Ironing Silk Suits: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

I used to dread having to iron my silk suits. The delicate fabric always made me nervous about causing damage.

However, I’ve learned some great ironing techniques over the years that make the process so much easier.

In this article, I’ll walk you through my foolproof method for ironing silk suits without worries.

silk ironing perfection with cotton layer

Why Proper Silk Suit Care Matters

Taking good care of your silk suits pays off. When maintained properly, high-quality silk can last for many years without losing its beautiful drape and sheen.

  • Wrinkled silk fabrics can cause the suit to lose its shape and flare.
  • Over time, the warped shape becomes set into the fabric.
  • Unironed silk also appears less vibrant and lustrous.

Following the simple silk suit ironing guidance below will help you:

  • Smooth out wrinkles and creases
  • Restore the garment’s original shapely silhouette
  • Maintain the richness of the color and fabric

With just a bit of practice, you’ll be able to keep your silk suits looking their absolute best for seasons to come.

folded silk on ironing board

Before You Start Ironing: Necessary Equipment & Preparation

You don’t need any special equipment beyond an iron and ironing board. However, having the right setup and taking preliminary steps will make the process far easier.

Cleaning Supplies for Ironing Silk

  • Iron: Make sure to use an iron with variable heat settings and a smooth metal soleplate. This glides easily without catching or damaging the silk.
  • Ironing Board: Choose one with a wide, padded surface. The padding provides an even base and helps prevent impressions from showing through the fabric.
  • Spray Bottle: Use distilled water to avoid mineral deposits.
  • Press Cloth: Have a few lightweight cotton cloths on hand.

Preparing Your Silk Suit for Ironing

Before you begin ironing, there are a few simple preparation steps to take:

  • Check the suit’s care label for any special garment warnings or ironing instructions from the manufacturer
  • Have the suit professionally cleaned and pressed if needed to remove odors, stains, or wrinkles
  • Brush away any crumbs or surface debris that could scorch while ironing
  • Remove non-fabric decorative elements like shoulder pads, buttons, or beading
silk fabric care label

Taking a few moments to prep ensures you have a clean slate to start ironing your silk suit. 

This also avoids inadvertently damaging any specialty trims or embellishments during the pressing process.

Choosing the Right Ironing Temperature for Silk Fabric

Silk is extremely delicate and heat-sensitive. High heat can easily damage, shrink, or scorch the fabric. The key is to use an appropriate steam iron temperature for silk:

Temperature RangeDescription
Very Low: 200-250° F / 95-120° CBest for lightweight silk with trim or embellishments
Low: 250-275° F / 120-135° CFor most light to medium-weight silk suit fabrics
Medium: 275-300° F / 135-150° COnly if needed for heavier silks and wool blends

Always start with the coolest setting first and increase gradually as needed.

It also helps to test the iron first. I simply hold it near my cheek to gauge the heat level before placing it directly onto the silk.

This helps avoid surprises!

iron adjusted for silk fabric

Step-By-Step Guide to Ironing Silk Suits

Once you’ve gathered your supplies and prepped your silk suit, it’s go time! Follow these fail-proof steps when ironing.

Step 1: Set Up Your Ironing Station

Clear an open space close to an outlet and lay out all your tools before hanging up the silk suit nearby. Make sure your ironing board is fully extended and stable.

Then, to prevent shine marks, place a press cloth over the area you’re ironing. The terry cloth texture allows steam to pass through evenly.

cotton cloth iron press technique

Step 2: Prepare Your Press Cloths

Press cloths create a protective buffer between the hot iron and the silk fabric. This lets steam pass through without scorching the material.

Take two lightweight cotton cloths and lightly dampen them with your spray bottle of distilled water. The moisture helps conduct the steam heat to relax wrinkles.

Step 3: Test and Adjust the Iron Temperature

Plug in your iron to preheat at the “silk” setting (around 250° F or 120° C on most models). 

Once warmed, double-check the temperature as outlined earlier. Then do another quick test on a hem or inner seam.

Start ironing the suit from the inside lining or the least visible side whenever possible. Slowly increase the temperature if needed to smooth stubborn creases.

cotton press cloth for smooth ironing

Step 4: Iron the Suit Exterior

With the settings adjusted to your specific silk fabric weight and texture, proceed to iron the suit’s outer shell.

