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At One With Your Iron


A wrinkled all-cotton shirt is the Everest of housekeeping: a puckered summit just begging to be conquered. Armed with a hot iron pumping clouds of steam, you schuss across the creased valleys of broadcloth, leaving the clean hiss of smooth flatness in your wake. There is a definite plan of attack for achieving a perfectly ironed shirt. Follow these steps:

1. Begin with the collar. Start on the underside of the collar and work from the collar points toward the center (this will prevent tiny, ironed-in wrinkles at the collar points).

2. Attack the cuffs, first the inside and then the outside.

3. Now you're ready for the sleeves. Lay the sleeve flat on the ironing board with the seam on the bottom and to the side. Iron both sides, first the cuff opening side, then the reverse side.

4. Before ironing the body of the shirt, tackle the yoke--the part of the shirt attached to the collar that sits on your shoulders. Smooth the yoke by slipping one shoulder over the narrow end of the board, ironing from the shoulder to the center of the back. Repeat on the other side.

5. Iron the body of the shirt, beginning with one front panel and encircling the shirt until you finish at the other panel. If you're concerned about the placket, iron the reverse side. Iron around buttons (ironing over buttons could scratch the soleplate of the iron and melt buttons).

6. After the body is complete, go back to the beginning by returning to the collar. Press the outside of the collar. Hang up and fasten the top button to hold the collar's shape.

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