Keep Your Thawb Looking Crisp: Master the Art of Ironing This Traditional Arab Garment

person facing on a wall closed-up photography

The Thawb

The thawb, also known as a dishdasha or kandura, is a traditional ankle-length robe commonly worn by men in the Arabian Gulf region. Made from lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, the thawb provides comfort and airflow in hot, arid climates. While thawbs look neat and crisp when first purchased or laundered, they can become wrinkled with wear and washing. Properly ironing a thawb helps restore its clean, tailored look. With a few simple techniques, you can keep your thawbs looking their best.

Prepare the Thawb for Ironing

Before ironing a thawb, it’s important to wash and fully dry it. Any residual moisture in the fabric can make pressing more difficult and lead to a wrinkled appearance after ironing. Wash the thawb in cool water on a gentle cycle, using a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softener, as this can leave behind a coating that inhibits proper ironing. After washing, reshape the thawb on the hanger if needed and hang it to dry completely. Or, for quicker drying, put it in the dryer on a low heat setting. Once dried, take the thawb off the hanger and lay it out flat on your ironing board.

Iron the Sleeves First

When ironing a thawb, it’s best to start with the sleeves. The loose sleeves on a thawb often get more wrinkled than other areas. Lay the thawb out flat and smooth the sleeves evenly on the ironing board. Begin ironing the cuffs first, pressing them flat with long ironing strokes from the cuff up toward the shoulder. Then, iron the rest of the sleeve, working above the cuff area. Use your free hand to hold the sleeve flat as you iron. Iron back and forth from different directions to help press out all wrinkles. Repeat this process on the other sleeve. Getting the sleeves neatly pressed first provides a good foundation for the rest of the thawb.

Tackle the Front and Back Panels

After finishing the sleeves, focus on the main front and back panels of the thawb. Center these large panels on your ironing board. Start ironing from the top shoulder area down toward the hem using long, smooth strokes. The lightweight cotton or linen fabric should press flat easily if laundered and dried properly. As you iron, be sure to overlap your strokes slightly to evenly press the whole surface. If needed, go back over areas again to ensure no wrinkles remain. The front and back panels of the thawb may be somewhat sheer, so use an ironing cloth or lower the heat if necessary to avoid scorching the fabric. Taking your time ironing these main panels makes the finished look more polished.

Pay Special Attention to Seams and Collars

While pressing the main panels of the thawb, don’t forget to concentrate on seams and collars too. These areas often need extra attention when ironing. Press along the seam lines with focused up and down motions. This helps reduce puckering and smoothly integrates the seams into the panels. For the collar, iron it from both the front and inside. Fold over any visible interior collar seam allowances first. Then, iron the collar flat on the exterior, smoothing it from the fold to the neck opening. A wrinkle-free collar provides a clean finish to the neckline.

Best clothes for spring in Morocco

Spring is the best time of year to visit Morocco, because it’s warm enough to wear lightweight clothing but not too hot. Cotton and linen are the best fabrics for springtime in Morocco, as they breathe well and don’t trap sweat like wool does.

For men who want to dress up their outfits with a jacket or coat when they’re out sightseeing, we recommend wearing a thobe over pants. The loose fit means you won’t look stuffy or overdressed while still looking stylish and handsome! Thobes are great for casual wear as well: just skip the scarf if you’re headed outside on foot or by car (but don’t forget sunscreen).

Best clothes for soccer games in Morocco

You might be wondering if the Moroccan thobe is the best garment for soccer games in Morocco. We think it is—but don’t take our word for it! The Moroccan thobe is comfortable, casual and easy to wear, so you can move around freely at the game. The fabric of the Moroccan thobe also has a very pleasant feel that will keep you cool during hot spring days in Morocco.

Use the Right Ironing Temperature

To properly press a cotton or linen thawb, use a medium to medium-high iron temperature setting. Cotton and linen fabrics typically withstand higher heat well. But avoid going too hot, as excess heat can damage or scorch delicate threads. Start at a medium setting first and increase the heat if more pressing power is needed. The heat level should be enough to smoothly glide over fabrics, press seams flat, and relax wrinkles without singeing the material. Test a small inconspicuous area first when using a new iron temperature to ensure it doesn’t discolor or shine the fabric. The optimal setting gives just enough heat to neatly press the thawb with minimal passes.

Iron Methodically in Overlapping Sections

When ironing over the panels of the thawb, work in orderly sections for best results. Iron back and forth horizontally first in the uppermost section, slightly overlapping iron passes. Move down and repeat on the next section, again with slight overlaps of the strokes. Keep working your way incrementally down the fabric this way. Be sure to iron vertically up and down over the seams too. This orderly sectioning method helps prevent any parts being missed. The slight overlaps of the strokes promote even heat application to fully relax wrinkles. Taking a methodical approach makes ironing faster and more effective.

Inspect and Touch Up Any Remaining Wrinkles

After going over the entire thawb, inspect it closely and touch up any areas that still seem wrinkled. Look for wrinkles hiding in areas like inner sleeve seams, the sides, and hem. Re-iron over these spots using targeted strokes until smooth. The collar also often needs an extra press at the end to look perfectly crisp. Don’t stop until satisfied that all wrinkles are smoothed out for a fresh, neat appearance. Your diligence will pay off in a crisp, tailored finish.

Allow Time for Careful Ironing

Ironing a thawb properly takes time, especially the first wearings after purchase. The loose sleeves require careful filling out and pressing from multiple angles. Allow 15-20 minutes for ironing each thawb. With practice, you’ll become more efficient in ironing techniques. But resist any temptation to rush the process, which can cause remaining wrinkles. Patience and care while ironing lead to that ideal crisp, clean finish.

Store Properly to Prolong That Crisp Look

How you store an ironed thawb also impacts how long it will stay neat looking. Hang the cooled thawb on a sturdy hanger wide enough to fully support its shoulders. Or, fold it using straight, smooth folds across the panels to prevent new creases. Pack it carefully if packing for travel, such as in a garment bag. Proper storage keeps those crisp ironed results lasting longer.

Know When It's Time for Re-Ironing

No matter how perfectly you iron a thawb, it won’t stay wrinkle-free forever with wearing and washing. Inspect thawbs before each wear for wrinkles developing in high friction areas like the collar, cuffs, and front opening. Lightly iron these spots again as needed. For a full crisp refresh, launder and iron the entire thawb again. With cotton and linen thawbs, you can repeat the ironing process many times over the life of the garment.

Use Extra Care When Ironing Embellished Thawbs

Some thawbs feature ornate embroidery, gold threading, or beadwork for a dressier look. When ironing these embellished garments, use lower heat to avoid damaging delicate trims and attachments. Place a cloth over heavily embellished areas before slowly ironing. The cloth helps prevent direct contact from damaging thick threading or beadwork. Any remaining wrinkles can often be steamed out gently. With extra care, even dress thawbs can stay looking their best.

Ironing a thawb properly takes time, care, and the right techniques for the fabric. But keeping traditional Arab garments neatly pressed enhances comfort and appearance. By mastering the key steps of preparing, ironing methodically in sections, and storing carefully, you can maintain the crisp tailored look of a thawb. With regular ironing, your thawbs will stay looking their immaculate best while you wear them.

  1. Images from FreePik, Unsplash, Openverse, Pixabay, Pexels
Shopping Cart