Friday, June 19, 2015

WIP: Franziska von Karma

Penang Anime Matsuri just ended last month! Due to several circumstances, I was unable to debut my original cosplay plans of Katara and Creator (also, I failed to work on those costumes during my year end break ^^").

So, I had to come up with a back up plan. Less than 2 weeks before the event, I decided that it would be a great idea to finally make my Fraziska von Karma costume. From scratch. I've never sewed a top before, so it was a quite a challenge I was taking up!

Franziska von Karma - Ace Attorney (Cosplan since 2013)

13 days before the event, went fabric shopping and it was chiong time! Presenting to you, my Franziska cosplay WhIP!

Franziska: That foolish pun was foolish, fool.

Featuring my sewing machine: Volvo!

Disclaimer: Post is image heavy. And some sewing terms/techniques are used, with no explanation given. Please figure it out by Google. |D

Blouse Puffed Sleeves

Since I was running short of time, and didn't wanna spend too long figuring out how to sew a proper blouse/shirt, I decided to cheat and bought a white T-shirt instead, hehe. I detached the sleeves from that and sew on my own puffed sleeves.

Cloth and T-shirt!

I was following this Puffed Sleeve tutorial, which also gave me the idea to use a T-shirt. Most of the video has the lady chatting away, but the core of the tutorial is very simple and flexible, which I like! Hence, I didn't really record any of the measurements I used, haha.

Used the cut-out sleeves as a guide. My puffed sleeves are more than twice the original size. |D

After cutting the sleeves pieces out

Gathered the cloth so that the puffed sleeves would fit the T-shirt armhole, then sew them together!

I made a mistake initially when I gathered the cloth equally. I ended up with too much cloth squished under my arm, which wasn't flattering, and the top part of my sleeves had less puff than it should. So, I had to tear out the sleeves and redo it.

Too much cloth underneath the arm. Bleargh. =(

I gathered only the top part. Problem fixed!

Originally, I attached elastic bands to the sleeves as seen above, but it shows quite obviously and I wasn't too happy about it, so I took out the elastics and redid the sleeves when I attached the arm pieces to the puffed sleeves. The downside to taking off the elastic is that the puffed sleeve would run down my arm from time to time, as I made mine pretty big. But it looked better, and I liked the results.

The arm part attached (they were just a rectangle cloth piece measured and sewn together)
The elastic can be seen pretty obviously at the joint here.

Without elastics. More natural, more flow!

Next were the cuffs. Franziska's cuffs had this trapezoid shape and were joined together at the bottom. I was showing the reference picture to Raz and he told me they were cufflinks. He showed me his cufflink shirt, and basically they were extended cuffs that you fold up, and hook them together with a cufflink. Went and Google and whoah I never knew such things existed!

Cufflink shirt

Knowing what they were helped me alot in designing the cuffs. I made mine like a diamond shape, which when folded forms a rhomboid, like how Franziska's are. So the cuffs has two layers of fabric, with interfacing on the inside. Later, I sewed snap buttons on the inside of the cuffs so that it really looks like a cufflink is holding the cuffs together.

Shirt completed!

I wanted to hold up the sleeves' puffy shape by adding tulle into it, but it ended up not making much difference, so I scrapped that

With tulle

Without tulle


This was the tricky part as I had no confidence in sewing something that was going to be body fitting. But a vest would be more forgiving as it was fastened by buttons and can be adjusted more easily later. I grabbed one my clothes and traced out the pattern as draft. Anything that doesn't fit can be fixed with darts later. :P (naive of me, harhar)

Luckily I had Raz helping me with this part. I was being really careless with my work and didn't try out the draft before cutting out the cloth. My first draft was too small (thanks to my bust) so we did a lot of trial and error before finally getting the shape right.

Unfortunately, I can't give much visual help here, as I didn't refer to any other patterns, and was mostly going by feel. |D

Everything is coming together!

It wasn't exactly what I'd like it to be (because of the geometry of the yellow lines and buttons, which affects the vest design -- too much stuff to figure out |D) but it was a pretty good job! (at this point, it's already been a week working on the costume!)

Drawing out where the yellow lines will be

Remember what I told you about geometry? See how the two diamonds aren't the same shape, and it's not a complete diamond anyway. Where the lines meet up, they aren't straight either. Yeah, welcome to the nit-picky world of cosplay. But beggars can't be choosers. (or the unskilled can't fix it overnight :'D)

I decided to paint the vest with acrylic paint instead of using cloth because 1, the yellow lines doesn't look raised in the reference pictures; 2, I'm just lazy, painting takes less effort than cutting the cloth in straight lines and sewing it on. :'D I was wrong though. I took 6 hours painting the lines because I had to do 3 coats of paint for it to look good. The vest was painted after I sewed on the snap buttons and made the acrylic buttons (see below).

