Anyone remember pants stretchers : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

The good husband just bought some cotton and linen pants for what I've heard called "business casual" wear at work. Being natural fibers, they require careful ironing and I'm not too keen on doing any more of that than I absolutely have to. I remember my mother and aunts using a flattened wire frame they put down the pants legs to reduce wrinkling and subsequent need for ironing. I've seen them listed in Lehman's and Cumberland General Store catalogs and wondered if anyone could advise me on how effective they would be. Also, how do you gauge length. My husband is 6'2" and has a 36" inseam, tall, long-legged fellow. Thanks for your input in advance. Marilyn

-- marilyn (, April 03, 2000


I remember my mother using them. As best I remember, they are adjustable. Mom always put them in where the crease would be and they worked quite well. Hang them on the line of course. I've been thinking about trying to find some myself for my husband. You have to have them stretched pretty tight to get out all the wrinkles. If you try them, I would be anxious to hear how they work for you.

-- barbara (, April 03, 2000.

I just got 4 pair of pant stretchers at an auction, for the grand sum of $1.00 I use them for my slacks that I wear to work as well as for jeans to keep them from shrinking after they are washed. I have two sizes, 21" long and 37" long, of course the waist size on both is adjustable. The new ones that you can get from Lehmans or Cumberland are adjustable for the inseam length as well as the waist. I use the shorter pairs for the kids' pants and the longer ones for mine and my husband's. They really do cut down on the ironing, in fact, I haven't ironed my dress slacks since I got the stretchers. When you hang them out on the line they dry beautifully, I even have good luck when I hang them by the wood stove in the winter. In my book they are definitely worth the price.


-- Polly Sergel (, April 03, 2000.

I keep thinking I am going to order some of these (we used them on my dad's pants when I was a kid, too) but I am in conflict about buying something in support of an item that I have to care about what it looks like! Should I buy something that looks like it needs ironing? Even if I don't really have to? Or should I just try to wear clothes that I don't need to iron, ? I wish my other conflicts in life were this important but really, I have been unable to decide!

-- (, April 03, 2000.

Your about 20 years to late, when we moved into our suburbian house I threw away a bunch of these! My neighbor down the road has them stabbed into the ground around her flowers! They do make a nice fence, being green and all. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, April 03, 2000.

I bought some about 5 years ago. My hubby has a 36 inch inseam also. They are adjustable but the ones I bought were still not long enough. I just push them all the way down to the ankle and the waist hits them at about the hip. I pinned them on the line up side down by the ankle. They work pretty well but I still have to iron the pants. The clip on the stretcher leaves a bump at about the knee, the end at the hip leaves a big bump, and of course all the wrinkles don't come out since there is no stretcher from the hip to the waist.

I would guess cotton/linen pants come out of the washer in pretty bad shape. The stretchers will cut down on the ironing but you'll still need to do it. If at all possible, I'd try to get rid of the pants. You can buy cotton twill casual pants that are wrinkle resistant-- gotta be much better than cotton/linen. I wouldn't work to hard to get all the wrinkles out and I would explain to hubby about fabric blends and that cotton/linen is for folks who can send their pants to the cleaners. My dad brought home some 100% cotton shirts one time. My mom washed and dried them, hung them in the closet and then told him if he wanted the wrinkles out he could iron them or replace them. He replaced them. Funny how some hubbies want YOU to do the dirty work but they would rather spend the money to replace the product than do the dirty work themselves.

Oh yeah, the stretchers are bothersome to put in and take out. Sometimes the tension doesn't want to stay set and you must get a pair of pliers and squeese the clips (very irritating when you're ready to hang those clothes and go). They do rust after a while. So I guess my opinion is that they do help cut down on the ironing but they do not eliminate it. Sometimes I would rather just iron the pants than wrestle with the stretchers. Sometimes I wrestle. Should you buy some? Depends on how much you hate ironing and just how perfect your hubby's pants need to be. No matter what you're still going to have to iron since there is linen in the fabric. I still think it's time to introduce your husband to the iron! Cotton/linen of all choices! His bad choice shouldn't make you have to suffer so much.

-- Yesteryear Cottage (, April 04, 2000.

I too have thrown out trouser creasers, but only because they were starting to get rusty.

Not always, but I usually iron my blue jeans and other trousers, and all shirts save tee shirts. You see, I have what is known as a mangle iron that simplifies the process once you are onto using it. My "Ironrite" is an old one but still works quite well. I will try to describe how it works. There is a heated, 24 inch long, contoured plate that comes in contact with a powered roller that pulls the fabric across it. You are seated at one of these machines, and a knee pedal raises and lowers the roller against the heated plate, and another stops the roller from turning for extra ironing or heating of some areas. It only takes a little time to iron jeans, but does take a little longer to do shirts. I don't have a clothesline, so take the items from the dryer when they are still slightly damp. This saves the dampening process. While I don't need ironed jeans or shirts to work in, I find that I feel better about myself with my slightly better appearance from fresh creases, etc., and for having done the chore of ironing. I still need to learn to add starch at the right time to my washing process, for I really enjoy the look and feel of heavily starched items. Probably comes from my military stint, and time spent as a letter carrier when I had my uniform shirts done commercially with heavy starch in them. It's not for everyone, but at the current time in my life it works for me. "Single gentleman with own ironer----" LOL.

