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How to iron 7 shirts in less than 15 minutes

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I hate ironing. 

I find ironing very difficult, largely because ironing boards are designed not to fit anything in particular.  So, I decided to make an ironing board to fit the shirts that I wear.  I began by making a cardboard template of a man's extra-large shirt.  I tweaked this template until it would fit inside a buttoned-up shirt. 

Next, I cut a piece of particle board to match the template, then covered it with some cotton batting and a cloth cover (I actually found "ironing board cover" material in a fabric store).  After I upholstered the particle board with the batting and cover, I screwed it to a standard ironing board using 4 screws (screwed in from underneath).

Now I find I can iron a shirt (and do a good job) in less than 2 minutes, which means I can iron a week's worth of shirts in under 15 minutes, including the time it takes for the iron to warm up.

I begin with laying the sleeves out flat (not shown in the photos) and ironing them the normal way.  Next I place the back of the shirt on the re-designed board (2nd photo) and iron it.  Then I iron one side of the shirt's front, then the other side (photos 3 and 4).

For pullover shirts that need ironing, I simply slip the entire shirt over the board, iron it, then turn it over and iron it.  A pullover shirt can be ironed in a matter of seconds!

This design works well on men's shirts, however it probably wouldn't work very well on a woman's blouse, due to the complexities of women's fashions, body shape, etc.

I still hate ironing, however now I only have to hate it for about 15 minutes each week!
steftarver1 month ago

I love this idea. I also hate ironing mens shirts until i saw this board the shape of the shirt. I want one!

gamez4287 months ago
Can you provide a drawing with the rough estimate of dimensions? Thanks!!
noliahjones7 months ago
Best DIY I've seen all week! Thank you.
senzen8 months ago
I only signed up to say thank you, I find this very impressive... Seriousy, I hate ironing but can't bear wearing a crumpled shirt. I'm not good at building stuff and generally lazy but this would be so cool... How about a shirt manufacturer that sold this with their shirts?
knife141 (author)  senzen8 months ago
Thank you for the kind words! I share your hatred of ironing, which is what led me to make my own ironing board. I realized that the typical ironing board is a "one size fits none" affair, so I decided to make one that fits my shirt size. I still hate ironing, but now I only have to hate it for a few minutes each week. Thanks again for your comment.
Alex8121 year ago
There is a cool application for android with animated instruction on how to iron, check it out.
link to Google Play http://goo.gl/iAAxm
Ysabeau1 year ago
Excellent, will take the idea and try to make my own. Thank you.
lucitrea2 years ago
thats insanely awesome

i bet you could make money off of this
What a great idea. I hate the ironing boards that are sold today. they are flimsy and require attention ?????? You could continue along this line and develop a much better designed ironing board, sturdier, wider etc. for every day living. This could be your money maker................ I would buy it..................
craftyv2 years ago
Great idea.
vincent75203 years ago
What about real sleeves (ie. REAL sleeves) ???…
That's when it gets tricky and shows the real expert from the amateur !!!!…
I'm not following you - you mean iron the cuff and placket flat, then iron the sleeve flat, like the professionals do? this could easily be done on this board. If you are talking about ironing them with a sleeve board, then you could just set the sleeve board on here too.
rea dudaott's comment coming just after yours : you'll get the answer why it is pretty tricky …

Best wishes
Honestly, I have a hard time with both of you and dudaott usage of grammar and English. I still do not see what the difficulty is.

Sorry.
Not to worry … the reason you don't understand me is that english is not my mother tongue, and the reason why I understand dudaott so well may just be the same ! …

Then again he gave me a real insight in how to iron sleeves properly as I still believe that from my own practice ironing sleeves is difficult because you have to iron two pieces of material at the same time (the two sides of the sleeve) and the cut of each side does not match (a nice sleeve has not the shape a tube). Then the crease ends before the cuffs and these should be ironed differently.

Ce sont les problèmes de l'élégance française mon cher !… ;D

Best wishes !…
Hi vincent7520!

If you have those frilled sleeves at the cuffs, you should put them flat and iron them from the shoulder down, while holding the cuffs about 2 inches higher than the board. This way, the sleeve will be perfectly ironned, with no wrinckles whatsoever. Note that you must use the tip of the iron toward the frilled cuffs, as the tip will de-wrickles (is that a word?) the fabric without marking the frilled on the sleeves.

Best Regards, dudaott.
Ha !…
Didn't know that !!!…
Next time I'll try it.

Tank you so much.

