Wrinkles are the worst. Armed with the right iron and board, as well as a few simple techniques, you can guarantee a smooth look.
Begin with a shirt still damp from the dryer, or sprinkle a dry shirt until thoroughly damp. Start with the underside of the collar; gently pull and stretch the fabric away from the iron to prevent puckering. Iron the inside of the cuffs. Move on to the inside of the sleeve fronts and placket. Slip a towel under the face-down buttons to cushion them as you iron. Iron the outside of the sleeves, using a sleeve board, if possible – it’s the only way to avoid a crease. Iron the outside of the cuffs after each sleeve. Iron the inside of the yoke, the part of the shirt that rests on your shoulders, then iron the back of the shirt. Iron the outside of the yoke and the back. Iron the outsides of the shirt fronts; always iron around the buttons, not over them. Finish ironing with the outside of the shirt collar. Hang the shirt on a wooden hanger, and fasten the top button.
To press both ruffles and pleats, always use a steam iron set at the hottest temperature appropriate for the fabric, and lay the fabric on a thick towel.
TO IRON RUFFLES:
Iron fabric on the wrong side to prevent damage. Press the nose of the iron into the top of the gather, and then gently iron downward.
TO IRON BOX PLEATS:
Lay fabric flat and press on the right side. Cover the pleats with a pressing cloth to prevent shiny spots, and iron section by section.
If you are pressing wool trousers, you must use a pressing cloth to prevent shine. Iron the inside of the waistband. Turn the back pockets inside out. Iron the pockets so they will lie flat. With the pocket still inside out, iron the outside of the pants where the pockets will lie. Tuck the pockets back into place. Direct the tip of the iron into each pocket. Then iron between, above, and around pockets. Repeat with front pockets, pulling pockets inside out, then ironing into the pockets. Iron in pleats, and touch up the rest of the front.
To iron creases in, match up all four seams in the pant legs, and lay the trousers along the ironing board. Fold back the leg that’s on top, and iron the inside of the leg that’s exposed; iron right up to the seam, but not over it. Fold the top leg back down, and flip the trousers over. Now fold back the already-ironed leg, and iron the inside of the second leg. Lay the folded leg back down so both legs are together. Iron the outside of the top leg lightly, flip the trousers over, and finish by ironing the outside of the other leg lightly. Hang from a clamp hanger.
IRONING CREASES INTO TROUSERS
As a general rule, creases start a few inches below the waistline and run right down the center of each leg, in front and in back. On pleated pants, the crease starts where the pleat ends; with flat-front pants, the top of the crease should fall somewhere between the crotch of the pants and the midpoint of the fly. Our technique moves efficiently from the inside to the outside, keeping the pants as crisp as possible. Be sure to hang the trousers in the same manner that you laid them down on the ironing board – with seams together – to preserve the creases. You should use a good-quality wood clamp hanger, which grips the trouser bottoms, or drape the pants neatly over a trouser hanger.
Lay the pants lengthwise along the ironing board with all four seams aligned so that they are in the middle of the legs; this will put creases in just the right spot. Fold the top leg back, and iron the exposed part of the bottom leg; go right up to the center seam, but don’t iron over it. Fold the top leg back down, and slip the pants over (keeping the legs together); now fold back the already-ironed leg, and press the exposed part of the second leg. Bring that leg back down. With both legs together again, iron the top, flip the pants, and, finally, iron the top of the other leg.