Sunday, September 25, 2022

DIY Wario Costume - Dyeing the Overalls Purple

For this Greens and Machines blog post, I will be going over the steps I took to make a Wario Costume from off the shelf items. Not nearly as complex as the Coach Z costume, but I am certain someone will want to reference this post later when they go to make a costume.

How do you put together a costume of my favorite character from the Super Mario universe? It is less complex than you'd think.

There are 4 main pieces to the Wario Costume (and a few extras, but those aren't critical).

The Hat

The Gloves

The Shoes

The Shirt and Overalls

For this post, I'll be going over dyeing the overalls. For the items I needed to sew, the hat and the gloves, read the post here.

*Disclaimer: Purchases from product links in this article may earn affiliate commission for this blog (i.e. Amazon Affiliates Program, etc)

The Overalls

The centerpiece of the Wario costume are his signature purple overalls. If you were to make a Mario, Luigi, or Waluigi costume, this part would be easier for you, as each of them wear a shade of blue overalls. Purple is not a color you can go to the store and buy off the shelf. This leaves you with 2 options, take a chance and buy some off the internet, if you can find them in your size, or even at all, or buy a pair of overalls and dye them yourself. I took the latter route.

The denim overalls I sourced from Wal-Mart in a size that I could verify fit me, $37 before tax.

To turn them purple, I would need purple dye, but these overalls were a dark shade of blue already. Ideally I would need to lighten them a bit. One option is chlorinated bleach, but that could end up damaging the fabric in the long run. The other option is to use this dye remover product, sold by the same company that makes the dye. Even though it says "not recommended with denim", I figure it is the safer option for the fabric.

Lightening the fabric requires heating water in a large kettle, dissolving the dye remover, and soaking the overalls in it for 30 minutes. For this, I did it outside, opting to use the homebrewing kettle and propane burner. For safety, I wore safety googles, and a pair of chemical resistant gloves. I'll describe in a bit how nasty the vat became.

With the overalls in the vat, they started to turn yellow. There is a reaction between the dye remover and the indigo dye that causes the fabric to turn yellow. When the denim is exposed to air after this treatment, the fabric quickly turns color, back to blue. I was able to lighten the overalls to a lighter shade of blue. This would have to do for dying to purple.

I should mention here that the cauldron of dye remover had now taken on a deep indigo hue from leaching the color from the overalls. Nasty stuff that I'd have to dump before moving to dyeing the overalls purple.
After removing the color, the instructions require putting the overalls through a wash cycle in the washing machine alone. I discarded the dye remover while the overalls were laundering.

Dyeing the overalls purple from here is a 4 step process: dissolve the dye in hot water, submerge and mix the overalls in the dye bath for 30 minutes, transfer the overalls to a color fixative bath and soak that for an additional 30 minutes, then wash the overalls in the washing machine with an old towel.

To achieve the desired level of purple, I used 3 packets of rit dye. There are different products they sell depending on the type of fabric used. For reference, denim is a type of cotton fabric. If you were looking to use a natural dye, red cabbage would be what you'd want to use. I looked that process up; it was less efficient and the color was guaranteed to fade quicker. 

In the dye bath, I mixed together the 3 packets of dye, 1 cup of sodium chloride salt, and a drop of dish soap in some warm water, as instructed. The overalls went into the bath for 30 minutes. I was skeptical at first, but as the overalls sat, they began to turn the rich purple color I was looking for.

Immediately after soaking and stirring in the dye bath, the overalls were transferred to the color fixative bath I had prepared. This I soaked and agitated in for about as long as the dye bath.

After the soak in the fixative bath, the overalls were rinsed in water, and then went back into the washing machine with an old towel.
Needless to say, I was happy with the results of this project. The overalls look incredible! The whole process for dyeing took a whole afternoon, but it was well worth it.
The Shirt
The shirt was easy to source, both Michaels and Wal-Mart sold short sleeve yellow shirts to my liking. Wario has been seen wearing either short sleeve or long sleeve shirts. Given that I would be wearing this costume on a hot day in close proximity with hundreds of people, I opted for short sleeve. I bought 1 shirt from each store because they were cheap. If I don't use them in the costume, they can be used as workout shirts.

The Other items
For a more complete Wario costume, you can add a bunch of extras, like a zig-zag mustache, large red nose, accentuated ears, and white buttons to the overalls. I opted to keep it simple, not incorporating any of those. For the mustache, I grew mine out for the costume. Given the number of people who came up to me wanting to take photos with me, I'm validated in forgoing those extras.

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