Knits / Sewing / Skirts

A Tale of Woe: How Not To Remove Fabric Stains

I want to share with you all a tale, a tale of tragedy. A tale of stain removal gone wrong. A tale of a ruined skirt.

It all started some weeks ago when I wore a newly made skirt. I was proud of this skirt. I was wearing it for the second or third time in just a week. What skirt, say you, can be worn so many times in a week? A reversible skirt, my friends, a reversible skirt.

knit skirt, reversible skirt

The two sides of my swirl skirt. I think my smiles look scary.

This was of course my brown & white swirl skirt. On the day in question I wore it white side out. A fatal mistake as I was riding public transit. Oh Chicago Transit Authority! Your seats are so questionable.

Always before sitting I look at the seat in question & smell the air. This has saved me from many a tragedy. Alas! Human senses sometimes fail us. On that fateful day in question no external sign warned me of the impending danger.

It was not until I returned home & took off my skirt that I saw what had befallen me. A stain. Nay, not just one. A few stains! What the substance was I knew not. It most closely resembled a grease stain. Although fraught with concern, I thanked the stars above that the stain was not something worse.

I set to work. Just the week prior I had managed to remove a berbere sauce stain from a favorite white dress. I laughed in the small faces of these pitiful little stains! I had removed dark red grease. Surely I could conquer such faint stains.

Oh hubris! Oh woe! The battle was not yet won, but in my mind I had already conquered the stain. I poured straight liquid laundry detergent onto the offending areas. I soon forgot about my once beloved skirt.

Days later I washed my skirt. The horror! Bleach marks! But I had not used a detergent with bleach! What was once a white skirt was now a white skirt with patches so intensely white they were almost shiny. And they had the faintest hint of blue. Ruination.

For some inexplicable reason, subsequent washings revealed a dark stain (tight) amidst the light stains (left).

My friends, repeat not my mistake. It have you a stain, apply detergent, but for no longer than overnight. Boast not of your deeds so loudly that you forget to finish the task. Follow through. Rinse! And if necessary, repeat, but never soak for more than a night’s time.

My one salvation in all of this is that the brown side of the skirt emerged from the wash unscathed. Surely the gods above must have taken pity on me to not fully punish such hubris & neglect.

Whilst they may not appear too obvious, these stains do look prominent once the fabric has been stretched over my butt. Wearing the stains to the front is likewise unflattering.

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11 thoughts on “A Tale of Woe: How Not To Remove Fabric Stains

  1. Pingback: 2012, The Year of Making Things « Disparate Disciplines

  2. One good thing about sewing – if you (or mass transit) ruins a home sewn garment – you can make it again. I’ve found that I rarely save any me-made clothing “for best” because there is no point – I wear it and if, for some reason, it gets ruined I can just make another one.

  3. Thanks for the warning… poor you! It’s awful when our hard work is ruined. Much worse than when it happens to favourite stuff we’ve bought… Curses to the person who dropped their chips!

    Have you thought about now soaking the entire white side in the neat detergent to let the optical whiteners work their “magic” on all of the skirt? If the brown side seems to be able to take it and not be affected, would it be worth a go to restore the skirt to its reversible majesty? 🙂

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