Going Baroque: De-Bling-ification

That’s just TOO MUCH BLING!

Yesterday I acquired my trim, 8 yards of stiff, shiny, blingy silver goodness, about 2″ wide…but unfortunately blisteringly, blindingly blingy.

Too much bling – baroque though it may be, even the ladies of the 17th century would shade their eyes to this trim.  So why did I choose it?  Reason #1 – they had a large assortment of silver trims, but all of them were this sort of shiney, so I picked the best, most workable one.  Reason #2 – $1.60/yard.  I looked up metallic lace last night, just to see what I’d missed, and found it to be well over $10/yard (or that might have been in feet!), which for the amount of trim I want caked on this gown, would have blown my $75 budget.  Reason #3 – I knew it could be changed…with RIT.

Back when I was fiddling with The Hair of Great Enormity, I added extensions to the bottom of the brown wig, which looked great except for the fact that they were blonde.  I researched dying synthetic hair, and found that one could not dye it, but stain it, using good old-fashioned fabric dye, RIT.  It worked wonderfully, and so I’ve used the same method on this plasti-bling trim, just enough to knock the shine off a bit.

The trim is not this black – more like the top photo
showing the comparison.

I could not be happier with the result!  The trim stained to a slightly darker silver, closer in color to the gunmetal satin fabric.  It looks fantastic against the fabric – still blingy, but less POW.  I am considering doing some beading on the trims, so this is the perfect “canvas” for it, to add on small pearls, jet beads maybe.

More pics to follow as this projects starts to get interesting!


  • Anonymous

    April 28, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    Oh awesome tip – thank you for that! I've been having a similar quandry with silver embroidery thread and trim for a couple of planned projects (navy pierrot with tarnished silver trim/embroidered self buttons and an embroidered faux-goldwork pocketbook) – the idea of having bright silver has put me off so much, I've put the projects on hold.

    I had never thought of using something like stain/dye to dull the silver down – cheers, Your Grace!

  • The Dreamstress

    April 28, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    Excellent! I've toned bright whites and silver down with tea dye, but haven't had to go as far as chemical dyes…yet! I do have to remind myself that the subdued colours and metallics we see on period clothes weren't nearly as subdued when they were new though.

  • FashionK

    April 28, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    I was totally about to look up how to dye synthetic hair for some extension pieces I have…woohoo double bonus knowledge for me!

  • Lauren Stowell

    April 28, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    Gentlewoman – I shall be sure to blog-stalk you for progress on your pierrot! I love love love 18th c. jackets, so I'm doubly curious! Not to mention navy blue/silver is now one of my favourite combos.

    Sarah – I thought about spraypainting it if it didn't work, or spraypainting some wide lace. It's still in my bag o' tricks for future costumes. I need to rinse the trim again to take off any excess dye, but I don't expect it to bleed onto the fabric. I did not have any trouble with the stain coming off the synthetic hair and leaving streaks on my clothes.

    Dreamstress – I thought about tea staining, but the trim is so..so..plastic, I didn't think it would stick, whereas RIT has a warning on the label that it will stain plastic. I've used a weak brown RIT bath for aging things as well. Oh, also, I've only just started to stitch on the satin to the underlayer – in the photo with the trim, I've got it just pinned in place, so I've not come through that difficult step quite yet, but I hope it still impresses you when it's done, haha!

    FashionK – the RIT dye is a big help, but not a guarantee. It will stain it, like a wood stain, but may not be a super strong color, like hair color would be on real hair. Give it a try, though!

  • Sarah

    April 28, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    The only thing about spray painting is that it makes it pretty stiff. Then again, metallic trim is already pretty stiff so there's not much lost there.

  • Jenny

    April 28, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    I have used spray paint to paint some black lace gold, and it worked like a dream. Get a large can, though, not one of the tiny ones. Lovely job so far!

  • Duchess

    April 28, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    I'm tempted to spray paint. I don't know if I like this trim afterall, or if I want something more scalloped and lacey? I didn't see any lace at Mill End (the lace mecca) that I thought would work, but I wasn't looking through the eyes of spray painting.

    What do you guys think? Should I go ahead with this trim, or should I go for something more refined, with the idea of spraypainting it metallic silver?


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