This luxurious fabric has the most beautiful lustre and smooth handle, yet it is guilty of succumbing to wrinkles due to the fact it is created from a delicate protein fibre. Here are Sophie’s top tips and easy techniques for how to iron a silk shirt at home.
How do I prepare the iron?
Firstly, check the plate of the iron is clean; there could be burn marks or specks of dirt from previous use so it is important these are not transferred on to the beautiful silk.
Turn the iron on to the silk setting, or if your iron does not have this put it on the lowest heat setting. Select the steam option as well. Wait for it to heat up.
Once hot, run the iron over the ironing board surface to remove any lingering dust. Also, ensure the steam is coming out correctly. Something to watch out for is that water is not dripping from the steam hole.
Why is water dripping from my iron?
This can be one of two reasons: the iron is not hot enough yet to steam; instead it spits or drips water. Secondly, this can be due to a build-up of limescale inside the iron or on the iron plate. To make sure this doesn’t happen, always empty the water from the iron after use and refill when in use.
Preparing the silk shirt
Begin with turning the shirt inside out. It is important to iron on the wrong side of the silk to protect the lustre of the surface side.
If you are not using your own iron or one that you are familiar with, as an extra precaution I would suggest placing a white cotton cloth between the silk and the iron to prevent spotting or scorching of the fabric. This is just in case the settings are not exactly how you anticipated, as every iron is different.
Which part should I iron first?
Start with the sleeves of the shirt, using a small sleeve board. The sleeves will be able to hang off the sides of the board while you iron the rest of the shirt. If you begin by ironing the body of the shirt, it may crease where it has already been ironed when you come to iron the sleeves.
Open the cuffs. It is much quicker and easier to iron over this flat surface when opened out, rather than when it is buttoned up. This also allows for better access to the rest of the sleeve.
Next, iron the body of the shirt. Move the iron around the fabric in a continuous movement; don’t leave it over one area for too long, and use as little pressure as possible or you risk burning the fabric.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the hem. It is not just about removing the wrinkles; glide the point of iron over the hem to ensure there is a neat and crisp finish to the shirt.
Finish off with the collar. Again, open it up and lay it flat on the board to get a beautiful flat finish.
Once the shirt is completely crease-free, it is important to hang it on a padded or thick wooden hanger to cool down. The shape of the shirt is set once cooled down; wearing it straight away may cause creases to return, as the fabric is still malleable when warm. Keeping the shirt hung up will ensure its shape is maintained and it is wrinkle-free until worn.
Store in a cool dark wardrobe or in a cotton garment bag.
Follow these simple tricks and techniques for silk, and your treasured piece will remain crease-free.