I have already complained about the surprising downside of a truly small wardrobe: garments worn frequently do wear out! And don’t come to me with ‘but my grandma’s vintage’, nope, if an old garment has reached you, it hasn’t been worn that much. It is true that the fabrics going around nowadays are worse, but one also has to come to terms with the basic physics of friction and wear. And when enough of that happens, no swap will give your garments a new life, it’s just time to say bye-bye!
So to honor the fallen with one final recognition of all their service, this is my new ‘beyond repair’ section to fare proper goodbye. And today it’s a cautionary tale of obeying care tags and physics! I’ll introduce my poor victims first and then the stupid thing I did I hope you all will learn from.
These leggings was a gift from my aunt around 2010/2011 when Amoralle were doing mostly hosiery. No info about fabric composition remains but certainly heavily plastic. I have to admit that they have served me exceptionally well, there was some stretching of the waist, piling when the calves rub occasionally, and the threads of the hem ripping… In short, nothing for a stretchy garment worn regularly for almost 10 years.
So, while the sexism of this female-lead company is suffocating, their notion of femininity very restricted, and aesthetics questionable (its impracticality and pricing have become the butt of many Latvian jokes), it is a quality product made in in Rīga, Latvia.
ZIB leggings have been a mainstay in my wardrobe since 2012. A thick vicose/elastane mix and pretty silkscreens! Although they are opaque about the origin of their fibers (and weird about some of material choices – 100% poly body hugging summer dresses, why?), these are designed, printed, and sewed in Latvia. And very pretty. I’ve worn out more than 10 since then. Normally they become beyond repair by the elastane wearing out, like with the blue pair I discarded in October.
This model also tends to rip on the (only mine?) bum: the jersey runs from the seam down. The pair in question (2016, 119 wears) had it already expertly mended by our Latvian seamstress.
And turns out that that made sense because my own attempts at mending a rip I made on my bicycle’s gears lasted very little.
So, the idiot story?
It goes along the lines of ‘these look dirty, nothing gets stuff as clean as hot water’ falacy. And out they came of that 60ºC bath flipping me off like so:
Those white little threads is elastane that has died, and there is no way of bringing it back.
Exactly, it is me – the ‘try not to wash it at all‘ and ‘make it cold and short if you really need to wash it‘ advocate – melting my elastane because of ignoring the care tags. Let me clear, the only tag I recommend taking with a pinch of salt is ‘dry clean only’, and even those can be fine in that cold and short cycle. For the rest the temperature suggestion is what it was meant to be: the upper margin above which it’s your own responsibility. So washing my 30ºC leggings in cold is great (also for the silkscreen artwork) but 60ºC was a great mistake. Do not repeat!
I think I was actually ruin them in a paradoxical, half-conscious way, though. I was bored, they were not in prime condition anymore, did not spark joy – especially the plasticky Amoralle ones – and I just didn’t have the guts to throw them away in the textile garbage, I had to make them beyond repair… Well, let’s hope that this consciousness and temperature lesson will prevent me (and you!) from similar blunders in the future.
tl;dr: Wash your fibers in as cold water as possible. In no case go over the temperature suggest on the care tag. And be honest about your garments: just let go of what is not beautiful or useful anymore.
What has been your major laundry mistake? All your whites pale pink because of that one sock? A washing machine clogged by an underwire from a broken bra? Shrinking a vintage wool cardigan? Let’s commiserate…