I know – so exciting… ironing. Well, pressing to be exact. But you’ll be spending A LOT of time at this task, so it helps having the right equipment to make the time you spend on it worth your while and little easier.
It shouldn’t be a long post tonight, it’s pretty straight forward, but since I didn’t even know you had to press while sewing until I had sewn 10 years, I wanted to separate this out to make sure the importance was understood!
*Just so you know…. I DON’T iron clothes! My dentist man wears uniforms that get sent through the dryer and hung – if his dress uniforms need ironing, they go to the dry cleaners. I am honest to goodness terrible at standard ironing – if it can’t be tumbled in the dryer – I don’t buy it!
Let’s get started then –
Pressing really will change the look of your sewing. Quilting, crafting and clothing – it’s a must! I’ve seen several articles on the before and after and it’s amazing. I know my sewing really changed once I realized this was a must! It goes from “Wow um – you made that yourself….” to “OMG’sh – Wow! You MADE that?”
At times I actually spend more time pressing than sewing!
First, you’ll want a good iron. Don’t cheap out on this one! It needs to be able to steam and if you go cheap, the iron will leak. Whether or not you like to sew, you’ll need a good iron anyway, so spend a little extra.
In all honesty, I have a Rowenta – I really like it, but it’s recently begun to leak. But since I’ve owned 10 or so years now, I can’t really complain? I use it almost daily and that includes 4 or 5 moves. (That means movers with a case of the “dropsies”)
Consumer Reports top recommendation for standard irons is the Kenmore 80598 which ranges around $60, not too bad!
However, the iron I’m currently drooling over…. yes, I need a life…. would be Reliable IronMaven J420. But since this beauty costs around $300, I’ll probably be going with the Rowenta equivalent for half the price. Doesn’t hurt to drool though!!
The features you’ll most likely want include:
Auto turn off – you’ll be going back and forth and you don’t want to be turning that dial or pushing a button every time you switch from pressing to sewing and back. It also helps if one of your kids, spouse or fur-baby knocks your iron over. It will turn itself off after 30-60 seconds keeping your house from burning down – which is always nice!
A cord that can twist and turn – nothing worse than fighting with the stupid cord! ‘Nuf said!
Steam or spray – while not necessary to have both, I do like and use my spray feature – especially after I’ve pressed a wrinkle (yet again) into my project. *DOH* Steam is a must!
You have a choice in metal finishes. I prefer the satin over the matte finish. To me it seems easier to clean and runs more smoothly over my fabric. This may only be a preference though?
Weight – You really do want your iron to be heavy. Not quite as heavy as they used to be when you had to warm them on the stove, but heavy none-the-less. It means you don’t have to do all the work pressing!
Ironing boards –
Frankly it’s a pretty boring subject, but it still has to be covered. You can always make it more exciting with a spiffy new cover!
Yes, this one you can go cheap on if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure you want to continue. But if you’ve sprung for the nice iron, why not go with the nice board too? Unless of course, you spent all your money on the iron – which I understand!
Features you’ll most likely want include:
Sturdy – Well yeah, no one likes it when their iron falls on their foot or burns a hole in their rug! But on top of that, you may not like the creaking that comes from that $2 discount you find at your local Wallyworld?
Holey – Not the Sunday kind! You want the steam to be able to pass through the fabric you’re working on, the fabric cover and the board.
Width – Wider is better and easier to work with.
Adjustable height – This is especially nice if you’ve got a lot to press. You can park yourself in front of the t.v. and go at it! (I don’t actually know of a board that doesn’t adjust unless it’s homemade though?)
Frankly, you can go with as little as a towel on your dryer, a small travel board, over the door board, to a fancy board with all the attachments! Just as long as it can allow steam to pass through.
I know that a lot of sewers, specifically quilters, make their own boards in very large sizes, usually a nice big square or rectangle to fit all their fabric with a grid on it so it can double as a cutting board. Most sewers won’t need this sort of set up. If you find that sewing is something you enjoy, there are several plans out there that you can make for yourself.
As for “attachments”, there aren’t that many that you really need. I would highly suggest cleaner however! Even if you don’t sew, this will help when you get random gunk on your iron and it really works.
There are all sorts of iron pads, holders, cord minders, covers, etc. There are special pressing boards which really do come in handy, but are not needed to start off with. That’s something you’ll want to reserve for when you know you like sewing…. or in this case, pressing.
Now – Press on!