When I was growing up I remember being amazed at how frequently my Father (a Builder) applied lateral thinking to seemingly complex problems, resulting in flawless results with a minimum of fuss. Such as wrapping a piece of tape a certain distance down the length of a drill bit, to drill to the exact depth you want (as soon as the tape mark reaches the hole, you stop drilling), or tying a pencil to a piece of string nailed to a board, to draw a perfect arc.
That same amount of lateral thinking is used in tailoring. In the end, they’re both trades, one constructs houses, the other clothes. Given enough time and dedication, both can be forms of art.
Spending a lot of time around tailors, you pick up some of these practical solutions. The best ones are those which can be applied in daily life. I’ll try to remember to post more as they come to mind. For now, pressing trouser creases is possibly the greatest thing I’ve seen someone do with a pin, who is not MacGyver.
If you’ve ever tried to press a crease in trousers, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to get the crease straight. It usually degenerates in to guess work and and hoping you’re pressing a crease down the middle and not off to one side. In addition, there’s a tendency for the crease to wander off on its own as you progress up the leg, giving you a crooked crease.
All you need to do for this to never happen again is the following:
- Lay one leg flat along an ironing board, with the outer seam running more or less down the centre of the cloth.
- Line up the inner and outer seams up at the hem.
- About 30cm down the length of the leg, push a pin through the seam, leave it there, then carefully lift the cloth to see where the pin is. If it’s perfectly through the inner seam on the other side, you can now press the crease, knowing it will be perfectly centred in the leg. If the pin comes through forward or back of the seam, take the pin out, slide the top layer of cloth in the right direction until it feels closer to the mark, then re-test with the pin. At most you’ll do this a couple of times before lining the seams up perfectly.
- Note: Use a thin cotton cloth between the iron and the trousers, or you’ll end up with shiny trousers. Old t-shirts make good ironing cloths, as they’re usually pretty thin. If you have an old t-shirt, cut the chest or back out of it and it you’ll have an ironing cloth which will last years.
- Once you’ve done that, move up another 30cm and repeat the process. Once you find the centre at the start of the leg, the rest will automatically start to line itself up, just use the pin to keep checking as you go.
These things always look more difficult on paper, but once you do it for yourself, you’ll realise how quick and simple the process is. You’ll have perfectly creased trousers for the rest of your life.