DIY Michonne Costume: Part 2

Fan Expo is just around the corner again, and as usual I’m getting totally excited about my cosplay this year! I figured three years is way too long to post the part 2 I promised to my original blog post, but here it is. :D

I’ll be reusing my Michonne cosplay (thank goodness The Walking Dead is such a hit) for one day of the event, and going to test out my Storm cosplay for the rest (but that’s another post). My Michonne cosply was a hit when I wore it at conventions or Halloween. People actually thought I was the real Danai Guerra for a second while I was walking around the Fan Expo grounds in costume the last few years. ;) I had a lot of people at Fan Expo complimenting my Michonne costume and asking for photos. It was a great experience and proved that all the hard work I put into the detail was worth it.

A photo posted by Monique (@blaquecat) on

Now, I’m not one for measuring–I usually just eyeball things when I’m making crafts–so when I was creating the saya for the katana and Michonne trademark cloak from the second season of The Walking Dead, I just went with the flow. But if you want to try your hand at making your own Michonne costume this Halloween, here’s a list of materials and some basic instructions that you’ll need.


  • Burlap (I picked up mine in a large, single package from Michael’s)
  • 2 metres of lining fabric (burlap is itchy!)
  • a brown shoelaces (for the neck string)
  • Glue gun
  • sewing machine (it’s going to be hard on your hand using a thick needle for the burlap)
DIY Michonne Hooded Cloak

My homemade hooded cloak inspired by The Walking Dead character, Michonne.

I looked online to find a suitable sewing pattern for my cloak. It was quite the task as I didn’t realize how many different versions there were out there. So I didn’t use a direct pattern (I loosely followed this outline though). I guestimated the general shape that I wanted my Michonne cloak to be, cut it out, stitched it together and prayed for the best!

I traced the outline for my cloak on the layered pieces of cloth and burlap and cut them both out (you’ll need a second piece of fabric besides the burlap, because it’s hella itchy). Using my heavy-duty needle on my sewing machine, I was able to sew all around the edges. When I got to the end, I made sure I left a 6-inch-long gap so that I was able to then pull the cloak through this hole and turn it inside out so that the seams didn’t show. Then I was able to neatly stitch that up and I was left with a neatly sewn cloak.

A close-up look of the two-tone cloak fabric

A close-up look of the two-tone cloak fabric that I sewed together, then flipped inside-out.

Reinforced stitching

I reinforced the stitching around the edges for a cleaner look.

At this point I tried it on. The hood part was tricky. It was way too big for my head so I ended up stitching a straight line at the peak of the hood (inside out), then when I flipped it back out the right way it fit me better, and not cover my entire face when it was on my head (meh… I guess measuring beforehand would’ve came in handy after all).

A makeshift fastener for my cloak

I had some leftover pieces of shoe-lacing that I used for the neck tie, so I stitched it to some fabric and then to the cloak.

When it came to the clasp to hold the hood around my face, I had to brainstorm what was best. The fabric was too thick to install the grommets I had, so I looped together and sewed some brown shoe laces to a small piece of fabric and attached it to the bottom front of the hood. My sewing needle actually broke when I was trying to sew everything together, so I hand-stitched this part. I was then able to lace the other shoelace in between to act as a fastener.

Me in my Michonne cosplay

Me in my Michonne cosplay (don’t I look like I’m gonna kick some zombie butt?)

Katana Saya/Scabbard

  • 2 large mailing tubes (to hold the foam sword)
  • 2 metres of white lacing
  • Heavy wire paperclips or keyring wires
  • a roll of brown duct tape
  • glue gun
  • some scraps of cardboard

Making this was fun! The foam sword I bought a couple years ago didn’t come with one, so I went on YouTube to see how they designed real katana scabbards or sayas (here’s another good one). I found some good, heavy-duty poster rolls that fit my fake sword perfectly.

Cardboard to form the saya/scabbard

I used a thick poster tube, sliced it lengthwise, then secured it with duct tape in order to form the saya for Michonne’s katana sword.

Since I had two separate tubes so that it would be long enough, I cut about 2 inches into the top of one of them just so I can collapse it a bit so that I could squeeze it into the other one, to make a continuous tube. I reinforced this gap with brown duct tape (which mimicked the leather on Michonne’s saya). I flattened the tube a bit to give it a cylinder shape. After that was done, I used some left over cardboard, cut out an oval shape and taped it to one end with the brown duct tape.

Neatly, I continued to wrap the length of the tube with the tape to make it seem like it had that “leatherish” feel, being sure to make sure the seal was strong, and lining what was visible of the open end a bit.

Wrapping the saya

It was actually pretty fun to lace this up.

Wrapping the saya with the white lacing (can be found at any fabric store… similar to shoe lacing) was fun to do. I found a cool site that shows how to do it properly (this YouTube video, and  is also helpful), so I just mimicked that, being sure to reinforce with some hot glue along the way.

As for the smaller lacing at the back of the saya, I just got some white yarn threads and hot glued them down to make it look like the “leather” was being sewn into.

The finished product!

The finished product!

The strap was easy. I found a brown belt at Value Village and just cut it in on the opposite side of the buckle. Using a heavy-duty paper clips, I MacGuyver-ed loops that would attach it to the saya, reinforcing heavily with duct tape.

Go figure that a year after I hand-made the saya for the katana, they started making affordable replicas for both. Oh, well!

And there you have it: A custom, DIY Michonne-inspired cloak and saya for all you Walking Dead fans! If you have any more questions, comments or even pics of your own Michonne cosplay, I’d love to hear from you. :)


Class Review: KTX Fitness Cycling with Keith Thompson

If you’re active on social media, you probably might have come across this video of a hip-hop inspired cycling class:

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When I found out that KTX Fitness instructor Keith Thompson was going to be in Toronto, I jumped at the chance to sign up. Was it because I was an active spinner? No. Personally, I haven’t been on a bicycle in over a decade and I never even seen a spin bike up close. But I registered for the class because it looked fun.

Too often there is a monotony attributed to the gym scene. Even various fitness classes can become tedious with repetitive moves and the same drawn out down beat playing on the speaker.  When I saw the video of Keith’s cycle class, it looked like everyone was full of energy and his entertaining and positive attitude shown through (the twerking part in the above vid just sealed the deal for me). Here’s a video of him when he was on the Queen Latifa Show:

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The Cleveland, Ohio native led four classes this weekend and the guest instruction took place at the sleek Rocket Cycle spinning studio on St. Clair West, which opened a couple years ago. Rocket Cycle’s decor is very clean and modern The staff was very friendly. I loved the large lockers (no padlock needed), and the elegant-looking water station. Don’t have indoor cycling shoes? Rocket Cycle can lend you a pair for the class (though, I’m curing the guy who took the last size 10… I had to squeeze into a 9.5). Plus, they clean the whole studio between each class and provide a fresh towel on each bike. On the downside, Rocket Cycle is located right above World Class Bakery, so after burning which I think was 800 calories, I earned them back by buying a lemon shortbread cookie and a Nanaimo bar (you win some, you lose some).

Not used to the indoor cycling shoes, it took me a minute to figure out how to latch them on to the bike. When I realized I couldn’t dismount easily like if I were wearing regular runners on a bicycle, I worked up the nerve to innocently ask the nice lady beside me how to get off (excuse me for not wanting to break the shoes and use more force to dislodge them). Now that I knew how to make a quick escape and not be the sole person stuck to a bike in case the fire alarm went off, I was ready to warm up.

I made a few adjustments to the seat, but spinning seemed comfortable enough. Keith started the class with about 10 minutes of “warm-up”. I was cursing myself after the first 5 for actually signing up for this class, because my legs were already killing me.

