How to Iron Underclothing and Fold it Correctly - The Starching and Ironing of Collars and Cuffs - Cold-water Starch - To Starch and Iron a Gentleman's Shirt - Polishing - Folding a Shirt


Underclothing should be ironed slightly damp, or the iron will give no gloss, but at the same time it must not be too wet, or the iron will cool too quickly. Turn it on to the right side before commencing ironing. Any frills or embroidery must be ironed first, embroidery on the wrong side, and over a piece of flannel, if possible, to give it a raised appearance, and plain frills on the right side to give them a gloss. Too hot an iron must not be used, as the work should not be done quickly.

Note. - The frills may, if liked, be dipped into very thin hot-water starch before the garment is rolled up ready for ironing. Any goffering or crimping will keep longer in position if done on a slightly stiffened material.

In the case of very thin cambric underclothing it is an improvement if a little made starch is added to the blue-water.

After the trimming, iron any bands, yoke, sleeves, and double parts on the wrong side as well as on the right. Always keep the neck or top of the garment at the left-hand side so as to allow the point of the iron to enter into any gathers, and open them out.

Damp over any parts that may be too dry with a soft, wet rag, and iron until quite dry. Iron out any tapes, and iron round, not over, the buttons. Before folding, any frills must either be goffered or crimped.

Although there are certain rules to be followed, the folding of underclothing is very much a matter of taste, and depends largely upon the style and shape of the garment. The chief object must be to make the article neat and pretty, and to show off any trimming to the best advantage. Pleats must be laid where necessary, and the garment made a convenient size for putting away.

Collars, Cuffs, and Shirts

Wash and dry collars, cuffs, and shirts according to directions already given. It is most important to have the washing process well carried out, as, unless the old starch is thoroughly washed out of the articles, no amount of after care in the later processes will make these articles look nice. Whilst drying, too, they must be carefully guarded against smuts, and should even be covered with a piece of muslin, if necessary. They must be perfectly dry before starching, and any articles that are required very stiff, like the above, must be starched in cold-water starch, made as follows:

Starch .. 2 ounces, or 2 tablespoonfuls

Water .. 3 gills or 3 teacupfuls

Turpentine 1 teaspoonful

Borax .. 1/2 teaspoonful

Mix the starch with the cold water until no lumps are left, and leave it to soak overnight. Then add the turpentine and borax, when the starch is ready for use. The turpentine produces a gloss when ironing the starched article, while the borax tends to whiten and stiffen the fabric. Should any starch be left over it may be kept for some days if carefully covered.

Have ready at hand a basin of cold water, a basin of cold-water starch, one or two clean towels, and a soft rag to use as a rubber. Mix the starch well up from the foot of the basin and commence by starching the collars and cuffs. Put one or two at a time into the starch, squeeze the starch well through them with the hands, and wring out tightly. Rub each one separately to ensure the inner folds of linen being well starched, pull out straight and lay flat on a towel. Proceed with the other articles in the same way, roll them up and let them lie for at least an hour before ironing. Always use sufficient starch.

How to Starch a Gentleman's Shirt

To starch a gentleman's shirt, keep the shirt on the wrong side, and only turn it when about to iron. Gather the two cuffs together, wet the cotton part of the sleeve to prevent the starch spreading, and dip the cuffs only into the starch.

Squeeze and work the starch through them, wring tightly, and rub each one separately. Then place the two halves of the front together, and gather up in the hands, also taking in the neck-band. Carefully wet the cotton part round the sides, and starch the front in the same way as the cuffs.

Spread the shirt on the table with the front uppermost, and the neck towards the edge of the table. Rub over the starched parts lightly with a dry rubber, double the shirt, fold the sleeves across the back, and double again. Then sprinkle with water on both sides, roll up tightly, wrap in a towel, and allow it to lie for an hour or two at least before ironing. Things starched in cold-water starch must, on no account, be allowed to become too dry.

The Ironing of Collars and Cuffs

To iron collars and cuffs, take them from the cloth one at a time, keeping the others covered to prevent them becoming too dry. Spread the collar out on the table with the wrong side uppermost, and smooth away all wrinkles with a soft rubber, or a paper-knife. Iron the wrong side once or twice, passing the iron over the linen quickly and lightly. Then turn, smooth again, and iron first lightly, and then heavily, until the collar or cuff is glossy and stiff. Lift occasionally whilst ironing to allow the steam to escape from underneath, and when quite dry lay aside for polishing if desired. For the successful ironing of collars and cuffs clean and hot irons are absolutely necessary.


In order to polish an article place it on a hard, flat surface - i.e., a smooth board or a tin placed under the ironing-sheet. Damp the right side of the linen very lightly with a wet rubber, then run a hot polishing-, iron up and down the article. Swing the iron loosely from the wrist, pressing principally with the rounded part. The linen will at first have a streaky appearance, but the polishing must be continued until an evenly glossed surface has been obtained.

Instead of polishing with the iron, one of the various starch glazes may be used. These are either rubbed on the linen during ironing or added to the starch beforehand. Directions for use are given with the different preparations. After polishing, the cuffs and collars must be rounded into shape with the back of the iron, and then placed on a tray near the fire to air, and become thoroughly crisp.

Unroll a shirt before ironing it, and turn it on to the right side. Spread it out on a tightly stretched ironing-sheet with the front uppermost, and arrange the yoke so that it lies flat on the top of the back. Iron the yoke first on the right and then on the wrong side, then the collar-band on both sides. Next double the shirt down the centre of the back, and iron the back on both sides, finishing with the parts round the arm-holes. Now iron the sleeves, commencing with the cuffs and then the sleeves themselves, ironing until they are smooth and well finished in every part.

Ironing and Folding a Shirt

Then place the shirt on the table with the whole of the front lying uppermost, and the neck at the left-hand side. Lay one or two pleats in the back by slipping the fingers underneath, and iron these down so that the back lies flat. Slip the shirt-board between the back and front of the shirt, and stretch the front tightly on to it, tucking the collar part underneath. Now iron the front, beginning with the centre, and ironing gradually towards the sides. Iron carefully round the neck, and try to avoid any wrinkles. Lift the front occasionally to allow any steam to escape, and iron until quite dry, using plenty of pressure at the last. Then slip out the shirt-board, and iron the cotton part of the front, damping it over if necessary. The shirt may now be polished if desired by slipping in the polishing-board and then proceeding in the same way as for cuffs.

To fold a shirt, pin the two halves of the front together at the neck, and turn the shirt front downwards on the table. Then lay the sleeves down the sides of the back and turn the sides over towards the middle of the back. Make the shirt just the width of the front, pin the two sides together, and hang it up to air.