I’m so excited to finally share the photos of Emma’s Bellatrix Lestrange Costume that I made for her Oz Comic-Con Cosplay this year.
Emma has always enjoyed exploring the ‘dark side’ of all the fandoms she’s been interested in, and after cosplaying as Ginny Weasely and Luna Lovegood, her favourite pure-hearted female characters from the Harry Potter universe, it was inevitable that her interest turned to a big bad villain.
As Harry Potter villains go, Bellatrix Lestrange is one of the worst, second only to Dolores Umbridge in my opinion.
I wrote an article a while back about why girls need female superheros AND super villains as role models, which resonates more and more the older Emma gets.
I think this quote from this article from the Huffpost did an interesting job off summing up her appeal:
“Yes, she is a psychopathic Death Eater who worships the Dark Lord and reaps pleasure from the suffering of innocents. But Lestrange also embodies a combination of power, liberation and an unabashed lust for life (and death) I found enticing. Even while using the Cruciatus Curse to scramble the brains of noble wizards beyond salvation, she’s always having the most fun in the room.”
“She can be scary, definitely kids are scared of her,” Bonham Carter said when describing the character. “But also has a part of her that they wouldn’t mind being her, in the sense that she’s really naughty, she gets away with everything … She’s very liberated. It was really fun to play her because she is just completely abandoned. I just let go, really.” – source
Bellatrix Lestrange Cosplay
We started planning for this Bellatrix costume quite early on in the year, mainly because I was hoping to thrift all the components of the costume. It took many trips to our local op-shops (thrift stores) to find all the items we needed, including the wig, but in the end our persistence paid off and the whole costume came together purely from pre-loved garments and supplies from my craft stash.
If you are interested in the Bellatrix Lestrange Costume DIY process, scroll down for explanations on how I re-styled an old lace and velvet dress, dyed and styled a wig and made our own Bellatrix Lestrange Wand.
It’s become our little tradition to have a fun cosplay photoshoot the day before Comic-Con, and just like last year when Emma cosplayed as Luna Lovegood, we returned to Rippon Lea Estate to take our photos. The location is quite diverse and we managed to find a few dark little corners that suited Bellatrix’s dark personality!
The Bellatrix cosplay photos turned out so great, it was hard to choose just these few.
I present Emma as Bellatrix Lestrange! Enjoy!
The costume isn’t a film replica, but rather an interpretation of Bellatrix’s style from the descriptions in the books. I wanted to capture a disheveled luxury with a Victorian twist.
Items required for a Bellatrix Lestrange Costume:
- Black dress – velvet looks period authentic
- Black Leather corset or wide black belt
- Dark hair long curly wig and white hairspray or body paint to style
- Silver bird skull necklace – DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Necklace instructions here
- Black boots
- Wand – DIY Harry Potter wand instructions here
DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Dress
I didn’t fancy making a dress from scratch, especially because black dresses are so easy to come by second-hand. We found a few suitable bits and pieces that I refashioned to make a black dress that fit Emma well and was easy to wear.
The dress part of the costume is actually made from 2 separate garments which I’ve layered together.
The lacy overlay was made from stretchy netting fabric and the only adjustments required were some gathers at the chest to remove excess fabric in the bust area. I also gathered up the split in the hip to give it a little more movement and ruffle in the skirt section.
The under-dress was a much bigger task. I found a really fancy vintage (from the 80’s) dress with a velvet skirt, puffy Victorian style sleeves and lots of lace. It had all the fabric and trims I needed, but unfortunately was quite large on Emma.
I set about deconstructing it by removing the zipper, detaching the skirt and taking off the high collar. I ended up with, and adjusted the following:
1. SKIRT – Sewed up the seam where the zip had been removed. Added an elastic waistband to the skirt section. Didn’t need to touch the hem.
2. TOP – I reversed the opening, the back was now the front. I narrowed the back by running a seam down the center and also narrowed the sleeves.
