It seems like folding clothes should be an intuitive process, but some items are notoriously more difficult to fold than others. The most obvious example of this, of course, is the fitted bed sheet, but only slightly less difficult than that is a pair of creased dress pants.
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of people don’t know how to properly fold creased dress pants, which can lead to creases in the wrong places and damage to the crease that the pants are supposed to have. In fact, if you fold creased dress pants wrong too many times – or leave them folded in the wrong position for too long – you may damage the intended crease to the point that your dress pants may never look right again.
Thankfully, folding creased dress pants is a pretty easy process, once you know what you’re doing. Check out the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to properly fold your creased pants to keep them looking good for as long as possible.
What You Will Need
To properly fold a pair of creased dress pants, you will need the following:
- The pair of pants in question
- An ironing board
- An iron
- A flat, clean surface
- Tissue paper (optional)
- Sealed bag (optional)
Step 1: Iron the Pants
It’s important to always iron your dress paints before you fold them. Folding wrinkly pants will allow the wrinkles to set, which will make it even more difficult to iron them out later. Depending on the fabric of the pants and how long you let them sit, it can sometimes be impossible to completely remove wrinkles once you unfold your pants again.
When ironing dress clothes, you should always follow the care instructions that come with the particular item of clothing you are dealing with. Some materials can’t be exposed to high heat or should only be steamed.
In general, you’ll want to iron your pants on a low setting, using the steam feature on your iron as needed to encourage wrinkles to release. If you have a particularly wrinkly set of pants, you might want to use a wrinkle release spray. Just double-check the label to make sure it’s safe to use on the material of your pants before applying it.
When ironing creased pants, it is very important that you always iron with the crease, never across it. This will help set the intended crease and make sure it looks crisp and sharp. Ironing across a crease can loosen the material enough that your pants can lose their crease completely over time.
Step 2: Select and Prepare Your Folding Surface
In order to properly fold a pair of dress pants, you will need a flat, clean surface. Trying to fold pants on a wrinkly surface like a bed will just increase the chance of your pants developing more wrinkles as you fold them. The best surface to use would be a tabletop or large desk, though you can use the floor if you’re sure it’s clean, and if it’s not carpeted. Carpets will also increase wrinkling and, depending on the material of the carpet and the pants, may damage or snag your pants and make them harder to fold.
Whichever surface you choose to use, you should wipe it down first with a cloth to make sure any lingering dirt or dust is removed. You don’t want to be folding dirt into your freshly wash and ironed dress pants! If you use a wet cloth, be sure the surface is completely dry before putting your pants on it. If you fold damp pants, you will be trapping the moisture where it can’t evaporate which will lead to a musty smell and damage to the material of the pants that can be hard to fix.
Step 3: Fold Along the Crease
In order to fold dress pants the right way, you will need to fold them along the crease. The easiest way to do this is to hold the pants in front of you by the waist so they hang straight to the floor. Grab the top of the pants near the button or zipper in the front and the belt loop in the middle of the back of the pants, then pull taught. This should automatically fold the pants along the crease that runs down the front of the legs.
If you’re having trouble finding the crease, try turning the pants upside down so you’re holding them by the cuff and shake gently. This should reveal the start of the crease. From there, just use your fingers to gently pinch the crease together all the way up the pantleg until you are sure you are folding along the intended crease line.
Step 4: Lay the Pants Out Properly
Once that is done, lay the pants out on your folding surface. The pants should now be laying with one pantleg on top of the other with the side seam facing up toward the ceiling. If the zipper or back belt loop is sticking out, take a moment to invert that section of the waistline so they are tucked in. If your button is digging into the material too much, you may want to unbutton your pants. This will prevent the button from creating weird lines or impressions along the waistline.
You should also smooth out the pockets so they’re lying flat, and make sure the pantlegs are lined up properly so the bottom one doesn’t show beneath the top. You want a perfectly straight, wrinkle-free line from the waist all the way down to the cuffs.
Step 5: Fold in Half
Once your pants are laid out in a straight line, bring cuffs up to the waistband. As you do this, slide your other hand in between the pantlegs that are being folded on top of each other up to the inside of the new fold. As you pull the cuffs toward the top of the pants, push against the new fold with your other hand. This will help smooth out the pants as they’re being folded so you don’t introduce new wrinkles. This will also help ensure your pants aren’t crumpling up around the new fold.
This is also where the tissue paper comes in if you choose to use it. Most pants can be folded without extra protection. Some more delicate fabrics, however, like silk, could benefit from the use of tissue paper between each layer. This will help protect the fabric and reduce wrinkles even further. If you choose to use tissue paper, start by cutting a piece that is half the length of your pants. Then, lay that piece on the top part of your pants while they are stretched out on your flat surface. The tissue paper should line up with the waistband of your pants and come halfway down the pantleg. This will provide a good layer of protection when you fold your pants in half.
If you want to be extra careful, you can also add tissue paper in between the pantlegs in the previous step when they are first folded along the crease and laid vertically on top of each other.
Step 6: Fold Again
This step is essentially a repeat of the previous one. Simply grab the pants along the previous fold and bring this up to the waistband as you did before. Be sure to also run your free hand in between the pants where they are being folded and pull the new fold tight to prevent bunching or wrinkling. As you do this, take extra care to ensure the pantlegs stay together properly and aren’t sliding around or becoming misaligned. This can put extra lines and creases in your pants that may be hard to get out when you unfold them again. If you are using tissue paper, cut another piece that is half the length of the pants after the previous fold. Place this on top of your pants so the edge lines up with the waistband and fold the pantlegs over the tissue paper.
Step 7: Seal in a Bag
This step is optional, but, like the tissue paper measures, it could help protect your pants and keep them in better shape longer. Once you have your pants neatly folded, slide them into a sealable plastic bag. This could be as simple as a gallon Ziploc bag, or you can buy resealable bags made specifically for this purpose. Be sure to press all the air out of the bag before sealing it. This will help further protect your pants from wrinkles. It will also keep more delicate fabrics such as silk from rubbing against other clothes in your drawer or suitcase and will help keep dust and dirt from settling into your clean pants. For an extra touch, try adding a dryer sheet to the bag before you seal it up so your pants come out smelling as though they have been freshly washed.
Folding pleated dress pants may seem intimidating at first, but you’re in good company – a lot of people don’t know how to deal with this particular folding challenge! Hopefully, with this handy 7-step guide, you are feeling more equipped to know how to properly take care of your dress pants and more confident in your ability to do so. Now, go forth and fold!