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How DO you make those Animal Costumes? (Fursuits)
Please do NOT Dry Clean your suit!! 
25th-Nov-2011 11:49 pm
Dia Sewing
THIS is why!!! (owner allowed me to take this close up picture to give everyone a warning)

That fur on the head, and the body are exactly the same. The only difference is the body was Dry Cleaned. It ruins it. It is really curled and in this picture, it is already brushed.

Be very careful with washing your suits, please.

26th-Nov-2011 07:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for the warning.
26th-Nov-2011 08:18 am (UTC)
I have had fake fur and fursuits dry-cleaned before with good results...way better than this..looks like they put it in the dryer...

So it depends on who you go to but you always know how it will turn out if you do it yourself...
26th-Nov-2011 09:43 am (UTC)
There is no reason to dry clean a bodysuit in the first place. Just toss it in the washing machine.
26th-Nov-2011 10:00 am (UTC)
But even that should not be done just willy-nilly. Turn it inside out first and use a wool wash, and on cold.
26th-Nov-2011 11:19 am (UTC)
Yowch! Thanks for the warning.
26th-Nov-2011 12:36 pm (UTC)
Depending on where it's cleaned, the dry cleaning chemical will either be tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene) or an Eco-Friendly chemical like GreenClean. I worked for 18+ months at a cleaner using perc and another 7+ at a cleaner using perc and an eco cleaner. The eco cleaner won't kill you (as fast), but is inferior in how well it cleans (personal opinion, having seen the results side by side). Yes, there are other chemicals/options, but depending on your location and how harsh your local government is on perc will depend on what's available to you.

Dry-cleaning is a misnomer anyway. Dry cleaning also uses high heat. And high heat + fur = bad, as we've all learned.

If this guy didn't sign a waiver, he could have filed a claim with the business for them not informing him of the dangers. Neither cleaner I worked for would take anything hand made, period. We did a mass-produced Santa Suit and an Easter Bunny suit at the first place, but there was always a waiver signed, and eventually the perc ate holes in the bunny suit. Petroleum-based cleaners and acrylic (which faux fur is made of, also a petroleum based product like most all plastics (ignoring the soy-based ones)) just don't mix.

We also didn't throw everything in the dry cleaning machine. Both businesses had washing machines and dryers hidden in the buildings. Why? Some things will melt in the dry cleaner. Literally melt. Like this guy's fursuit, or anything with a lot of beadwork. Other types of fabrics just shouldn't be dry cleaned, either due to the fabric itself or the dyes used, but some manufacturers will put "dry clean only" if they don't know how it should be cared for. I saw "dry clean only" put on a leather vest. (Helpful tip: dry cleaning destroys leather. You send it to a leather cleaner.)

This is more rambly than the reply I had typed up that was eaten. *sigh*

Long story short: Dry cleaning is a risk, and you never know if the people working there are actually smart enough to do the job properly. Cleaner 1 had 3 employees counting me. We had 2 claims filed over 18+ months on dry cleaning services (we outsourced the dress shirts/anything needing starched as we did not have the proper equipment to do them ourselves). Cleaner 2 had about 50 employees and 2 satellite locations for drop off/pick up and was getting claims of damage on just dry cleaning about every week. Cleaner 2 was also in the more affluent part of town, and generally considered the "better" cleaner because the man that is currently mayor if Knoxville and several famous folk from the Knoxville, TN area had their clothes cleaned there. (Edit: Also because they got on HGTV once while I was working for them.)

Edited at 2011-11-26 12:39 pm (UTC)
26th-Nov-2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this! Good to hear from someone who's actually worked in the business.
26th-Nov-2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
No problem, helps to get it all out of my head. :D
26th-Nov-2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
It seems like no matter what business it is, there's always a seedy underbelly to it.
26th-Nov-2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
The worst part of working there was non-compliance with the EPA's regulations. Cleaner 1's machine was old. Really, really old. And there was not a week that went by without a perc spill, then I was there all evening, dealing with the smell.
26th-Nov-2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Aw, that sucks! I cleaned my suit the exact same way as I would an expensive wig, because they are both made from the same thing. The thought of doing anything else makes my heart sad :(
26th-Nov-2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
on the up side, looks great if it were a lamb or a curly breed :>
26th-Nov-2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
The funny part is, that we both thought the same thing while talking to him. (laugh)

26th-Nov-2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
My experience of washing fur has always been washing machine + woolite on a nice gentle wash (depending on your type of washing machine, e.g. it could be the "hand wash" setting or a "wool and delicates" setting). Drying over the bathtub and carefully brushing the fur a few times as it drys so it doesn't go clumpy or anything.

This has worked perfectly every time for me and is next to no fuss at all. :)
26th-Nov-2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
My boyfriend's suit had some pretty sever matting on his butt (from sweating/sitting/shifting too much), and I found it impossible to get out just by brushing :<

So I took a pretty big risk, and washed his suit by hand in some pretty hot water with Woolite. I used a slicker brush while in the tub and all soapy, just after taking it out, and periodically during the drying process (hang-dry mostly).

I wish I had before/after photos, because you can't even tell it was matted.

I certainly wouldn't recommend this method for everyone (and it was only about a 10''x6'' patch), but I had tried everything else. I also made his suit in the first place, so if I REALLY messed it up, I could make another one.

Something to try, if you're feeling ballsy (or hopeless :P)
26th-Nov-2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
If the water is cool enough to touch, it's unlikely to damage fur. I recover creased fur using water from the hot tap, which is too hot to hold your hand under (I think my boiler is set to around 65 celcius) running the slicker brush through the fur while the tap is running, and that works well.

obviously test on a small patch first though.
27th-Nov-2011 09:48 am (UTC)
Another method, get a washing bag, like the smaller ones you can get for socks and fine linens, I've seen a few places that make big ones, then take it and put it in a texas washer(aka the giant ones) and set it to gentle, then put it in a jumbo dryer, and set it to cool heat if it has the setting. Yah, doing it at a laundry mat might be a bit more expensive, but it's an option to do it with machines designed for items much larger than fursuits so they won't get as beat up in the larger spaces, and the dryer gives a better option to allow more air to circulate around the fursuit.
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