Cosplay Dyeing Woes

Normally, cosplay articles are full of triumphs, explaining how complex pieces of clothing are put together. Sadly this one is going to be an article on how not to do cosplay...

For Alcon 2008 I decided to complete a cosplay of Al-chan, the mascot of the convention.  While I was lucky and was able to gather the materials and clothing needed to create this outfit, one item eluded me; a navy blue shirt.  That did not phase me though, as I thought it would be easy to simply dye a women's white shirt navy blue.  However, this was my first mistake - over confidence.  I checked relevant cosplaying threads on forums, and discovered according to the masses that dyeing clothes would be relatively simple.  That and many people had completed it successfully.

The next day out I went and picked up the first available clothing dye that I could find.  This was the second mistake that I made, buying the wrong dye.  Unknown to me my shirt was made of Polyester, a type of material which is very difficult to dye and often will dye a shade lighter than shown on the box. The results

Al-chan (front) - one of the Alcon mascots whom Amichan is cosplaying as

from this dye even after three tries was poor, as it ended up looking like a light denim shirt >_<.  So less than a week to the convention, I had to go out for a last minute shop in order to try and find a different type of dye.  I found instead a cold wash dye, which said it was effective on polyester but that the results would be lighter than the colour stated.  Forty minutes and a years supply of salt later and the wet shirt looked like the colour that I wished to achieve.  However, 24 hours later the result was still much the same, with it only being a shade darker.

So what are the lessons learned?

1.  Don't try something experimental or new, a week before an event!

2.  Research a cosplay technique heavily before trying it or else it could end up costly.

3.  The material of the item of clothing is important as it affects the results.

4. Polyester is wrong >_<


Below is the finished shirt and yes, it does smell salty: