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Ironing - I can't stand it!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by gregory, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. gregory

    gregory Well-Known Member

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    In the past I've made attempts to launder and iron my shirts, giving up most of the time and ending up sending my shirts out. In the interests of my shirts' wellbeing, tonight, I once again tried to launder and iron them but I ended up really frustrated. The sleeves of the shirts came out very badly twisted from the washer and dryer. And after my ironing, the shirts still looked very wrinkled. It kills me to have spent so much time on ironing - something I find very unpleasant - and still end up with shirts that are not ready to be worn. I may just send these to the laundry service tomorrow.

    For those who don't iron their shirts, do you feel the same way? If you owned $400 shirts, will you also send them out (do you fear damage and possible misplacement of your shirts by the laundry service?)

    Would it be acceptable to wear a shirt twice (two days in the office) before getting it laundered?

    For those who do iron their shirts, how do you do it?
     
  2. montmorency

    montmorency Well-Known Member

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    I got tired of ironing and sent my shirts out for a while. The cleaners shrunk all of them so the collars are too tight. I also found that they never pressed the collar correctly so I had to iron anyway to get the collar to fold along the crease. The way to iron is to find something interesting to watch on tv or play a cd. I let my shirts drip dry on hangers and am careful when I take them out of the washer to put them on hangers so they at least have the right form when dry. I use steam and some light starch and they come out great.
     
  3. ernest

    ernest Well-Known Member

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    Awefull
     
  4. Aaron

    Aaron Well-Known Member

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    What's your technique for ironing sleeves, collar, yoke, etc.? What settings are you using? Are you using an ironing board or the towel on the table trick? I kind of enjoy ironing, I find it very theraputic and relaxing, so I'm wondering why you find it such an unpleasant experience? Is it because of poor results?

    A.
     
  5. philosophe

    philosophe Well-Known Member

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    I confess that I find ironing fairly relaxing. I'm working on a book and find that ironing is much-needed instant gratification. But it does take time.

    Have you read Alex Kabbaz's guide to ironing shirts? Following his instructions will make the whole job much more pleasant. If you do nothing else, try to iron the shirts while they're still damp. Keep a spray bottle handy, too, for touching up.

    Don't let the cleaners kill your shirts.
     
  6. hopkins_student

    hopkins_student Well-Known Member

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    I've ended up with too-small shirts and broken buttons. One, a pique fabric I was able to stretch out, but the other, a lovely pale blue seems too short in the arms now. I wore it once.
     
  7. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    No. You're really making the soil very difficult to remove.

    Look, for all you lazy good-for-nothings who don't want to follow my step-by-step wash/iron instructions from the best posts thread (or somewhere on my ancient web site), just try this:

    Wash your shirts. Hang them to dry. Place them in a plastic bag and take them to the local Chinese laundry and make a deal. "Just iron them and charge me the same as if you washed them." 99% of them are fabulous ironers. The only place they do sh.t work is in the washing. The only place they ruin your shirts is in the washing. And that's only because most of them send them to a large commercial laundry for the wash part.

    So hand them the shirts ... and go have a vodka martini. You know ... the girlie martini from the Black Suit thread ... which you'll now have time to read all of because you won't be ironing your shirts.
     
  8. gregory

    gregory Well-Known Member

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    I'm really honored to be learning ironing techniques from the best shirt maker in this fair land [​IMG] Do you really think there is so much dirt in the shirt? After all, I bathe twice (.) and I'm working in an office, not in a construction site. And wouldn't less washing/ironing prolong the life of the shirt?
     
  9. hopkins_student

    hopkins_student Well-Known Member

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    Alex,

    I must be in a bad place. I've taken shirts to the laundry to get them pressed, and they always come back smaller than they left. And with broken buttons. Despite mentioning the broken buttons they refuse to hand press, at any cost. I suppose I can give it one more try myself, now that I have your tips.
     
  10. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    It's not your dirt. It is the dirt present in the City air from things like coal burning electric generation plants and bus exhausts. It settles down between your collar and your neck and gets rubbed in every time you nod or turn your head.

    It wouldn't really prolong the life because you would have to scrub that much harder. IMHO, if you wash your shirts at home in a home washer on warm with Tide, you should get more than 50 and probably as many as 100 washings from them. It is the superheated 200° water and cheap sh.t strong detergents they use commercially which harm the fabric. You just really couldn't do that if you wanted with 125° water and home detergents.
     
  11. hopkins_student

    hopkins_student Well-Known Member

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    So the official word is warm rather than cold? Is this always, for all fabric types?
     
  12. alchimiste

    alchimiste Well-Known Member

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    I don't dislike ironing either, except when the fabric does not want to unwrinkle. I may spray some shirts with water, iron them dry and spray and iron again and they are still wrinkled. In such cases ironing gets on my nerves.
     
  13. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys - I really did mean hand pressed - not machine pressed. The local neighborhood Chinese laundries hand press. You know, the 'tailor' who stands in the window all day ironing shirts. If they refuse to hand press, I have no suggestion except to move on to another laundry.
    Pressing bucks were designed to do trousers - and not the waists thereof - and certainly not shirts. The steam is superhot and the pressure is intense enough to break the buttons. Bad machine. Very bad machine. I remember one day long ago I sent a shirt out to one of those places. Actually a very famous one which charged me about 17 bucks in the early 1990's. The shirt came back. We stood it in the corner. It's still standing in the corner. Occasionally, we use it for a shelf.

    Two answers in one:
    No - not always warm. Warm for regular cotton dress shirts. Linens, dark colors, questionable fabrics, voiles etc - Cold.
     
  14. linux_pro

    linux_pro Well-Known Member

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    I wish you had photographs or an mpg for the ironing instructions. I'm just having a hard time getting a mental picture of some of those steps. I hate ironing, but my girlfriend has refused to do any more for me. So now, for the first time in my life, I am ironing my shirts, and I'm trying to follow your guide. I am quite sure I look like a complete idiot and I really hope I don't burn any shirts in the process.

    Kabbaz - is it true that you are no longer accepting new clients?
     
  15. gregory

    gregory Well-Known Member

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    Aren't you a big shot in a VC firm? Your analysts or interns may be happy to take care of that [​IMG]
     
  16. Concordia

    Concordia Well-Known Member

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    May be veering off topic, but does anyone know of a laundry near Boston that presses by hand?
     
  17. bryce330

    bryce330 Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree with the esteemed Mr. Kabbaz on this point.

    Washing a shirt after every wearing strikes me as unnecessary and wasteful. True, a quality shirt may last 50-100 washings, but why shorten the life of the shirt by washing it so frequently?

    As far as I'm concerned, the only appropriate answer to the question "when should I wash my shirt?" is "when it is dirty." I always was the shirt at the first sign of visible dirt, however, since I don't really perspire and am not susceptible to the dreaded "ring around the collar", this is often two, three, or more wearings. Even then, the only part of the shirt that shows any dirt is often the cuffs, so I will simply hand wash the cuffs.
     
  18. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    Then don't iron. Find a cleaners that does a good, careful job. They do exist. Ask around (here.) and ask your tailor what cleaners will do a good job. I've found one here in DC (Chain Bridge Cleaners on MacArthur Blvd, NW).

    Also, regarding wearing a shirt more than one day before putting it in the hamper, I will do so sometimes this time of year when sweating is at a minimum. Actually, I used to do this much more, but I find I do it less and less the older I get.
     
  19. ernest

    ernest Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    I wash the collar and cuffs and armpits after several wears.
     
  20. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Well-Known Member

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    Isn't Tide on the harsh end of commercial detergents? I would think there are other detergents out there that are better for preserving color.
     

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