embroidery of the dress. I really hate hand embroidery, but I don't think I can easily get the swirls done on my machine and they look hand done on the original dress (from what I can tell, they seem slightly irregular)

This is going to be a loooooong process

9th April 2012

Skirt Progress Win!

Finished the evil swirls today! I need to iron the whole dress to fix the fabric paint next and to finish the aging and distressing the hem. The hood still needs it's swirls and I am debating what effect washing the dress will have. My swirls should in theory be colourfast but I have some trepidation about attempting a wash after doing all those hours of work painting!

9th April 2012

Ring Progress

Started work on my ring! I've been working with Sculpey III, it is WAY softer than I recall. I always preferred Sculpey to Fimo as I found it gave sharper results. I had to put this in the fridge several times to harden the clay enough to work it well. The piece has been worked by hand and tooled with a chisel edged end of a paintbrush and has been molded onto a standard adjustable ring blank and is ready for baking!

This is the start of my ring against the reference image.

7th April 2012

Handpainting sloooow

Yet more handpainting, I've been laying it out on the floor after foolishly attempting to paint it whilst on mannequin. The fact this is a full circle skirt is really sinking in. Alas the painting goes on...

28th March 2012

And so it goes on

So it occurs to me that I have a LOT of fabric to hand paint. Still with the boys sleeping better I have a good hour or more each night to work on Bella. It's a grind, I hope it'll be worth it!

26th March 2012

Oh gods the swirls...

Painting yet more swirls. It occurs to me there is an awful lot of fabric on this dress. I'm pleased with the effect I've achieved so far. I've been handpainting using a mixture of white fabric paint and a fabric paint 'shade creator' This has effectively thinned the paint to make a pale faded effect in places, with stronger areas in others for a nice aged look.

24th March 2012

Swirly Swirly Swirls

So I've started hand painting the swirls on the costume! I debated over driving myself nuts aiming for screen accuracy but decided against it in favour of just creating the general feel of the dress.

I SO wish I had access to screen printing facilities as I would have simply developed a design, popped it into repeat and printed the fabric before construction. Alas I lack the required workspace, which I deeply lament being almost 5 years since I've done any screen printing now...

Still painting goes well and sleeves are now loosely attached!

18th March 2012

Corset on mannequin!

I've finished binding the corset underlayer now and glued the two layers together. I probably should have made the hem of the corset wider to give a deeper curve and cinch at the waist. It was difficult to judge as my shape has changed dramatically in the last year since I started making this costume and it has only been 9 weeks since I had my second child. Oh wells!

18th March 2012

Corset ready to bind

This is my mini waspie fully boned and ready to be trimmed in bias binding. I say it's lightweight as it has only about a half or a third of the average number of bones I'd usually put in a full corset. This is simply as it's a structural thing to support the leather work and I'm less concerned about it having drastic waist reduction properties. It is boned with 7mm wide spiral steels.

16th March 2012

Corset Progress!

So today I've been working on the lightweight corset that will form the support for the leather patchwork. The pieces are cut, sewn and topstiched and the boning channels added. Next stage is to cut the boning to lengths, seal the ends and trim the top and bottom edge in bias binding.

15th March 2012


Today I have been painting Bellatrix's nails. In the movies her nails are all worn and chipped and rather unpleasant! I've used false nails and acrylic paints in multiple layers to create the colour. I then sliced into the nails with scissors to create the tattered edges.