As I’ve mentioned, I have a convention coming up this weekend, which means all my last minute preparations are exploding across the house, and online purchases are arriving at the door.
Well, one of those online purchases didn’t turn out as I expected. The item in question is a sort of tassel skirt, which I intend to use as one of my steampunk accessories. Online, the ‘orange’ skirt appeared more saffron, and I chose that color over the blinding canary yellow. The item arrived. It was a neon safety orange. So I thought, “No big deal, we can mod this puppy. You would’ve wanted to rough it up before wearing it out, anyway.”
And so we begin our cautionary tale of costuming.
Attempt 1 – I left the skirt to soak for six hours in a mild bleach solution. No dice. However, sometimes mild bleach solutions don’t work on bright colors.
Attempt 2 – After the failure of the bleach, I left the skirt to stew in a strong batch of tea. This doesn’t usually work with synthetic materials, but sometimes it can darken brights just a little. It did nothing at all.
Attempt 3 – Once again, I turned to bleach, leaving the traitorous garb to rot in an exceptionally strong bleach solution. The safety orange mocked me, unfaded.
Attempt 4 – I decided it was time to go old school. Tomato sauce, if left to set, will stain nearly anything. I thought, for sure, it would blunt the worst of the skirt’s neon glow. So I literally cooked my skirt in a large pot of spaghetti sauce, boiling in the stains. Only – there were no stains. The sauce slid right off, leaving no trace of culinary damages.
Attempt 5 – The time had come for drastic measures. After hand and machine washing the skirt to get out the worst of the food smells, I took the damp cloth and put it to the fire. Literally. I took a candle and proceeded to burn and singe the ribbon-like tails. The orange is still there, to an extent, but it’s not so blinding, and I figured if I had to wear safety orange, I could at least look like I’d walked through a fire.
*Fire safety – Burning is an extreme way to modify costumes, but it looks awesome. Please proceed with caution. If you can’t adult, find an older person who can. Then choose your location carefully. Do not burn in a carpeted room and make sure you have water handy. Sinks are okay, but hoses work, too. Burning on a concrete porch or in an unfinished laundry room with a large wash basin are good places to work. Also, make sure your hair and clothes won’t get in the flames. There’s no point protecting the house if you’ve already set yourself on fire, right? Also remember that you can’t undo fire damage to clothes, so go slowly and carefully. Working with damp cloth is ideal.