Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Project: Costume Rescue has slowly begun

I've got all the soiled pieces closed up in a guest bathroom so the cat can't revisit her handiwork... First I tried a costume that had metal medallions and relatively washable fabric. Put it in a lingerie bag on the 'handwash' machine cycle with a little OxyClean and some of our Seventh Generation detergent.

No rhinestones were lost and I couldn't smell the cat pee. I turned the spin cycle off of course so it was dripping wet. It's now placed on a special drying rack in the guest bathroom bathtub (again, kept away from the cat). We'll see how it fairs once dry. I think the bra should be fine but the belt may have lost most of its stiffness. If that's the case, I should be able to add a new layer of super stiff interfacing and a lining and it'll be good to go. That's one life saved!!

Next up, a few veils. They were all synthetic. One had beaded edges and one had sequin edges. The fabric fared fine, but the cat pee is still very noticeable. These were clearly peed on directly, possibly more than once. The sequins lost some of their color around the edges but the beads look ok. I'll have to wash them again- this time with vinegar I think...

The last thing I had time to try was a load this morning with a velvet vest/bra that had sequin trim, beaded fringe and hand embroidery. The velvet was already a bit worse for the wear because it's my oldest cabaret costume and needs to be rebuilt. So far the velvet doesn't look any worse than it did before (but again, it's still very wet) but the sequins lost all color.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Disaster Strikes!

*Big sigh* I came home last night all excited because I'd just found the perfect plastic storage totes for my costumes. I've been keeping them in an under-the-bed storage tote but they were overflowing and the lid no longer fit. Not to mention they'd get all jumbled and tangled every time I took one out to wear.

A few months ago I moved in with my boyfriend- much to the jealous distress of his cat. At first I thought she'd be content with just hissing at me whenever we made eye contact. Then I found one of my undyed silk veils completely saturated with cat pee (long since dried). Thankfully, some very thorough rinsing seems to have done the trick for that. At this time my collection of dance costumes were being stored in the guest bedroom. Since the lid wouldn't fit, they were uncovered. Every time I'd make a fuss over the cat getting in the room with them, I was told not to worry.

Turns out I was right on the money. As I started to separate costumes from the under-bed-storage tote pile, I caught a whiff of bad smell. I've never had any of my cats pee inside, let alone on my things so it didn't click immediately.

Part or all of every single costume I have purchased or created is now crusty with vile cat pee. I now have ONE complete costume that I can wear and I have performances at least every other week. Some of these are beaded and embroidered velvet and I am at a complete loss as to how I'm going to get the cat pee out of them without ruining fabric or beading :(

I can't possibly be the only dancer who's had this happen... So I enlisted the help of my friends at The main consensus seems to be vinegar in cold water in the bathtub. Though some suggest Nature's Miracle (in addition to vinegar? Instead?) and one whole thread was devoted to those daredevil souls who have washed bedlah (bra and belt sets) and beladi (dresses) in the machine on the gentle cycle... Drying seems to involve gently rolling up the costume pieces in fluffy towels and then air drying (with various fruit acting as support devices for bra shaping...) before storing.

I'll document the resusitacion in the hopes that my efforts help someone else...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

And She Soars!

Well folks, my coin costume is born again and holy rollin'! I don't know exactly the difference but the new 'curved rectangle' pattern somehow manages to carry the weight of the coins at the bottom of the belt and DOES NOT give me muffin top!! Sorry, I'm a little excited about that... I put the last few stitches in the morning of the show I was producing. *whew* Just in time. This project has been a major success. No redo's, no construction regrets. My boyfriend introduced me to this freaking amazing Industrial Velcro that doesn't snag! I'm not kidding. I smooshed the 'rough' side against some polar fleece and it slid right off. Whoa... Anyway, fan-girl gushing aside it was actually strong enough to hold on my coin belt and lemme tell ya, that hummer is HEAVY! I just tried to find a link for you (it was already out of the box when I stole it from him) and so far nothing conclusive. A backpacking forum calles it Omni-tape and says that Joann Fabrics and Crafts calls it 'no snag Velcro', go figure. For more pictures you can visit the Student Show album on my facebook Fan Page.