Top: 2 coats of paint
Middle: 3 coats of paint
Bottom: 1 coat of paint




I usually use stone powder clay when crafting all my accessories. But it's heavy, and if used for my cuffs, it would weigh it down and my cuffs would not have its rhomboid shape. So I decided to make them out of acrylic resin! Acrylic resin for dentures, because it's available at my lab. And I made them all during lab hours at my uni. :P

The idea is that I make the buttons with resin, stick one side of a snap button on it, while the other side will be sewn onto my clothes. This way, when I wash my costume, I can remove the acrylic buttons.

In total, I needed:
- 8 square buttons for the cuffs
- 2 diamond buttons for the vest
- 1 triangle broach

Snap buttons. I used a whole lot of these. But they're so cheap!

I made a mould from wax based on a cardboard pattern I made earlier
(I use wax because it's available at the lab as well :P)

Before the resin sets, push in the snap buttons


Trim the edges. Polish with pumice (optional).


The broach. I made it in one-piece and had to trim grooves into it to make the broach shape.

They look abit foggy and uneven because of porosity due to my technique. But it doesn't matter because it'll be painted on later. :P Some of the buttons had resin bleeding into them, causing difficulties when I try to attach it to my clothes.

Using finger helps spread the acrylic paint more evenly, without the brush lines
(do not mix paint with water!)

All with two coats of paint

Some casualties due to wrong application of force when I tried to attach the acrylic buttons to my clothes.

How the acrylic buttons are fixed onto my costume!

After attaching on the buttons


First testing out the size with paper

I sewed the ribbon by a method I observed from my aunt long ago, so don't really have a tutorial I can link here. Basically, I sewed a rectangle tube, sewed the ends together, tied the middle with a thread, which is later covered by a strip of cloth. I made two bows separately and joined them together with the cloth strip (which was a sewn as a tube as well). I made the fluttery (cravat?) part with a rectangle piece. Since my blouse wasn't a real blouse, I didn't have a collar. I made a fake collar out of a rectangle piece, backed with interfacing, that goes around my neck, with a button attaching it to my vest, and buttons at the front to join it together. The bows and cravat were pinned to this collar. The broach had a safety pin stuck to it with help of a felt piece and super glue.

Convincing blouse :D


I've had a pair of teardrop earrings that I've been keeping for Franziska. I painted the earrings blue, and added blue beads to the earring to look like studs.

The two pairs of earrings I used
(I salvaged the blue beads from the other pair using my orthodontics plier :P)

After painting, I sprayed a layer of hairspray! Look at the difference of the left and right earrings!
(I used hairspray because I didn't have any other materials to use as a finishing coat)


My boots, skirt and wig were bought from Taobao. In fanart and even official art, Franziska's hair has such a wide range of colour from white to silver to blue. I decided it's more of a grey-light blue mix. On Taobao, I searched for Sayaka Miki (from Madoka) to find my wig. :P I would've gotten a pair of leather gloves, but I couldn't find one nor sew one in time, so I used cloth gloves (which isn't so apparent in most photos). The whip I borrowed from a friend. Pantyhose, I took awhile to find because I couldn't find the right amount of sheer. I bought two pairs as my first one was too opaque.


I am so amazed by my own achievement! I could proudly say that I made 80% of this costume from scratch! Even the buttons! So many times during the 2 weeks, I keep asking myself, "Why am I doing this again?", "Costume plz sew yourself." I had quite a bit of headache, working with just 2 weeks, with classes to attend during the day, and limited experience at costuming, hence a lot of trial and errors and lead to a lot of frustration. But the end results are so satisfying. When I wore my costume and looked at myself in the mirror, and looked at pictures of myself, I'm still in awe that I'm finally cosplaying Franziska, and that the costume was self-made.

Anyhow, thanks for reading! I hope that my WIP has inspired you a bit, or entertained you, or helped you with your own costume (although I couldn't provide a proper tutorial, sorry about that...). Will be blogging more on PAM soon!

Quote of the Day: "Don't think I'm going to walk in your shadow forever... Our battle... begins now... so you had better prepare yourself, Miles Edgeworth!" - Franziska von Karma, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All.

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