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How do you make a newly created fabric costume look old?

The base outfit is made of a new poly-cotton coverall. I need it to look like it has been worn and worked in a lot. Bleach just made it look yellower in a few places. Sandpaper makes it look fuzzy. I'm looking for ideas and suggestions. Someone said to take it out to a dirt road and drive over it a few times. I'm almost ready to try that.

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Gorfram7 years ago
They did drag the overcoat Peter Falk wore in "Columbo" behind a car around the studio parking lot a few times to help it get that way-less-than-kempt signature "Columbo" look.

When Amelia Earhart finally saved up enough to buy a leather flying coat like all the grizzled old veteran pilots wore, she realized that wearing a brand-spanking-new coat would make her look even more like a neophyte than she did without the leather coat. So she slept in it for three nights before she ever wore it to the airfield.

  • Put it through at least five washer/dryer cycles. And/or throw it in with your normal laundry every chance you get.
  • Put it in a large plastic bag. Add the contents of your vacuum cleaner bag. (After closing plastic bag very securely) shake vigorously. Carefully decant overall directly into washing machine, wash & dry.
  • Do (some of) what the character is meant to do in the costume. (E.g., if it's a mechanic's costume, crawl underneath a car in it. Find some used motor oil, spread a thin layer in a (cheap disposable) drain pan, and kneel in it. Lean on your elbows in it. Swab some of the oil on cuffs, hems, and those fuzzy yellowed spots you've already created.)
  • Spill coffee on it. Eat a chocolate bar on a hot day, and use the overalls to wipe your fingers. Repeat with tomato sauce, blackberries, etc. - anything that stains. Don't forget grass stains - find a freshly cut lawn and roll around on it.
  • Get it wet, scrunch it into a ball, and throw it into a corner. Unscrunch when dry. (Any mildew stains will be a humid-climate bonus. :)
  • Mop the kitchen floor, using the overall as your mop. (For super-extra-ultra-effect, use it to mop the garage floor.)
  • Daub artistically with black or other-appropriate-color shoe polish.
  • Let your dog or cat sleep on it for a while.
  • And then there's always... take it down to the river and beat it on the rocks.
Good luck with your project. :)

If this stuff doesn't work nothing will. These are all great ideas.
Thanks. :) Worsening things up, I'm not too bad at. On rare occasion, I can sometimes even go the other way and make something look better.
JoshC1657 months ago

but what about black fabric

frollard7 years ago
there was recently a 'tea-dying' instructable came out...good for aging fabrics.
I agree - tea dying is used to "age" fabric, paper, and other things. Use a scrap of the fabric and soak it in the tea to figure out how long, etc. and how much to use. Coffee can be used for staining as well.
Bigev7 years ago
Throw it in a dryer full of ball bearings for about a minute, (Not responsible for damage to dryer)