How to make clothes look worn...

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Mr Dreadful
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How to make clothes look worn...

Post by Mr Dreadful »

Something that's occured to me recently is that some items of my kit (mostly trousers/breeches and shirts/tunics) look nicely worn and 'lived in' yet things like jackets/coats and waistcoats don't.

Are there any good ways of making garments (particularly those which don't get worn much) look like they've been around the block a few times without making them look super tatty?
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Phil the Grips
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Post by Phil the Grips »

Hang them on the washing line for the "off season"- the weathering effect of the wind and sun is quite marked.Tailors who made clothing for spies going into France etc used to wear the clothes in bed and attack them with rasps and the like.

You won't get the right wear in the right places though- that only comes by wearing them for an age. It's normally by the third season that I find things are just broken in nicely and while I dont set out to break my kit a few replaced buttons, a few repaired seams or holes, a bit of horsemuck and sweat, some mud and pottage stains develop and add to the character of the piece.

But you can also remember that things in the past weren't old then and new things did exist ;)
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Post by Mr Dreadful »

Phil the Grips wrote: But you can also remember that things in the past weren't old then and new things did exist ;)
Well yes... but while it's fine for a rich gentleman to look pristine, it's just not right for a pirate! :P
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Post by Phil the Grips »

Clothes for shore leave or "best" would have been stowed for protection, and just because they were unecessary on a voyage, so would have been in reasonable condition. When clothes were literally your fortune you looked after them.

Or you could actually go sailing in them for a while- nothing like actually doing what you are pretending to be doing to get the right stains and wear in the right places (note the number of riding boot wearers without the tell tale "polish" to the inside of their boots ;))
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Post by Mr Dreadful »

Not so fussed about 'best' clothes as I don't have any! I'm after more 'Hollywood' pirate than orfentic pirate... it's just that all my kit looks too pristine!
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Post by gregory23b »

"yet things like jackets/coats and waistcoats don't. "

because people generally looked after them as they were more expensive.

"Not so fussed about 'best' clothes as I don't have any! I'm after more 'Hollywood' pirate than orfentic pirate... it's just that all my kit looks too pristine!"

Oh yeah? have another look at hollywood pirates, a greater number fo dandies you wont find anywhere, unless you are talking dead pirates, like the recent lot, but look at the technicolor films, lots of lace and colour. A dandy pirate is still a pirate.
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Johnson's contemporary history of pirates (and this would be all the big names and a few who only lasted a few months) said that it was one of the prerogatives of the boarding party to have first dibs on a new set of clothing taken from the vanquished - hence selecting the party by lottery before the action.

So who got lucky on the lottery, then?

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Post by drew »

To age the neck line and around the cuffs take a small amount of Vaseline and rub into the edge’s, not to much just a little then add a little dirt, rub off excess. Try this on a spare piece of cloth before you use on your prized clothing.

For overall ageing take your clothing and place in a strong large bag. Put stones in the bag. Once the items are in wet the bag or even better take it to local stream or river side, dip in to water then start to beat the living crap out of it, 20 mins later your gear is aged.

Add a patch to the places where you would expect a patch, knee and elbow.

But remember less is more.

Drew

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Post by Mr Dreadful »

gregory23b wrote:"yet things like jackets/coats and waistcoats don't. "

because people generally looked after them as they were more expensive.

"Not so fussed about 'best' clothes as I don't have any! I'm after more 'Hollywood' pirate than orfentic pirate... it's just that all my kit looks too pristine!"

Oh yeah? have another look at hollywood pirates, a greater number fo dandies you wont find anywhere, unless you are talking dead pirates, like the recent lot, but look at the technicolor films, lots of lace and colour. A dandy pirate is still a pirate.
Ah, but I won't be portraying a dandy pirate... I've tried it before and learned my lesson. After three days at a muddy campsite lace is not a pleasant thing to look upon!
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Post by Shadowcat »

You can age fabric by using a cheese grater where you want bits to fray - i.e. knees, elbows, collar, cuffs. The coarser holes are best. I was going to suggest fullers' earth for mud, but you seem to be able to produce that yourself. A little, repeat little, shoe polish, preferably clear, rubbed on places that get greasy - for example collars and cuffs, again, elbows and outer forearms, where you would lean on a bar, and the seat of the breeches/pants/slops.

(Or you could get my DH to wear them for a day - he'll easily rough them up for you!!)

S.

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Post by DeviantShrub »

How about wearing kit to do the gardening or cleaning? I frequently seem to trash modern clothes doing both.

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Post by Tuppence »

coarse sandpaper used sparingly works well too.

and a friend once buried some trousers in the back garden for a fortnight (but they were meant to be peasanty) - worked well though for that.
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Post by auldMotherBegg »

To take the general brightness out of whites, try soaking them in tea water, or instant-coffee water. A few granuals of coffee scattered on the clothes as they are drying adds a bit of spotty grubbyness to them.

Because I actually like to wash my clothes sometimes after wearing them, I like my 'dirt' to be more permanent. I have had good luck using a bit of raw umber acrylic paint mixed with water, to add 'dirt' to edges of things, and on the fronts of some of my beggar's kit. Very artistic, and I would agree with what someone said above... less is more!

I knew someone who splashed battery acid (!) over her clothes to make them ragged with holes... that was extremely successful!!! if a bit dodgy :shock: ... sandpaper and rasps have done well for me.