-- greenbeanman (, April 04, 2000.

Marilyn, Oh how I remember those stretchers. I wonder what happened to them. It really helped back in the day when I had to iron everthing. I remember being home sick [cold] and good old Mom telling me the steam from the iron would help my cold!! I still have the sprinkler top that fits on a pop bottle. You would fill the bottle with water,put on the sprinkler top and wet down all that clean dry wash, roll it up and put it back in the basket to set for awhile, then take out a piece at a time and iron it. If you could not get them all ironed, you put the rest in the fridge so they would not mildew. Oh gosh back to the pants stretchers, yes you may have to press out the few wrinkles but they really help make the pants look good. Makes me want to get some! karen

-- Karen Mauk (, April 04, 2000.

Greebeanman, you are a hoot! The only person I know who still uses a "mangle iron" You must look pretty crisp out there in that green bean patch. karen

-- Karen Mauk (, April 04, 2000.

I've been thinking about those cotton/linen pants and thought I'd tell you this true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

"Look darling, I got these great 100% cotton shirts today. And they were on sale,too - imagine that!" "Oh sweetie, can't you take them back?" "Of course not darling, they were on sale and why would I want to?" "groan..." said darling. "Did you say something?" asked sweetie. "Oh, nothing." said darling. Later darling washes and dries the shirts and puts them in sweetie's closet. "Oh my, darling, what happened to my shirts?" "Nothing sweetie, that's what 100% cotton shirts do. Here, let me show you how to use this iron." "groan..." said sweetie. "Did you say something?" asked darling. "Oh, nothing." said sweetie. Later darling notices the garbage is very full. What's this? Why it's 100% cotton shirts. "Wow, I can think of at least 100 uses for these!" said darling. "And they were on sale,too - imagine that!"

This of course does not apply to Greenbeanman or any other gracious, considerate gentleman.

-- Yesteryear cottage (oberg, April 04, 2000.

More on ironing and wrinkles. I just received this.

The mother-in-law stopped unexpectedly by the recently married couples house. She rang the doorbell and stepped into the house to see her daughter-in-law standing naked by the door.

"What are you doing," the mother-in-law asked. "I am waiting for my husband to come home from work," the daughter-in-law replied. "Why are you naked," asked the mother-in-law. "This is my love dress," the daughter-in-law replied. "LOVE DRESS! You are naked," said the mother-in-law. "But my husband loves it when I wear this dress. It makes him happy and he makes me happy," said the daughter-in-law. "I would appreciate your leaving now because my husband will be home any minute," the daughter-in-law continued.

Soured by all of this romantic stuff, the mother-in-law left. On the way home, she thought about the "LOVE DRESS" and got an idea. She undressed, showered, applied her best perfume, and waited by the door for her husband to come home.

Finally, the pickup truck drove up the drive way, and she took her place by the door. The father-in-law opened the door, and immediately saw his wife naked by the door. "What are you doing," he asked. "This is my love dress," the mother-in-law replied. "Needs ironing," he replied.

-- greenbeanman (, April 04, 2000.

Just a thought, I have read that all natural fibers, cotton, linen, and wool are much healthier for us next to our bodies. Too many chemicals in the synthetics. I don't have all natural fibers, but wish I did! I try to buy as much all cotton clothing as I can anymore. And yes, it does mean more ironing but I figure my health is worth it! Now you all can really think I'm weird!

-- barbara (, April 04, 2000.

Thanks for all the good information. I've been up most of the night with a difficult kidding and really needed the laugh about the wrinkled love dress. Now I need to go vote in local elections then get a nap. You folks are great. Thanks again.


-- marilyn (, April 04, 2000.


I was up all night last night, too, with a difficult lambing (big headed boy, and a stillborn girl behind him ****!! sad....!) but I did get a laugh out of some of these comments! Greenbeanman must be the catch of the county, I had said on another thread. Make that the state!! Imagine ironing with a mangle...although it would be easier, really, if you knew how. My aunt still has one on the back porch, but it's a flower pot holder now! We used to put our damp ironing in the freezer. I had to iron pillowcases and handkerchiefs at an early age. I sure wouldn't do that now! And all the rules for the correct way to iron a dress shirt! Sheesh.

Back to my zombie state and moving on to homework....zzzzzzzz.....

-- sheepish (, April 04, 2000.

Marilyn: I have several pairs/sets of pant stretchers, got them a couple years ago when my dryer crapped out. Got it fixed, but never use it now. Anyway, my sister in law was lucky enough to get the pant stretchers my mother in law had before she passed away, and they are much heavier than what I bought locally at Walter Drake. They work, even though they only come in one adjustable size, also not long enough for my hubby's pants, but better than nothing. They are a little on the flimsy side, but if you want some, I would be glad to send you some and you can try them. Walter Drake's has a catalog store near me so let me know. Jan

-- Jan B (, April 04, 2000.

