DIY Stranger Things Skirt

Stranger Things Inspired Skirt

July 25, 2019

finished skirt

Less than a week before San Diego Comic-Con, I decided to make a Stranger Things inspired skirt.  It had been on my mind since last October when I attended my “niece’s” Stranger Things themed birthday party.  I ordered a vintage floral bedsheet off of Ebay which was brand new in its original packaging. Unfortunately, due to the packaging I didn’t see that the floral pattern was only along the top edge and not throughout the sheet.  I quickly found 2 more bedsheets, 1 twin size and 1 full size, on Ebay and placed the orders crossing my fingers at least one would arrive in time.

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Cut pieces, pre-stained

 

Bedsheets can be great for making skirts and dresses from, especially in this case since I want a vintage style/color/pattern.  I also didn’t have much time before we left for San Diego, and I would be hand-sewing the skirt because I don’t know how to use a sewing machine.  The two sheets arrived a day apart, and though the full size would have been easier to work with cutting wise, the twin size had a better pattern and coloring.  The twin sheet I used was by Room Concepts in the Michele pattern, and it was a “flannelette” 50/50 cotton-polyester blend.  I had four days until we left for San Diego.

I washed both sheets in hot water to remove any sizing and smells they may have from their age, and dried them on high heat as well.  I used a skirt I have to make a rough pattern (I have a pattern packed away somewhere from when I made my Star Wars skirt, but I couldn’t find it) on some butcher paper we have.  I also traced a rough oval using my hand for sizing reference to add pockets to my skirt.  I used this pattern to cut the fabric.  After the fabric was cut, I tea-stained the cut pieces to get the colors a bit older looking and a bit darker.  The sheet had a cream color background, but I wanted it to be a bit more brownish.

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Original fabric on the left and tea-stained fabric on the right 

 

 

 

 

I washed the pieces again after tea-staining, and there was an unfortunate amount of fraying along most of the edges, but I cut larger than normal edges in case this happened.  The tea-staining made the fabric more wrinkled than before so I had to iron the pieces prior to painting the alphabet onto the back and front pieces.  I used the Soft fabric paint by Tulip in Ebony and a natural bristle ¾” paint brush I had on hand to paint the letters.  I started with the back section of the skirt in case I screwed it up.  This was done at midnight on the Saturday night before San Diego Comic-Con because we had been at a friend’s birthday party all afternoon/night.  I got up early on Sunday morning to paint the front section of the skirt since the back side was now dry.  We don’t have a lot of space for me to lay both sides to dry where my cat, Nick Furry, can’t get his hair all over it.  I let the paint air dry on its own for about 2 hours, then I used a hair dryer to get the spots which were taking longer to dry due to thicker layers of paint.

Back of Skirt (1)
Back side of skirt

While the front side paint was drying I temporarily altered a full-length white petticoat/crinoline I had on hand.  I do have a shorter one, but it’s a dark-ish blue, and I felt that it was too dark to wear under the sheet fabric.  Tea-staining does help with the transparency issue most sheets have, though the flannelette is thicker than most sheets.   I used a lot of safety pins to pull up the outer layer of the petticoat to the waist, then I “hemmed” the underskirt/lining with safety pins from the bottom.  Pinning from the bottom helped give some extra poof, too.

Front of skirt
Front side of skirt; note the frayed edges

Since I had been thinking about making this skirt since October, I had purchased two small battery operated Christmas lights from Michaels during Christmas time.  They’re the LED and the perfect classic shape, but I wished they had a blinking option.  Sunday, Monday (after work), and Tuesday morning I sewed all of the pieces together, but I hadn’t given enough space to slide the 1” wide elastic for the waist (due to my painting the letters too high), so I had to use some thinner elastic which isn’t as strong.  Like I mentioned before, I don’t know how to sew and an elastic waistband is all I can really do.  The flannelette fabric is also stretchy, and I have no experience working with stretchy fabric

We were leaving for San Diego at 11am on Tuesday so it was crunch time.   I tried on the petticoat and skirt to see if I needed to make further adjustments to the petticoat.  It did need another 2 inches shortened on the interior lining, but the skirt was ready to have the lights pinned to it.  I wanted to have one battery pack in each pocket, so I put the battery pack inside the pocket and safety-pinned the lights going from the battery to the end of the light strand.  I pinned from the under the skirt putting the pin through the two cords which made up the light strand.   I need to get a third strand or maybe one much longer strand of lights to make the skirt better.

