Ironing a Shirt

Organizing Good Things 2004, Special Issue 2004

It's one of those chores that most of us would rather avoid. Maneuvering an iron around buttons, fighting with pockets that only seem to get more wrinkled -- the frustration can make you want to give up and pay the dry cleaner to do the work for you. But ironing a shirt doesn't have to be difficult. Here are Martha's tips for making it a simple, manageable task:

1. Begin with a well-laundered, damp shirt. For best results, cotton and linen should be almost wet. Spray the shirt with water, roll it into a ball, and keep it wrapped in a towel for up to 24 hours. Try using spray sizing instead of starch -- you'll end up with a shirt that is neat but not stiff. Allow the sizing to be absorbed into the fibers for a couple of minutes before ironing.

2. Using a heavy iron on a high setting and an ironing board with a terry cover, begin ironing the inside of the cuffs and up the tabs of the sleeves.

3. Turning the tab side of the sleeve upward, iron up the inside of the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve.

4. Next, fit the shirt smoothly over the end of the board and iron the yoke.

5. Iron the inside-front panels. You can iron right over the buttons and the pocket from the backside of the fabric; the buttons will be protected from the heat, and the pocket will come out smooth.

6. Next, move on to the right-front panel, the back of the shirt, the side seams, and around to the left-front panel.

7. The final step is the collar. Spray first with a little sizing, stretch it taut, then iron over each side. Fold the collar neatly down, and press along the seam. Hang your perfectly pressed shirt on a hanger, buttoning the top button to hold it in place.



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