Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Witchy Vibes & Some Mindful Laundering



Is it just me or when you're charity shopping do you always find something that echoes what you've chosen to wear that day? This morning I was out in my embroidered Indian maxi dress and happened upon this 1960s Raymond of London cloak. Double velvet!




 I'm rather liking the witchy vibe of the two pieces worn together. Maybe in your part of the world it's Spring and you're already in lightweight jackets but, after a glorious couple of coat-free days last week, the cold weather has returned with avengeance. This morning we were battered by hailstorms and the big coats and gloves were back out.


The squeamish might be aghast that I'm wearing something I bought secondhand only a couple of hours ago. The majority of garments we buy are put in the washing machine and hung up to dry but, in the case of outerwear like coats & capes, they're spot cleaned and tumble dried on a delicate setting with a lavender bag for twenty minutes to freshen them up. 


Here's the contents of the laundry basket today - a 1960s wool dress, a 1980s satin shirt, a 1950s "wash as silk" Tootal pocket square and an Indian Kantha jacket. We're off on the hunt again tomorrow so I shall wait for a full load before I wash them.


The Up-Cycled Cloth Collective say that mindful laundering of clothing can reduce our fibre footprint. They've suggested the following, my responses are in italics.

  • Wear clothing more than once between washes whenever possible - I pretty much always wear my clothes more than once before laundering them (and often three, four or five times). I hang them up in the bathroom overnight to air them after an outing. 

  • Air dry instead of using the tumble dryer - We either line dry or hang our laundry to dry on the pulley system Jon built (see HERE). As mentioned previously, I freshen coats in the tumble drier for no more than 20 minutes.

  • Wash with cold water rather than hot whenever possible - We use the 30 degree cycle for most of our laundry. 
  • Always wait until there is a full load - Yes



  • If you use it, substitute fabric softener with white vinegar - I never use fabric conditioner, it rots your clothes (see HERE). White vinegar can also be added to the wash to eliminate odours, ideal if you've bought anything that's been previously washed in that appalling heavily scented washing powder (it's worse than BO in my opinion).
  • Use an energy efficient washing machine - Yes!

  • Use less washing powder and source bio-friendly products - We use soda crystals in the washing machine. I've just discovered liquid soda crystals which are brilliant for stain removing. I use organic baby shampoo from Poundland for hand washing and woollens. 
  • Never dry clean - We don't!
  • If you use micro fibres use a Guppy Bag when laundering (for more info see HERE) - No fleece in this house!
  • Spot clean between washes to minimise the need for a full wash - Yes!
  • Only buy used clothing except for underwear (and use as cleaning rags when worn out) - We try to.
  • Mending and reusing/recycling clothes to give them new life instead of throwing them away - Yes!
Have you got any useful mindful laundering tips? Do let me know in the comments.

Here's ours - when buying vintage clothes from a fair or a shop don't be afraid to ask the seller for their advice on laundering your purchases. We always tell our buyers that the item has already been washed and suggest that they don't launder it after each wear in order to prolong the garment's life. We always recommend soda crystals as they're made from natural ingredients that won't f*ck up the water table plus they're cheap and have no smell. If you're in the UK you can buy them HERE.

WEARING: 1960s green velvet Indian dress by Simran, Raymond of London velvet cloak, Mjus cowboy boots, wool felt hat (all charity shopped) 
I'm off to work my witchy magic on a tatty kurta, a weird table cloth and a frayed curtain. I'll see you soon! 

54 comments:

  1. Oh vix , That cape is absolutely beautiful , I always wear my clothes more than once , I always use the sniff test lol but seriously if you have a clean body you don't get your clothes that dirty with the exception of when i am digging in the garden which i use my gardening clothes then when i am cooking in the kitchen its old clothes and an apron xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, I was excited to find it amongst the dross!
      I'm a big fan of the sniff test, too! xxx

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  2. You find the most amazing clobber. I cant imagine that fabulous cloak in any of our charity shops.
    The upcycling facebook page is really good. There's so much on it I've had to turn the notifications off and just dip back into it as and when I can. My laundry save is that I dont iron any of my clothes, they go straight from the washer to the rack or washing line then back into the wardrobe. The joy of crimplene and tricel xxx

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    1. Thanks, Lynn - the cloak was a wonderful surprise in a shop that rarely has anything but I always go in just in case!
      I've turned off notifications otherwise I'm constantly distracted by all the creativity posted by the group. I can lose hours.
      The joy of synthetics - no ironing and dry in an hour! xxx

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  3. I am beginning to hear about people making their own undergarments. Haven't tried it but am curious now.
    Arilx

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    1. Yes, I've seen people making knickers out of old tee shirts which is a great idea. I think you might need an overlocker though - a bit scary -I have trouble just trying to thread the sewing machine. x

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  4. there are a couple stores here that will take clothes and linens that are beyond use in a clothing recycling effort. if you bring in a bag of clothes, they give you a coupon for your purchase. it's saved many rags and nasty t shirts from the dump.

