November 6, 2011

The Art of Shortcuts: Operation Suit Salvation

These are Josh's dress pants. They are the only pair he owns, and they accompany a black jacket to form the only suit he owns. When the director of "Voices," Josh's debut play in the One-Act Festival, agreed to let him wear a black suit instead of the obnoxious black mumu trenchcoat, we were all over the idea. Unfortunately, Josh's pants had gotten into some mischief in the laundry. Sure, they look fine now, but this is what they looked like just over a week ago.

The marks looked like a cross between squiggly water stains and somebody dragging a white eyeliner pencil across the fabric. Because the stains were white, we had to assume that they were caused by bleach, but we had no explanation for the odd shape and the fact that we hadn't found similar stains on any other items of clothing.

Whatever the cause, I would get frustrated every time Josh wore the marred pants to a dress rehearsal. He insisted that no one could see the stains, but from the audience, I knew that they lessened the impact of what was meant to be a very strong character.

In a stroke of genius, I mixed a few drops of black Rit Dye with about a tablespoon of water, making a small amount of diluted dye solution. I then used my craft brush, which began as a pale straw color and is now dark brown, to paint over the white spots.

At first I was a little nervous because the dye showed up much darker than the black of the pants; however, when it dried, it was completely undetectable!

I'm so excited for this new trick I've learned for preserving black clothing. Josh can get another couple years' use out of these pants . . . and he looked schmexy in the play ;-)

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