While creased jeans go in and out of style, it's not that hard to set a permanent crease in your favorite pair of denim jeans. A hot dryer, slightly damp jeans, plenty of spray starch, and a hot iron are all you need to transform your look into the dressy version of the traditional cowboy look. The "cowboy press" look found across the South and Southwest features sharply creased jeans paired with plaid or solid-colored shirts and cowboy hats.
Wash the Jeans First
While manufacturers recommend washing new jeans in cold water, it's best to wash jeans in hot water before setting a crease. The first time you wash new denim jeans, turn the jeans inside out and add 1/2 cup of vinegar along with the laundry detergent to the washer to help set the dye. Wash the jeans in cold water alone or with similarly dark-colored clothing, as they tend to release dye into the wash water even if you've added vinegar to the wash water. If you accidentally wash a white shirt with your new jeans or a red sock, it will pick up the blue or pink dye, so be sure to sort your laundry carefully.
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After washing your new jeans once in cold water, rewash them in hot water with your regular laundry detergent. Remove the jeans from the washer and put them in the dryer. Set the dryer on high heat or the denim setting. Don't let the jeans get completely dry; set a timer if necessary to remind you to pull out the jeans while they're still damp.
Set a Cowboy Crease
To set a sharp crease in your jeans, pull out the steam iron and fill the reservoir with distilled water. Set the iron at a medium to high heat level that's high enough to use the steam function. Arrange the jeans on an ironing board, matching the inner and outer seams on the leg with the inside of the leg facing up. Drape the other leg back and out of your way.
Run the iron over the front section of the leg once just to start the crease. Spray the jeans generously with spray starch and then press using the steam setting. Pick up and set down the iron; don't just push it over the fabric. Use starch, pressure, and steam from the hot iron to make a sharp front crease. Rearrange the same pant leg with the inner part up and press in the back crease.
Flip the jeans around so the unpressed leg is on the ironing board with the seams aligned and repeat the process. Then lift the jeans off the ironing board and align both legs. Lay down the jeans with the legs together and apply starch, pressure, and the steam iron to the front and back creases on the outer part of the top leg. Turn the jeans over and repeat on the other side.
Remove Wrinkles and Creases
Jeans, slacks, or other pants that were left crumpled in the dryer or a laundry basket may develop wrinkles and creases. To remove wrinkles, you can use water, steam, and/or spray starch to produce a smooth, wrinkle-free appearance. First, try putting the pants back into the dryer with a wet washcloth or wet a couple of dryer sheets and dry for approximately 15 minutes on the regular setting.
Consider using a wrinkle-release spray or mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water in a spray bottle. Hang the pants on a hanger in a doorway and then wet the wrinkles with the solution. Allow them to air-dry before deciding whether stronger methods are needed.
Lay the pants flat on the ironing board and if there's an existing center crease you want to preserve, align the legs along that fold. Fill a spray bottle with distilled water, wet the wrinkles and creases, and gently mist the rest of the pants leg. Use a clean dish cloth or rag as a pressing cloth and press with a medium to hot iron. Repeat on both sides of the pants. If the wrinkles aren't completely gone, try using spray starch and the steam function on the iron to finish the job.