Pant Leg Straighteners

A few years back Blind Pig reader Don Casada sent me the photos in this post. He wanted to see if any other readers had ever used pant leg stretchers. Here’s what he said:

“I got back from some plant work today and washed some clothes and hung them on the line.  I think that a couple of years ago I’d mentioned the pant leg stretchers which Mama used since before I can remember. I’d normally not use them on blue jeans, here are some pictures of the rig, the adjustable spring-loaded catch that sets the width (there’s one at both the top and bottom) and one with a pair of them installed.”

pants-straighteners

I had never even heard of pants straighteners until Don told me about them. Seems like they would be very handy especially for my dress pants I wear to work. Hope you’ll leave a comment and let us know if you’ve ever used them.

Tipper

p.s. You can catch The Pressley Girls this week at:

  • July 14, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Hardman Farm Corn Festival – Helen GA
  • July 15, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m. Church of the Nazarene – Hayesville NC
  • July 15, 2018 @ 1:00 p.m. Festival on the Square – Hayesville NC

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Howland
    July 17, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Yikes! I’m about a week behind in my reading. My mom used these on my chino britches that I wore in high school. She’d take the trousers out of her Easy Spin-Drier, slip the stretchers in and hang them on the line to dry. They about put a knife-edge crease in the legs and needed little ironing when she brought them in, especially in the frozen winters in upstate NY. That would have been in the mid-50s…

  • Reply
    Carol
    July 16, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Oh, yes! I’ve seen those in action at our cousin’s truck farm down in Holly Hill, SC. I had to learn to wrangle them into Wranglers while helping out during tomato season.

  • Reply
    Glynda ParkerChambers
    July 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Hi Tipper, Yes my Mama used these wire stretchers on my brothers Levi’s but I think they were a little different than the ones shown. I also like Lee Mears comment about his mother sprinkling the clothes, putting them in a pillow case to iron later, however , my Mama went one further, she then put them in the bottom of the refrigerator to keep them damp and cold till ironing day. She also used a sprinkler with a little silver stopper top that was inserted into a drink bottle. Wow……Memories

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    July 11, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Like everyone else, my Mother used them on daddys work pants but they looked different than this photo. She also hung all the clothes on the line, took them down and sprinkled them and rolled them up in a pillow case to be ironed later, including sheets.. She used a sprinkle head that fit into a Coke bottle.
    (I have a friend who still irons his expensive cotton sheets.)
    Thank goodness for clothes dryers.! I still like to iron when I have time and my button-up blouses have to be ironed.
    I’d rather iron than cook.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 11, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Tipper,
    I commented earlier but my computer said “server not found”. That was just as I finished, I guess its up in cyberspace somewhere. Maybe it’s in the Clouds, but I’ll try again.

    I been wondering about those Pant Leg Stretchers, Don, I had forgotten all about that. We had a few pairs, cause there was a bunch of boys in our Family. Daddy must have used up all the
    Boy Genes. I kinda wish Mama had had one or two to help her, but I guess The Good Lord knew what He was doing.

    In the Wintertime it was harder on Mama, cause she was left Paralyzed in her Left side and we were afraid she might fall when the Snow was on. But she made it to the Clothesline anyway. My older brothers would carry the wet clothes and put Pant Leg Stretchers on the Bluejeans. When the wind blowed, it was kinda dangerous to be around the clothesline, cause you might get hit by flopping jeans. Thanks, Don for the memories. …Ken

  • Reply
    Jackie
    July 11, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Mom had two pair to use on my jeans. They were different from the ones pictured. When I moved to live with Grandma she had some also. This was in the 1950s and early 1960s.

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan
    July 11, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Oh, yes. What a good memory. My mom and grandmom used them a lot. Especially on church pants or church overalls. Also, when using those old irons that rested on the stove like my grandmother used, it kept down the ironing, and I was all for that!.

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    July 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I remember pant stretchers but Mama didn’t use them. When I was first married, I found a couple of pairs in our basement that were left by the previous owners. My husband said he remembered his mom using them. We had a wringer washer, and it took all morning to wash clothes and hang them up. Then everything had to be ironed. I have Mama’s ironing board and it is bigger and sturdier than anything you’d buy today. Took my old one to the Goodwill. Mama didn’t get an automatic washer until I was a freshman in college.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 11, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    My mother used them, and I did too (but don’t anymore). They made jeans look like they had been ironed!

  • Reply
    DAna WAll
    July 11, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Mom used those inserts on dad’s khaki work pants to make a crease. A poor one.

    I was interested to read the comment here about “petal pushers,” semi short legged pants women wore. Women in Iowa called them “pedal pushers,” as if the shortened legs were designed to keep the pant cuff from a bicycle chain as one pedaled. I think the name still holds. Our daughter gifted my wife with a pair here in AZ a few months ago.

