Finally. Progress. After searching for the perfect closure for my costume jacket for weeks, I finally found it in the form of white, heavy duty hook and eye tape. I found similar tape in black some weeks before, but the black didn't gel with the brown lace so I put it aside for a future project. Of course, there are many other beautiful closures, buttons and clasps that I could have used that would have been really cool, but white hook and eye tape accomplishes some important things:
It can be dyed to be the right color.
It adds some shiny, metal "steampunkiness" to an otherwise Victorian costume.
It doesn't require hand sewing dozens of individual button pieces to the jacket front.
It's cheap (or should have been if I hadn't paid an equal amount for shipping).
A bucket, some gloves, some salt, some dye, some stuff to dye, and some patience
Tape in hand, I bought a packet of brown fabric dye.
Dying fabric a single color is an uncomplicated process as long as you
have the right tools and follow the directions on the dye packaging. A word of caution! My water got a little hot and my hook and eye tape shrunk a fair amount! Luckily, I cut the piece with some room to spare and it wound up exactly the size I needed, but I would have been pretty sad had I used my dye and time on a length I couldn't use.
I got different intensities of brown with different materials. The lace was the richest, the hook and eye tape was less shiny but still vivid, and the elastic barely took to it at all. I found myself tempted to dunk random objects into the leftover dye, but science will have to wait. No one really needs brown socks anyway.
Colors when wet. They dried a fair amount lighter.