You know it’s time to clean the sewing room when…

you inadvertently ruin the project you’re working on, argh! So, I was nearly finished with my HP Summer In The City dress and everything was coming along really well. Then, it happened – the big, hard wax stain right on the front of the dress.


Here’s what happened: my sewing rooms are both pretty messy right now. I’ve been working on a lot of projects and haven’t been as good about cleaning up as I normally am. So, I just pushed some of the mess aside (you know you’ve done it too!) on my pressing surface. What I didn’t notice was that there was a white wax craying laying right next to the iron and the heel of the iron was hanging over it a bit. The heat caused the crayon to melt onto the back of the iron which splashed onto my dress front when I went to press the collar. As of yet, I have not been able to get it out. I will see what the drycleaner can do, if anything. Otherwise, this will be trashed and I’ll have to start over, sniff.


I’m pretty disgusted with myself because I wasted a perfectly good sewing day. I guess I’ll head back in and do some cleaning up and recover my pressing board (which I just did about a month ago, sigh). Maybe I’ll find my long-lost buttonhole chisel…

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25 responses to “You know it’s time to clean the sewing room when…

  1. Meredith P

    Oh, man. I’ve definitely shoved stuff out of the way, and regretted it. I’ll bet the dry cleaner can do something with it. How far did that stuff seep in to your press board. Hope it is only skin deep.

    Cleaning up with be cathartic!

  2. Sally

    Isn’t it aggravating when you know you can only blame yourself for the mishap. Hopefully the dry cleaner can remove the stain. Besides finding your buttonhole chisel, maybe you’ll find some other long lost goodies.

  3. Mechelle

    Hmmm, if the cleaner can’t remove the wax, you may want to try boiling the fabric (if it would stand it) Boiling is how Batik artist remove the wax from hand dyed batik fabric. might be worth a try???? Sorry this happened – really sucks!

  4. CGCouture

    You could also try a product called “Goof Off” you can get a small can of it from Walmart pretty inexpensively. I’m pretty sure it removes crayon wax. I hope you can save it, be a shame to have to throw out a perfectly good project.

  5. I know W-D-40 removes crayon, but you may not want to put it on the cloth, but check the can, it may be water soluble in which case it may be ok.

  6. Miriam in KS

    Goo Gone and De-Solv-it are petroleum distolates that remove wax (as well as gum, sticker residue, etc.). Have you blotted with a brown paper sack (craft paper) and paper towels while you iron over the wax spot yet? I have scraped wax off, ironed over the wax “stain” with the paper bag under the fabric and the paper towels over the stain. Then I treat the remaining wax/oil stain with either Goo Gone or De-Solv-it and rub and blot with a paper towel. Finally I launder it. It may take a second washing with a laundry pretreatment like Shout or such on any remaining stain, but I have been pretty successful getting crayon or wax out with these products and methods.

    In looking at the stain, I think it is salvagable. It will just take patience and perseverance. Good luck.

  7. Miriam in KS

    Just checked the label and Goo Gone and De-Solv-It are petroleum distillates not distolates! Geez!

    Again, good luck.

  8. Karen

    I was going to suggest the techniques that are advised in getting candle wax off of linen tablecloths. But most of these ideas, Miriam has mentioned. I have never tried the Goo Gone and De-Solv-it, but I know that the ironing and scraping methods are effective.

    If it makes you feel any better, I made my young daughter a silk dress with a vintage lace collar for her birthday. Long story short, she was given a glass of red punch (not by me!)which ended up down the front of her dress. Unfortunately, the dress became a “one wear wonder!” Good luck!

  9. Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about that. I’ve been putting off cleaning my sewing room at home for, oh, 6 months (don’t ask). You just gave me the impetus to get off my kiester and get to it

    • Ann

      If you treat it as a batik you should be able to get all wax off. Before taking it to cleaners, you must get as much wax off as possible. This can easily be done by sandwiching the fabric btwn a porous paper such as newsprint (before it’s printed upon). Iron as long as you continue to see a residue coming thru. When I used to do batic processes on my surface design, I would do this, then take to cleaners, tell them it’s wax and they got the rest out. The only catch here may be the color. Batik wax is colorless.

      Good luck. I love reading your blog and wish I had half your energy!!

