On Sunday 28th November 2010, over the course of an hour, I livetweeted ‘doing the ironing’.  At the time I imagined it to be an informal guide to ironing for the casual onlooker, but looking back I realise that I had perhaps gone very slightly mad. These are those tweets.  

The board is assembled. The iron is heating up. I will be ironing three shirts and one pair of suit trousers.

Shirt one. Purple, navy and white stripes.

Iron the collar first.

Now put the point of the board into the right shirt shoulder and iron the top right chest.


Now, remove the point of the board from shoulder. Lay the front right of shirt flat on board. Iron.

I am a man so I am ironing between buttons. I believe that blouse buttons are on the left side. This may be wrong. Women, please verify.  [Women did verify this.]

Regardless of buttonage, the front right of my shirt is now ironed. Rotate shirt around the board so you can see the back right.

The back of a shirt is a dangerous beast.

Looks simple, but you will need to iron the back of a shirt in two stages. Also, watch out for tailored folds [darts]. They must be preserved.

Okay, back’s done. Final rotation of the shirt, ready to iron the front left.

I am ironing buttonholes. Women, I cannot imagine how you’d be able to iron buttons from this angle.

I should point out that I am right handed. The point of the ironing board is to my left.

That was easy (no buttons). Now repeat the ‘point of ironing board in shoulder’ stage for the left shoulder. Iron top left chest.

Now to iron shirt arms. Do what you want with the arms, they’ll be creased in minutes when you put the shirt on. I hardly bother.

Ironing the arms of a work shirt is a ‘Freestyle’ event.

First shirt ironed. Hang that baby up!

First plea to stop tweeting about ironing. Will I stop? Yes, probably.  [I didn’t.]

Shirt two. Navy and white stripes with a club collar.

An ironing aside. Someone has asked “How do you iron briefs?” Well, I don’t, but someone out there must. Answer them.

As a rule, the lighter in colour the shirt, the more thoroughly you’ll need to iron. Dark shirts hide a multitude of sins.

Although white shirts are a good disguise for stray toothpaste splashes.

Come on, really push that iron down on the white collar!


I ironed that collar a bit too much. It became white hot. Touched it. Burn to the left thumb.

Ironing between the buttons of a shirt is heavenly.

It’s almost like irons were shaped for that purpose.

Pearlescent buttons on this shirt. Just noticed. Bit odd.

Don’t ever worry about ironing the armpits of your shirt.

If your shirt has a spare button on an inside label then BE CAREFUL or it will snag on the iron. Usually on stage 2 of ironing shirt back.

Then you run the risk of ironing accidental creases in to the shirt.

Tomorrow, look at the ‘back left’ of every person you see wearing a shirt. I guarantee some snagged creases.

I should point out that I am taking full advantage of the iron’s steam function.

Here we are again. Ironing the arms of a shirt. “Beware of leaving train tracks” you’ll have been warned.

‘Train tracks’ are parallel creases caused by having arranged the arms of the shirt differently on different ironing occasions.

If you’re leaving train tracks then you shouldn’t be trusted with an iron.

Come on, they’re just arms, iron them!

Fuck the cuffs!

Sorry about that, I don’t normally swear.

Shirt two done.

You know the drill – Hang that baby up!

Shirt three now. Grey and white stripes. Slim fit, so less material to deal with.

When it comes to ironing, less material doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.

This shirt has the colouring of a ghost so my ironing has to be faultless. I might even make an effort on the sleeves.

SLEEVES! I’ve been calling them arms for the last 40 minutes. Apologies.

The thing is, if I were offered the chance to metaphorically iron my life, removing all ‘creases’, I’d still leave it to the last minute on a Sunday night.

Slim fit. When I wear a standard fit shirt I feel like a tree branch with a plastic bag snagged on me.

Okay, three shirts ironed. Good job.

Hang that baby up!

Suit trousers. Dark grey.

Take your time ironing trousers. You run a serious risk of causing the aforementioned ‘train tracks’.

About four years ago I tried to iron a pair of polyester work trousers with the iron on full heat setting (linen). They melted.

I digress.

Girlfriend: “You’d have been done with this ironing an hour ago if you hadn’t tweeted.” She’s wrong, but there is some logic behind her scorn.

Okay, line up the trouser creases. You do not want to get this wrong.

I like to line up the seams of the trousers and then try and align the creases from there.

Please note: these are just guidelines, I am not a professional.

Once you’ve lined up your trouser creases, just GO FOR IT. Iron those trousers! Come on! Be confident!

Measure twice cut once.

Don’t be afraid to use steam while ironing trousers. You’re going to need it.

This is tricky, you’re going to need to iron up to the bum of your trousers, but DO NOT iron a bum crease. That would be insane.

Basically, iron up the bum cheeks of your trousers but don’t go anywhere near the edges.

The trousers are ironed!

The ironing is over. I’ve just finished my suit trousers. So one last time, what should I do…?


Unplug the iron and leave it in a safe place. It is still very hot. Hopefully your children are in bed but if not, warn them.

Now fold up the ironing board and forget about the past. Tomorrow is Monday, a new week and maybe even a new life.

Jesus. I forgot to mention the time I cooked a steak on an iron.

One response to “Ironing”

  1. Surprisingly engaging account. BRAVO and such!

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