March 2, 2009

Ironing Ecstasy!

Hey Everyone! Today I thought I would post about more of my favorite sewing tools, but first things first. You will notice an icon in the right hand column called "March of the Tools". This was ingeniously started by Heather Bailey last year when she blogged about some of her favorite tools, cleverly in the month of March! This year, she decided to design a great icon and ramp up this discussion so that lots of bloggers could participate. Be sure to click on the icon, as it will take you to her site where she will be linking to several of us who will be talking about our favorite tools this month.

This week's post is about Irons....I know, it doesn't exactly make you want to jump for joy, does it? It never did for me, and I iron A LOT! I have been using Rowenta irons for a number of years and love them, but hated having to fill the water reservoir all the time. I think just about every time I was ready to iron, that thing was empty! Finally, I decided to investigate my options. Rowenta makes a steam generator iron (probably not new to a lot of you out there). I decided to give this contraption a try last fall. I admit, the whole "water under pressure" thing sort of freaked me out a little when I first got it, but now I can't imagine life without this wonderful tool. If you iron a lot, it is worth every penny and then some, and here's on!

The main difference is this: the water tank holds 4 cups of water at one time and gives you 1 1/2 hours of CONSTANT steam....this means you can sew like a maniac all day and never fill it with water! The biggest benefit is that your iron makes the best, most penetrating steam on the planet! It makes for practically effortless ironing, plus your iron is lighter weight because the water is in the tank, not in the actual iron. You press the button just under the handle to get steam, but that means that you only get steam when and where you want it, which is great also. The heat settings are the same as a regular iron, but one of the best features is that you can turn down the heat and the steam settings separately, so you can use a gentle amount of steam on delicate or even synthetic fabrics (like polar fleece) without damaging anything. This differs from a regular iron in that most of them depend on a high heat setting to generate steam, thus no steam at a low heat setting. I just can't say enough great things about this tool!

Of course, once I purchased this iron, I realized that my 16 year old rickety ironing board had to go. The steam generator really needs a stable place to sit, and not just on the end of the ironing board where it may take up valuable space. So I splurged and bought the professional Rowenta ironing board as well. It is extra wide with a shelf out to the side, perfect for holding the water tank/ironing apparatus without being in the way or risking it taking a trip to the floor. There is also a handy shelf below for storing stuff if you need to. I put my extra water and a measuring cup there so that when I need to refill the tank, I have everything I need at my fingertips. The added feature of this board is that it is composed of a steel mesh under the pad so that the steam can fully penetrate the items you are ironing. This helps you to get the most of that steam, with no moisture buildup on the board itself. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon.

Lastly, my most recent purchase was for a sleeve board. It is a miniature ironing board, really. It is made for ironing shoulder seams, cuffs, sleeve bands, etc. It may sound like a silly thing to have, but it is wonderful also. What I like best is that I can get small things slipped onto it without creating a crease where I don't want it and I can dictate the direction a seam is pressed very easily. If you don't have one of these, it is worth thinking about, especially if you iron small things. I picked mine up for about $15 at a local JoAnn's, but I am sure there are a lot of other stores and online shops that sell them.