Ironing Your BDU Top in 12 Easy Steps
From the way things have looked at recent uniform inspections, not many of you cadets know how to iron your uniforms. That is why I have taken step-by-step pictures of how to do it. Hopefully, all your BDUs will look spiffy next meeting.
"I've seen uniforms that look like they were ironed with rocks. I've seen shoes that look like they were shined with a chocolate bar, or maybe painted black or something. My point is, you need to be actually devoting time to your uniform, and caring about how you look in it. The United States Air Force is letting us wear their uniform, and we need to make sure that we look professional."
- C/Capt Josiah Tillett
Cadet Commander, MER-NC-800
BEFORE YOU BEGIN, TURN YOUR IRON ON TO HIGH. MAKE SURE IT IS ON STEAM OR YOU WILL SCORCH YOUR UNIFORM!!!
Unpin your ranks. (you will be ironing your collar) Unbutton all your pockets and take out anything that may be in them: CAPIDs, pens, papers, WHATEVER. You do NOT want to melt anything while ironing your pockets. (Trust me: I have heard horror stories of people melting their CAPIDs at encampment because they skipped this crucial step)
Unbutton all the rest of your buttons (i.e. front buttons, sleeve buttons, waist buttons, etc.)Unfold your sleeves(applies only if you have folded them summer style)
Lay uniform on ironing board, front right side on board. Fit as much uniform as possible on ironing board. Start ironing Move it around as needed until the entire the front right side of your top is ironed. Be careful not to run the iron over your buttons or you WILL melt them.
When you get to your pockets, they must be folded. DO NOT run the iron over them and hope it looks good. IT WILL NOT! Pull the side flap open, tuck it in at the bottom so that it is flat all the way down, then fold over. Make sure the bottom of the pocket is tucked under the seam and is not hanging out. Iron.
When you are done, the corner should look like this:
IRONING IS A GOOD TIME TO CLIP STRINGS. If you find one, pull it out as far as it will go and clip it (either small scissors or finger nail clippers will work) as close to the fabric as possible. DO NOT USE A LIGHTER UNLESS YOU WANT TO SCORCH YOUR UNIFORM!
When you iron your pocket flaps, DO NOT simply iron as is. THERE IS A REASON YOU UNBUTTONED THEM! If you just iron over your pocket flaps, besides getting ugly iron marks in the shape of buttons on the top of the flap, you run the risk of MELTING YOUR BUTTONS! Fold back the pocket flap for each pocket and iron like so. Be careful not to iron over your buttons, unless you want to melt them. **At the top of your uniform, you need to press down your first button from your collar to the edge of your top. Again, DO NOT iorn over your botton, just iron the crease. When you have finished the right side of your top, do the left side.
Flip your uniform and lay your uniform back up on the ironing board. Iron. This is the easiest part of the top to iron.
Open up your top and iron the collar, then flip over and iron the other side. Be careful not to iron any wrinkles into it. Since the collar is doubled fabric, it will be very easy to mess up on.
Now it is time to do your sleeves. They are the hardest part of your top to iron. Pick up your top and hold it up. See the seam under the sleeve that runs from the armpit to the wrist? Grab it. Folding sleeve at seam, lay flat on the ironing board. MAKE SURE BOTH SIDES OF THE SLEEVE ARE FLAT, OR YOU WILL IRON IN WRINKLES! Carefully iron sleeve, then flip and iron other side. DO NOT PUT A CREASE IN THE TOP OF THE SLEEVE! Now do the other sleeve the same way.
If it is winter, skip the next four steps and go straight to step 12
Cadets, it is hot out! Roll up your sleeves!
To roll up your sleeves, fold the cuff back against the sleeve so the cuff is inside out. Pull cuff up to shoulder seam. Iron. If you have long sleeves, follow directions in parenthesis for the next two steps.
Next, fold the crease you just ironed up about a third of the distance between the crease and the cuff. Iron. (fold the crease you just ironed half way up. Iron)
Now, fold the crease you just ironed up to the cuff. DO NOT ROLL IT OVER THE CUFF! Iron.(fold the crease you just ironed half way up. Iron.)
Lastly, fold cuff down over folded and ironed sleeve. Iron one last time. You should be able to see your sleeve patches. When your uniform is on and elbows are bent at right angles, the rolled sleeves should be at least an inch away from your fore arm.
CONGRADULATIONS!! You have just ironed a BDU top.
To finish the job, button all your pockets, button the front, and button any other buttons you have. (That way, you won't get caught at uniform inspection!) Fold your collar down. Pin your ranks on. (Ranks should be 1" up from the bottom of your collar and centered) Hang it up! If you don't hang your BDU top up, it will get wrinkled and you will have to iron it again.
DO NOT FORGET TO TURN YOUR IRON OFF!!!