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!