I learned how to iron at age 12. Everyday blues and BDUs [rhymin’ and stealin’]. We have customers in-house tomorrow, so I had some shit to take care of tonight. I decided to be an asshole and post my personal theories about the art of ironing to my stupid little website.
Ironing is inconvenient to your schedule.
It takes as long as it takes to get your shit right. Don’t rush it; do it right.
Ironing is a two-handed practice.
Two hands to make the fabric as flat and smooth as possible before even picking up the iron, and a pull and a stretch from time to time (more often than not) to make sure it doesn’t bunch up underneath. Don’t make the mistake that your pre-iron flattening efforts will stay true under the heat of the iron, especially if your fabric absorbs the steam and becomes “sticky” (natural fibers). Pay attention to how your fabric is behaving under the weight and heat of the iron. If it’s walking with the iron, you’ll need to pull and stretch more with your non-iron hand than if it’s just laying there like a $5 whore (synthetics).
Pants are Harder to Iron than Shirts
Pants and shirts both (except for that primary pleat on pants with cuffs… see below). Iron the pleat so the fabric tapers to a point, so the material stops overlapping and becomes smooth, but without weird fabric action like twisting and bunching (think stretching with the non-iron hand). Do it beyond where you want the pleat to end. Next move: Iron out all smooth-like the bottom of the crease to the point where you’d like it to end. The result is a nice transition from crease to smooth.
If you have pleats on your pants, you need cuffs to weigh them straight. And your primary pleat (the one closest to the zipper) should flow seamlessly into the crease of the pant legs. The other(s) should not go below the crotch of the pant, preferably a little bit higher. Draw a line up from the proper pant leg crease (middle of your leg as the pants hang) to that primary pleat. Do it with your fingers by pinching and running up the material. It’ll be enough to guide you later. Iron the pleats first, then do the creases on the same line. Clean and nice.
Armpits, inside elbows, ass-cracks and knee-backs can pretty much be ignored when it comes to ironing. Those areas will pretty much get way fucked as soon as you put on the clothes. But start off proper, and make sure it’s tight beforehand.
Anything that has buttons. Pull and iron over and between the buttons first. Then, turn it over and pull and iron the underlying material.
When you’re in the process of two-handed ironing–when you have to pull and stretch–do it on the seams and already-ironed creases. Be creative to a certain extent. Never pinch your shit where there shouldn’t be a crease. Otherwise, you’ll end up with false nipples (remember that t-shirt twist joke?) all over the place.
Don’t forget to work your pocket linings. Never iron over the pocket linings. Pull them inside-out when ironing the front of the pant, as best you can. On the ass-side, pull them up and out when ironing below the slit, and down and straight when ironing above. If you want to look sharp, you can’t have pocket wrinkles.
If you have pants with no pleats (flat-front), then the pants leg crease action is up to you. I’d advise against it, but if you’re hardcore determined, then get a straight crease up the fronts & backs of the legs, not to exceed the measure of your inseam (or the crotch of your pants, whichever is shorter).
That whole “double-sided” ironing shit is a myth. Sleeves and pant legs need a twice-over.
Do it right.