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Forum > Creative Sewing > Distressing, Ageing, Vintaging and Destroying Fabric ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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Distressing, Ageing, Vintaging and Destroying Fabric
Many, many techniques - do you have a recipe?
twistedangel
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twistedangel
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California USA
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Date: 8/1/06 2:56 PM

Hi everyone...

I'm undergoing some "tests" on various methods of treating fabric to make it look vintage, worn, or destroyed. I will be keeping before and after photos of various methods so that we will have a collective reference.

I already have accumulated some various tools, chemicals, and recipes via web research, and I was wondering if anyone here would like to share a "recipe".

Also, if you want to throw out random ideas, go for it!

So far, the usual agents/enzymes are:

1) rock salt
2) bleach ( rock salt)
3) TSP
4) TSP lye
5) AJAX/Dishwasher powder
5) Lemons sun

The usual tools
1) sandpaper
2) scissors
3) cheese grater
4) sponge

IDEAS ?? TIA


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NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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Date: 8/1/06 5:56 PM

I've seen a few articles on distressing jeans. When I get home, I'll see if I can provide some specific links to articles. I recall one article mentioned using an awl to punch simulated "wear holes" in the fabric.

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Sophiecat

Sophiecat
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Oregon USA
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In reply to twistedangel


Date: 8/1/06 6:22 PM

Hi twistedangel,

You can use tea, coffee and other natural dyes, such as yellow onion skins or beets to *age* fabrics. I have only used tea to stain white venice lace, and it worked well.

Different fiber contents will have different results, as I'm sure you know. What fibers are you using?

Regards,

Sophiecat

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Well-behaved women rarely make history.
Laurel Ulrich

twistedangel
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twistedangel
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In reply to Sophiecat


Date: 8/1/06 6:38 PM

Quote: Sophiecat
Different fiber contents will have different results, as I'm sure you know. What fibers are you using?

For this set of experiments, I'm focusing on cotton and cotton blends (of which tea dye can work on).

Formulating recipes that can be reproduced reliably is the goal of this thread.

For example, a recipe from YM magazine for a fade:
"6 cups water, 1.5 cups rock salt, 2 TBSP bleach and leave in for a few days."

I am doing that one at the moment on a cotton blend knit... I will be updating with the results.

A tea dye recipe for vintaging cotton lace would be nice...
X water, X teabags, X hours = this shade...

I know different tea brands and flavors produce different results as well.

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NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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Date: 8/1/06 6:54 PM

Don't forget Kool-Aid! I don't have any specifics right now but I've seen some Kool-aid dyed items and they looked good. You use the unsweetened kind.

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tlmck3
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tlmck3
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Date: 8/1/06 6:57 PM

If you are going to bleach or add color (brown something out fo make it look aged) there are lots of "resist" methods to make the color fade or saturate unevenly:

Tightly crumpling and tying before dying or bleaching.

Wax or various types of starch pastes painted on strategically & allowed (or helped) to dry and crack will allow color or bleaching agents to saturate the cloth differently where the resist cracks. (coffee and tea staining work with this, too, for more subtle color)

Like batik, you can start with one shade and "block" out parts in subsequent applications for more or less exposure to the bleach or dye with the resist methods.

In my climate, I can just leave things outside for a few weeks or months and let weather do the rest--espcially over the winter.

You could also try burying stuff & keeping it moist-not wet. My guess is a high peat-moss content in the soil would help--lots of tannins and it's acidic. (well-preserved bog people and foodstuffs survive centuries because bog water is very, very cold and supports very little microbial growth.)

Rust is another good "aging" agent. (throw some iron nails in that pot of peat moss?)


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I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

St. Augustine

Mary Reed

Mary Reed
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Date: 8/1/06 7:22 PM

Twisted Angel

Lightening fabric
- Sunlight. If you was and then hang things to dry, the shoulders will bleach first and the lower part will be darker. This works best with very dark fabric as the "ombre" will be more striking.
- Vinegar. More subtle over all
- Any of the lighteners you suggested will work with the "friction based" agers.
- Old fashion peroxide
- Try epsom salt and leave it on - it will give you a sweaty apperance - think pirates

Application of the solution will make a huge difference. Using a spray bottle, vesus paint brush versus submerssion methods all produce radically different results.

Of course, so does the length time that you leave on the solution. If you leave the solution on or remove it with water or if you blot it off will also affect the finish.
-----------------------------------------------

Patch darkening is actually slightly harder
- Shoe polish on abraded fabric (think greasy necks) works wonderfully. Just make sure (absolutely sure) that you have rubbed it completely in AND removed any excess. If you want a really "down and out" look, keep adding layers and polish. It will give you the homeless look in no time.
- Any permanent hair dye - clearance shopping!
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The absolutely best way to age a garment is on a manequin or on a person. Imagine sweat and you will have the correct pattern for aging - arm pits, chest V's; then back.

Things lighten from the top to bottom, the sun.

Things darken from close to the skin out. So an aged overcoat would have light shoulders, dark hem, a greasy neck, and dark rings under the arns. Does that make sense?

Mary

Also, if you are looking for the mother of all costume links, try this

page!!
-- Edited on 8/1/06 10:32 PM --

NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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Date: 8/1/06 8:49 PM

Rats! Of course I can't find the article on distressing jeans at the moment. One article mentioned the use of a palm sander, seam rippers, and a dental pick.

However, this website has information on some techniques you might want to try.

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Now blogging at http://sewwest.blogspot.com

Minya, Warrior Seamstress
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Minya, Warrior Seamstress
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Date: 8/1/06 10:09 PM

Will your garments need stain splatters at the hem? I'm trying to remember the technique my costuming professor used for dirty-looking but not actually dirty long skirt and coat hems. Did he splash on the black dye, or did he dip the dry hem edge, or both? He did fray them first because I distinctly recall the pain of grinding my knuckles into a rasp.

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NancyDaQ
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NancyDaQ
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Date: 8/1/06 10:57 PM

OK, the article I was thinking of was in the Orange County Register last year (8/8/05). Unfortunately, it no longer comes up on the paper's website.

The article was on distressing denim and was an interview with Levi's in-house stylist. Here's what he does:

1. Cut nicks into belt loops and pocket stitches and slice at the knees. Rub over the nicks and cuts with sandpaper.

2. Then rub sandpaper all over the jeans, especially knees, pocket edges, and back pockets. Rub at a diagonal. The more you rub away, the more worn down. Eventually you can form holes.

3. To open up holes, run a wire brush over them.

4. Take a bottle of tea and spray over any exposed white threads for an antiqued look. Set the jeans out to bake in the sun to set the stains.

Hope that helps.
-- Edited on 8/1/06 10:58 PM --

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