Make Do and Mend: lily pollen stains on a white dress

White Michael Kors dress  with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisy

White Michael Kors dress with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisy

We’ve all probably brushed lily pollen on to our clothing at some time or other and it can be a disaster. Sometimes I find successful removal  comes with good dollop of Ecover Clothes Wash applied directly to the problem (then machine wash as usual) and sometimes a gentle massages with a bar of vanish does the trick (again followed by a normal machine wash). If the encounter with the lily flower was delicate, a strip of sellotape might work but I can’t say I’ve found it particularly effective as there’s still an underlying yellow stain. And that was the problem with the white Michael Kors dress shown here where yellow was still visible after the dry cleaners had done their best.

White Michael Kors dress  with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisies

White Michael Kors dress with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisies

Daughter No 1 (for it is her dress) thought a few embroidered daisies would be a good solution and at first I agreed … until I tried to get a needle into the fabric which was too thick and closely woven for any but the finest of needles – and these bent out of shape after a few stitches. In the end I resorted to using double sided iron on Vilene  between the yellow silk and the white cotton. Although I have previously been impressed by the good sticking power of  this sort of Vilene I didn’t want the edges to work loose or curl over, so, with the finest of needles lined up in a row, like lambs to the slaughter I slip stitched each flower to the dress – only 2 needles were bent beyond use in this rescue mission!

White Michael Kors dress  with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisies

White Michael Kors dress with lily stain covered by appliquéd silk daisies


We liked the sharpness of the yellow against the white background, so we decided against giving the flowers centres of white french knots, or adding any more embroidery – no outlining, stems or little leaves. There is now no hint of a yellow stain and the dress can be hung away ready for use next summer.

Last light of the setting sun seen from Ipsden vicarage (Saturday 24 October 2015 - the last day of British Summer Time)

Last light of the setting sun seen from Ipsden vicarage (Saturday 24 October 2015 – the last day of British Summer Time)

This year, autumn has championed yellow like I’ve never seen it before. Leaves on fruit trees in particular have turned the zingiest of yellows across the whole spectrum. Sunsets too seem to have turned up the yellow and I tried to take of photo of the view beyond the vicarage garden on Saturday as the final rays of the setting sun cast acid yellow light in long sweeps across the field, set fire to the trees and generally got everyone in the house excited and animated by the transitory glory.  The photograph captures some – but nothing like all – of this wonderful sight, which came at the end of a not very pleasant afternoon (weather wise) spent most comfortably watching the Rugby World Cup Semi-final in front of a crackling fire, illuminated by side lights (yellow chintz), tea and cake (lemon drizzle) within easy reach and with a babbling small person contentedly moving from one play location to another as he tried out a selection of toys once played with by his mother. There’s something very special about the first intimations of winter and you have to enjoy battening down the hatches and feeling cosy as all too soon dark afternoons become boring and inconvenient and with us for too many months.

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  1. Anna
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t the colours wonderful! and still more to come, as long as the storms hold off. Would love to see more of your autumn-hued landscape 🙂

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 27, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Lovely to hear from you, Anna. Haven’t taken nearly enough photos of this glorious autumn. Must deliver some parish magazines so perhaps taking photos will lure me to do my rounds.

  2. Posted October 26, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely solution

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 27, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you Helen. I had all sorts of more complicated designs sketched out but came back to the simplest in the end – isn’t that often the way of things?

  3. Posted October 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to battening down the hatches, too – just as soon as I can find one to batten. I’ve had a rush of blood to the head and taken the curtains down for washing…!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 27, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Very impressed by the curtain washing blitz, Rachel. You’ll feel very virtuous when you get them back up and will probably spend all winter thinking how glad you were to have done it.

  4. Posted October 27, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Brilliant make do and mend today, I think your daughter now has a rather jaunty dress to wear!

    Lemon drizzle cake, now that immediately makes my thoughts turn to Jill on The Archers and her legendary lemon drizzle cake. If you have been visiting Ambridge lately do tell if you have heard any tales of Rob Titchenor at last facing the music!

    Very best, Lydia (Over Here or Over There or what you will)….

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 27, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I’m afraid, Lydia my Archer following days are long gone – I used to have phases of listening but don’t have time nowadays. How do you listen to the Archers – World Service or BBC iPlayer?
      Glad you like the yellow flowers.

      • Posted October 27, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

        Hi Mary – I returned to The Archers after a gap of around 38 years thanks to receiving an iPod for Christmas… many of the characters are still there so all is quite familiar… Start listening at your peril!

  5. Penny Cross
    Posted October 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Mary, I don’t know how I missed this posting but I must compliment you on yet another innovative designer darning project that has raised the dress to another level.

    And the autumnal yellows captured in your photo are breathtaking. Field Maples are my particular favourite as their leaves seem to be the first harbingers of autumn, throwing out an intensely golden light in the hedgerow against other leaves which are just quietly turning bronze and copper.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 31, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t actually have to darn this dress, Penny – just cover over the yellow stain from lily pollen.
      I think we’re all enjoying this autumn, especially in terms of the leaves – although now the beech leaves are falling I’m not quite so happy. Beach leaves never decompose but just sit in drifts at the lower end of our garden until we summon the energy to gather them up. I shall therefore spend more time looking upwards and try to avoid looking at the ground!

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