Using a Sleeve Board When Ironing

by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 6, 2015)

Many people now wear wash-and-wear clothing. That is, you can wash the clothes in a washing machine, throw them in the clothes dryer to dry, and then simply hang them on hangers without worrying about winkles. Mostly gone are the days when people – mostly housewives – would stand over an ironing board, ironing loads of clothing on wash day while watching soap operas. That's what my mother did when I was very young. She'd wash the clothes and then hang them outside to dry, and then bring them inside to press them all afternoon long.

Today we have the advantage of better technology when it comes to garment care and choice, and I've little opportunity to use my iron and spray starch, except when I iron a few dress shirts and blouses that wrinkle in the dryer, no matter the heat setting. Even if I nab the shirts directly from the dryer as it stops, those particular blouses and shirts, made entirely of cotton, always come out of the dryer wrinkled.

What is the best way to iron a shirt or blouse? You'll need an ironing board, of course, but you'll also need a sleeve board. A sleeve board is a smaller version of your large ironing board, but quite a bit more narrow, and tapered much more at the tip to accommodate sleeves. A sleeve board is not only an excellent surface for pressing sleeves, as the name implies, it is great for pressing those hard-to-reach places, such as sleeve caps and necklines. Follow these guidelines to properly iron a shirt or blouse, using a sleeve board:

  • Set up your ironing board, as well as your sleeve board.
  • Plug your iron in and set it to the proper heat setting. Read the label of the shirt or blouse for proper iron heat settings.
  • First, iron the collar and cuffs, with the collar wrong side out. With the cuffs unbuttoned, lay them open on the sleeve board and iron from the middle to the outer edges, holding the fabric taut to prevent wrinkles.
  • Next, iron the shoulders of the blouse or shirt. Drape the garment over the ironing board, allowing the collared end to hang from the narrow end of the board, and press the wrinkles from the shoulder area.
  • Place the sleeves flat on the sleeve board, with the cuffs at the tip of the board, and press the sleeves flat, creasing crisply as you iron. I use spray starch to achieve a crisp crease.
  • Open the shirt entirely and drape it over the ironing board and press every section, one section at a time, rotating the garment as you go.
  • Lastly, iron around the front buttons and cuff buttons.

Hang the shirt or blouse immediately after ironing and continue with the next garment. Always button the top button of a shirt or blouse when hanging it, as doing so will help retain the shape of the collar.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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