Now I’m a pretty athletic woman. I’ve always been involved in sports and activities. But the older you get the more your body rejects the notion of you forcing itself to do work, rather than sit on your couch and eat a bowl of ice cream. So I haven’t been in my best shape, metabolism-wise, recently. So to go into this cold was an error on my part. But once I got into the music it actually became a lot easier. Keith also gave us lots of quick mini-water breaks while on our bikes, which was great (I think I downed almost a litre).

Keith’s playlist is awesome. A bunch of upbeat, hip hop tracks definitely make you forget that your muscles are tearing while riding a stationary bike and bouncing up and down. I personally enjoyed the R&B slow jams he played, during which I could catch my breath. There was enough body changing movements on the bike that allowed us to use more of our bodies and get a full workout. I was nervous at the fact that Keith was walking (I guess I should say dancing) up and down the aisle observing everyone’s spinning technique and positively motivating us. I surprised myself by actually keeping up with the majority of the exercises in the one-hour class that required us to stay up from the seat.

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It’s no surprise that KTX Fitness has become so popular. Keith Thompson’s passion and energy is contagious, and I can actually say that I would try the class again. The step classes he offers actually appeal to me as well, so I’ll be on the lookout for those if and when he comes back to Toronto, or if I even venture down to the Atlanta, Georgia area. KTX Fitness is highly recommended if you’re looking for a great workout that you will actually have fun doing.

Now I’m just waiting to see how sore my body will be tomorrow.



Whoa! I can’t believe I haven’t wrote anything on my blog this year! My sincere apologies to all my readers for that. I’ve been preoccupied working on my new website and business, Now You’re Cooking. And I’m also a bit of a procrastinator.

I have a few posts coming up though: One on my recent experience at Toronto’s Fan Expo and the Part 2 of my Michonne cosplay costume (finally).

Stay tuned! :-)


The Shoebox Project

A couple weeks ago I was watching the evening news and saw that they were doing coverage on the Raptor wives/girlfriends showing their support for women living in GTA shelters by helping collect gifts for The Shoebox Project:

The Shoebox Project was founded in 2011 by four sisters-in-law – Caroline Mulroney Lapham and Jessica, Vanessa and Katy Mulroney.

We were looking for a hands-on way to give back in our community. We asked our friends to fill a shoebox with little luxuries that they would enjoy, to decorate the box and drop it off to us. We delivered our gift boxes along with the hundred others we received to more women that we could have expected. Through word-of-mouth, and social media, we have grown in a big way!

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I wish I knew about this project earlier. I would’ve totally had a “Shoebox Party” and invited all my friends to come over and fill and decorate their own shoe boxes.

I tend to shop a little too much at times, so I usually have a load of extra, unopened stuff that I can do without (lotions, shampoo, hordes of toothbrushes). What better way to but these items to good use than by giving them to someone in more need than yourself? To top off my shoe box I picked up a few other beauty items and treats. Wrapped it up, stuck on a bow, wrote a nice message on the gift tag and it was good to go. Good thing I had a big, size 12 shoe box to fit everything into!

In a single day, thousands of women are housed in shelters across Canada. This is such a worthy cause, because there are so many women who are experiencing difficult times. I’m glad to know that I’m able to help brighten the holiday season for a woman who may have experienced abuse, poverty or mental illness, by filling up a shoe box with meaningful goodies.


The Best Orange is the New Black Halloween Group Costume!

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love dressing up for Halloween. So when I enlisted some of my good friends by asking if they were in on donning a group costume of characters from the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, I was totally excited about taking the reins.

Photo from

It’s kind of eerie that a lot of my friends actually look like characters from the show. I asked who was interested who they might want to play, others I assigned roles since they didn’t watch the show, but looked the part (half of our group never watched a single episode). After Googling the Clubcrawlers website looking for some interested Halloween parties that the group can attend on the big day, I ran across one that was being hosted by Fame Media at the prestigious Roy Thompson Hall in Downtown Toronto. Early bird tickets were only $20, right within my budget. Halloween Massacre here we come!

