Weathering / Aging
Sometimes you want your clothing to look well worn and old as opposed to something that just came off the shelf.
There is a multitude of ways to age your clothing whether it is cloth or leather. Be sure to use your imagination and keep in mind that how you age it, what methods you use, will in part be based on how you want to appear to have been used.
For instance, if you are aging a tunic for a farmer as opposed to a ranger appearance, the ways you age that tunic may be entirely different! This is particularly the case if you wanted to convey odors such as the woods as opposed to farm.
The most popular way (mine included) to just generally increase the age of your clothing is to use coffee or tea grounds. Some people prefer one over the other, and some people even prefer particular brands! I have always just gone to my kitchen and used whichever and whatever I could find, and it has worked just fine every time.
Get a beautiful sunny spring type day. Sun is out; it’s warm but not hot with a nice breeze, and you can picture clothes hanging from a clothesline to dry. Ok.. See you, I am going outside now.
I’m back. Remembered it was that kind of day out. Mentioned it in this post, so it sinks into you game-addicts it’s important to enjoy all aspects of life, and its ok to take a few minutes now and then :).
The right message passed, back to topic! That is the best kind of day. Get your clothing outside, lay it out on the grass and pour tea or coffee all over it! Let the sun dry it. Remember that it will fade and look more natural as opposed to stain once it drys completely, sets in, and you have a chance to give it a general cleaning. Think of it as a dye.
For Coffee, you are going to take grounds and add hot water just like making coffee. However, you are going to want to make it a lot stronger then you would drink. How much stronger? Start out with not too dark of a batch and if it doesn’t darken things enough add more.
Same concept with the Tea. Don’t strain it, leave all those plants and roots you are using in the batch you pour on. For tea, you may use more of a sludge then a liquid that you spread around, experiment! Get some remnant fabrics that match what you are dying as close as possible to test.
Now that you have “age” added let’s look at how your clothing has been used. What odors do you want it to have? What career path have you followed?
Using the earlier example of Farmer and Ranger, perhaps as the Farmer, you take piles of dirt and smudge it. Maybe you do this with some mud. Straw or Hay can have a distinctive odor that you could rub it.
As the Ranger, I might build a small fire of leaves and pungent woods such as pine, cedar, and hickory. SAFELY get the items hanging above a smoke pit for an evening. Perhaps enjoy some Smores with the family at the same time, or grill up a dinner!
I have in certain situations even heard of people rubbing cow dung into certain things, or urinating and then washing pieces for a particular look or odor.
Another way to convey particular look is just by grabbing your iron and putting on a few patches. Doesn’t hurt the fabric at all and makes it look like you have had to repair your clothing. Or perhaps you are reinforcing parts of your clothing.
Another way to go would be to just sew some stitches into your clothing. No need to cut holes, just add the stitches! Depending on how “skilled” you want the persona you are portraying to be, you can do very fine stitches; the material does not bunch, using thread that matches in color. Alternatively, you could use a bright, gaudy thread with large stitches, and make your fabric bunch!
You can scuff leather, put tears and nicks in your clothing, dump and scrape mixtures onto them, or give them to your dog to play with for a while.
There is no wrong way to do this. Age your pieces and think about what your clothing would have gone through in its life, based on what you want to convey. Then put it through those things on an escalated scale. Finally, re-age it!
For instance, when you scuff your leather, it will look recently done. So take some shoe polish and dab those areas. Use a couple of colors close but slightly different to create aging gradient. After your dog chews on your clothing, sew spots. Burn the bottom of your pants but then knock off all the ash that you can and let them air outside to diminish the odor more quickly.
I, Stile Teckel, Hereby dedicate this guide to the Shroud of the Avatar Convention. AKA SotA Con. A huge thank you to those involved with the convention who approached me with the idea of creating this guide, as well as providing suggestions and feedback.
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