– I hemmed the collar and front in a V shape, added a velcro closure and trimmed the neckline with lace that was recovered from another section of the dress.
Now the basic undergarment fitted better and I managed to keep the pretty sleeves which would have been really difficult to make from scratch.
It’s really the details that make the costume pop, and as soon as I saw the lace button up sleeves on this dress, I just knew it was the one. Not bad for a $9 op-shop find. The fabric alone would have set me back more than that.
DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Leather Corset
Making a leather corset is no easy task. Emma was particularly insistent that a leather corset was absolutely required for this costume, so even though I’ve never made any sort of corset before, it was the next task on my costume making list.
After searching my local craft stores for faux leather and finding nothing suitable, I was luck enough to thrift a faux leather mini skirt for just $6. It was perfect as the PVC coated fabric was light weight and looked like real leather.
Of course there are no corset patterns available for 11 year olds, so I had to make my own, which wasn’t as hard as I expected. I didn’t use any boning in this corset, but just relied on the stiffness of the leather and lining fabric.
How to make your own faux leather corset
You will need:
- Lightweight faux leather fabric or faux leather garment
- Non-stretch blockout curtain lining fabric
- Sewing pins
- Sewing machine with walking foot
- Dark brown sewing thread
- Eyelets and Eyelet tool
- Length of cord or ribbon
- General sewing supplies
How to make your corset pattern:
I used some blockout curtain lining fabric to make the pattern base because it’s what I had on hand. It worked perfectly as it didn’t stretch, was stiff and yet flexible at the same time. I then used the same fabric as the lining/backing for the faux leather.
1. Take a piece of blockout fabric large enough to wrap around waist and pin sides to create curves of waist/hips. With a marker draw on desired shape of corset pieces.
2. Cut out pattern and sew together side seams. Try on for further fitting adjustments if required. Now unpick the stitching to separate pattern pieces.
Cutting and sewing leather corset:
Now I used my basic pattern to cut the leather fabric and then sew it all together.
3. Cut your pattern pieces from the faux leather with a seam allowance. I centered the seam on the skirt to the center of the front panel. I cut the back pieces to take advantage of the hem in the skirt. If you aren’t using a skirt with a hem, allow extra fabric to fold over sides of back to give eyelets extra reinforcement.
4. Sew curved side seams together with right sides of faux leather fabric facing. I’ve flipped the marked sides of lining over to hide the scribbles.
5. Using a walking foot and zig zag stitch, sew over seams and create some random seams to give the appearance of patch-worked pieces. The leather fabric was a bit stretchy which initially was annoying, but I used it in my favour to add extra texture to the patchwork seams.
6. Trim hem edges to neaten.
7. Mark placement for eyelet holes about 1/2″ from edge and evenly spaced. Make sure they line up on both sides of corset back.
8. Use the eyelet tool to punch holes for the eyelet
Tip – I recommend practicing using the tool on a crap pieces of leather first to get the hang of how to use it.
9. Place eyelets in holes and use eyelet tool to press and fasten.
10. Lace with cord or ribbon. Now it’s ready to wear!
I’m really pleased at how well the corset turned out. Emma was right, it absolutely does make this Bellatrix Lestrange costume more authentic.
Bellatrix Lestrange Costume Accessories
All that was left to complete the costume was to make some accessories for Emma’s Bellatrix Lestrange costume.
The bird skull necklace was made from polymer clay, you can find the full instructions here – DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Bird Skull Necklace
Next came Bellatrix’s gnarly bent wand. The hardest part about this DIY wand project was finding a nicely bent stick to use as the base of the wand. Emma had picked up a perfectly shaped stick on a recent walk, but as we were sanding it back we discovered it was riddled with wood worm, and was crawling with live grubs – YUCK!
I dispatched that stick pretty quickly and then had to go for a walk to find another appropriate stick at short notice. Emma was having a panic attack at this stage because her ‘prefect’ wand was full of worms!
