A perfectly good t-shirt…or so it seems!

Fleabite is a term used for ting little nips, chips, and other small imperfections. The fleabites I experience the most are tiny holes in my t-shirts. These holes are always near my bellybutton.

Closer inspection.

A few years ago, I realized these holes come from my t-shirt getting between the kitchen count and the button on my pants or jeans. The two hard surfaces literally grind away the knit fabric.  If I have on another type of fabric, a shiny spot may occur.  My jeans’ buttons are always counter height!

The fleabites ruin a perfectly good t-shirt!

For this reason, as well as others, I regularly wear an apron.  The extra layer of fabric aids in preventing damage to knits.  If I am in a hurry and don’t take time to put on an apron, I tuck the front of my shirt into my jeans or pants (could this be the inspiration for the French tuck?).

Another t-shirt with lots of large, running (like runs in pantyhose) holes.

When I am in a big hurry, and I forget to put on an apron or tuck in my shirt, then I regret it.  I can literally feel the hole being made when the button and counter collide.  Ugh!

This shirt has one hole and several shiny spots around the hole.

When this happens, I do my best to repair the damage.  I use the technique I detailed earlier in this post to mend the hole and stop the shirt from unraveling thus creating larger holes.  The repair is quick and easy.  However, it will probably be noticeable, so just know, unless you have a reweaver nearby who can actually repair the damage, you have just ruined your shirt.  Hopefully, you purchased it on sale!

More holes!

Another preventative tip if you experience these small holes on the front of your shirt is to not wear knit shirts while washing dishes, working at the counter, etc.  Although knit shirts are comfortable to wear around the house and provide plenty of stretch in the armhole area for all those around-the-house chores, there are equally comfortable alternatives.

I have started buying more polyester tunic shirts.  They wash up easy, are pretty indestructible, and don’t require as much ironing as a cotton shirt.  If I fear static issues, I just lay them on the side of the bathtub to dry which never takes long.  Most days I skip ironing them because the wrinkles tend to fall out when I wear the shirt.

The Loft has offered some great shirts called mixed media.  They are woven polyester on the front but knit rayon or polyester on the back (they must have had fleabites in mind when they came up with these!).  Not only does this design prevent the dreaded tiny holes on the front of the shirt, but it also allows the extra give we sometimes need in the arm area when reaching, lunging, stretching, etc….usual housecleaning maneuvers.  You can usually find these on sale at the Loft website or on resale vendors sites such as ThredUp, eBay or Poshmark.  Hopefully, the item description will highlight the mixed media effect.

There are so many holes in this shirt that they seem to want to run together.

One other solution is to go back to wearing low-rider jeans!  That would lower the location of the button and solve the problem.  But I am kind of glad high-waisted jeans are in style.  I spend a lot less time pulling my jeans back up to wear they belong!

It is not just 100% cotton t-shirts (which are the patterned gray, blue, and red t-shirts photographed above) that have the fleabite issue, but blends have the same problem.  The gray t-shirt in the sixth photograph is a blend of 50% polyester, 37.5% cotton, and 12.5% rayon.  It does have holes, but they don’t run as quickly as the 100% cotton shirts.  Part of the difference may be in the weave not just the fabric content.

Do you suffer from fleabites in your t-shirts and knit tops?  What are your tips and tricks for combatting this aggravating, shirt-ruining problem?

This was a favorite t-shirt until it became riddled with small holes on the front.

As always, the opinions in this post are mine.  Vendors referenced did not provide any sponsorship, payment, or discount for being mentioned.


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