Friday, August 08, 2008

Costume Maintenance: Day 6 - No Hot Glue, Please!

This is one of the capes that came in the donated Dickens costumes. That green satin trim has been looped around the hanger to keep it up off the floor since the garments came back from the dry cleaners after our last performance of 'The Gospel According To Scrooge' (if you're keeping track, that would be 2 1/2 years ago. As a side note, everyone that came into the sewing room while I was repairing it looked at it and said, 'Oh, are we doing Scrooge again this year?' and were rather disappointed when I said I was just mending it because it needed doing...we're not doing Scrooge).

The trim had been hot glued on. When it went to the cleaners, the solvents loosened the glue enough that almost all the trim peeled off. But...the glue itself just got softened up, and in the process the edges of the cape flipped back up and the glue re-adhered the edge to other places. I managed to pull most of it loose again, but this little spot (look about 4" ahead of where the trim is being applied) was such a narrow piece that I couldn't get a good grip on it, and it was stuck really, really well. There was no pulling it apart. So I sighed and put the trim over it...hopefully, it won't show much from stage.

And all that trim had to be hand sewn. The glue bead was now a hard, rubbery lumpy line all along the bottom of the cape. Totally beyond the capability of a home machine to handle. So I used a needle and thread and got it back into place.

Now, hot glue is a timesaver I know, but please, if your costumes are going to be used for more than one production...find another way to attach things.

I'm just trying to help you out.



  1. Ouch. I've cringed to see parent volunteers come in at Christmastime and actually staple trims, etc. on to perfectly good costumes and ruin them. Then, of course, they hang them, staples and all, back in the costume closet for future use.

    Tina W.

  2. Staples? Ouch!

    I think the worst thing one of my fellow volunteers did was to use sticky back velcro as a vest closure. No real harm to the costume (although it still needs a closure attached), but it didn't stay on the duration of the run of the show.

    I have since gone through all the sewing supplies and thrown away any sticky-back velcro I find there-in. Nasty, nasty stuff...