I’m so excited about my costume for the runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon! I’ve been planning and working on it for seven months (not the whole time of course!). I was inspired by a child’s dress I saw on Etsy and immediately decided I had to figure out how to make a race costume featuring the hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.
Here it is!
The skirt is a wrap-around that I use as an overlay over my Black Linen SparkleSkirt. I put velcro in the waist so it is adjustable and a ribbon through the waistband to tie it to avoid velcro failures. I made it myself and if you’re interested in all the details, read on.
First, I had to find the hitchhiking ghost appliques, which was the most difficult part of the whole process. The lady who sold the dresses on Etsy wouldn’t sell me the patches separately, so I had to hunt around to find someone who could do that. I did find someone but they were not cheap since I needed six of them (three for the front and three for the back).
I also wanted to get some Haunted Mansion wallpaper inspired fabric to alternate with the ghosts. I had heard that Spoonflower was the place to go and I was not disappointed. I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of fabric to get but it ended up working out just fine. Spoonflower is great, but once again, not inexpensive!
Once I had both of those components ordered, I put the project on the back burner until the late summer when I got inspired to make the skirt. I cut some tulle from my wedding dress (it has a LOT of tulle and lace and I’ll never wear it again so I use it for projects) to form the base of the overlay. I have plans to reuse a bunch of it for an awesome costume in the hopper.
I cut quite a bit more than I needed so that I could gather/pleat it at the waist to get the full, bell-like effect at the bottom. I pleated and pinned it all around the top to figure out how much material I needed to end up with, made sure it fit me around the waist with a couple of inches to spare for hemming, and then measured it at the botttom. I divided that length by 12 because I planned to have six panels with the hitchhiking ghosts and six panels with the wallpaper fabric.
I went to Walmart and bought some plain black heavy weight fabric and used that for the background for the hitchhiking ghosts. I measured out six triangles from each fabric, with the width as calculated above and the height just a little shorter than the height of the tulle. Getting all twelve triangles to be the same was challenging but they ended up just perfect.
I sewed the top of the tulle to make all the gathers and pleats permanent. I sewed two rows just to make sure. Then I sewed all of the triangles on the tulle. I used some thin ribbon I bought from Walmart and sewed it on top of the edges of the triangles on both sides so it would have a finished look. I had some other, wider ribbon that I also got from Walmart that I sewed all along the bottom, and then sewed on one more thin ribbon edge, mainly because I had enough left over and I loved the way it looked.
I tried to use a grey satin ribbon for the waistband but my sewing machine did not like that at all and it broke. Oh no! I decided to watch some Youtube videos and see if I could fix it. The last time I tried this, by the way, I ended up buying a new sewing machine. This time, luck was with me and I was somehow (probably some kind of fairy godmother magic) able to fix it. Or at least, once I put it back together it actually worked. We were all amazed!
I switched plans and found an old purple tech shirt that I wasn’t planning on wearing again and cut out the bottom of the shirt and used that for the waistband. I threaded a ribbon through that and then sewed velcro on the end pieces so it could be easily adjustable and secure.
Finally, I hand sewed all six of the hitchhiking ghost patches/appliques on to the black triangles. I wanted them to be secure and for the stitching to be unnoticeable, so the only way to do that was to stitch by hand. I poked my fingers about fifty times, but I think it was worth it!
For the top, I used a basic black Asics singlet and put some black gothic-looking trim around the armholes. I also used some other purple fabric from an old tank and sewed it into ribbons and armbands to make princess sleeves. I found a how-to here and modified it for my purposes. It worked great, but I’ll have to report back after the race on how well it stands up to the rigors of a sweaty half marathon.
So that’s it. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I really enjoy getting to do creative projects. I hope you’ll say hi to me if you see me out on the course this weekend! With all of the crazy things that have derailed my training for this race, you can be sure I’ll need the distraction and the support!