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Caring For Your Costume

Posted by Debbie Sinclair on

Maybe you're feeling the economical pinch of the times, and a new designer costume isn't in the cards right now. While you're on a tight budget, you can give the costumes you already own a little TLC. With our suggestions, you'll have them in tip-top shape in no time!

Snagged Lycra

You can't fix a snag per se, but you can push it through to the other side where it won't be seen. Thread a needle with heavy thread, but don't knot the end. Stick the needle right into the middle of the snag and push it through; use your fingers to pull it all the way through on the other side. If your costume is embellished with heat set or glued rhinestones, you can set a rhinestone on top of the snag and further camouflage it.

Crushed/Worn Beads or Sequins

Sitting in your costume makes the fabric crease repeatedly at one point, damaging the beads and sequins. Salt from your skin can also cause the metallic coating to wear off. Preserve your beads and sequins by not "lounging around" in your costume -- when the show's over, take it off, hang it up to air out, and slip into a cover-up.

Worn Fringe

You can easily freshen up an older, tired looking costume by replacing the fringe. Dahlal offers Egyptian hand beaded fringe in 4" and 8" lengths by the meter. Many colors are available and you may be tempted to even change it up a bit!

Stained Lycra

It's best to treat spots or stains as soon as they occur to prevent them from setting in. Oil or food stains can be removed with simple bar soap. (Note: Liquid soap does not work as well.) Wet the area and rub lightly. Then run the area under water to remove the soap residue and use a towel to gently rub and pat it dry to prevent a water ring. Ink and marker stains can be removed using Eliminink.  Follow their directions and then run the area under water to remove the chemical. Glue stains can be removed with Goo Gone. Using a cloth, rub Goo Gone on the stain until it disappears or for tougher stains, leave the chemical on the stain and come back later, adding more if needed. After the glue has been removed, rinse the area with soap and water and lightly rub and pat it dry.

Soiled Bra and Belt Lining

Simply replace it! Use the old lining as a pattern, trace it and sew in your new lining.  The lining can usually be spot cleaned with simple bar soap and water as needed.

Three Tips for Ongoing Maintenance

1) Bring a sewing kit complete with extra sequins and beads to every performance, so you can address any issues on the spot as they arise.  Or at least try and tie off the thread to prevent any more loss. This way, one loose bead won't become 100 lost beads!

2) Once home, hang up your costume to air out after every wearing to let the sweat dissipate.

3) Although it's tempting to store your beloved costume in plastic, it's better to use something breathable, like a cotton pillowcase. You can even roll costumes in a bath towel.