After all the drama, I did manage to find a replacement stick to make a Bellatrix Lestrange Wand.
How to make a Bellatrix Lestrange Wand
You will need:
- Stick or twig with a bend in it
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Craft knife and/or sandpaper
- Paint in black and brown
- Paint brush or foam brush
- PVA glue and water
Caution: Hot glue can burn so please be careful. If you get hot glue on your skin run it under cold water immediately.
1. Sand off any sharp edges of your stick with sandpaper.
2. Using hot glue gun, add layers of glue around the handle end of the stick to create a thicker grip. Allow to cool.
3. Paint over handle and stick with a mixture of black and brown paint. Allow to dry thoroughly.
4. Dilute 1 part PVA glue with 1 part water to make a thin glaze. Seal the wand with the PVA glaze and leave to dry.
Now your DIY Bellatrix Lestrange wand is ready to cast some evil curses. Be careful or you may just summon the dark mark!
Styling a Bellatrix Lestrange Wig
During Comic-Con, we had so many comments about how great Emma’s hair looked. So many people thought it was her natural hair and were really surprised when I told them it was a wig.
I was really lucky to find an old wig at our local thrift store. We live in an area with a large Jewish community and many of the more orthodox women here wear wigs, so it’s not unusual to find a basket full of unwanted wigs in the corner of many op-shops.
Really good quality wigs, with hair that doesn’t look like shiny plastic are expensive to buy, so I was so pleased to find a good quality synthetic hair wig that suited our needs for only $10. The op-shop was having a 1/2 price sale so it was originally marked at $20.
The wig was a classic 80’s mullet hairstyle with spiral curls that were a bit matted together and big hair on top. Perfect for Bellatrix’s crazy hair style. The only downside was that the colour was too light so I did some research and decided to dye it a bit darker.
If the idea of wearing an old wig freaks you out – don’t worry, I washed it.
I found this wig dying tutorial on Youtube explaining how to dye synthetic wigs with alcohol ink. I used the inside of a black sharpie marker soaked in isopropyl alcohol to make my own alcohol ink to spray the wig a darker colour.
Once it was dry, I washed the wig gently and combed out the worst of the knots.
The top of the hair was fairly straight so I used hair curlers and some setting spray overnight to add curls.
Once it was dry I pinned the hair from the sides to the back and top to give the top of the hair more volume, and styled the fringe (bangs) with a part. To finish the style I used white coloured hairspray to create a grey patch of hair at the front.
The finished styled wig looked fantastic! The slightly tangled hair really look very authentic and I’m glad I didn’t buy a cheap costume wig as it wouldn’t have looked as good.
Bellatrix Lestrange Makeup
Emma’s Bellatrix Lestrange Makeup was inspired by this video tutorial and I used only basic makeup supplies that I had on hand to re-create the look.
I’m not very good at doing make-up, but I think I did a passable job.
The main tips for Bellatrix Lestrange Makeup:
- Make the face pale with light foundation
- Use plum coloured eyeshadow to make circles under the eyes
- Contour hollows of cheeks with dark shadow
- Flare out nostril with eyeliner pencil around nostril opening
I hope you enjoyed this post. We had a lot of fun both putting the Bellatrix Lestrange costume together and taking the cosplay photos.
Whether you are looking to make your own DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Halloween Costume or want to recreate the look for your own Bellatrix cosplay, I hope I’ve given you some helpful ideas and tips.
Dressing up as Harry Potter characters has been such a highlight for Emma these past few years, I can’t wait to see who she decided to cosplay as next.
If you’d like any more details about how I made the costume or accessories just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Will you be dressing as Bellatrix Lestrange for Halloween or Comic-Con this year?
You may also enjoy these Harry Potter Costume Ideas:
- Ginny Weasley Cosplay
- Luna Lovegood Cosplay
- DIY Harry Potter Wands
- DIY Bellatrix Lestrange Bird Skull Necklace
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