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Post by Dave B »

Do some black powder gunnery. between lugging a cannon about a muddy field and the collection of powder burns you will very quickly get some realistic pirate dirt.

I understand that Foxe who posts here works on boats in his pirate kit.

Have you been here: ?

http://www.ukpiratebrotherhood.co.uk/forum/
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Post by Tuppence »

Obviously though, real aging of clothes is a highly skilled art form that takes much time to learn.

You can even do a course on it at (if memory serves) the London College of Fashion (or possibly St Martins...)
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Post by Zachos »

Has anyone suggested just wearing them? I wear my kit as often as I can, so it looks lived in. When my footslogger boots were new I wore them down the allotment a couple times. Nothing looks more authentic than authentic aging.
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Post by gregory23b »

Indeed Zachos, wear them and work in them, get natural wear and creases, also people are different so the wear patterns will differ, eg those of us with chubby (muscular) thighs wear out the inside of the trouser more rapidly than undernourished sorts.
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Post by calicocloth »

I was given this tip years ago by a costumier. Dip the fabric in a very dilute solution of potassium permanganate, this has the effect of browning the fabric. We have used it frequently to dull brightly dyed linen reducing it to a more believable natural dye colour. It won't be suitable for your jacket etc. though.

If anyone wants to try it then this is what I have learn't from experience:

Use a scant 1/4 of a tea spoon to a bowl of warm water. Wash the fabric first, then immerse it in the solution completely, remove imediately and put on a 40 deg wash with detergent. The result is a bit unpredictable so I would never use it on a completed garment unless the result was unimportant. Never leave the fabric to soak unless you want it patchy. It gives roughly the same colour as tea.

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Post by Type16 »

Zachos wrote:Has anyone suggested just wearing them? I wear my kit as often as I can, so it looks lived in. When my footslogger boots were new I wore them down the allotment a couple times. Nothing looks more authentic than authentic aging.
Similar thoughts :lol:
Several days of mucking out stables did the same for mine
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Post by Cat »

I had the opposite problem...beautiful silk-lined stumpwork frock-coat, after a couple of shows...yuk all over sleeve turn-ups and bottom.
My old cav boots sport the horsey sweat marks. I guess I'd better start offering my 'horse-walking-to-cool-down' services if I want my latest 'woman just off a horse' persona to work, at Windsor...

(I love horses, but as I've said elsewhere I keep falling off the buggers and breaking. I also hate going slowly on them...)
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How to make clothes look worn

Post by Cecily »

Always willing to help: I have a large garden that would benefit from a bit of hard graft; from a pirate aspiring to be dirty/bedraggled... and a couple of kayaks to take out on the water (not quite sailing ships, but might do).

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Post by Eyemo »

With leather jackets boots etc..Wear them and bend the arms and legs to get natural folds...Get a friend to sand down the areas that need aging with an eletric sander, use car paint thinners to soften the wear and reduce shine. Blowtorch any areas that you want to have wear on sheepskin.

Did all this on a brand new flying jacket. At a show, a dealer desperately wanted to buy my jacket...quote" wow, great jacket...wear like that doesn't happen over-night"..(actually took about a week)..LOL!!!

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Post by Dave B »

For real pirate cred, you should get somene to shoot your kit with a musket, and then explain that it's otherwise new and shiny because you recently liberated it.
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Post by RottenCad »

Dave B wrote:For real pirate cred, you should get somene to shoot your kit with a musket, and then explain that it's otherwise new and shiny because you recently liberated it.
Now THAT I like!
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Post by Dave B »

I think that might go on the list for next time we have the oportunity to live fire.
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Post by Mr Dreadful »

Dave B wrote:For real pirate cred, you should get somene to shoot your kit with a musket, and then explain that it's otherwise new and shiny because you recently liberated it.
:twisted:

I just wish I knew someone who had a musket...
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making costumes look old

Post by green.greener »

Hi, I have recently used Dirty Down Spray which is used by professionals in theatre, TV and Film. It is a translucent spray that adds an aged look. I made a ship yard worker costume look very grubby indeed with layering of the different colours. They come in black, rust, grass stain and others. I get mine from The Costume Store. If you contact Ruth she will be happy to advise, as will any of the other staff there.

www.thecostumestore.co.uk



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Post by m300572 »

Dave B wrote:For real pirate cred, you should get somene to shoot your kit with a musket, and then explain that it's otherwise new and shiny because you recently liberated it.
The problem isn't finding someone with a musket, its finding someone prepared to wear the kit while you shoot at it.......... :shock: (well you want those authentic dark brown splodges, dont you? :lol:)
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Post by Phil the Grips »

I broke in my drizabone by leaving it in the boot of a car- it scuffed up nicely after a few months of stuff sliding around on top.

Used to be common for a new leather jacket to be broken in by having it ridden over by a few fellows on bikes.
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Post by Dave B »

Mr Dreadful wrote:
Dave B wrote:For real pirate cred, you should get somene to shoot your kit with a musket, and then explain that it's otherwise new and shiny because you recently liberated it.
:twisted:

I just wish I knew someone who had a musket...
I dunno about a musket, I've got a cannon if you like. I don't have anywhere that I could safely use solid ball, but i could grapeshot your kit if you like.
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