Tips for ironing trousers


June 17, 2015 by Ville Raivio

There is no single correct way for ironing trousers — only the end results matter. As traditions go, smart trousers are pressed so that a straight, sharp, handsome line forms above the legs. These begin at the pleats, if the pair has some, and run right on the middle of the leg to the ankles. Flat fronts are usually pressed an inch or some below the waistband. I have had numerous experimentations on many cloths, materials, and models in the hunt for razor creases, so I like to think my findings may help the reader out. A few tips are rarely wasted.

Traditions are once again valuable as few details or contructions on classic clothing are purely ornamental. Pleats are a fine example. They are used to gather some loose cloth below the waist so that trousers may expand when sitting, and remain more comfortable than pleatless models. Their use is very functional and welcome, but pleats also work as fine decorations that mark the lines for creases. The olden irons of choice for tailors weighed several kilos. Their metal body held warmth very well and their heft proved golden for pressing. Few men own such devices anymore, but we do have steam irons. These lack weight but have good steam options. Creases look good, but they also divide and pack the fabric to remain closer to our legs. Most trousers just look slimmer and cleaner with some great creasework. Thus, my little tips follow tailoring traditions adapted for modern irons.

I usually spray and wet the trouser legs slightly, then place a thin rag above the cloth for protection. Next I grab the steam iron, with settings adjusted for the fabric at hand, and press it very hard to the surface. By hard I mean leaning my body weight onto the thing because modern irons don’t have the weight that guarantees results. It’s best not to move the iron at all when pressing down, it will only leave wrinkles on the fabric. The average iron has little width, so a trouser leg usually requires at least three horizontal presses before moving up- or downwards. Most ironing boards are soft and flexible, and will bend under the heavy pressing. This will not allow razor creases, so it’s best to iron the trousers on a truly flat, level surface of choice. My tips are very simple: great creases require moisture, warmth, and really heavy pressing. They will last handsomely as long as the cloth allows. Cotton and linen fare poorly, but great wools are peerless. In short, creases show that we appreciate beautiful details and things.


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"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell