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Basic Care Instructions #13: Pants, Trousers, Jeans, Shorts

 

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BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS  #13: Pants, Trousers, Jeans, Shorts  

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This is the 13th in a series of articles on common care instructions for domestic items and materials most often seen in antiques and vintage textiles, including but not limited to housewares and clothing. I hope this care information is helpful to you.

You may well know a lot more about the care of domestic items than I can tell you here, but it's nice to have all this information in one place. At the risk of trying your patience, I go into considerable detail in suggesting how to care for your pants, trousers, jeans, and shorts; there are specific care instructions here to cover each of these. I've also added some detailed general suggestions, and if you follow them, they can add a lot to the life expectancy of your favorite garments. There is information here on how to hang trousers, how to iron pants, and there's a special section just for khakis.

See our issue BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS #1 for information on how to read care labels you may find on vintage fabrics (and you should follow them if you do find them!). All previous articles in the series can be found in our library and in the magazine archives.  

 

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HOW TO HANG YOUR PANTS

First, hang pants on hangers made for pants!  And hang them without a belt and with pockets empty. So far so good.

The BEST pants hanger is the LAST one in this list because no folding is necessary; it hangs your pants upside down by clamping down on the cuffs.

 

To hang your pants, crease them at the center front and center back and hang them from the BOTTOM - not from the waistband. Now, if you use a double barred hanger, be sure they they are placed in the center of the hanger so they don't "travel" to one side or the other, which causes wrinkles.  Also (don't laugh), hang them ABOVE the knees. Hanging them right AT the knees causes more wear at an already high-traffic spot.

If you need to re-crease your pants for hanging, find the center front and back by laying the side seams one-on-top-of-the-other, so they are aligned. The creases that form will be the center front and center back.

If you hang two pair on a hanger, distribute them across the bar, and hang them in opposite directions.

OR USE THE DRAWING BELOW.

 

Fold the pants according to this drawing:

This is known as the Saville Row Fold; it's a method perfected over generations of the London Saville Row tailors, and it keeps pants from falling off hangers. 

First, take a pant leg in each hand and hold the legs by the cuffs, and maintain the alignment of the pant leg creases as shown in the drawing; then straddle the hanger with the pant legs. Fold one leg over the bar of the hanger, until its' bottom hem sits just above the crotch, one inch above the inside crotch seam. With your other hand, fold the other pant leg over the first, in the opposite direction, threading that leg through the hanger and across the hanger bar. One pant leg should have its' cuff hanging on the inside by the crotch, and the other pant leg should have its' cuff hanging on the outside of the pants.  Now straighten out the pants and make sure the creases line up.


Little did you know that this could be so complicated, right? 
But, seriously, care is in the details.
We think someone said that once, but if not, we're saying it now because it's true.

 

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HOW TO PRESS YOUR PANTS

 

1. First, press your clothes using a iron and on an ironing board. Do not try to iron clothes on a chair or sofa or table!

2. Press one leg at a time.  Pressing one leg on top of the other may be quicker but you'll get "iron shine".

3. Use a press cloth and a spray water bottle. These two combined will go even further to combat iron shine.

Simply:
a. Spray the cloth and lay it over a portion of the pant leg.
b. Place the iron on the cloth, and move it to press the pant area beneath the cloth. When you do this, steam will rise, which is good, and means that your pants are getting a nice firm crease.
c. You might want to "peer" under the cloth at this point - to make sure you aren't creating unwanted creases by bunching the fabric underneath.
d. Then continue down the legs, and over the other pant areas using the same method.

 

4. Look over your pants after completing just one side of each leg. Most likely you will find that the pressing you have done has taken care of both sides, and your chore is completed!
 

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CLEANING 

As a rule of thumb, clean your tailored pants every second to third wearing. More casual pants could use a more frequent cleaning. In between cleanings, you might be sure to brush them frequently.

(Photograph by Harry Whittier Frees; Puppy Ironing)

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KHAKIS

I recommend machine washing khakis, then hanging to air dry. 

 

Air drying will reduce surface abrasion, and after they're air dried, there's a crisp hand to the fabric. 
Tumble drying, in contrast, will soften the fabric, and it's fine if that’s your preference. 

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HOW TO CARE FOR KHAKIS
You can improve the look of your khakis with these basic steps:

After washing, iron the inside leg seams and the back rise seam. After washing, the inside seams won't be flat against the fabric of the pant; they fold together like a closed book, instead of lying flat like an open book against the inside fabric.  As a result, the exterior seam appearance of the pant leg looks wiggly instead of straight. To make that exterior seam straight, with a nice neat appearance, you have to press those inside seams using an iron, so they lie flat and lie open against the fabric on the inside of each leg.
 

 

First, turn your khakis inside out. Lay one leg flat on the ironing board, keeping the seams in the center of the leg.Open the seams with the iron and press flat. Keep the iron centered on the seams, do not iron the edges of the pant; you don’t want to create stubborn creases you’ll have to iron out later. Next, repeat this for all four leg seams. Then, while the pant is still turned inside out, pull the back of the waist onto the top of the narrow side of the ironing board. Then smooth out the back rise seams and press them flat in the same way you pressed the inside leg seams flat.

 

The "outerseam" is the outside seam that runs along the outside length of each pants leg.

The "inseam" is the seam that runs down the inside of each pants leg.

The "center back rise seam" is the seam running just below the back waist straight down the rear of the seat of the pants, between the rear pockets.
 

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SPECIFIC FABRIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS

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(Photograph by Harry Whittier Frees; Kitten Ironing)

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COTTON

COTTON CORDUROY ("CORDS"):
Machine wash in warm or cool water using the permanent press cycle.
Wash dark colors separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Line dry, or tumble dry on a low heat setting.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.


100% COTTON, GENERAL: 
Machine wash in warm water.
Wash dark colors separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

100% COTTON, LINED:
Machine wash in warm water.
Wash only similar colors together (but then you KNOW that!)
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting and remove promptly.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.


COTTON / POLYESTER BLENDS:
Machine wash at low heat using the permanent press cycle.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting and remove promptly.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.


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DENIM

Machine wash denim in warm water, separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

 

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LINEN, POPLIN, AND TWILLS 

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LINEN
Professionally dry clean only.


POPLIN
Machine wash in warm water.
Wash dark colors separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a medium heat setting and remove promptly.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.


TWILLS
Machine wash in warm water.
Wash dark colors separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting and remove promptly.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.


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WOOL

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100% WOOL
Professionally dry clean only.

WOOL BLENDS
Professionally dry clean only.


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FLANNEL OR POLYESTER FLEECE LINED PANTS OR JEANS

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Flannel or polyester fleece lined pants or jeans sould be turned inside out before washing; remove any belts, and empty all pockets.
Machine wash in cool water using the gentle cycle.
Wash dark colors separately.
Use non-chlorine bleach and only when needed.
Tumble dry on a low heat setting.
If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

 

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In short, have fun with your clothing and take care of it.  After all, you're a "picture worth a thousand words"!

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I sign our magazine articles "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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