Stain not stayin’
Saturday January 22nd 2022, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

Someone tripped into her, a mug in hand got spewed, and the stains didn’t come out of a favorite shirt. She told me what she’d done to try and I nodded yes, that’s what I would have done, too.

How long had it been?

A month.

(Me, thinking, length of time equals greater set to the stains) Let me see what I can do.

Oh thank you! in relief. Because Moms can still do everything.

She’d already soaked it in Seventh Generation unscented no-dyes laundry liquid, which is my standard. I added more. Rubbed it a good one. Still there.

So I left it to soak in some more, highly cognizant that she’d been doing that since last night.

And then I went back in there every so often to rub the spots until I was tired enough to need a break (it was that kind of day as it was.) And then came back and did it again, and again. That was a great fabric–100% cotton but densely spun and knitted and it wasn’t looking frayed or worn for all that I was working on it; it held up.

I realized later I didn’t get all of one small spot because I was going after the many big ones that got most of the attention, but, it’s looking pretty good. You’d have to know they’d been there and where to look in bright light to see anything, and I can always give it another try. But given how it was and how it looks now–I was pretty pleased with myself, and the wonder on her face as I handed it to her didn’t hurt any.

I said to her later, Your timing is impeccable!

Because a short while later, I’d gone to clean something from a long-unused closet and had stumbled across a carefully put away stack of baby and little girl dresses in a bin. Handsewn. Handsmocked. I’d forgotten I’d made so many–I mean, I knew I had, but I’d given as many as I’d kept back when my kids were that age and it was a surprise.

Twenty-seven years ago we remodeled this house and while we were doing that the roof leaked badly.

Which means the box that had all those dresses, only a few years outgrown at that point, took a direct hit and nothing, nothing I could do at the time could get out those stains of what we promptly labeled roof juice. I tried.

The one with the blue teddy bears! I remembered buying the pattern booklet in a needlework shop in Burlingame whose name will probably hit me at about 2 a.m. It’s long gone. Maybe Ruby something? Opening that booklet there was a page with a picture of five hand-smocked teddy bears, and below, the words, What’s wrong with those?

Followed by, Surprised you, didn’t I? Didn’t you think, Nothing’s wrong, they’re adorable!

And they are. But this one–and the artist pointed out little flaws or inconsistencies in each one and then agrees with her unseen readers that why on earth would you worry about that when they’re so cute.

She said, So if you’re only seeing the mistakes in the ones you’re making, put it down and walk away for a day or two and come back to it and see how much you love them and keep on going because seriously, it’s hard to mess with the cuteness of a teddy bear.

There was roof juice. All over the dress, the pleating, the embroidery.

But my teddy bears were too cute to let it stay that way. I grabbed the detergent and started the first soak. Rubbing it in was dicier than a thick cotton tee, for sure; some of those hand stitches on the back of the facing…

But if I could fix hers I could fix mine and I have a granddaughter now who would fit this dress that I’d completely forgotten I’d made for her aunt.

There’s just the barest hint of a spot at the center top now but I think I got the rest of it. And there’s that whole pile of clothes to go. The baby ones can wait till who knows when but the toddler ones are in a hurry because two doesn’t stay two very long.

I’m on it.

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My mom whitened my grandmother’s veil by boiling it on the stove with ivory flakes. It lighted up enough to wear it with my natural white wedding gown.

Rubbing it together basically creates the heat necessary – since I’m not sure you want to boil wash things.

Comment by Anne 01.23.22 @ 12:44 am

Moms really can fix everything!

Comment by ccr in MA 01.23.22 @ 3:29 pm

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