Nov 092011

Tineola.bisselliella.7218I have a steady stream of people come to me with tales of woe following an infestation from these destructive little beasties.  Given the number of garments that pass both through my home and workroom, here are The Dress Doctor's moth prevention and eradication tips.


•  Only allow pristine clothes into the wardrobe, they thrive on seemingly invisible dribbles of gravy and custard.
•  Remove all clothes from wardrobe and drawers and shake occasionally.  If possible hang outdoors to air for a day.
•  Hoover regularly, and often if you have wool carpets and rugs.  Shake them outdoors where possible, hoovering on their return.  Move furniture as well; you can bet the motherload will be in the tasty antique carpet well protected by a seemingly immovable chest.  Move it.  Then hoover inside it, hinges, recesses and all.
•  Leave the odd fresh cedar block and moth ball in danger zones if you can bear the smell.
•  Hormone laced moth traps are the weapon of choice for museums.  Get in touch with Agriessence and order some of theirs today.

All out war

If you find a single hole, do not leave it – more will swiftly follow and you will regret not springing in to action sooner.  Moths eat protein so wool is their diet of choice, with cashmere on special occasions, but do not be complacent about your silk, leather and suede items.

•  Remove all items from storage, shaking outside. Treat non-wool/ silk items stored nearby as infected as eggs may well be hiding in folds and hems.
•  Wash everything possible.  I soak all woollens in a bath of luke warm water for hours with a bit of oxyclean and some handwash liquid.  Rinse gently, and if the garment is not too fragile, spin on a delicates setting in the machine.
•  Dry clean what cannot be washed.
• For everything else (yarn stash, coats you cannot afford to take to the cleaners all at once, fur)  put the item in the freezer for a couple of weeks.  Remove, shake out, air/ dry off and shake again.
•  I hear ironing and microwaving at full power for 30 seconds both kill and can make you feel better as they squirm before your eyes.

Once you have dealt with the garments, follow the instructions above for prevention, but with added gusto and dilligence.  You’ll soon realise how women in decades gone by burnt so many calories through housework!

See how I reworked a precious shawl and a vintage suit following moth-a-geddon.

Mending of moth holes from £15.
All items must be laundered and/ or frozen for 1 week prior to my receiving them.
Please get in touch for a quote.

Nov 042011

This wool coat and dress set was beautifully made in Hong Kong some decades ago.  The cut and construction is exquisite, and the beaded details were hand stitched with great skill.  Unfortunately, as the pictures show, the moths appreciated the cloth as much as the owner.

On close inspection, both the top and bottom of the back coat panel had damage, back neck facing and the lower half of a side panel.  There were some tiny holes amongst the beading, which itself had a few gaps.

As the dress is very much a younger style than the coat, short with slits at the side, we decided it should be sacrificed for the good of the coat, as even if one retains one figure, some fashions are not dignified once beyond a certain age.  The good panels were unpicked from the dress and any stains were removed.  A little of the beadwork was also unpicked.

The damaged panels in the coat were unpicked/ cut out to form pattern pieces.  As there were no pieces in the dress large enough for the upper back, where the darts were originally at the neck of the coat, I created an extension so they formed seams at an angle down to the waistline.  This meant that the badly damaged central piece could be replaced in an aesthetically pleasing manner.  Seams were stitched with a zipper foot very close to the beadwork to conceal them.

Once the panels and facing were replaced the coat was reassembled, and the smaller holes amongst the beads repaired.  All missing beads were replaced and the coat was steamed on the stand, as all tailored garments should be.

Mending of moth holes from £15.
All items must be laundered and/ or frozen for 1 week prior to my receiving them.
Please get in touch for a quote.