Seam Ripper Self-Care

Clothing tags! I can’t stand them. I’ve been like this since I was a little kid, completely unable to tune out that scratchy sensation of a tag at my nape, my waist, or wherever. I’ve been driven to tears by loops of tough fabric intended to hang a coat, and I’ve squirmed in my seat trying to find a comfortable position where I can’t feel the flaps of satin noting the care instructions for the shirt I’m wearing. Tags drive me bananas.

While I didn’t get much respite from this irritation in my childhood, once I learned to sew and had access to a seam ripper, it was open season. I made a lot of mistakes at first; seam rippers can easily shred the fibers of the garment along with the threads holding the tag in place. But I’ve perfected my technique. With the help of my gorgeous Gingher stork scissors, I am a meticulous yet slow slayer of labels, logos, and other vexations.

Recently, I’ve been trying to set aside Sunday mornings for self-care. My strange brain requires more downtime than most folks, and without that respite, I become unhinged. Yesterday, I listened to Goat Rodeo and gathered a basket of clothes that needed denuding. Carefully, with the patience and focus provided by a small dose of my ADHD meds, I snipped threads and ripped seams for an hour, until I had a little pile of textile detritus, colorful but destined for the dust bin.

It feels so good to see those tags in a heap, and it feels even better to wear my new sweater without the irritation of its fabric label. In this era of innovation, I don’t understand why clothing brands continue to use textile tags instead of printing size, care instructions, and other pertinent information directly on the garment. Another option would be to create tear away tags that could be easily ripped from clothing. I have a slip from Vassarette that has all of the pertinent information printed at the back; even with hundreds of launderings, it’s still readable. And I’ve had clothes with tags that are basted onto the garment and can be easily torn away. Until these ideas become the standard in the industry, it’s going to be self-care with a seam ripper for me…