Don’t Have a Breakdown

One of my more recent projects has been making a Mr Gibbs custom cosplay to go with the Elizabeth Swann costume that I had made a few weeks before.

One of the most fun parts of costumes like this is the ‘breaking down’ process – a technique used for making costumes look aged and used.

To begin, I put the trousers and shirt in the washing machine to remove that stiffness that comes with brand new, unwashed fabric. While they were still damp I then used a mixture of hot water with tea, vinegar and salt to dye the fabric, submerging the entire shirt and just the bottom edges of the trousers. I let these steep for about an hour and regularly checked on to make sure I had the colour I wanted.

The shirt came out a little darker than I had planned, but as the fabric was a polyester cotton blend I was able to put it on the washing line and hose out most of it so that the shirt was left a light cream, rather than a dirty brown. Natural fibres hold dye pigments much easier than polyester ones, which is why the colour will always come out a little lighter than you expect when you try to dye something with synthetic fibres.

Finally, I was able to use sandpaper and a metal file to roughen the edges and make the costume like like it had really been worn on the high seas. I’m pretty happy with the final result!

Check out instagram and facebook to see a few more photos of the current progress

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