17 of my good friends donning prison garb on Halloween as characters from the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black.

17 of my good friends donning prison garb on Halloween as characters from the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black.

Luckily the wardrobe for Orange is the New Black is pretty simple: The first thing I knew we needed were the trademark tan-coloured scrubs that doubled as our prison uniform. My friends know that I’m a stickler for detail, so I purchased a bunch if scrub sets from Amazon for $20 each. As word spread of my group costume idea, more of my friends informed me that they wanted to be in on it, so I had to make another order, praying that it got shipped to my address in time for Halloween (just over a week). I ordered a single orange pair for “newbie” Piper, then used fabric paint to write “D.O.C.” at the back.

A photo posted by @blaquecat on

There was a total of  16 scrubs for the gang. With a few last minute character additions, we were up to 18 people with one week left to go ’til Halloween, so one of us managed to find a dye a white pair of scrubs she bought at Wal-Mart, and I managed to find another tan set at Value Village. Uniforms? Check!

  A photo posted by @blaquecat on

Next were the name badges. Luckily I found the perfect, basic template by a user on Deviant Art. The only thing I needed to do was add in the photo of each of the “inmates”. But that wasn’t enough for me. This group costume had to be perfect! After masking all the inmate photos in, I used Photoshop to give each tag a unique ID number. I also created staff ID badges for Officer George “Pornstache” Mendez and John Bennett, on the off chance that we could get a couple of our guys to play the part (no luck though). I printed them off at Staples in colour and on cardstock paper, picked up some heavy-duty name badge holders and alligator clips. Name badges? Done!

After countless emails trying to rally the group together and make sure they read up a bit of info on their assigned character, so that they got the right hair, accessories make-up and attitude, we were all set! We all donned black boots, and I was even impressed with three members of our group who actually found replica jackets that the Litchfield inmates wore when they went outside (it was super-chilly and rainy on Halloween). I even managed to get some decent grey, thermal tops from Old Navy to wear under our scrubs as we made our way through The Village that night (most of us were sweating on the dance floor from all the layers later on).

We got so many compliments on our costume from other Halloween revelers. Donning the trademarks bantu-knots that Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren wears (which had been my go-to hairstyle for the last 15 years, I’ll have you know), I got easily recognized as a character from the show. Once one member of our group was acknowledge, then people will turn their heads and excitedly identify our whole troupe. It’s a shame we were missing other notable members from the cast, like Red and Big Boo (but we did see some one dressed as her in The Village).

A photo posted by TMZ PHOTOS (@tmz_halloween) on

A photo posted by TMZ PHOTOS (@tmz_halloween) on

We got stopped for photo-ops constantly (now we know how celebrities feel)! We even made it on to a segment of CityTV news with a crew of Church Street party-goers in police costumes. I wish I could’ve brought my DSLR around, because my cell phone doesn’t take as nice photos at night/indoors. We did managed to get a few shots of most of us together which was cool.

Church Street was fun as usual. Amazing costumes and good vibes. It’s too bad it was cold and rainy, otherwise we would’ve spent more time there. The party at Roy Thompson Hall was amazing! Great music, amazing venue, nice people and I love seeing every guest in costume.

All the planning paid off. My friends had so much fun, which is what I wanted to do for all of us. It’s too bad we didn’t know of any costume contests going on, otherwise we would definitely have won (then have to fight over splitting the prize 18 ways. We just might hold on to these costumes for another event. Best Halloween ever (so far)!

So what do you think of our costumes? Did we nail it or what?

A big shout out goes to Sophia, Pennsatucky, Daya, Tricia, Alex, Poussey, Vee, Morello, Nicky, Taystee, Janae, Brook, Aleida, Flaka, Black Cindy, Maria and my dandelion, Piper! :-D