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

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.



Best Answer 9 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.

but what about black fabric

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.


9 years ago

Throw it in a dryer full of ball bearings for about a minute, (Not responsible for damage to dryer)