About two weeks ago, on a rainy Monday night, I took a spill on my Vespa. It was my first ever accident in over 5 years of driving her, and it scared the bejesus out of me.
Of course, I worried most about Molly (the Vespa), and second most about my beautiful wool-cashmere coat. Never mind that if things had gone just a tiny bit differently, I easily could have DIED. My thoughts as I slid along the pavement were, "Oh no, my favourite coat!"
I bought the coat on clearance from J. Crew several years ago. I waited until February or March, and got a coat that normally sells for over $400 for less than $100. It's a darling vintage-y style, one they don't make any more, and I absolutely adore it.
And I was wearing that beautiful coat when I slid, sandwiched between my Vespa and the wet, greasy asphalt, for a good 25 feet. The result was not pretty:
The colour in these images is slightly off, because I took them under artificial light immediately upon returning from the accident. Those marks aren't water - they're dirt and oil from the road, rubbed deep into the fibers of the coat.
Now, I don't make the kind of money that would afford a trip to the dry cleaners for a coat like this. So I laundered it as I do all my woolens: a long bath in Soak wash, followed by a run through my spin dryer (knitters: this thing is a MIRACLE for heavy sweaters, especially if, like me, you only have access to coin-op laundry and can't run your woolens through the spin cycle on your washer), and then hang until dry. I even launder my suit in this very same manner.
So, the coat still needs to be ironed, but 24 hours in a Soak bath, and she was remarkably shiny and clean (these pictures were taken in daylight, in a very bright-white room; the coat's actual color is somewhere between the images above and these ones below):
She'll need an elbow patch on that right sleeve (or maybe just a bit of needle felting), and I have to get new buttons (hers popped off in the accident and were lost somewhere in the road), but HOLY CRAP. I did not scrub or rub or stir. She just soaked for a day and came out magically clean!
If only the repairs to my Vespa were that simple...