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Which fabric is easier/harder to iron?

alchimiste

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Between polyester which does not need to be ironed and fabrics screaming no way you will iron me, there is a wide variety of fabrics.
Some time ago I purchased a shirt which has a surprisingly stiff fabric (100 % cotton) and is hard to iron. It's not really wrinkled, rather big stubborn creases. Whenever I try to get rid of them and more or less fail I think that this fabric would be nice for trousers: it can hold a crease.
Since insulting a shirt while ironing it is not my favorite hobby I'd like to know if there is a way --without actually ironing it of course-- to tell whether a fabric will behave or not? I am not referring to polyester or chemical treatments, even amongst the untreated cotton there seems to be some variation.

Mathieu
 

Manton

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Anyone can iron cotton. (Ironing it well is another matter). Wool and linen should either be left to the professionals, or else only attempted when you've been trained by a professional.
 

alchimiste

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I am not comparing people ironing, I am comparing fabrics. For a given "ironer" (say me), some fabrics look better than others (some actually look like they have been ironed).
I don't find linen difficult to iron. Pointless but not difficult.

Mathieu
 

Manton

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I guess I misunderstood. I find that linen is difficult to iron, and easily damaged. Unless it's been prewashed and shrunk and all that, which hardly any makers do anymore, because it's a timeconsuming pain. But if not -- watch out.
 

alchimiste

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I guess it was not clear unless you read my mind. I am referring to shirts.
Another way of putting it is: when I buy a shirt, can I find out whether the shirt will never look good because I will never manage to iron it to the same standards as other shirts? The best shirt in the world which is wrinkled is... wrinkled.

Mathieu
 

Manton

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True two-ply (that is, 2x2 in which both warp and weft are 2-ply) will have more body and resist wrinking much better than single-ply cotton.  Unless the shirt is marked as such, however, I'm not sure how you can tell.  My fingertips can tell high-yarn-count cottons from low-counts in a direct comparision, but I can't tell a 2x2 from a single ply just by feeling it. Side-by-side I probably could, but one at a time I bet I'd make a lot of mistakes.
 

Carlo

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THis may end any lingering doubts as to my sanity...

I sometimes wash very stiff fabrics in a solution of soft water and a bit of very good hair conditioner. I know that sounds rather odd but it works.

I like to wear silk crewnecks under a sportcoat for a casual look and they respond well to this treatment as well.

My thought process in experimenting with this was... soft water will leach out whatever is on the shirt, the conditioner restores the natural lustre of the fabric.

If you try it and it does not work don't shoot the messenger.

BTW: Linen is supposed to wrinkle, isn't it? POLO RL a while bag stuck a big tag inside their linen garments with "Gauranteed to Wrinkle" proudly emblazoned for all to see. I found that one funny.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

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(Manton) I find that linen is difficult to iron, and easily damaged. Unless it's been prewashed and shrunk and all that, which hardly any makers do anymore, because it's a timeconsuming pain. But if not -- watch out.
That really shouldn't be tolerated. Of all the common fabrics (cotton, linen, wool), linen is really the least predictable. I have seen linen shrink as much as 15%. I have also seen it expand, though by a lesser percentage. Hence, linen, of all fabrics, absolutely needs to be washed prior to cutting.
 

Thracozaag

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I'm a big fan of cotton/linen blend dress shirts (either 50/50 or 70/30); they're a dream to iron.

koji
 

alchimiste

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Koji - do your shirts look like linen (is the weaving loose or tight)? Do they wrinkle like linen?
 

Thracozaag

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There are some small linen slubs in them, but the cotton component seems to keep them from undue wrinkling while maintaining the crisp, light texture of linen.

koji
 

uriahheep

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I think that "guaranteed to wrinkle" line can be traced back to the 60s Ivy League fashion for Madras shirts, which whose colors were "guaranteed" to bleed or run.
"Guaranteed to wrinkle" tags were put in garments made from natural-fiber fabrics when garments made of synthetic materials (e.g. polyester) were gaining popularity.
 

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