- Arts and Design
Professional Irons for Sewing, Quilting and Crafts
types of professional irons
What type of professional iron is right for you?
I hate ironing fabric! Really, I've even considered paying my kids to do it for me. When I get ready to start a new sewing project, all I can think about is how amazing the final product is going to be. How will I embellish that new dress? Or how snuggly will my babies be in this new quilt? But before I can even start cutting, I have to wash, dry and iron the fabric. Gah! So frustrating.
But I've found that professional irons make a huge difference in how fast and easy the chore gets done. There are several types of high-end irons--rotary, gravity feed, and steam generators. Each has its own pros and cons, so let's find out which one is best for you.
Rotary Iron: A rotary iron is a thing of beauty. It has a wide roller bar that presses the fabric by itself. All you do is feed the fabric through the rollers by pressing on the foot pedal. You can even sit down while you do it. It's more like playing the piano than ironing. The roller is wide enough to press a whole length of fabric at once, so you can get many yards done in just a few minutes. You'll almost wish you had more ironing to do. (Kind of like when you get a riding mower after using a push model for years and years.) All this machine is missing is cupholders and an ipod port! The best brand out there right now is the Miele rotary iron. It has an open end for pressing sleeves, cuffs and collars. It also folds up and wheels away for easy storage.
A rotary iron is best for you if you spend tons of time ironing yards and yards of fabric before you can cut out your pattern and start sewing. It's also great if you do lots of entertaining and frequently need to iron tablecloths or bed linens.
Gravity Feed Iron: Gravity feed irons are considered "professional irons." They look like complicated contraptions with a water tank which you suspend overhead. The tank is connected to the iron by long rubber tubes. When you need steam, just press the thumb button and water is released from the tank into the hot iron to create instant steam. Some brands have a temperature control knob and some don't. Just be sure to get a model with a heat shield below the handle or you could burn your hand if the iron is left on for long periods of time. If you want the best, you should look for a Naomoto gravity feed iron. They are made in Japan and designed for use in tailor shops. So, you know they can handle your sewing projects with ease.
A gravity feed iron is best for you if you need to leave your iron on all day long and mainly press seams, pleats, creases and darts.
Steam Generator Iron: These irons are a little different. They look like your average household iron, except the water tank is actually in the base unit not the iron itself. You still have a rubber hose connecting the two, but you don't have to suspend the tank overhead like you do with a gravity feed model. They produce a lot more steam than traditional irons, and you could cut your ironing time in half according to some manufacturers. You'll want to find a model that allows you to refill the tank while you're using the iron, so you don't have to stop what you're doing and wait for the unit to cool down. There are other special features on some models like a low water indicator.
A steam generator iron is best for you if you need to cut down on your ironing time and don't have the budget or space for a high-end gravity feed iron.
All steam irons need to be emptied and dried out now and then for best performance. When you feel the sole plate start to drag on your fabric, that means it's time to clean out your tank and steam vents. If you have hard mineral water in your area, you may want to consider using distilled water or a water softener mixed in with your tap water.