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.
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)
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.
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).
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.
- 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.
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 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 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. :)