      • I’ve done the same thing–got red candle wax out of blue carpet at a rented hall–with paper towels. It worked really well with the paper towels! Good luck!

  10. Well, look at it this way, now when you remake this, it won’t be the first time and it will be faster!

    I feel your pain. A few months ago, I was on a deadline to finish a job and dropped my steam iron on the basement floor. The housing separated and popped off. I put it back together, and it worked, but I just don’t trust that the thermostat will be accurate anymore. Good thing is it made me unpack the steam generator iron I had, but had never used. Wow is all I can say, and I still would not have unpacked it if I hadn’t dropped the other one.

    It can always be worse.

  11. nikole

    Run the area through hot water (preferably boiling) and it should get it out. You can also press it after between two pieces of hand towel. Repeat until all wax is removed

  12. It’s amazing what dry cleaners can do, they used all kinds of solvents that we can’t get our hands on. Usually “within 24 hours” is the rule for treating something. I’d run it over right away. I’m sure they can treat it. Plus you can identify the material, which is a big help to them. Heck, I’d finish the edges and take over the unfinished dress!

  13. m

    Yes, it will go faster and better the next time around. What a drag though. Hope it can be salvaged, Gigi!

    I app-solutely ♥
    my ✄ Fabric U ✄
    iPhone app!

  14. Oh I hate this when I do this….and I’m almost to the point where I don’t want to clean up for fear of what I might find!!! Actually I just did do a little neatening up – I had lost something that I knew was here, but couldn’t find it. That’s what usually does it for me. Grrrrrr – I know it’s here someplace!!!

  15. JustGail

    Oh that’s a pity! I see you’ve gotten lots of advice about ironing, solvents and dry cleaners. I’ve also heard about freezing the item and the wax will peel off easier. It would only work to get the larger bits off though. I hope it can be salvaged.

  16. Ouch! I hate when something like that happens. I’m sure that you will find a solution. But still, it’s annoying when this happens…..

    Rose in SV

  17. Jan

    The darn wax and crayon disaster. I suppose you’ve tried the paper towel-iron thingie, right? It usually works for me with candle wax on tablecloths, but your lovely fabric? Good luck, and I’ll be watching to see what your final solution is.

  18. kbro

    So sorry Gigi. I just did something similar. Can you embroider over it? Or patch it in and make it look like it was on purpose. I know you are creative enough to have already thought of this but thought I would toss the idea into the ring.

  19. OH NO! I could definitely see that happening to me. Keeping the sewing room clean is a constant battle for me. I say I am going in to clean and then I sew instead and the mess gets bigger. Then when I do get it all clean, it usually keeps me from sewing for a day or two, because it looks so pretty and neat in there that I don’t want to mess it up again! I need to learn to create without making a big mess. Like a pp, I have lost something and I know it is in there somewhere…

  20. gabrielle

    That sucks, Gigi! I sure hope you can get out the wax, and if so, please let us know which trick worked. I have a long, long list of things I do to ruin clothes and/or sewing projects, and I’m sure I’ll add melted wax at some point. I’m really looking forward to the finished version of the dress.

  21. Gigi, so sorry to hear about your catastrophe! But please don’t trash the dress even if you don’t get the stain out. Sometimes the disasters in art are responsible for kicking our creative juices into overdrive to create something even better. If the stain is right smack on the front of the dress, I’ll bet you could hide it with some kind of I-meant-to-do-that applied design. I can’t see the whole dress in your photo so I don’t know what the style is like, but I’m thinking you could try: machine embroidery, hand embroidery with a heavy thread, traditional needle-turn applique, fused raw-edge applique, bead embroidery, ribbon flowers… Cover your wax boo boo with your chosen embellishment technique, then add a random smattering of additional embellishment to the rest of the dress to balance it out and make it look intentional. If you need inspiration, head out to the mall and see what high end designers are doing this season. Best wishes, and please post an update when you decide what to do!

  22. vernonfashionstudio

    Life’s little lessons can be so hard. Good luck getting it out.

    Linda T

  23. ange

    as per some of the other ladies, you should definitely try the brown paper wrap & kitchen towels using a hot iron. it works because i have had this problem before. it takes patience but its worth the effort.
    good luck & dont be so hard on yourself. we all neglect our sewing spaces from time to time.