How to Iron the Perfect Shirt- a Step by Step Guide

A step by step guide to ironing a shirt for that special man in your life.

We all watch those TV programmes where ‘Mother’ has done the ironing, and seven beautifully hung shirts are lined up behind her. That’s the dream…the reality often involves a crumpled mass of cotton and a temper tantrum. If you want to know how to press a shirt so that it glides onto the hangar, follow the steps below. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Collar

The collar seems like it should be the easiest part of the shirt to iron, one piece of fabric, just whizz the iron up and down right? Unfortunately ‘straight up and down’ leads to the ‘crumpled pancake’ effect. Try this instead. Flatten the collar completely flat against the ironing board. Now run the iron from left to right, but stop in the centre of the collar. Next, iron from right to left, once again stopping in the centre of the collar. If it curls up at the edges, just press the iron down lightly for a few seconds.  

The Cuffs

The trick with the cuffs is to ensure they are absolutely flat before pressing down on them, undo the button if need be.

The Sleeves

Sleeves are definitely the trickiest part of the shirt to iron. Start by pinching the shirt between thumb and index finger at both ends, ensuring that you are pinching along the bottom seam, and that it is completely straight. Smooth the sleeve onto the board. Sooth the material with the palm of your hand, moving from the middle of the material outwards. Only stop when the fabric is all flat, with no creases on the other side. Start by the shoulder, and in one smooth, slow stroke, allow the iron to ease across the sleeve. Don’t iron backwards and forwards, stick to the same one-directional movement. Do this a few times until the material looks perfect. By following this step exactly, you will create sharp sleeve creases too.        

The Body

Once again, the secret to ironing the body of the shirt is to lay down the fabric completely flat first. Pinch the side seam between thumb and forefingers, then sooth that side onto the board. Once again, stroke the material with the palm of your hand until all the creases are gone on both sides. As long as the shirt is lying flat there will be no need to iron the back separately. Move the iron from the side seam, towards the buttons. Skip between the buttons as far as possible. Do the same for the other side.

The Back

If the shirt has darts in the back, you may need to flip it over and just quickly iron them back in.  To do this just create a straight crease in the back of the shirt where the darts are sown in and flatten                              

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Published in: Homemaking


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  1. Long Live Feminism!

  2. If only it were as easy to do as it was to read! LOL I’ve always hated ironing shirts – luckily, my husband doesn’t mind ironing his own shirts, while I make sure all clothes I buy never need ironing.

    But I must say, this would be a very helpful article for women with less proactive husbands. So keep it up, Emily!

  3. is this all possible with a antique coal iron in muggy forest climate and a large table for an ironing board….please advise…..

  4. Very complicated!!!!!!! Do collar first then cuffs(iron up the seems) then, to do body start at front then move shirt round board in one direction and iron. simlpe.

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