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    1. Good tip! Some charity shops in the UK will accept rags if you mark the contents clearly on the bag, have never heard of getting an incentive like a coupon though, that's a great idea. x

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  5. Coat is a stunner! And a Dream Team with that dress. Fabulous! My washing sounds almost the same- exept i air my dresses and Pullovers in the garden overnight under the tin roof of the Summer Salon. Xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate! I feel very dramatic swishing about in it.
      I wish I had a Summer Salon! x

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  6. Love that coat - witchy woman look suits you. I do most of the above but didn't realize how bad fabric softener is. I hang part of my laundry, always use cold water to wash. I have used baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) in my washing cycle to make the towels softer when they get older. I use vinegar in my dishwasher rinse cycle and it works a charm, will have to try it in the washing mashine!

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    1. Thank you! I've been called a witch on many an occasion.
      Fabric conditioner opens the fibres and causes clothes to rot, it also stops towels absorbing water - evil stuff! x

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  7. The velvet cape is stunning, what a find! Thanks for the washing tips, I've been thinking of switching to soda crystals for a while. I had no idea fabric softener rots your clothes. Oh dear! I'll be looking into using white vinegar instead. We have no space in our garden for a washing line, and so we mostly use the dryer, I'm afraid. Obviously, I'm wearing my clothes more than once, airing them between wears, always run full machines only and wash everything at 30°C. No fleeces here either and no dry cleaning. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Ann! I haven't worn any of my capes this Winter for some strange reason, I love how they feel!
      Ditch the fabric softener! I think line drying is far more common in the UK than other places - crazy when you consider our unpredictable weather! x

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  8. What a score! It looks perfect on you Witchy Temptress that you are ; P

    I had never heard of those soda crystals. I'm going to look into it. I use soap nuts but I find that they only work so-so.

    I will need to get a couple of those Guppy Bags because 90% of the vintage I buy to resell is made out of polyester and it was making me ill knowing how much I was polluting the water supply and making fish sick.

    I read today that only 9% of all plastic bottles in the world are recycled. 79% are dumped into garbage heaps which then of course often wind up in the oceans. The remainder are burned. We are doing such a lame job of properly recycling in the world. I haven't bought water in bottles for ages but so many people continue to do so.

    In addition to using vinegar in the wash and for a rinse if the smells are still stubbornly holding on I will spray the dried piece with vodka. Sometimes the smells are so bad I have to do one wash in vinegar, another in baking soda and finally the vodka spray.

    I've had to dry clean a couple of high end vintage dresses that were made out of old fashioned rayon, chiffon and silk which had stains. I learned the hard way that trying to take care of it on my own isn't a good idea. My dry cleaner does say they are environmentally friendly and green certified so I hope that is true.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I didn't have much success with soap nuts either, very disappointing! I wonder if soda crystals go by another name in Canada? They're a great all rounder, great for washing clothes and equally good for cleaning decking and paving as they don't poison the wildlife.
      The only time I buy bottled water is in India. We buy it in the biggest containers available and decant into litre bottles when we're going out. The country's poorest people collect the discarded bottles and get paid by the kilo at recycling plants but I suspect many are thrown into landfill or, as I see quite often, burnt. Awful, isn't it? xxx

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  9. My clothes get several wears beforew laundering, the exception in our house being the teenager. He's my baby, and I love him but OMG does he stink up his clothes after a single wear. We won't discuss his shoes.

    I have hand washed leather in cold water with great results.

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    1. There's no more than one outing with teenager's clothes, is there?
      I've tried machine washing suede with great success. I haven't tried leather. x

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  10. Love a double velvet sitch!!!! All great advice!

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  11. I love all this velvet - yes, yes, yes for witchy! You look awesome, Vix.

    I'm very careful about what gets washed and what doesn't, and I warn my friends when I give them my clothes not to wash things too much (if at all!). I use shampoo for handwashing, and we use eco-friendly detergent (cold water only) for all our HE washing (our machine is low water and an energy saver).