    I remember as a boy we rolled the right leg of our Levis up mid calf so it would not get into the bike chain. And we seldom rolled it down after a ride. But we didn’t have a special name for the fashion.

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      July 11, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Dana….Sorry….I am such a plant person that my spell check missed the spelling…Yes, we called them “pedal pushers”! Not petal pushers…lol We wore them bicycle riding and skating on the sidewalks or streets in the forties/fifties…Today I think they call them “Capri pants”…Bermuda shorts were just above the knee. Short shorts…just covered the derriere…Thanks for the spellcheck…lol

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    July 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Never saw or heard of them. The town I grew up in was so small the laundromat only had a washboard and a clothesline.

  • Reply
    Gigi
    July 11, 2018 at 11:12 am

    No i dont ever recall moma using them. We would always hang our clothes on the 2 lines. Daddy always wore overhalls. I learned a trick on the jeans being stiff after drying on the clothes line, i would turn them inside and out a few times and it really did help. They weren’t as stiff. Thanks for the post. I love reading all of them. God Bless!!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Our neighbor down the road used them. I remember seeing them hanging out on her front porch. I get the wrinkle releaser from Dollar Tree or Dollar General–works wonders. Even right out of the dryer our clothes are wrinkled. Just spray and hang. I have a clothes pole over an air vent–works great.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Kaufman
    July 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

    My mom used these all the time for my dad’s work pants. I’d forgotten all about these!

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    July 11, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Tipper, I never used pants stretchers but my mother did. The whole time I was growing up blue jeans on the line on stretchers were a common sight at our house. Actually clothes lines were used at every house on my road. Now I seldom see clothes lines. We also did a lot of ironing. I learned how to iron by ironing handkerchiefs, pillow cases and sheets. It was a different world back then.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    July 11, 2018 at 9:22 am

    We think we may have totally forgotten something, but there it is tucked safely away to recall. This is one that sure made me smile. I can still see the old double clothesline all loaded with clothes. It was common to wear a blouse around with two humps sticking up from the clothespins. Then there were those pant stretchers, and Mom thought she had hit the jackpot when she got those. Once kept feeling something scratching at school, and when I got home and investigated found a brier in my clothes. Oh the memories! It took a day to just iron clothes, and in the Summer would iron them on the big back porch.

    My dad always expected instant response when he asked you to do something. I always said that was the best thing he taught me, and it served me well in my career later on. Mom not so much, and she would let us by with murder as they used to say. So I found out you could sprinkle clothes and put them in our big long freezer. They would iron up so nice, and the wrinkles would just fall out. Unfortunately, as a teen I would procrastinate with Mom, and I had accumulated most of the freezer space by stuffing clothes in there. She finally had to get me straightened out on that resulting in a lot of ironing one day. We learned a few tricks with Mom like letting dishes soak and soak and soak. Dad was always the one who kept us from being totally shiftless, and required an efficient prompt result. Until the day he died nothing pleased me more than a compliment from my dad.
    Thanks to Don Casada for the memory, and I do my personal laundry just like Miss Cindy. Towels and sheets hit the clothesline.

  • Reply
    Papaw
    July 11, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I used to see blue jeans stretched on them at Lois Camby’s house at Lauada. That is the one and only place I ever saw them used. Her son Robert Jr. who was a grade ahead of me school always wore jeans that looked like they had been starched and pressed. I think that’s how she did it. Stretched the jeans, sprayed them with starch and hung them in the sun to dry. They looked uncomfortable to me and I often wondered if he crackled when he walked.
    Wrinkles don’t bother me. I wear them in all my clothes. And my skin!

    PS: Lois was a DeHart before she married. My 4th cousin.

  • Reply
    Jack
    July 11, 2018 at 8:55 am

    My mother used them on my jeans when I was growing up, so that she did not have to iron them. Guess I threw them away when cleaning up the old home place.They worked well and left a nice crease. We usually had dress pants dry cleaned.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    July 11, 2018 at 8:24 am

    My pant stretchers are standing right beside my washer. And yes, I do still use them occasionally. Since creases are not in style now, I mostly use them to stretch pants or jeans that might get a bit snug if I put them in the dryer. I found my set at a thrift store 10 or 15 years ago. Mom had several sets she used on dad’s pants, but those were never found when we cleaned out the house after she went to Heaven.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    July 11, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Yeah, use the pant leg straighteners to get the crease as straight as possible. It was also very important to use HEAVY starch and iron the jeans. The heavy starched jeans were uncomfortable, but looked good. The deal was to be “cool” and ignore the uncomfortableness.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    July 11, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I had totally forget about those things. Mom used them on our jeans. I used them a few times myself. I haven’t seen any for many many years. Do they still make them?

