A few old articles mouldering in Saqra's back files.
And here are two more tips emailed to lists recently:
BALANCING AN UNBALANCED SWORD
-Set the sword up on edge across your legs and let it keel over towards whichever side it wants to.
-See the flat side which is now up? Take the middle of that flat "up" side and place the middle of that flat "up" side DOWN against the thigh of one of your legs (two legs is too big a surface, so get rid of one of your legs... don't chop it off with the sword, though <giggle>).
-With the sword held flat against one of your thighs, gently press the hand and point ends downward just a teeny bit.. not very hard.. And then test by letting it stand up on edge. Do it a number of times until it stands up nicely when released. Better to do it in small increments.
-----On an email list someone was discussing treating a costume with vodka to "neutralize" sweat... someone else implied vodka was liquid sugar... this was my own reply. Please use any of my advice herein with caution.-----
First, regarding the vodka/Febreeze thing... I know nothing about using vodka on costumes except that all vodka is comprised of is ethanol (a type of alcohol) and water. It should actually leave absolutely no residue but moisture .... BUT with either vodka or Febreeze you are going to want to be very careful about making a habit of repeatedly spraying a costume with either one. No matter how carefully you try to spray just the inside, there is bound to be some overspray that gets on the decoration and can eventually ruin it due to a lack of color-fastness of the decorations themselves.
Vodka would NOT "neutralize" sweat, but I suppose it could potentially WASH sweat out of the fringe threads if applied to the extent of saturation.
Okay.... I'm just gonna spit up everything else I can think of regarding costuming tips ....hope something is helpful to someone out there. Remember, this is only what *I* do/the rules *I* use...
If anyone needs or wants better explanation on any of this, just holler...
I use regular old cheap people shampoo and cold water to wash my costumes (both the bedlah and any tulle bi telli aka "Assuit")... Woolite is terribly harsh, as is BABY shampoo (did you know you can perm your hair with baby shampoo? That it will take the grease off your driveway? Nasty...). Regular people shampoo is designed to remove skin oils.
Stir around the shampoo in a sink of cold water, then dunk and gently swish the costume in the soapy water. Refill the sink with clean cold water, dunk and swish, then lay out as flat as is reasonable on a towel in a normal temperature room (cold room may mildew the costume) until completely dry.
I love garlic... but I only eat it when I will not be in costume for a week. If garlic sweat gets into your costume, burn it. Nothing will take it out. You can't wash it out, you can't sell it, and god forbid you forget and store it touching another costume. You can try covering the smell with perfume, but that can have just as disgusting results as just plain reeking of garlic. I have a costume I can only wear when I am on a stage away from a live audience. Continuing on....
Many plain old spots will come out with Naphtha (lighter fluid). Test in an inconspicuous place first. Wax can be removed with wax removal products from the sewing store -- look in the notions department, usually.
Tarnished silver plated jewelry NOT on fabric backings can be put into a dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkled with quite a bit of baking soda, then covered with boiling water to remove the tarnish. Be careful with some of the tribal import jewelry as the stones are sometimes set with wax (that's also a problem with leaving them in hot cars).
Never store your costumes in plastic bags or closed suit-type garment bags unless actively transporting them. They need to breathe. I store all my costumes in cloth sided storage closets (get 'em at Target) for the increased airflow.
A sock full of baking soda and rice will help absorb both odors and moisture. Just put the sock in one bra cup and fold the other over so it closes it in somewhat... then I store the bras and belts in separate compartments of a hanging cloth closet shoe caddy... it hangs from the closet rod in the portable storage closets and usually has about 8 square compartments one above the other... you may have to look at the storage section of the discount store to see which ones I mean. I have several, plus a rack inside one of the closets --- the one devoted primarily to bedlah sets -- that I lay costumes that are still airing out/drying from performance out on.
Taking the time to baste in a thin felt liner you can replace occasionally is REALLY worthwhile, too in both bras and belts.
When I hang veils prone to wrinkling (I use the French Lame' ones a lot, and I DO iron them because a steamer really doesn't do the job) I use a clip hanger and hang the veils from two spots about 2.5 feet in from the outside upper corners -- where you usually hold or tuck the veil in performance -- and allow the veil to softly curve. Then any wrinkles that go into the fabric from hanging are naturally curved instead of a sharp line... saves ironing time by a big margin.
When I purchase a costume I immediately hang it upright on a clothes line and spray it lightly with clear plastic spray paint -- bead fringe and all -- with special attention to any sequin in the armpit area. Then if it has pailettes I treat them with a three stroke per side clear nail polish application (test this first. It takes practice to not make it go streaky or crackly, and definitely don't get it on the thread) because pailettes and sequin, along with some types of coated beads, are NOT colorfast.
If the beads don't seem properly and securely tied at the ends of the fringe strands, I go through and put a very small dot of Dritz FrayCheck on each fringe end.
Then I do the fittings and reinforce all strap connections -- I do it AFTER treating the costume so if I undo something later for resale it will all have been treated the same. -- On the same note, if I have a costume custom made I always get the bra band larger than it should be for me so I can re-sell the costume. I have a large bust and a really small rib cage - 23" - that makes it hard to fit to someone else. And I never cut a skirt down or make a skirt to my own size, even though I am quite short. I buy or make it for someone about 5'6" and baste it up at the waistline... same thing... resale value.
The gold chrome and silver chrome nail polishes can be used to repaint any of those metallic coated plastic beads that flake to their white base. Using the nailpolish trick on beat-up pailettes with smooth and restore much of their original appearance and gloss (once again, remember the practice thing -- and I've got costumes with pailettes that look brand new after years and years of abuse).
I also carry a small container of waxed dental floss with a needle in it when I travel for emergency repairs. You don't need scissors to trim or cut the floss since it has it's own cutter and it goes right through airport security if you need to do repairs on a plane.
To pack bead fringe costumes I usually roll them in a towel or my skirts to protect the bead fringe.
On the cheaper metal coin belts you will find they have jump rings that are not completely closed. If you take the time to mix clear epoxy and put some on each jump ring opening you won't have to spend time with a pair of pliers whenever you use it.
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