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The Best Way to Iron a Shirt

I love wearing woven blouses and shirts, but the thought of having to iron them can sometimes feel like a real hurdle. Not to mention the annoying fact that we sometimes end up with new wrinkles during the ironing. Wrinkles that are often even harder to remove. Plus some fabrics are just really hard to iron, period.

The good news is that the method in this tutorial really is pretty fail-proof if you follow the steps and principles, which are all very easy to understand and do. And you don’t need a fancy iron to pull it off either (even if makes it even easier, of course).

The three principles behind great ironing

Plenty of moisture

This is incredibly important for a wrinkle-free shirt. Ideally use a steam iron or station (I can recommend the Tefal Pro Express Steam Generator). But it’s definitely not necessary to have a steam iron.

Instead, just spray the shirt, roll it like a bundle and let it sit for a bit. And even if you do have a steam iron, having a spray bottle with water nearby is still very useful, as it will remove any ironing creases that might happen.

Start with the smallest areas

Always iron the small areas, such as cuffs and collar and finish with the largest area, i.e. the front and the back.

This prevents the shirt from getting wrinkled again while you are ironing.

Use the proper ironing technique

Use long smooth movements to iron a shirt, with a firm hand. Don’t rub the iron back and forth, as this won’t remove the wrinkles as effectively. Also, apply the most pressure on the back of the iron. If you put pressure on the tip of the iron, you run the risk of creating those annoying ironing creases that can be hard to get rid off.

Seven steps to perfect ironing

1. Collar

Fold up the collar. Start ironing from the reverse side, over the collar and the collar stand. Glide the iron slowly from one side to the other, press fairly firmly using long motion, don’t rub back and forth.

Turn the shirt and iron from the right side to smooth out any remaining wrinkle by ironing in a downward motion.

2. Cuffs

Button up the cuffs and lay them flat on the iron board. Start from the inside and don’t iron over the buttons, instead just iron around them.

Turn the shirt over and smooth out any remaining wrinkles.

3. Yoke

Place the yoke on the edge of the ironing board, with the reverse side facing up. Start from the top of the yoke and iron downwards

4. Sleeves

The sleeves are a bit tricky since you have to iron over two layers of fabric, which can lead to new wrinkles while you are ironing. Either use a sleeve ironing board and iron on the to round, which also removes the fold crease.

If you are using a regular board, make sure both fabric layers of fabric are smoothed out before you iron over them.

Place the shirt on the board and fold the sleeve so that the crease will form from the shoulder point. If there are permanent folds on the shirt, make sure the sleeve is folded along those crease lines before you start ironing. Stretch the sleeves and smooth out both layers with your hands to prevent new wrinkles from forming. 

From the reverse side, start from the top of the sleeve and iron downwards, checking that both layers are still smooth so that you don’t create any new wrinkles. Press to set the folds around the cuff area.

Turn the shirt over, set the top sleeve fold with a little pressing and iron away any remaining wrinkles. 

5. Front 

Place the front so that the upper area covers the edge of the board. Before ironing stretch the area out, to make sure it lies flat. Start with the button placket; from the reverse side, iron around the buttons, not over them, since this can leave marks on the fabric.

Then move on the remaining part of the front piece. Turn and smooth out the area.

Repeat the process on the other front piece.

6. Back

Finish off by ironing the back. Start below the yoke, press to set any permanent folds, and slowly iron downwards towards the hem, using smooth long movements, with a firm hand.

7. Let the shirt cool and dry

Place the shirt on a hanger and let it hang for at least 10 minutes, ideally more to let it dry and cool before putting it on. This will prevent the shirt from getting wrinkled again.

Want to see the method in action? Then watch this video where I share all the steps

The method of starting with the small areas and finish off with the largest ones is how I was thought in home economics in school and it was such a game-changer for me! It really does prevent new wrinkles from forming, which a risk, especially if the fabric is a bit damp still.

As for rolling the shirt into a bundle and let it soak for even distribution of moisture, that’s a method I learnt from my mum, who went to school for this stuff, so she knows what she is talking about! I actually much prefer the bundle method much better than just randomly spraying the fabric, since it will just create uneven spots that won’t smooth out the fabric as effectively.

2 Comments

  • Jacquie
    September 22, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Similar but with a few comments.
    First of all, just iron the blouse while it’s still damp from washing. No time or energy will have been spent drying it and It will be much more evenly damp and hasn’t got more creased rolled up after spraying. I don’t even own a steam iron (from choice) or a water spray
    Next, change the order of yoke and cuffs. Do the yoke straight after doing the collar and do each cuff as you do that sleeve. Less moving the blouse around.
    Finally, apart from any pockets and the button and buttonhole bands, iron the large parts of the shirt from the inside – it’s much easier to get up into the underarm and shoulder areas from the inside without creasing anything, and do front, back and front straight round, again saves moving it around so much.
    This was a skill we were taught in ‘Domestic Science’ in the 1960s but I don’t expect such useful things are in the curriculum these days.

    Reply
    • Johanna Lundström
      September 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you for the awesome suggestions, and I can totally see that this order would speed up the process as well. I will try and see of I prefer your version even more, those old domestics book can be such a gem

      Reply

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