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! Witchy shouldn't be saved for Halloween!
      It sounds like we're signing from the same song sheet. There's so much over washed rubbish in charity shops, people wash their clothes far too often because the quality is often pretty ropey they ruin them. xxx

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  12. yes, to all the laundry tips. Those fabric softening sheet that are used in the dryer are the worst. A waste of money. Did you know that wigs can be washed in the washer? Not the human hair ones, the other kind. Put them in a mesh bag, wash on cold water on delicate, shake them out and hang to dry. Think about it, they are made from polyester.

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    1. Someone suggested using those fabric softening sheets as interfacing when you're sewing. They do seem utterly pointless, another way to make consumers part with their money.
      Great tip about the wigs - I'm always buying them. xxx

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  13. Love the double velvet, Vix.
    I agree with the tips. Hopefully a lot of people are doing these things already. X

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    1. Thanks, Jess!
      Sadly, not everyone is clued-up about laundry,hence the reason there's tonnes of over-washed clothes that go into landfill every year. There's such an obsession with germs and bacteria people are washing their clothes after only wearing them for a few hours. No wonder there's so many allergies and illnesses! xxx

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  14. These are great tips and something I need to implement. I once watched a program on some Italian lady who eliminated shopping from her life almost completely. She became more eco-friendly in all aspects of life, especially in the sense that she avoids buying anything that comes in a packaging. She buys her food from local producers and for laundry she uses vinegar and baking soda. I haven't switched to that completely but what I do is use only half of the detergent and for other half I use either vinegar or baking soda. That's a good medium. In the past I also used some kind of ball with ceramic crystals, something you put into laundry and you don't need to use detergent at all. I should buy that again. I have never used a fabric conditioner, I have allergies and those chemical things seem to trigger them. I'm trying to better better at ecological laundry thing. I must admit that I often washed clothes after one wear in the past, but I'm trying to reduce that. In the colder climates one really doesn't need to wash clothes that often, it's more in our heads. Only during the summer and in extremely warm weather/climate does one need to wash clothes after one wear.

    The green velvet maxi you are wearing is gorgeous and it suits you so well.

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    1. That Italian lady's lifestyle sounds very inspiring. Vinegar, baking soda and soda crystals are not only cheap but highly effective and eco-friendly as opposed to all those chemical nasties on the supermarket shelves.
      I agree, in the winter we can wear our clothes time and time again! xxx

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  15. You look fabulous in those velvet pieces and love the witchy vibe, lots of attitude and coolness!
    I'm becoming more conscious and try not to wash my clothes so frequently. Mr.A. is used to say that I'm addicted to washing machine. I'm doing it better nowadays!.
    Anyway, many of my skirts, jackets and coats have not been washed in years, but they're hanged outside overnight after every use. And dryers are rare here in Spain, they're pretty infrequent in homes, everybody hang laundry in wires in the balconies or terraces or even outside the façades. It's part of the spanish landscape, laundries hanging everywhere!
    besos

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    1. Thank you! I'm almost pleased the weather's so cold so I can wear it!
      I used to say the same to Jon, that he was addicted to the washing machine. I've trained him to have clothes just for dirty work and even they don't need to be washed after each use!
      I love seeing the Spanish laundry drying in the sun, just like in Greece - it's part of the landscape! xxx

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  16. What a fabulous find! I bet it will look very different with a different dress but it's beautiful and you look gorgeous in it.

    I would never have thought to even try and tumble dry a coat - I presume it would be on a coolish setting?

    We always hang washing out or dry it indoors on clotheshorses and radiator rails. I use the tumble dryer in the winter only to dry the towels. I use soda crystals for cleaning but hadn't thought about using them as a laundry aid.

    Love your colourful washing drying in the garden; one of the best smells in the world; line dried washing.

    Have a great weekend.
    xxx

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    1. Thanks, Vronni! Yes, I need to experiment with different dresses, the green velvet seemed like the perfect match.
      Our tumble drier is from the early 1980s and was inherited from Jon's mum an there's two setting, delicate or non-delicate. We probably wouldn't replace it when it finally goes to the big appliance resting place in the sky but it is great for freshening up coats. xxx

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  17. A gorgeous ensemble! Whenever I wash my own clothes, I use the shortest cycle, cold water and do an extra spin. Since The Big Guy gets really dirty at work, he gets the full cycle -- but I do his clothes separately. I do use dryer sheets -- but I fold them into wool sweaters. Sometimes they still have that thrift store smell after their washing, so if I fold them with a sheet before storing, it seems to suck the odor out. Of course, I always mend his clothes because he's very talented at creating that "distressed look."

