Thursday, July 31, 2008

Domestic Tips: Ironing

I love to iron. I launder my clothes with care; taking them promptly out of the dryer so there are no unwanted creases but I still want them to be crisp. I keep my ironing board set up; equipped with a fine-mist water bottle, spray starch, a thin cotton cover cloth and my dry/steam iron.

Today most fabrics are made with a stain guard that resists liquids so when I am ironing a newer fabric I spray it lightly and allow the water mist to absorb into the fabric before ironing. If the water won’t absorb I turn the clothing article inside out and mist again. Often times the stain guard is only applied to the top of the fabric. Whether ironing the right or wrong side of fabric, always test in an inconspicuous location (try the hem line) or use a cover cloth to ensure the fabric can withstand the heat.

I love to use spray starch on cotton shirts and blouses to give a little extra structure. To avoid white flakes from the starch simply spray on fabric and allow the spray starch to absorb before setting with a hot iron. On dark articles of clothing (such as black dress pants) I turn the article inside out and spray with starch. When doing this on pants that need a center crease simply iron the pants completely from the inside flat with no crease, turn right sides out, fold crease into leg and iron set the crease. I recommend not layering one creased pant leg on top of the other when ironing but rather splitting the legs to crease one at a time.

To avoid unwanted bumps and creases never use wire hanger and always hang pants and skirts on hangers with waist clamps.

Do you have a favorite t-shirt with decal that you would like to freshly iron for crispness? Completely iron the t–shirt body inside out; this allows you to iron over the back of the decal without ruining it or your iron. Once you have finished ironing the t-shirt and it has cooled, turn it right side out and iron the sleeves. Personal preference determines whether or not to crease the sleeve from the shoulder.

Delicate fabrics need ironing? Hang the item up high (maybe on a door jam) so you can easily see entire piece. Using the steam option on your iron, hold the iron 10 inches from clothing and press steam button while moving the iron up and down. Caution: 1- Test clothing first in an inconspicuous area such as the hem line to ensure the material can withstand the steam heat, 2- Be careful not to burn your arm from the steam.

Having guests spend the night? Iron the top hem and pillow cases for a crisp, fresh appearance.

Traveling and no iron available? I have two solutions that I have used. One idea is to lift one side of your bed mattress and lay your clothing item crease-free on the box spring. Gently lower the mattress, (you may need help from your room buddy); in the morning lift the mattress and your item should have less wrinkles. Another idea is to pack a curling iron and use the heated iron to run over your clothing; again test an area to make sure the heat will not hurt the fabric.

Traditions: Birthday Story

Every year since my girls were born I spend a special moment with them on the eve of their birthday. I tell them the story of the day and events prior to their birth. At the moment the doctor comes in the room to deliver the baby I end the story. At this point the birthday girl usually asks the question, “What happened then?” The next day on their birthday, I finish the story from birth to their first day on earth.

After the girls had heard the story 10-12 times they would help me fill in the blanks. Now that both of my girls are young women (ages 19 & 25); this old mama relies on them to tell most of the story to me then I fill in the blanks. Last year my husband, Greg told them the story; I listened to hear his version. I was surprised and interested to hear the many details I had forgotten or hadn’t picked up on (come to think of it…I was in labor!).

I love this family tradition for so many reasons. The special, quiet time it allows me with my child to celebrate the day they entered our family, remembering all the wonderful people involved in those first couple of days, acknowledging the doctors, nurses and hospitals the girls had and memories of their baby nursery are still present in this ever aging mind of mine.