Do-It-Yourself Anxiety

by Amelia Diamond
May 21, 2014
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D.I.Y…eah, I’d rather not.

DIYanxiety-combineKetchup ruins lives. It’s the most stupid condiment ever, not because of taste (which is almost as universally beloved as Funfetti frosting), but because its sole mission in life is to drip off whatever food you’re eating and land directly on to white. Any white. It is a sniper, and the color or lack thereof is its target.

One would think that I’d have learned by now to not wear anything brand new on ketchup-abundance day, but when danger is your middle name and responsible for the right-side initial of your monogram, you really have no choice but to make reckless decisions — like eating a burger, hands free, as a joke, while wearing a favorite winter purchase.

Is that what happened to my prized Être Cécile sweatshirt? Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t like to put labels on things or point the blame. The fact of the matter is, however, that despite three washings and spot treating with bleach, the sweatshirt was marked just enough that I couldn’t wear it again.

But I couldn’t throw it out either — I’d spent too much money and only wore it on Instagram once. I’m also partially a hoarder. So after finding myself inspired by Charlotte’s patchwork DIY and the general attitude on Pinterest that anything is possible with a glue gun and a smile, I decided to take a stab at repurposing the ketchuped knit.

The first step was to consult Google: “What to do with stain sweatshirt,” typed my caveman alter ego. Various things came up, like adding a pattern over the offending spot, plus tie dying, screen printing, french braiding, freeze papering (?) — the Internet needs to calm down. I settled on what I thought was the easiest option and decided I’d make a pillow from the sweatshirt’s repurposed fabric. Oh Amelia, you stupid fool.

“I make stuff,” author David Rakoff once wrote about the meditative peace he experienced while crafting. “It’s an itch, a compulsion that comes over me when I pass by a sidewalk piled with particulary good garbage…the inability to to look at something without wanting to somehow make it into something else.” It’s how he explains the divide between two types of people in this world: those who craft, and those who don’t.

I realized which type of person I am halfway through begrudgingly gathering old socks to act as the stuffing for my pillow.

First and foremost, I am the type who thinks staples are a good alternative to a sewing machine. The only scissors I could find were the ones I trim my eyebrows with (…). The reason I was opting for old socks in the first place is because the craft store that carried actual pillow stuffing required a subway transfer, and I am definitely not the kind of person who will wait for the crosstown shuttle just to get “supplies.” I’d say my overall effort took 15 minutes of complaining and about 5 minutes of self-doing before deciding that actually, I could probably just live with the stain.

Pinterest, despite its sunny disposition and lovely fonts, is really just pickled self-doubt in a mason jar. Sealed with a grosgrain ribbon.

I am not a craftsman. In my side of the world, a pillow is made in a pillow factory and ruined sweatshirts get repurposed no further than to the exercise drawer. Patches appear on jeans because a designer put them on there for me. The thrill of doing it yourself is just that — self accomplishment — but I’m the type of person who’s more entertained by eating a burger sans hands, regardless of any casualties imparted by that stupid, stupid condiment.

REPLIES
  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    HAHAHAH this was great. I’m so sad for you about the sweatshirt!!! I once added these bead things to an old leather bag. I thought it was so cool of me, but everyone was like, “why did you do that to your bag??” I do like the tie dying method. I got really drunk last summer and climbed up on a tractor (still not sure what a massive tractor was doing on cape cod), and my favorite white shorts got covered in grease. Now they are my “fun” tie dye shorts.

  • Luarnaiz

    A hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda mix works great on stains. You should give it a try. Im typing this at work wearing my favorite white shirt all stained from the dressing I cleverly decided to add to my salad at lunch. For the record, I work with nine year olds, Im the only one today with a stained shirt.

    • Amelia Diamond

      how much do I mix because I also just got olive oil on my white jeans. olive oil stains right? ugh.

      • http://thehannahblog.tumblr.com/ hannah

        You don’t even need to necessarily mix it with baking soda, you can literally just pour hydrogen peroxide on and the stain will go away. This may be a bit TMI, but I’ve successfully removed period stains this way from white fabric.

      • laura

        For olive oil stains you can use the dishwashing liquid soap, leave it there for a while and then wash them as usual. It takes the grease off the fabric as it would on dishes and stoves!

  • http://www.maggiecallife.wordpress.com Maggiecal life

    Such a great writing style. I usually can’t read that long posts and stop them somewhere in the middle. But this was so entertaining, light and funny that i couldn’t stop reading it to the end. Great job!
    http://www.maggiecallife.com

    • Amelia Diamond

      thank you!