Barbara, I too, must be weird because I like to wear natural fibers due to chemicals. Although they are very expensive, I am going to start buying organic cotton clothing. I hate the chemicals used on cotton crops. I don't have the pants stretchers nor have I ever used them. Have been thinking of getting some after seeing them in Lehmens catalog for husbands jeans. Hey, greenbeanman, I enjoyed the love dress story too.

-- Faye (, April 07, 2000.

I'm brand-spanking new here, but I just have to add my two cents worth. All this about men needing to pick up an iron is just driving me crazy. If I had a "good husband" who was working and I could stay home, homeschool the kids, cook, can, garden, sew, and so forth, I'd be more than happy to iron his cotton/linen pants. But I'm a single mother in a great big city - the kids are in public school, I'm riding the train to a giant, impersonal office building so I can make the money I need to finance my homestead. It won't always be like this, but I'd happily trade a couple hours ironing for 10 hours on the train.

-- Deborah (, April 10, 2000.

Hey, when I referred to the good husband, I meant it sincerely. I've been married to the man nearly 26 years and I still don't know what I did to deserve a gem like him. I'd far and away spend some time each week ironing the man's clothes than putting on stockings, make-up and having to be nice to people I don't give a rip about. Besides, I have a new iron--an iron tractor, manure spreader, harrow and I have a ball out in the field "playing with them."

-- marilyn (, April 10, 2000.

You can get steel pants stretchers with hanging hooks (at cuff line) that are adjustable by width and length for $6.98/pair from Harriet Carter ( or call (800) 377-7878 (24/7). Item number is F8798. Good luck!

-- wk grady (, April 19, 2000.

Can you still get those pop-bottle sprinkler tops? I remember my mother using them (also sad-irons, and I do have a couple of those), and have wished several times that I could find a sprinkler top for myself and stop using the steam feature on my electric iron (we have water with stuff in it that builds up in the iron and every so often it spits black stuff on white clothes).

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, April 19, 2000.

My mother had pants stretcher for my brother in the 1960's. She used them on his jeans. the thing I didn't like about them was that for whatever reason the last few inches of his pants never got the stretch. maybe the stretchers she used were too short. I noticed that there were always wrinkles at the bottom of the legs. I for one do not like to put things inside wet clothes as they are heavy and hard to manage.

-- Eileen Carman (, April 22, 2001.

I have used pant strectchers since the 70'. I love them. I agree that if your pants are very long, some will not fit into the pant strecthers. My family is not on the tall side so that was never a problem for me. I recently ordered some new stretchers from Lehmans but they do not seem to be as heavy as my old ones. Most things do not seem to be what they once were. Anyway, they work just as well. The Vermont Country Store also has them and also the sprinkler top to fit on a bottle.

-- Cordy (, April 23, 2001.

Personally, I'd rather watch paint peel than iron anything. I remember those pants stretchers too. My hubby wears dress pants for work and thank God I don't have to iron them or he'd go to work looking pretty unkempt. I had forgotten all about those sprinkling thingie for on soda bottles. I remember when my mother ironned everything-even our underwear. Good Lord, I now wonder why!

-- Ardie from WI (, April 23, 2001.

I dont use them but my aunt did for years and only had to "touch up" iron my uncles uniforms. You can buy them and the sprinkle thingy that goes on a coke bottle from The Vermont Country Store. I order all kinds of neat old timey stuff from them. They have a web site: I use the 800 number to order over the phone. They send out about 6 catalogues a year. Blessings Peggy

-- Peggy Carr (, April 23, 2001.

Intresting readings... Anyone happen to know where to get the pants strechers that are used to strech the wasitband of jeans after they are washed?

-- Jeff Pigott (, September 06, 2001.

found them...

-- mahomet-seymour (, September 07, 2001.

I tried the ones from Harriet Carter and Walter Drake both. They're junk in my opinion. They adjust both in length and width and fell apart at the length adjustment which also left a bump in the knees. I like the ones that Vermont General Store carries...they're spring loaded and made of heavy guage polished steel. I've had some like them for over 35 years and am still using them.

-- Kathy (, October 17, 2001.

Kathleen, I use an emptied spray bottle, you know, the kind that windex or spray lysol comes in. Just rinse it out and fill with water. Spraying those clothes while ironing sure makes it go faster!

-- daffodyllady (, October 17, 2001.

Im glad I found this thread of messages about the pants creasers (or "stretchers" ) as many of you have called them. After reading all the posts, I feel like I can finally find them, Ive been looking all over for them in retail stores,, none anywhere. My mother used them on my dads work pants, and he always looked well ironed. Do any of you use spray starch on the cotton pants, while they are on the creasers?? Jim in NC

-- Jim (, March 28, 2002.

The good old WalMart by me has pant stretchers. I bought a sprinkler top for a pop bottle not too long ago. It was locally, but I can't remember where. Am I the only person that likes to iron?? Its my favorite household job. Yes, I'm strange in other ways, too. Ha-ha

-- Gayle in KY (, March 30, 2002.

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