Whenever we complete a new suit or have an older garment returned for alteration I always try to inspect and press everything myself. I know thatâ€™s not very practical but we admitted weâ€™d never win any prizes for being the fastest tailors in town years ago;)
That said people are always asking me about dry cleaning and pressing etc. Most cleaners these days are pretty competent at the cleaning but their pressing often lets them down.Â Under normal circumstances if you donâ€™t wear your favourite suit every day and always remember to brush it down and hang it up properly youâ€™ll be fine. However, a nice crisp crease in the trousers and lovely soft rolling foreparts makes all the difference. As I said, dry cleaners usually clean very well but often theyâ€™ll make a garment look flat and square with hard lapels crushed under pressing machines.
So the point Iâ€™m getting at is itâ€™s better to do your final pressing at home. Itâ€™s pretty easy and with a little practice youâ€™ll do a job to be very proud of. As with almost skilled operations you need tools. Thankfully not expensive or exotic ones but essential all the same. First of all forget about â€œironing boardsâ€ used by most people without valets for their laundry. Youâ€™ll never successfully press a suit on one of these things. Also please note the terminology. If youâ€™re ever talking with the trade on the Row. We â€œpressâ€ suits and never â€œironâ€ suits. You iron underwear and womenâ€™s blouses;)
To tell you how to do this would be impossible so Iâ€™m going to do a couple of masterclass videos – one for the jacket (next week) and then the trousers (the week after). So back to the tools. Youâ€™ll need –
a, Preferably a good quality steam iron (if you cant get a steam iron then a standard one will do)
b, An old hand towel.
c, A piece of linen or cotton about 10â€³ square.
d, A sturdy table or board big enough to lay a pair of trousers on.
e, A strong sleeve board
If you can’t get a steam iron youâ€™ll need a piece of rolled up old material about 6â€³ long and 2-3â€³ thick when rolled. In the trade this is called a â€œdollyâ€ by the way.
Most people can get a hold of the things above but I know youâ€™re panicking as you like me have never seen a good sleeve board for sale anywhere. We usually have them made for us but itâ€™s not expensive or complicated. Here are the approximate specifications.
About 30â€³ long and 6 3/4â€³ wide at one end and 5â€³ at the other. A comfortable working height is about 8 1/2â€³. A base board should be made a little bigger to make it sturdy to work on. It should be then joined as in the picture with a good strong hardwood or metal as thereâ€™s a lot of strain on this.
Finally pad and cover the board in a strong tightly woven fabric as weâ€™ve done in the picture.
Iâ€™m sorry that if this sounds like hard work but get your local carpenter to make you one and I promise youâ€™ll thank me for ever. Itâ€™ll last a lifetime and it will allow you to press quickly and perfectly every garment in your wardrobe.
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