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Fashion Rescue Remedy

There comes a time in every fashionista’s life when she has to make a speedy decision in order to save a garment’s life. Like, for example, once I walked home from work on tippy-toes, for fear the loosened heel of a favourite shoe would snap off. Happily I made it home: heel intact, instep sore.

Last weekend I handwashed a mountain of wool garments. I separated them properly into colours, and threw a mound into the water. As I watched them sink in, I suddenly realised a little mohair scarf was in dire danger. A length of loosely knitted fine mohair and wool, the scarf is sculpted into little bobbles of ‘negative-space’ at each end. In dismay, I watched them collapse in the water, deflating like balloons.

But – as in any emergency – I knew it was important to stay calm and not to panic. As my hands gently swirled the woollen garments through the eucalyptus-scented water, my mind was busy formulating a plan to deal with this unforeseen catastrophe.

In dismay, I watched them collapse in the water, deflating like balloons.

Fortunately I have had experience in felting wool, and reasoned I should be able to re-form the bobbles through a similar method, with the aid of moulds and the application of heat. But what should I use for the mould? Something round. Marbles would be too small. (Besides, I didn’t have any to hand.) Cedar balls? No, they were impregnated with oil.

Monster scarf: balls of tissue are fastened with elastic hair bands.I eventually decided on balls of tissue paper. But I knew they would need to be held in place, so that the wool could dry naturally and set in place again.

I rolled up my little tissue paper balls and found a box of those miniature snag-free hair elastics*. There were many bobbles, and it was a tedious job. I grew bored.

There were many bobbles, and it was a tedious job. I grew bored.

But, if you’re going to repair something, it’s best to do it properly (a stitch in time saves nine etc), so I persevered. When I was done, I put the scarf in the microwave. Two minutes should do it, I thought. When the oven beeped, I opened the door and was not only treated to a complimentary mini facial, but the invigorating odour of freshly heated wool. I lifted out the soggy mass (it looked like a bit of roadkill) and took it to the clothes airer, spreading it out lovingly (and hopefully). Then I left it to dry.

A couple of days later, (I wanted to be sure it was really, really dry) I began to undo the elastics. That moment of breathless anticipation was akin to when you first take the curlers out of your hair (will the curls hold, or will I be unringlety within half an hour?)… But HA–LE–LU–JAH! It worked!

Never underestimate the power of creative thinking when it comes to rescuing or repairing ruined garments.

*Rubbish! They are as snag-free as those supposedly tangle-free headphone cords – that aren’t tangle-free at all. 

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