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Pressing matters

February 14, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

Editor's note: This is an occasional series of how-tos that you might have missed learning while growing up or in school.

SMITHSBURG - Linda Nairn, family and consumer science teacher for Smithsburg Middle School, says that ironing is a lost art form.

"My mother taught me to iron. She learned how to iron from my grandmother," says Nairn, who has been teaching for 35 years.

As technology has progressed, the iron and ironing board have slowly been replaced by hand-held steamers or the promise of wrinkle-free materials.


But Nairn says its a skill worth knowing. She says a nice, properly ironed shirt gives that an impression that a person is organized and cares about his or her appearance.

Before beginning, Nairn suggests to first check the shirt's tag to know exactly what type of material the shirts are made from. The type of material helps those who are ironing to know exactly setting to put the iron on.

"Temperature is important," Nairn warns.

Too cold and the iron isn't doing its job. The temperature is too hot, it might ruin the material.

Nairn also makes a point to use the steam setting. "It just makes the wrinkles come out better."

Remember, keep the iron moving. Letting the iron set too long ends up with those infamous burn marks.

Life Lesson 101

Learn how to properly iron a shirt in five steps

Step 1: Linda Nairn says to first start at the collar. Flip the collar up and keep it flat on the board. Iron it in smooth strokes. Nairn says that using spray starch can help keep the collar stiff.

Step 2: The cuffs are next. Make sure the cuff lines up correctly with both sides and smoothly press down on the cuff. After finishing with the cuffs, iron the sleeves. Press down on two layers of fabric. Use the seam to determine that the iron is doing its job.

Step 3: Iron the yoke of the shirt. This is the material below the collar and between the shoulders.

Step 4: Next, shift the shirt on the ironing board to do the front of the shirt. Be sure not to miss the spaces in between the buttons.

Step 5: Finally, do the back of the shirt. Place the shirt button side down on the ironing board, as though the person wearing it would be on his stomach. Iron the back of the shirt, slowly working from top to bottom. Hang immediately.

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