Work section by section, using long, graceful motions. Let the iron’s weight glide lightly over the surface. Avoid excessive pushing or pulling against seams.

Here are some key silk suit ironing guidelines:

  • Position longer outer seams flat on the board first. Iron back and forth with the fabric grain. Rotate as needed.
  • For contoured areas like collars, sleeves, and rounded jacket fronts, use freehand hovering to apply targeted steam.
  • Between sections, hang up the suit piece and allow it to cool completely before continuing.
  • For ornamental trim or embellishments, switch to the lowest temperature setting or avoid direct contact pressure.
  • When finished, hang the garment on a rounded hanger or padded suit stand to preserve the shape.

I was determined to find out how to properly iron a silk jacket and I’m excited to share what I learned.

silk texture preservation with cotton cloth

Patience and working in stages are crucial for ironing silk without causing damage. But the results are so rewarding!

Common Silk Ironing Mishaps and How to Fix Them

Even seasoned silk ironing pros experience the occasional mishap from time to time. Here’s how to address some of the most common silk ironing mistakes:

Visible water marks or shine patchesUse lighter pressure and ensure your press cloth absorbs excess moisture
Fabric has become flattened, stiff, or distortedFrequently allow silk to fully cool; avoid prolonged direct heat exposure
Dark shadow outlines after ironingImmediately use the cool shot button to flush out residual heat

For more serious silk iron damage like scorch marks or tears, stop ironing right away. You’ll need to have these professionally repaired to avoid further harm to the vulnerable fabric.

Steaming vs. Ironing – Which Is Better for Silk Suits?

So should you be steaming or ironing to remove wrinkles from silk suits? The choice depends on the specific fabric and the results you aim to achieve.

Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:

MethodBenefitsDrawbacksBest Uses
SteamingGentler on fabric; less likely to overheatDoesn’t flatten as sharply; slower to prepareFreshening up hanging suits; spot-treating wrinkles
IroningSmooths seams and creases much flatterHigher heat can damage fabric if not carefulPressing suits fresh out of the wash; achieving crisper finish

My recommendation? Learn to use both steaming and ironing for silk suit care.

It’s helpful to keep a handheld garment steamer on standby for quick touch-ups. Use the ironing method for a more precise, tailored appearance.

elegant pure silk texture

Professional Alternatives If You Don’t Own an Iron

What if you need to prep a silk suit for a big event, but don’t have an iron on hand? Don’t panic – try these handy ironing substitutions and workarounds:

  • Shower Steam Method: Hang up the wrinkled item in a steamy bathroom while you shower and let the mist naturally relax the fabric.
  • Handheld Steamer: Portable for travel, these release a powerful jet of steam to smooth our creases. More budget-friendly than purchasing an iron.
  • Dry Cleaner’s Steamer: Many cleaners offer “freshen up” steaming services for just a few dollars to revive clothes pre-wearing.
  • Local Ironing Services: Search for ironing services in your area that allow you to drop off items needing crisp pressing. Very useful in a last-minute time crunch!

Caring for Silk Suits Post-Ironing

Putting in the elbow grease to properly iron your silk suits doesn’t stop once you’ve hung the garment back up.

Implement these silk care best practices to make the crisp finish last longer between professional cleaning:

  • Allow silk suits to fully cool and air out before placing into garment bags
  • Use suit bags with breathable fabric (not plastic)
  • Stuff shoulders with acid-free tissue paper to retain shape
  • Zip bag fully and transport flat to prevent new wrinkles
  • Steam spot treatment instead of full re-ironing when possible
  • Dry clean every year or two to remove body oil and dirt buildup

With the right maintenance, your investment silk pieces will maintain their splendor and always make you look pulled together.

I finally figured out the best way to iron silk curtains, keeping my home looking elegant.

high quality pure silk

Keeping Your Silk Suits Looking Sharp

I hope this practical step-by-step guide gives you the confidence to keep your treasured silk suits looking dapper for years to come.

With some practice, you’ll be gliding the iron over collars, pressing trouser creases, and conquering wrinkles like a professional.

The key is to start slow, pay attention to fabric care labels, and make ample use of protective pressing cloths.

Be prepared to make temperature adjustments as you get more comfortable.

Do you have any other handy tricks for ironing silk without damage? Let me know in the comments!

Following these best practices will maintain the elegant drape and sheen of your silk suits for seasons to come.

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