Tharja article header.

How I Made My Tharja Cosplay

Here is how to make a Tharja cosplay. If you need somewhere to start or want the details, here’s the guide for you. I will do my best to cover all the bases, add images of my own process and links to the the items I used.

The first Fire Emblem game I was introduced to was Fire Emblem Awakening by my friend Sophia, or better known as Storyteller Cosplay. I was already cosplaying and the character’s designs immediately caught my interest. 

Tharja was initially one of my least favorite characters as far as her obsessive personality and creepy energy, but something about her design draws me back to her every time. Maybe it’s because she’s a skimpy goth mage… and who isn’t drawn to that?

It took me years to work up the courage to make this costume and while the premade ones from other companies actually look high quality, they have that DAMN MIDDLE SEAM! 

A combination of that middle seam and wanting the cosplay to fit my body in a way that boosts my confidence, which I will certainly need cosplaying Tharja, led me to create my own. This is how I did it.

Preparation 

Step One: Find a crap ton of reference images. For Tharja in particular, she has multiple outfits and many of them look very similar. Find what one you want, or what parts you want if you’re making a mixture of them like I did, and get images. You can do this by searching the web, or taking screenshots in-game. 

Collection of Tharja reference photos.

Step Two: Find all the materials you need. Patterns are important! So draft your patterns or buy them. Do that first, so you know exactly what type of materials you need and how much of them. I will link all of the patterns I used below.

For Tharja you need these fabrics; purple for the inside of the cape, deep blue (or black) for the bulk of the costume, and some type of gold. You will also need to order or make your own bodysuit, so find a mesh you like. I ordered one just like this and altered it. I personally also had to buy felt to give some structure to the bra top that I made. 

You will also need foam, Worbla, or your favorite armor construction material. I used foam because it’s lightweight and mobile, and more comfortable against your bare skin. This is really important because you will be wearing armor on your neck, thighs, and arms with only mesh protecting your skin from the material.

Step Three: Create!

Patterns:

Top

For the top I used this Bustier pattern. Here’s the link.

Pattern I used for Tharja's bra.

I know this is not the same exact shape as her bra top but I found this to be more comfortable. It also made it possible for me to make the top of the same fabric as the cape and belt, which was important to me.

To make this pattern work, I didn’t add the straps and I also shortened the length of the bottom to make it more “bra like”.

Belt/Skirt

Unfortunately, I made this pattern myself, and I think it might be pretty important to do so. Everyone’s hips vary in size and shape. How much you want it to cover will change this pattern a lot too, so let me tell you two methods of doing it.

  •  Take an old skirt (one you don’t mind destroying) that fits well and is a similar material to the one you’re using. Draw on skirt where you want the belt, cut it out allowing seam allowance, and only cut where you want seams on the sides and back. 
  • The second method is essentially doing the same but with tape. Cover yourself in cling wrap and then put tape on top of that, drawing the skirt and cutting it out.

For the front flap part I made my own pattern with normal pen and paper. I actually suggest wrapping paper with the grids on it so it is easy to make it even and have enough paper to fit it all on one piece.

Necklace

Her necklace is the most complicated armor piece on the cosplay. I didn’t want to go through patterning it myself, especially since I had a short time frame, so I found someone who had made a very similar necklace pattern on Etsy. I then just altered it to look like Tharja’s. I will talk more about how I did that later. Here’s the pattern I used.

Pattern I used for Tharja's necklace.

Cape

For the cape I used an old Simplicity Pattern and altered it. I took it up a couple of inches so it wasn’t floor length and I didn’t add the hood. I also tapered the front two panels so they didn’t fall over my chest. 

I think this is the biggest difference, because you don’t want to lose the volume of the cape, but you also don’t want it to cover all the hard work you put into your costume. I found a Vouge Pattern that already does all the alterations I did in case you want to order it instead. You will also need to line both in order to have the purple interior.

Materials:

Armor

Tharja has gold bands around her wrists, ankles, arms, arms and thighs. For these I used foam because I felt that Worbla would be stiff, uncomfortable and maybe even irritate my skin.

To save myself some painful hours carving and cutting foam I used beveled dowels in two different sizes, 10mm and 18mm. I like to use TNT Cosplay Supply because they are affordable. Plus I’ve been using them for years and have never been let down. Here’s the link.

TNT cosplay beveled foam dowels.

I also used foam for the belt and neck pieces. For the necklace I used 2mm, but I would suggest using 3mm like the pattern suggests. I ran out of this size foam and used normal craft foam and it works, but does wrinkle much easier.

For the belt I did use a 10mm foam from TNT Cosplay Supply. I’ll also link that here.

I used Worbla for the diadem she wears and that was from my local SFX shop The Engineer Guy.

As always when working with foam and Worbla you will need wood glue, contact cement, Plasti Dip and if you’re chaotic like me, hot glue. You will also need nylon webbed strap and Velcro or snaps to attach your armor to your bodysuit and cloth.

Lastly, buy a gold paint that matches your fabric. You wont believe how many different types of gold there actually are.

Fabric

I got all my fabrics from Joann’s but like I said find something you like most. I decided to not use stretch fabric, which made the costume a little more difficult to construct considering all of her clothing is very form fitting minus the cape. Here’s a list of materials I used.

Additional Supplies

  1. Wig (and a way to cut it) *optional*
  2. Contacts *optional*
  3. Gold shoes (I’d link mine but I honestly wouldn’t recommend them)

How to Make a Tharja Cosplay

Making the Cape

Now that we’ve gotten through all of that preparation, you just have to put stuff together and make cosplay magic.