      • Leandra Medine

        WTVR

  • sarahsparkle

    i love you, but using chemical detergents (with fragrance) will coat stains and sometimes make them unable to be removed. I use a “natural” stain remover called “ECOver” that promises to remove all stains of an organic origin… then i wash in an enzyme detergent like Bio-kleen. I’ve never had a stain that it couldn’t remove!

    • Amelia Diamond

      does it remove oil because i just ruined my white jeans! where do i find this!!

  • Kelly’s Gross-o

    Where exactly is the stain? I feel like a vest layered on top of the sweatshirt, or something with a really high waist, maybe even overalls, could hide most stains. A crazy old-lady novelty broach (prefereably featuring a kitten or parrot) would do the trick too. A cape? A sash? The options for condimentally challenged ladies are endless.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I made a diagram :(

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        Nooooooo Amelia! I was so happy because you were so happy about this sweatshirt! Fuck, can’t believe it’s stained. Clothing companies should make stain insurance. I’d totally buy into it.

        Funny essay as always, you brilliant writer you :).

      • Alex

        UGH, GOOD GOD. IT JUST MISSED THE NAVY PART.

        • Amelia Diamond

          I KNOW.

      • Kelly’s Gross-o

        That’s literally the worst conceivable location. Crop top time!!!

        • Kelly’s Gross-o

          Wait wait… What if you strategically splattered the WHOLE THING with ketchup?! Now it’s intentional !

          • Amelia Diamond

            pollock chic

      • Petra
  • Aubrey Green

    I’ve gotten red wine out of a white shirt (I can’t wear white either) with the Tide to go stick.

    • mel

      Those things make me believe in God… But really though. Once got a bottle worth of red wine off of white shorts.

  • http://batman-news.com Nikki Lowe

    Soda water is also a great stain remover. I always have a bottle on hand, even for carpet stains! A carpet cleaner told me that once. I feel like you cant really ignore a carpet cleaner’s advice.

  • Cheryl Sorg

    Oh no! But a very funny, well-written tale. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher turned me on to Ecover stain remover recently when my daughter got blackberry juice all over a cute little faux Chanel style jacket she got from her Bonne-maman in France, and it worked BEAUTIFULLY. I need to revisit all my old un-wearables in my exercise and pajama drawers and see if I can’t get all the stains out of those things!

  • Quinn Halman
    • http://monsemble.ca/ Mon

      YES!

  • http://monsemble.ca/ Mon

    i’m pretty sure that Ketchup is secretly out to get me too.
    r.i.p. sweatshirt

    mon | http://www.monsemble.ca

  • Camilla

    omg Amelia! hahahahaha. I’m no crafter either and can sooo relate.

  • Rhea

    This was such a fun read! :) Feel so sorry for your sweater, do try a couple of ‘cheezy’ stain removers if you haven’t completely given up. Those sometimes work!
    Xx
    Rhea
    http://www.fuss.co.in

  • Tracy

    You are hilarious! Amazing post!

    http://fashion-soup.com/

  • Peppermint Swing

    The simplest DIY is get yourself a small bowl of water and a complete set of paints (and the brush). Dip the brush into the water, then into the paint and just splatter it on the sweatshirt. wait patiently and voila! Maison Martin Margiela-inspired sweatshirt!

  • http://exploringwardrobes.blogspot.co.uk/ exploringwardrobes

    Easter eggs seem to get everywhere as well! Maybe its because you end up going on a blind rampage whilst watching an entire series of 90210 on Netflix, to then stand up and realise your brand new white skort now has melted Easter egg all over it…

    - Grace and Charlotte (Is is just us?)

    #http://exploringwardrobes.blogspot.co.uk/

  • yuyuleroux

    I would have opted for a simple but chic cool kids only approach…… Iron on decals! All over. Duh girl.

  • yuyuleroux

    You can always buy color dye sit it in a bucket and get something new out of if. Who really wears exercise clothes ? For real?!

  • ee_by_cc

    In theory, I like the idea of DIY. Has an entrepreneurial feel to it. In practice, I suck at it. Even when I tried one of those Bedazzler thingies way back when, I couldn’t properly use a tool whose sole purpose was for making DIY easy. As you said, there are craftsman, and then there are craft buyers. I am firmly encamped in the latter.

    http://www.enduringethereal.com

  • hi_itsgabby

    I can see why the art kit was v. important.

  • madskirt

    Hhahahaha I got mustard on my white jeans….should i just cut them and make them ankle jeans? I also had a brilliant DIY idea of making a tshirt a fringed cropped top, my cutting technics obviously did not work… and I running my tshirt… but i have made a safety pin short short after balmain which are a hit… so i would say that in DIY, its much safer to add than to subtract!

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