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Please excuse how tired and sweaty I am in this picture.

I received a lot of compliments on my skirt when I wore it on the first day, Thursday, of Comic Con even though I only had the lights one when I was on the exhibition floor or when I was volunteering in the Hall H line later that evening.  You couldn’t see the lights in the bright sunlight, but they still had a great effect.  Some of the nice comments I didn’t even hear as people would say something to their friends as I passed by them on the Exhibition floor, but my boyfriend was walking behind me and he heard them.  So the moral of the story is to not let your inexperience keep you from trying something.

Starcourt Mall : A Stranger Things 3 Pop-up

Starcourt Mall : A Stranger Things 3 Pop-up

July 6, 2019

 

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A group of us managed to get tickets for the Starcourt Mall pop-up to celebrate the release of season 3 of Stranger Things in Los Angeles this past weekend.  The pop-up was only open Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7, 2019.  The free tickets were for time slots spaced 30 minutes apart.  There was no description of what this pop-up was about except a mention of it being an immersive experience and photo-ops.

 

We had a total of 8 people, but we split up our for the photo ops.  We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment time, which is what was recommended by organizers.  Once checked-in and wristbanded, we could get a free scoop of the new Stranger Things themed flavor U.S.S. Butterscotch ice cream (by Baskin Robbins) from the Scoops Ahoy “boat.”  They also had free bottles of water and a large character wall for photos.  There were restrooms behind the character wall.

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Then we got into another line where we could get a free can of New Coke from a vending machine.  There was also a pressed penny machine where each person could get a free pressed penny (pennies provided) of a Stranger Things image of their choice.  In total, we waited approximately an hour and a half before getting inside the “mall.”  There was a DJ playing 80s music while we waited in line, and we were in the shade provided by the building so the wait wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

They took us in small groups inside the mall, and our group was eight people so there were only a couple of others taken inside with us.  Once inside the building, you see a central court complete with planter in the center of the room and store facades.  The first actual room you go to is the Flash Studio where they had various 80s era shirts, jackets, and accessories to get you glammed up for a Polaroid photo.  You could also take or have the staff take photos on your phone/camera.  The next room couldn’t take all of us so the others went into the Hawkins Community Pool and our personal group stayed in Flash Studio and took more photos on our phones.

Once we got into the pool, we played with beach balls and Hawkins swim tubes and took lots of pictures.  There were two “lifegaurds” in the pool to make sure we obeyed the pool rules posted on the wall, and they posed for pictures, too.

From the pool, we go into Eleven’s bedroom complete with replica props from season three.  We were only allowed to spin the bottle, play with the CB radio, and sit in the chair at the desk.  This room is small, and we took our own photos before we taken in our “photo group” into next room.

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It was a black room with a bathtub in the center.  I climbed inside the tub for the photo and wore a blindfold.  They took a photo and GIF length video and both were emailed a few minutes later to the address I provided.

 

The next room was the Russian laboratory, and there was one man inside yelling at us in Russian when we touched the controls on the consoles (which our guide, Andy, told us to do), and Andy played along, too, ordering a pizza from the phone on one of the consoles.  Two more “Russian” looking (if you’ve seen season 3, you’ll know what I mean) men walk into the room from another door and lead us to another room.  We’re now on a “hill” for a photo-op.  I got really excited to see the Mongoose bike photo prop I got to stand with.  There were a few photos taken of each photo group.  We had two in our photo group so we were given two printed copies, and we provided an email address where they would send all four photos to us.  Once you leave this room, we are back in the central courtyard area where we had entered the building.  I took more photos of the street-facing side of the building while we waited outside for the rest of our group.

This was a great immersive experience which lasted about 45 minutes, and I wasn’t too annoyed with the hour and a half wait.  They did allowed a few people in via standby, but I heard those lines were over two hours.  This is something I hope would be at San Diego Comic Con next week, but it would also really need to have reserved appointment times.