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Entries in laundry (23)


Highway Robbery!

Do you have any idea how much it costs to have leather drycleaned? I had a nebulous idea of current costs, but recently I had cause to discover exactly how much prices had risen.

Not long ago I wore my caramel coloured leather skirt to a house party, and when I eventually got home, discovered that I must have sat on a potato chip. There was a grease mark the size of a thumbnail right on the tush. There was nothing doing: I had to bite the bullet and have it professionally cleaned, or never wear it again.

I took it – along with sundry other items that needed laundering – to the local drycleaning outfit. I was informed that the skirt must be taken to a specialist leather cleaner; would cost $70 to have cleaned; and could take up to two weeks before it would be ready. Furthermore, I had to sign an indemnity form indicating I would forgive them if the skirt suffered any further damage. THEN in addition I had to give them a $40 deposit!

What kind of racket was this?

I was miffed, but resigned, and forked out the cash (after having to traipse to a nearby convenience store to get some money, as the drycleaners did not have EFT; another count against them). Then, to my consternation, I was told it might be a week before my other items were ready. A week! What kind of racket was this?

It transpired that three weeks passed before I darkened their doors again. Another $64? I shrugged. Certainly. By that time I was utterly indifferent to the dollars fluttering out of my purse and merely wanted to finalise my first and last transaction with this shady operator.  

Thank heavens I can report that the grease mark had been well and truly rubbed out.


Evil and hungry moths ate my cardigan

One cold day recently I entered my walk-in robe in search of a favourite cardigan to cosy up into. It is the sartorial equivalent of huddling under the doona on a winter night, listening to the patter of raindrops on the roof.

Imagine my horror when I pulled it out and discovered that evil and hungry moths had lasciviously dined upon it! This was no small hole either: the greedy insects had ravaged an enormous wound upon the silk-and-wool-mix yarn as the garment hung blamelessly on the rail. Couldn’t they have gone for some lesser item? The cardigan had been rendered completely unwearable. I am no darner either – who is these days?

I had to instantly bundle up the lovely wrap-around Obüs cardie and stuff it into a bag full of other items designated for the charity bin. I couldn’t even look upon it any longer: the sight was too painful.

…the greedy insects had ravaged an enormous wound upon the silk-and-wool-mix yarn as the garment hung blamelessly on the rail.

I suppose I had only myself to blame: the moth repellent had run out. The little cage swinging on its hook was lamentably empty. In my drawers I keep cedar balls (see figure 1); they can be renewed with cedar oil when the wooden balls dry out.

Failing prevention, I am rather fond of the cure (see figures 2–4). The illustrations are rather graphic, so I urge all tender-hearted mothologists not to scroll down.

(N.B. No actual insects were harmed during the making of these illustrations.)

Insect spray: also useful for the immediate eradication of huntsmen spiders and blowfiles, spray does have the potential drawback of asphyxiation. Recommended for serious infestations only.

The makeshift swatter: any reading material ready to hand can be swiftly rolled up and applied with a quick thwack to remove the offending insect.

The used tissue: my personal favourite, for the obvious benefit of recycling. Additionally, one can immediately wipe away any residue from the scene.


Little satin doodad thingies

I have always had a minor, yet tiresome, figure problem that has caused more irritation than angst over the years.

In the fortunate possession of a sister who sewed, I found myself as a teen visiting her with armfuls of clothing that required alteration. Between pinning and muttering how much work I was giving her, she informed me that my shoulders were too narrow.

That had me nonplussed. Too narrow? So that was why the shoulder straps of dresses and tops always slipped off, putting me in danger of major wardrobe malfunctions on the odd occasion. Secretly, I was rather pleased that any part of my figure was smaller than the average. (Of course, I could have wished I was taller, with long legs, but I suppose I drew comfort from the fact that those defects were a common dilemma worldwide.)

When I was a little older and started buying vintage clothing, I made an interesting discovery: there were other women out there who had this annoying problem. I found sewn into the straps of one 60s dress a pair of little satin doodad thingies! Their function was obvious: one slipped the ribbon under the bra strap and snapped it shut, thereby holding the sleeve securely on one’s shoulder. It was an epiphany. One glorious day I found a pair that were attached only by safety pins, so I was even able to swap them at need.

…the shoulder straps of dresses and tops always slipped off, putting me in danger of major wardrobe malfunctions

Recently this problem returned to aggravate me for an entire day in the office. I became so exasperated I resorted to sticky tape. One of my colleagues, amused, told me about a little thing called Hollywood Tape. I can do better than that! I thought to myself, recalling the doodads. They at least had the virtue of being recyclable.

The tragedy was that I could not find them! I searched my lingerie drawers; my sewing box (an old, vintage biscuit tin that I had recently organised); the catch-all dish on top of my tallboy, but they were nowhere to be found. Then I remembered during a recent trip to a haberdasher, I had absently noted that these anachronistic items were still being manufactured. I hied myself back to Clegg’s just yesterday and purchased some. I discovered they even have an official title: Shoulder Strap Retainers.

Now I just need to sit down and sew them into my cute sleeveless top so that I can actually wear it. Or maybe I’ll just lazily pin them in and leave them to be serendipitously discovered by someone else in forty years' time.

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