Best regards .
knife141 (author)  vincent75203 years ago
I do the sleeves the same was as on a regular ironing board -- just lay them flat.
hmm … I don't think you had many experiences with different types of long sleeves they sell on the market !!!…
(I'm only referring to men's garnents !…)
I take it you're talking about REAL sleeves as worn by TRUE scotsmen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Like Jason says , I'm looking forward to your instructable.
I didn't mean that all true shirts had long sleeves as I saw many scotts wearing T.shirts :D

I just wanted to say that the difficult part in ironing a shirt is not the back or the front flaps but the long sleeves : these give the shape to a shirt when it is worn during the day once your in an informal job session and that you took your jacket off but still cannot roll the sleeves over your forearm : this takes a true know-how to iron them properly.

As for publishing an instructable on this I would be happy to do so if I had a solution. As I already explained to Jason mine was rather unsuitable for an instructable as it was either have it done by someone else and / or give it up altogether.

Best wishes
So why don't you upload your long sleeve method / technique & everyone can vote on it?
Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you at all !…

The problem is I have not method for long sleeves … When I was an ordinary uptight (long sleeves) white collar, after a few years learning with various girl friends then wives, then trying to no avail I turned to the cleaning lady (I know, I know not everybody can afford one …).
Now that I am retired, I downsized my garments to T-shirts and jeans + a few jackets and 2 shirts that take me 20 minutes each to iron… and they are badly done.

Long sleeves are terrible : most of the don't have the same shape on the body side and the out side, so when ironing correctly one you leave a crease on the other side, then there is the attachment between should and sleeve that sometimes can be really tricky… and of course some fancy shirts have a nice double crease on the middle of the back that slowly decreases (no pun intended) when going downward, ironing this is just one of those another tricks that tell you you'd better leave shirts to those who have the knack ! …

But the again, please accept my apology as it was not my intention to be critical to your short sleeve method.

Best wishes
Surfus3 years ago
Thank you very much for this simple usefull instructable!
Love it!
Greetings Surfus
habeeba3 years ago
how about Pants, any Idea
Go to an antique/second hand store and find metal pant stretchers. Works wonders with slightly damp slacks/jeans. Just hang to dry!
knife141 (author)  remppmom3 years ago
Metal pants stretchers do work great. My mother used them when I was a kid. Haven't seen them for sale in years. I guess its because people quit hanging clothes outside on a clothesline.
If you cannot find pant stretchers used, or just don't want to wait until some show up in treasure hunting, I know of two retailers that sell them in their stores (if you live in Ohio or Vermont) and catalog/online (for everyone else). One is Lehman's, which specializes in selling to people who choose to live without electricity, http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Drying___Pant_Stretcher___165703?Args=. The other is The Vermont Country Store, which aims for the nostalgia market (not as focused on the practical and durable as Lehman's), http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/products/For-The-Home/Household-Solutions/Laundry/Pants-Stretchers.html?evar3=search. You can compare for current prices or search online for "pant stretchers" for other suppliers. Good luck.
knife141 (author)  habeeba3 years ago
I haven't tackled a board for pants yet -- never had quite as much trouble ironing pants as I've had with shirts.
True, ironing pants in not as cumbersome as shirts, thanx for the wonderful idea.
extrife3 years ago
may i know what the template is made out of?
knife141 (author)  extrife3 years ago
I used particle board, because that's what I had on hand. Plywood or MDF board would be just as good. You want the form to be stiff enough not to flex, but no so thick to make it too heavy.
I would advise going for the commercial grade plywood that won't get all mildewed inside from the moisture and use an old wool blanket or wool felt next, then a decent cotton (like a heavy twill) or linen over that. The wool really pulls the steam through the cotton great.

I do like the idea of particle board because it is thinner than plywood.

(yes I made my own custom ironing board cover.)
blackslax3 years ago
Awesome innovation!
I hate ironing also.
I'm wondering about incorporating a clamp system at 4 points. That way the ironing board can be brought back to original condition and can then be stored away in the closet.
That's how I intend to try this. The clamps in question with be the ironing board cover thingies with the clips at the ends.
lorrwill3 years ago
This is great but I have to point out that some women's shirts are just like men's shirts made smaller - meaning they have the same sleeves, collar, yoke, front and no princess seams or darts. I have a few of these because - you guessed it - they are quicker to iron!
speedhump3 years ago
My mother worked in her father's laundry for years ironing more shirts by hand than you can shake a stick at. She told me to iron the yoke ( panel over the shoulders) first - - - and the collar last. Please yourself about what order you do the rest. GOT IT?
yoke first p collar last.

I love the broad ironing pad idea. Can't wait to get mine made. Lateral thinking in the true sense. Well done "knife 141"
oilitright3 years ago
Here's something for all you youngsters to look forward towards. When you retire like me, you can wear all your clothes just the way Lady Kenmore spits them out of the dryer and no body will care.
acolon3 years ago
I have an innovative way to iron my shirts.... my wife....
jdjkz acolon3 years ago
You are lucky to have a helpful partner. I am lucky too, my husband does the ironing. I do the yard work. It takes a team!
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