How to flatten a shirt hem?
February 25, 2015 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Clothing experts! I have a trivial problem. The hem of my button-up shirts -- the hem on the non-button side -- always folds over on itself. How do I make it flat again? It's happening to all my flannel button-ups, seriously jeopardising my aspirations to lumbersexuality. Pic below.
posted by dontjumplarry to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Iron with steam on a very high heat. Zap with some sizing or starch if it's really stubborn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:46 PM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

Have you tried ironing it?
posted by erst at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Generally the way you flatten most creases and whatnot on clothing: an iron. You can also try taking it out of the dryer after about 5 minutes (so it's still wet and warm) and pulling and flattening it by hand, then air drying the rest of the way.

But yeah, iron it.

p.s. that part of a shirt is called a "placket"
posted by brainmouse at 1:47 PM on February 25, 2015 [6 favorites]

You can iron it. It will stay flat for about 6.5 minutes. Starch will increase that time, somewhat.

In my experience, you just have to suck it up - I've never gotten them to reliably lay flat without far more work than it is worth.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Aaaaah. Ok I haven't ironed it. I somehow thought that because it was such a recalcitrant fold that ironing wouldnt work.

Now to find someone who owns an iron. Haha. Thanks all!
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:53 PM on February 25, 2015

I used to have the same problem, and I have never been able to completely eliminate it, but the following pre-wash step has reduced the occurrence by at least 80-90%. Before putting your shirts into the wash, button them all the way up and turn them inside out. Take a few extra seconds, but saves minutes of ironing on the other end.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:54 PM on February 25, 2015 [6 favorites]

Combine Rock Steady and brainmouse's methods. Pull them out of the dryer while still damp, turn rightside out and hang to dry. Run your hands over the placket to smooth it out and you might not have to iron.
posted by sarajane at 2:09 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

This won't help with your immediate problem, but I've found that it's related to the quality of the shirt. I don't know exactly what to look for to identify such shirts, but when I find a brand that stays flat after repeated washings I make a point of buying several more. Ironing shirts is a non-starter for me.
posted by doctord at 2:35 PM on February 25, 2015

If you iron on part of the shirt, you will have to do it all or it will look weird.

Finger press it!

Damp dry in dryer or hang wet, as you usually do. Take a spray bottle and saturate the cuffs, the hem where it rolls, and the buttons and line in which they fasten. Pull and smooth with your fingers and hand to smooth the areas. Button shirt and do it again. Your shirts look much tidier when dry.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:27 PM on February 25, 2015

If you iron on part of the shirt, you will have to do it all or it will look weird.

Nah. You can often get away with ironing the stubborn wrinkles but then just fwooshing a lot of steam at the less wrinkly parts of the shirt from an inch or two away.
posted by clavicle at 4:24 PM on February 25, 2015

Make sure you know what the shirt is made of.
The more cotton it has, the hotter you can iron it.
posted by calgirl at 4:34 PM on February 25, 2015

On some stubborn shirts, you can button the shirt most of the way up, leaving a enough unbuttoned to get over your head, iron the placket flat then sew that mf to the shirt at the edge. Absolutely no more curl. But yeah, you gotta pull it on and off over your head.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 5:33 PM on February 25, 2015

Fold it the opposite way exactly on the crease, and iron it. This works way better than simply ironing flat.
posted by celtalitha at 6:48 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a spray bottle with water in it - spray the shirt right where it's curling, pull the fabric with your fingers to flatten it, then let it air dry. Works great for me, might work great for you too. As a former constant ironer, this is the simplest and most low-effort solution that I've found. If it's not drying fast enough, I just get out the blow dryer.
posted by belau at 7:10 PM on February 25, 2015

Another way to flatten it without having to iron it: When it's almost dry but still a little damp, take the placket between your hands - one hand at the neck end and the other hand at the hem end, pull it fairly tight between your hands and then slide it over and over a fairly sharp edge like a counter-top or desk edge, running the sharp furniture edge up and down over the placket. It's like finger-pressing but using a wider and sturdier object than your fingers.

If you want to make a crease instead of remove one, just fold the fabric where you want the crease and then run it over the sharp edge several/many times. It's not as perfect as an ironing job, but it works in a pinch.
posted by aryma at 8:25 PM on February 25, 2015

In a pinch you can use a flat-iron on the placard, the collar, or any other small parts that might have a crease like that. The handy thing is that you can use it while you're wearing the shirt.
posted by VTX at 5:37 AM on February 26, 2015

Irons cost like $10-15 USD on the low end. You could just buy one! It will last for a decade if you don't drop it.

(This is really cute. For someone who knows what an iron is for and is used to using one, it's like you asked, "After I get out of the shower my hair is wet. Is there some way to dry it?" I am smiling.)
posted by amaire at 12:57 PM on February 27, 2015

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