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When Stain Removers Don’t Work, Remove the Stain

Have you ever gotten rid of a garment you loved because of an inconspicuous stain? Or worst, let it take up precious closet space as if the stain might magically disappear – or you might start wearing broaches (you heard it here first, broaches are totally coming back). Try as I might to be a well-mannered adult, from time to time some rogue sauce makes its way from my dish to my fit. If not treated properly and promptly, that stain can make a favorite piece unwearable.

What if one act of clumsiness didn’t have to mean the end of a loved piece? I know I’ve given up on and donated pieces that were otherwise great so it felt like some kind of cosmic redress to buy this secondhand amber yellow jersey dress with a black ink stain on the arm. I was shopping for summer dresses, so removing the sleeves was the obvious fix.

Removing the Sleeves

The fastest approach would have been to cut off the sleeves but I wanted to maintain the armhole size and shape so I used a seam ripper to remove both sleeves.

Creating and Attaching the Binding

The neck was finished with 1/2″ binding, which I wanted to replicate on the armholes. To do so, I cut 1 3/4″ strips from the sleeve material ( (1/2″ binding + 3/8″ seam allowance) x 2 ). I sewed the strips into loops about 90% the size of the arm holes, folded them in half lengthwise, attached them to the armholes using a zigzag stitch, and finished the raw edges with my serger.

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