With all that hand-stitching on my Chanel-style jacket, I guess this was going to be inevitable:
Now I don’t usually like to share images of blood with my readers, but there is a related story and handy-dandy hint that I would like to share!
Once upon a time there was a young girl straight out of tech in her first job in the rag trade – me! I had landed a role as a design room assistant – that is not a design assistant, it is a design room assistant, which means you are the design room’s general dogsbody. Anyway I slaved away thinking how lucky I was – sewing on buttons, pressing, fusing, making tea, doing buttonholes, etc. And later on if you were very lucky you’d be entrusted with grading and making patterns!
While we worked we’d chat, and Pat would chat the most. I liked Pat – even though I was the junior she cared enough to call me Head Finisher! 45 years my senior, she shared with us stories about everything – history things like going to the dances at Orange Hall and flirting with the American soldiers based here during the war, fashion things like the fabulous Gown of the Year shows in the 1960’s, and mediocre things like how to get blood out of your fabric.
Now I never had much use for getting blood out of my fabric because I used to machine sew everything – in the garment industry you never handsew anything if it can be done by machine! But that was before I started to make wedding dresses, where handsewing became quite necessary and commonplace with all that lacework, ruching, catchstitching interlinings, and beadwork and stuff.
But one day I had my Sleeping Beauty moment – the wicked fairy waited until I was attaching the final few crystals to a gown, when I pricked my finger and got a teeny tiny drop of bright red blood on the centre front bodice of the very white dress when the client was due for her final fitting within the hour. At that moment I kind of wished I was Sleeping Beauty and would just die or go to sleep for 100 years.
But instead I did what Pat had told me to do – I spat on it! Well actually, Pat’s more elegant method was to moisten a small piece of cotton with your saliva and gently dab the bloodspot, but I had no time for that! Desparately I put the silk straight into my mouth and soaked it with spit – and miraculously it faded. I repeated this and soon it totally disappeared – no ring marks, nothing, just like magic! I breathed a massive sigh of relief, secretly thanked Pat-my-new-fairy-godmother, and the bride never suspected a thing.
Admittedly using spit to remove blood sounds a bit gross and rather like an old wives tale, but there is a scientific basis – the enzymes in your saliva break down the blood proteins to remove the stain. Apparently your own saliva works best on your own blood – I haven’t tried anybody else’s and I certainly don’t intend to either! And of course the sooner you can remove it the better.
So hopefully you’ll never need it, but Pat’s handy hint is here in case you do, and it definitely works. Maybe it could save your day one day, just like it did mine!
PS: When the bride did arrive and try on her dress, my heart skipped another beat as I noticed another mark on the back of the dress – upon closer inspection it was a spider caught between the layers of chiffon!! If I was the bride I would have screamed, but her mother was actually pleased with the presence of a spider, claiming it was a sign of good luck and that her daughter would have a happy married life. Now I had never ever seen a spider in my workroom before, and never have since, so I thought maybe a little bit of spider luck was on my side that day too – don’t you?