How to Iron Custom Dress Shirts: The Best Way and the Quick Way
Nothing ruins a great outfit like unsightly wrinkles. You may think (or hope) that they aren’t noticeable, but wrinkles have a tendency to stand out and make even the sharpest dressers look tired and thrown together.
After taking the time to wash your custom tailored shirts at home, the next step is ironing to ensure a clean, crisp look that reflects your custom style. You can go ahead and iron your shirts while they are still wet all at once, or you can iron a shirt each morning as part of your get-out-the-door routine. Whatever works better for you is just fine.
There are also different ironing styles that you can consider. If you never take your jacket off at work, there’s no need to waste time ironing every last detail of your shirt. For you, we have a two-minute ironing option.
On the other hand, if your jacket comes off halfway through the day (or never makes it on), you’ll likely want to be more deliberate with your ironing. For you, we have the complete method.
And of course, there’s always a middle ground. Once you know these two strategies, you can adjust them as needed for your own dress shirt needs.
Original Stitch has over 500 fabrics to choose from, and you can customize everything from the buttons to the collar to the pocket. Take a look at what other members have designed, or start from scratch. Begin designing your next custom shirt now.
Your Complete Ironing Toolkit
Before you can get started, you’ll need the right equipment.
Stay away from irons under $20. You’ll find a lot of options in that price range, but they’ll all skimp on important features. You want a nice, sturdy iron with either a solid steel, titanium coated, or cast iron with aluminum soleplate. Look for something with a high heat capacity — between 1200 and 1800 watts. Choose an iron with a weight you will be comfortable with — a lighter iron may be needed if you have arthritis, for example, so look for quality materials and an extra high heat capacity to make up for the missing heft.
The Spray Bottle
Most irons have a steam option, but you probably don’t want to use it. If your iron has a nozzle that sprays water out of the front of the iron, don’t even bother filling it. You’ll definitely want to use a spray bottle instead that has a fine mist setting. Don’t reuse a bottle that you’ve put household cleaners in.
Fill the bottle with room temperature water that you would drink. It can be out of the tap if you have tasty water — just avoid heavy water.
If you have a high-end iron that sprays water out of hundreds of holes in the soleplate, you might enjoy using that option. At that point it’s a matter of taste. Some people prefer the control of using a spray bottle — it’s entirely up to you.
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The Ironing Board
Invest in an actual ironing board. Don’t try to make do with a padded bench or a rug. You don’t want to start any fires. Get something that’s sturdy and has a lightly padded top.
Getting Set Up
Plug your iron into an outlet near wherever you’ll be hanging your custom tailored shirts once they’re pressed. Set the iron somewhere safe and out of the way.
Next, set your ironing board up. You’re going to use the square end of the board, not the pointed end. Set your board up so that you’ll be able to set your iron on the unused end of it without crossing over your body or getting tangled up in your shirts. This will save you a lot of time and frustration as you iron. Hook your spray bottle in your pocket if you can, put your iron on the unused end of the board, and keep your shirts to be ironed nearby.
As your iron heats, check the labels of the dress shirts that you’re going to iron. Separate them into groups by material. You’ll want to iron each shirt at the highest recommended heat. The hotter the iron, the more quickly the ironing will go. But some fabrics like polyesters are fragile and cannot withstand high heat. You’ll risk burning them if you iron them at too high of a heat. Start with your cotton shirts for the hottest, easiest ironing, then lower the heat as you get to your synthetic blend shirts.
Ironing Your Shirts – The Complete Method
Grab your first shirt. If it’s still damp from the wash, great. If it’s dry, get that spray bottle ready. You are going to iron the outside of the shirt (for the most part).
1. Iron the back
(There is some disagreement about where to start the ironing process. Some experts say you should do the collar and sleeves first, because they are unlikely to get mussed when you move onto the other parts of the shirt. However, the collar and sleeves are the trickiest parts to iron, so we recommend starting with the back. Once you find your ironing groove, you can change up the order of things to suit your needs.)
To iron the back of your shirt, lay the shirt flat on the squared-off end of your ironing board. Align one shoulder of the shirt with the corner of the ironing board. Make sure the fabric is moist all over (don’t worry about getting the shirt too wet), then run your iron down the back of the shirt starting just below the top seam (we’ll come back and iron the yoke — the fabric that falls over the shoulders — later).
Move the iron down the shirt firmly and at a smooth pace. You don’t want the iron to sit on any spot — keep it moving. But you don’t need to go too fast, either. It should take you about three or four seconds to get from the top of your shirt to the bottom with each pass of your iron. Don’t be shy about pulling the shirt taut on the board and using a firm hand with the iron.
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Once that half of the back looks smooth, gently shift the shirt so that the other shoulder is aligned with the other corner of the ironing board. Get that part of the shirt moist (if it isn’t already), and repeat the process.
2. Iron the cuffs and sleeves
Lay the top of your shirt facing you on the ironing board. Extend one sleeve out to the side on the ironing board. Start with the cuff. Open it up and iron the inside of the cuff. Don’t worry about the position of the sleeve at this point. Just flatten the cuff on the board however you can to get a smooth finish.
Once that’s done, smooth out your sleeve, being careful to align it so that the front and back of the sleeve are even. Spray the sleeve, then run your iron down the sleeve starting at the shoulder and ending just before the cuff. Let the end of your iron overlap with the top edge of your sleeve, if you like, to make a crisp pleat.
When you’re done, move the shirt to the other end of the ironing board and repeat the process with the other cuff and sleeve. Then flip the shirt over and check how the sleeves look from the back. If your iron is hot enough, you may not need to iron the back of the sleeves. Give them touch ups where necessary.
3. Iron the yoke
This is where you’re going to want to use the pointed end of your ironing board. Gently place one shoulder of your shirt on the end of the board. The front of the shirt should drape down one side of the board and the back of the shirt should drape down the other. Work your iron over the shoulder fabric using steam liberally to get out any wrinkles. Don’t be afraid to move the shirt around and stretch the fabric to get a thorough press.
4. Iron the collar
To iron the collar, first flip the collar up and lay the top of the shirt face-down on the wider end of your board. Liberally spray the collar and iron the underside of the collar until it is perfectly flat and smooth. Then carefully fold the collar down, give it another good spray, and iron the outside of the collar. Overlap the iron and the edge of the collar to make a clean, sharp fold.
5. Iron the front
You’re going to repeat the same basic process on the front of your shirt that you used for the back. Start on one side, aligning the shoulder with the corner of the board again, and make sure the fabric is damp all over. Don’t forget to iron between the buttons, but don’t put the iron directly on the buttons — this can cause them to break. Use a few extra sprays of water on the placket to make the edge of your shirt extra crisp.
6. Hang it up
Put your freshly ironed shirt on a hanger and button the top button. Give it a once over to make sure you didn’t miss any wrinkles, then move onto the next shirt!
The 2-Minute Method
If you’re in a rush or know you won’t be taking your jacket off, you can skip most of the above steps and just iron your collar, cuffs, and the front of your shirt using the methods explained above. Remember to use your spray bottle liberally, and you should still iron the front of your shirt last.
Original Stitch’s hand-made, custom dress shirts ship in just fifteen days, and you can customize every aspect of your shirt from the inner collar fabric to the button color. With over a billion possible combinations, the shirt you design for yourself will be a perfect statement of your personal, original style. Start designing your next favorite shirt now.