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 11, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I used them up into the 70’s. Fabric softener and dryers put them out of business.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I remember seeing them and I think Mom used them some. But it seems to me she would have used them especially for dress pants because the sharp crease was required in dress clothes. But we rarely dressed up. That was back in the day when men hitched up their pants before they squatted down.

    Had not thought of pants stretchers in a very long time. Feels kinda strange to go to an antique place and see so many things that were commonplace in our childhood.

    Btw Tipper, my wife made your cinnamon cake recipe. It is very good.

  • Reply
    Jerry
    July 11, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Can’t recall my mom every using pant leg straighteners. We had 10 kids in the house, so trying to add pant leg straighteners to all the pants would have been too much extra work. We were still using the wash board to do laundry back then.

    I sure wish that I lived closer to NC so that I could see the Pressley girls at one of the events.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 11, 2018 at 6:56 am

    I have seen them and even used them a few times but they were a pain to use. I’d as about soon iron blue jeans as use them. Blue jeans are all I ever saw them used on. I quickly learned that I could shake out wet jeans hold them by the cuff and put the four seams together and fold them over a hanger to dry press the wet jeans with my hands to smooth them and make a crease. That worked fine for me so I never ironed them.
    I do the same things to all my pants now. I take them out of the washer and put them in the dryer for about five minutes then do the above process, I don’t iron pants or much of anything else except button up shirts.
    I do the same five minute process with shirts and put them on a hanger to dry so there isn’t a lot of ironing to do to them.
    I rarely iron and I always try to figure out the easiest way to do any job!
    Thanks for the memory!

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    July 11, 2018 at 6:54 am

    The “streachers” and a good dose of Blue Monday starch and those blue jeans would still stand up on their own after Mom took the streachers out!

    I think I remember finding some of them hanging on a nail in the basement where the hand cranked ringer washing machine stood when I was a child! (Had my fingers mashed in that thing more than once when I was feeding and my older sisters were cranking!)

    Thank you Lord, for having somebody develope “permanant press” fabrics and automatic washing machines!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 11, 2018 at 6:32 am

    My momma used them, my daddy wore those kacky work pants and did they look awful without them. Of course there was still some ironing to do on the pants. But it made it a lot easier

  • Reply
    Darlene Longmire
    July 11, 2018 at 6:09 am

    I used to use them when everything had to be ironed or pressed. Since men’s jeans are usually heavier and hard to iron – back then- it helped with the ironing. However, they were awkward to use and was glad when I didn’t need to use them anymore.

  • Reply
    tmc
    July 11, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Interesting, never seen or heard of them, but it’s a good idea.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 11, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Tipper,
    We called this pant stretchers back in the day…I hated putting those things in my brothers washed jeans…It did make good creases when they were dry…I didn’t like popping them out and hanging their jeans very much either. Back then we didn’t wear jeans…In the Spring or summer it was petal pushers, short shorts and later Bermuda shorts…
    Let me tell you something…You haven’t lived until you went to the clothes line in the dead of winter on a cold day to retrieve several frozen stiff pairs of stretched pants…Mom would stand them up near a stove to thaw and hopefully finish drying…When we cleaned out the attic of her estate she had kept several different size pairs…On occasion I have seen them in antique stores for sale…I think I ended up keeping one pair…
    Thanks for the post and the memories..

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      July 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Tipper, What I meant to say was back in the day most girls never wore jeans…forties/fifties…only skirts, petal pushers, short shorts and later Bermuda shorts…I know for sure because when our church camp and Girl Scout camp had outings, my Mom had to make me some long corduroys (pants) to wear in the “bush”…LOL “Bush”, they said…mainly it was a path in the woods or an occasional trek in a field with weeds and chiggers to learn about butterflies and grasshoppers, etc…Guess they were also concerned about someone getting a case of Poison Oak or Ivy while walking…Anyhow, I remember Mother either rubbing the corduroy or treating it or both to soften it somewhat for I put up a fit…cause they felt itchy and rough…guess she used a bluing or something…I hated the things…I didn’t even like corduroy skirts she made when I was in school…Finally, that soft corduroy fabric got popular…by then I guess I was over it all…and wore Bermuda’s in the summer…and begged her not to make me anymore pants…unless they were cotton…of course which had to be ironed…LOL

      • Reply
        Cynthia
        July 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        You’re right. Back in the day, girls didn’t wear jeans. What we called pedal pushers are now called capris. True capris are fitted slacks that stop above the ankle, like Audrey Hepburn wore. I was married before I had a pair of jeans.

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