About a week ago, I was out looking through the racks at a local haunt when I came across an absolutely stunning vintage shirt / jacket from Timberline, a fine company known for their wool items.
I'd seen pieces like it sell for near a century note online, and when I discovered that it was nearly my size, I started doing little somersaults inside. It was only $4, and it had huge juicy green buttons and a nice blue/green and black windowpane pattern over cream that was really sharp.
There was only one (well, more than one) problem, though. The jacket had some staining issues. Around the pockets and the bottom of the coat was dark discoloration of some sort that made me re-think buying it several times. In addition to the darker stains, there were a couple smaller (and even darker) spots at various spots on the front. Looking the jacket over, I couldn't find so much as a moth nibble, though, so I decided to spend the money in the hopes that I could somehow convince the stains to detach themselves from the garment with a couple different treatments at home.
My first attempt at removing the stains was a cold bath with shampoo and some light agitation (my usual wool washing technique). This managed to fade the discoloration a little bit, and with some more specific finger scrubbing I was able to almost completely dissolve a couple of the darker spots.
Unfortunately, a good portion of the discoloration remained, so I squeezed some dishwashing detergent into a large bucket with some hot water and tossed in the jacket, hoping to dislodge the remainder of the stains. I let it sit in the bath until the water cooled, then pulled it out and was saddened to find that the dark areas remained.
You know the look you give when you're watching a movie and a doctor or someone else is frantically giving another character (who is obviously dead) CPR, hoping against hope to bring them back to life? That's roughly the same look my wife gave me as I pulled the jacket out of its second soak and I was trying to think aloud of yet another way to remove the stains.
Yes, it's probably about time to let this one go.
I'm sure I'll try to wear it a few times while working outside on a crisp spring day, just to make myself feel like I didn't completely waste 4 dollars.
If that doesn't work, though, I'll chop those buttons off and save them for another project. They are indeed very cool.