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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Best of The Past - Cleaning and Protecting Your Costume

How To Protect and Clean Your Costume

These are some tips to keep your costume intact especially if you plan on wearing it on both Carnival Monday and Tuesday. I think it is also good advice for those who plan on storing or keeping their costume after Carnival, as the costumes do not need to be discarded after use. They can survive the rigors of wine and jam for years to come with some care.

*Seal the ends of the beads with clear nail polish or crazy glue to keep the beads from unraveling.

*If you are wearing your costume on both days and need to get the sweat off the bra the best method of cleaning them is by using a damp sponge with lukewarm water and carefully rubbing out the areas on the costume that have been close to your skin. Any stains can be removed with a stain remover like tide to go. You do not want to get the costume too wet as it needs to air dry, any heat on the costume from a dryer can loosen the glue, braiding, beads and sequins along with it. Try not to wet the beads or sequins while cleansing.

* Some sequins DO run or change colour from sweat just by wearing them. To protect the coloured sequins and beads on your costume you may want to spray the costume first with a colour sealant like Varathene. Just spray the Varathane directly onto the beads and sequins which provides a protective coat that will prevent running. The beads will seem a bit stiff after spraying but will loosen after a short time.

Varathene Spray

*No time to wash your costume? Let the costume air so that the sweat can evaporate, then spray the insides of the costume with a mixture of half vodka and half water to eliminate odours and refresh the costume. Of course Febreeze and other odour eliminating sprays will also work in a pinch. Do not spray anything directly on the costume as this might fade the beads and sequins, turn the costume inside out and then spray only the fabric.

*To deodorize the costume make sure it air dries, then place the costume in a bag or sack made from a natural, breathable fabric such as a cotton pillow case. Then put a teaspoon of baking soda in a sock and toss the sock into the pillow case along with the costume. The baking soda will absorb the stinky odors. You can do this when you get home after Monday mas when planning to wear the costume again on Tuesday or after mas on Tuesday to save your costume.

*Waterproof feathered headpieces, feathered costume details and feathered backpacks against light rain, mist from the cool zones and sweat using a waterproof spray or powder. Through my reserach I have found products recommended by Archers, however you can do more research in the area that you live for similar products.

The two waterproof sprays I have found are Gibbs Spray and Perma Dri Water Shield. And the waterproof powder is called "Fletch Dry" by Bob Rightnour and Gateway Waterproof Powder. These products are used by archers, hunters and in fly fishing to make the feathers waterproof and will work on your costume feathers as well.The powder is recommended over the spray as it adds to weight, does not stiffen the feather and you do not need to wait for the product to dry.

Gibbs Spray

Fletch Dry Powder

* To restore feathers that have gotten wet,if they have already dried put them over steam and dry with a hair dryer on cool setting. Some feathers dry stiff if they are air dried. Then lay the feathers as flat as possible and use a fine tooth comb to arrange the feathers back into their natural growth pattern.

*For costume storage ensure that the costume is not damp, it must be completely dry to prevent mildew. You can store the costume in a large ziploc bag, plastic container or cotton bag. The caveat with using anything plastic is that if there is any moisture on the costume since the container is airtight it will mildew and deteriorate the fabrics. To prevent this toss a few silica packets inside the container (you know the little packs saying "do not eat" you get with shoes and other products) , the silica absorbs moisture and and prevent damage. To ensure that the costume stays smelling fresh add a few bounce dryer sheets or the baking soda pouch in the container as well. Do not hang the costume on a hanger as the weight of the beads will cause the costume to stretch and loose shape.

The Best of The Past - Waterproofing Feathers

Waterproofing Feathers Experiment 2

BIG Thanks to CB who tested out the Fletch Dry Waterproof Powder for feathers on a headpiece this weekend, sharing the results and her photos below:


After a successful attempt at waterproofing individual feathers, I decided to do an actual headpiece, so here are some pics of my attempt:

1. Here are my materials—headpiece, plastic bag large enough to hold headpiece and seal, Fletch-Dry:

2. This is the product I used:

3. And this is the amount I started off with (remember this is a little less than a full bottle because I'd used some for my first experiment):

4. This gives an idea of the amount I used. I sprinkled some powder in the corner of the bag, I placed the headpiece into the bag, then I sprinkled some of the powder directly over the feathers, just so I could get a better idea of how much coverage I could get with the amount of powder put in the bag:

5. This is what the feathers looked like after shaking the bag to evenly distribute the powder. See how the feathers look dusty? That shakes off quickly enough, however.

6. Okay, only a few minutes later, I have the headpiece ready for "rain." Notice that the colour is back to normal after having shaken off the excess powder.

7. Now, check out how cool the water beads up and rolls off the feathers:

8. These pics are after about a minute of being placed under the water stream. See how I changed the flow from a sprinkle to a constant stream, just to test the extent of the waterproofing.

9. So, here are the feathers as they're drying. You notice that they're a bit on the spiky side. I refused to blow dry them, as most of us won't have access to a dryer on the road.

10. Now, after the feathers were completely dried, they fluffed up okay. You could tell that they'd gotten wet, but still looked nice. One thing I'd noticed was that where the water beads remained (that I'd intentionally not dried off), there was some discolouration or marks that look like burn/scorch marks. Just remember to wipe off the excess water from your feathers and you should be fine.

11. Okay, so here's the headpiece after the experiment:

Looks pretty good for a post-rain headpiece, no?

Blogger Monique had enquired whether I'd rubbed some extra powder into the barbules of the feathers. I didn't want to do this because I don't like how the powder feels on my hands, and if as I jump up all day all that excess powder begins to fall and land on my body, that might cause a skin irritation. Of course, if you make sure to shake all the excess off, I don't see why you can't perform that extra measure of protection.

Good luck and hope these pics help!
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