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    1. Thank you!
      Before a friend made me a lavender bag I'd put a few drops of essential oil (or aftershave) on a flannel and chuck that in the dryer to freshen up whatever I was laundering. xxx

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  18. Testing, testing....Google keeps swallowing my pithy comments about dry cleaning chemicals....

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    1. Gah! Is that because Google Plus is no more? x

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  19. Aha! Had to update my blogger profile since Google+ went kaput. As I was saying, have always avoided buying clothes that required dry cleaning because of the expense and the exposure to the chemicals involved in the process -- and have paid extra for "fragrance free" detergents.

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    1. You did it! I've always assumed manufacturers put a Dry Clean only label in their clothes so we didn't sue them if the garment didn't survive the wash! x

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  20. And to put a face to the name, it seems one must click on the profile... PSA for all those coping with Google+ changes. *sigh*

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  21. Vix, you look like how my secret fantasy self wants to look!!! Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. What a find.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say, thank you so much! x

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  22. Vix, so love your velvet dress and cape. I am looking forward to some cooler days so my velvet can make a return appearance.
    Must check out soda crystals , not sure I have seen them here. I follow most of the laundry ideas, not sure when I last used my dryer.
    I do buy new clothing from time to time but wear things forever. If my things are showing too much wear they become garden clothes . Really old things are used as rags for household chores or used by John for the cars.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! Velvet is one compensation for the weather turning cooler, isn't it?
      You can't beat an old pair of cotton knickers or a ruined tee shirt for dusting! x

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  23. I had no idea about Fabric Softener!!!! I will try not to use it! I have several bottles of our Ecover one so will need to use those up. I use Ecover non-bio washing powder- is that also bad for the environment?
    I'm not very good in terms of tops or anything that comes into contact with my armpits wearing more than once. I just tend to smell so I need to launder them. A deodorant works for me for a while and then it doesn't and I am trying to use a more natural deodorant but I must just naturally perspire a lot! It's very annoying. Trousers and skirts and things that aren't close to my armpits get worn lots though!

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    1. Hi Kezzie! All fabric conditioner is bad - not for the environment (in Ecover's case) but just that it breaks down the fibres of your laundry and stops towels being absorbent.
      I love Lush's Sunflower deodorant. Have you tried that? xxx

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  24. Yeah, I wear almost everything (undies aside) more than once, and don't even have a tumble dryer. I couldn't face all the ironing for one thing... It's not like I live a particularly grubby lifestyle or have a very grubby self.

    That velvet cape is just amazing. You do find wonderful things!

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    1. I was excited to unearth this treasure, i can tell you. A reward for all the tat I had to wade through first!
      We've only got a tumble drier 'cos we inherited from Jon's Mum, it's useful for freshening stuff up but I'd never dream of using it to dry stuff, I like everything quite crispy and only line drying will do! xxx

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  25. Glorious velvet! I often find things that go rather well with what I'm wearing, too.
    I'd never heard of soda crystals for washing but have always used ecover liquid (& slightly less than they say on the bottle!) Other people's ghastly stinky washing powder/fabric softener is the bane of my charity-shopping life, so I'm delighted to read that white vinegar is good for removing such smells, many thanks! xx @jessiejessyg

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    1. That scented washing powder is truly dreadful. Anything I buy stinking of that goes straight in the washing machine! We always use Ecover washing up liquid. cancer UK were selling their laundry detergent in their shops last year as they'd had a rebranding. We bought one and liked it. xxx

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  26. Firstly I loooove your velvet cloak!
    Secondly, thanks for this post, I'm definitely going to try soda crystals for my washing. I've always used Ecover washing liquid but they recently changed it and added perfume, which I don't like, and it made me extremely itchy. I've been using soap nuts, which seem to work ok, but I'm interested in other methods too :) xx

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    1. Thanks, Susie!
      Soda crystals are brilliant and the liquid version is a great multi-tasking product, you can clean your bath and banish dubious stains from charity shop purchases. xxx

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  27. Kezzie mentioned the fabric conditioner article, and I've ordered some white vinegar to use instead of my normal (eco) conditioner (which comes in a plastic bottle - not very eco friendly!). I saw Sophie at the weekend and she gave me some Star Anise essential oil, which I love the smell of, so I'll be adding a little of that to the vinegar. I'm actually quite excited to sniff my clothes after their next wash!
    I never tumble dry, we don't have a dryer and I refuse to get one, all our clothes are lined or airer dried. And I can't remember that last time I wore something just once before washing it.
    Great post!
    xx

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    1. I bet that star anise essential oil smells gorgeous!
      I hate my laundry to feel floppy. You cam't beat sheets and towels that have been line dried, all crisp and lovely! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix