Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dos and Don'ts - Some Behind the Scenes Stuff

In which necessity is sometimes the mother of invention, and sometimes the mother of mayhem

What we didn't tell you when we posted this photo a few weeks ago is that while Jean is holding her champagne (the real thing!), Valerie is wearing hers.  If you have an eagle eye, you can see a few spots on the dress, just behind Jean's shoulder.  They might look like uneven lighting, but they're not.  Who knew that champagne, even when dabbed immediately, and even when treated delicately with a moist sponge just an hour later, could do that?   (At the time of the spill, Valerie also dropped her camera and dented the retractable lens beyond retracting anymore, but that's another story.)

Below is what the spots look like close up.  (This photo taken with a brand new camera.)  You can see that the fabric has a luster to it, so it could be that the champagne reacted with the special finish.  The last time Valerie took a shirt with a special finish to a much touted and very costly specialty dry cleaner - carefully pointing out the finish as well as the unique buttons (sorry, no photo), the dry cleaner not only destroyed the finish, he also managed to lose one of the unique buttons.  So Valerie's first thought was NOT to take this dress to the dry cleaner.  This calls for an old trick some of you may have used from time to time.

Enter the magic marker!  Above, you see spots near the upper left and right, and the lower left.  Here, Valerie works on the spots in the upper left.  Be careful to stipple the spot.  Don't drag the marker. For one thing, you might damage the finish.  For another, you might leave lines that show where you've worked the material.  Just dot it.  A lot.

Here are the results.  For comparison purposes, only the spot in the upper left has been stippled.  We don't know Photoshop, so what what you see is what Valerie got.  Not bad!

Some of you will remember this photo from our coverage of the Chromat show during Fashion Week.  Copying Schiaparelli, who designed knitted black gloves with knitted red fingernails, Valerie (who can't knit) pressed adhesive red fingernails onto her black leather gloves.

No macaroons in Valerie's refrigerator, or cookies in the cupboard, so an egg will have to do, to demonstrate not only that nails can come off - quickly - but if the gloves are polished leather, the nails also take the polish off, as shown here.  Not to worry, you may say - just go out and buy another package of nails.  Easier said than done!  Valerie has now been to more than seven different chain stores looking for this maker's shade of red, and Jean has even been scouting in her neighborhood.  Lots of pinks and sparkles and fire engine reds are ours for the asking, but this particular blood red is gone.  Twenty four nails came in the package, but none of the remaining nails were big enough for gloves, so they were all thrown away.  They can be ordered on line, but how can one be sure that the on line red is the same as this red?  Some of you might say just get the other red.  But Valerie is reluctant to do that. It is, after all, the middle finger.  The middle finger carries enough messages without adding emphasis to it with an unmatched color.  Dilemmas, dilemmas, dilemmas!  And no solution yet.

Some of you will remember these black lace gloves from our post on the last Manhattan Vintage Show.  Valerie took them home along with a pair of yellow cotton gauntlets.  The yellow gloves were a little dirty, so Valerie hand washed them.  They came out so well that Valerie decided to wash the lace gloves too.  (After all, you never know where people's hands, or their gloves, have been.)

Big mistake!   Below is the result of that misadventure.

Can you see where the fingers end in the middle of the gloves?  That's because they shrank!  How can this be, wondered Valerie, having noted the foolproof stretchy nylon on the palm.   It was only then that she went looking for a tag inside, and this is what she found:

That demon rayon, which is well known to shrink!  So she was right about the nylon underside, but it never occurred to her that the lace might be a different material.  Du-uh!  She might have gotten better results if she'd washed the gloves while wearing them.  Or if she'd put them on a hand mannequin immediately after washing them.  But wouldn't you know it, there are no hand mannequins in the house.  Knives and forks there are; hand mannequins were inexplicably overlooked when it came to furnishing the place.

Okay, last story.

Valerie bought a pair of purple United Nude bandage shoes, and wore them to work for the first time two weeks ago, during a lull between snow storms.

Longtime readers with absolutely extraordinary memories will recall that Valerie had neuroma surgery on both feet.  One thing neuroma'd feet hate is anything binding that might apply the slightest pressure to the front of the foot, and that includes most socks and stockings.  So unlike most civilized people, Valerie hardly ever wears socks, and often cuts the bottoms off her stockings (so they look like leggings - and by the way, they don't unravel).  But before Valerie had even arrived at work, one shoe had rubbed one toe raw.  (That toe was broken many years ago.  The joint fused, so the toe doesn't bend.)  The purple X marks the affected spot.

She hadn't brought any bandaids, and she didn't have any socks.  Scotch tape has sometimes works in a pinch, but you have to pull your foot up to rest on your thigh, and painstakingly wrap the toe.  This sort of thing is not well accepted in most offices, unless you can absolutely count on privacy.  The only other thing she had was a plastic bag for her lunch.

What to do?

Well, she cut a corner off the plastic bag (takes a second), pulled off the shoe (another second) and put that over the whole foot (third second) and slipped the shoe back on (four seconds total).  What's neat about the bag is that unlike a sock, it doesn't apply any pressure, but it totally protects the injury until you can take care of it properly.

You'll note we didn't actually tell you which are the dos and which are the don'ts, so you'll have to guess.


  1. Ah yes, women are so resourceful. I can relate to most of your trials and tribulations and how you solve the problems.
    I, for one, find cleaning clothes a daunting experience.

  2. Never give up! Although sometimes one has to give up, as with the gloves. I enjoyed this behind the scenes docu-drama, and please never stop drinking champagne. xo