I started with the cape. Why? It’s the best part and pretty easy way to give yourself a confidence boost. Now that your pattern is ready, it’s as simple as cutting out the lining fabric, your navy fabric and sewing them together.

I added shoulder pads from an old thrifted dress to give them more definition, but you can skip this step if you’d like. Top stitch the cloak before adding your trim so that your edges don’t bunch and its easier to add the trim cleanly. I cut the gold fabric to size to add as trim. This fabric won’t fray so don’t worry about any fancy stitching and just add that bad-boy.

For the straps in the back I added a loop made of the gold in the center of the back. I cut two pieces of the gold, stacked them with right sides out and stitched them together in a piece long enough to droop down the back as hers does. I did the same with the gold cord. I just stitched these together at the neckline and ta-da! It’s that simple.

Necklace and Gold Bands

These are actually much, much easier than you’d expect. Let’s start with the necklace since we already have a pattern. Just print that PDF and glue the pieces together as instructed with contact cement (make sure to number them). Once you’ve done that, cut the bottom to the right shape. After that I cut thin strips of foam and added it to the edges to give it the same detail as hers.

I also added fabric strips behind the seams and any other rough edges on the inside. This is because I have sensitive skin but this part is totally optional. Then you Plasti Dip it and paint it. Now add a tab with Velcro to close it. That’s another piece done!

I didn’t have the time to really do this properly before my convention, so I will remake this piece with actual contact cement and not hot glue. Heh. You can always add shading too. A neat little trick I’ve learned over the years is that if your foam gets wrinkled, take a heat gun to it and it will relieve some of the wrinkles.

Now for the gold bands. For my wrists I just took the smallest beveled dowels and measured a size I could get over my hand but wouldn’t fall off.

The ankle bands will need an attachment in the back because slipping them over your foot will be impossible. I did this by adding a tiny strip of nylon webbing and sewing a snap to it. Then I added a snap to the back of the band. After that you can just set the band on top of the shoe strap you sewed. After doing this I didn’t have a problem with mine moving around at all.

The thigh rings they look like they’re floating so making them was probably the most tricky. There’s also the matter that your thigh changes shape depending on if you’re sitting, standing, flexing. I solved this by adding a tiny piece of elastic to the back of the ring and then I just slide them on.

I made mine appear to be floating by sewing snaps to my bodysuit where I wanted them and adding snaps to the back of the ring. I would not suggest snaps because they are hard as heck to attach to mesh. I will be updating mine by using the same method but with Velcro instead.

Bra/Bustier

This was really just a matter of finding something that worked for me then altering the pattern. I really tried to make that bra shape, but it kept pinching and not sitting right without stretch fabric. I also wanted to wear this over a bra so I didn’t concern myself with adding wire to it.

I still needed structure, so it did not fall or flop over. I cut the pattern in felt and sewed that in-between the lining and the outside of the top. I took the bottom of the pattern up in order to make it more bra than bustier. To finish it I just added the gold band with my gold fabric.

To attach the bra I cut apart an old bra that did not fit me right and used the straps so that I had adjustable straps without the hard work of making them. I also used the hook and eye to attach the back for different comfort levels. Don’t worry, the cape will cover this.

Belt/Skirt

Once you have the pattern for your skirt you have a couple of options. I would suggest adding interface to the base just to make sure that the belt holds its shape and doesn’t flop over. I used a lightweight knit interfacing, this is totally optional though.

I chose to make the flap that hangs down a separate piece because it just looks more realistic that way. If you’re going to do this, add all of the gold elements before you attach the two pieces. To make the gold for the flap you will want to cut it in the shape of the belt. Once you finish sewing the fabric part of it, trace it onto some wrapping paper and make it the width you want by adding to the inside of the pattern. Cut it out and trace it on the back of your gold fabric then sew!

Sew the “flap” at the top and bottom to secure it. I also added Velcro to the gold armor piece and attached them that way. This helps to make it easier to pack, travel and also replace the armor piece if you’d ever like to.

You can either Velcro the back of the skirt or add a zipper. I chose to add a zipper to prevent any costume malfunctions since she’s already wearing so little. Just make sure your measurements are double checked and accurate because this piece relies heavily on fitting correctly.

To make the armor piece I simply cut one 10mm piece of foam the size and shape I wanted then added the craft foam on top to give it the layering. Once you do that, use a Dremel or sandpaper to bevel the edges. After that it’s ready for Plasti Dip then paint.

Diadem

I will be honest, the pattern for this was super difficult. I have a wig head that measures to the same inches as my head and that made it easier. I basically cut out little pieces of paper and taped them together until they made a shape close enough to hers. You will probably adjust this a million times. Here is what mine ended up looking like.

Pattern I made for Tharja's crown.

After that I did the foam sandwiching technique with Worbla.Then I heated it up, shaping it to a somewhat smaller size than my head because it would hold on better and the Worbla has some flexibility to it.

Final Cosplay

So after all of that your Tharja cosplay should mostly be ready to wear! I wore blue swimsuit bottoms with mine which you cant really see but just for an added layer of comfort. Of course this is optional and cosplay is about what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

There are some changes I want to make like sewing my own bodysuit, but that’s the nature of cosplay. Once you make something you’ll know how to do it better the second time. I hope if you are making your own Tharja cosplay that this guide has helped you even a little bit. If you’re not making a Tharja cosplay, I hope seeing the process was neato and you learned at least one new thing about crafting or cosplaying. If you want to see more of my work you can find me as EmberTay on all social media platforms.

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