Monday, July 30, 2018

Basics About Using an Iron for Quilt Making

Over the years I've shared this information here and there, but adding it all together as a single post, seemed like a good idea!

I've been through several irons over the years, and I don't generally buy an expensive one.
My current iron has lasted me the longest of any I've owned - coming up to 10 years now - I think it's because it's a 
solid soleplate model.

I don't like to use 'steam' to press my fabrics and quilt patches or blocks, so there was no need to have this feature.
Unfortunately it wasn't easy to find an iron like this, and even this one wasn't a perfect purchase.

The sad story of my iron and a cautionary tale for others...
I got it from ebay, as a new iron, and no issues were mentioned in the description.
It was not listed as a 'second'.
But when it arrived it had a blob of metal at the tip. You can see it in the picture.
I wanted to return it, but I had to pay the postage to do so, even though the buyer was obviously in the wrong.
The cost to do so was more than I paid for the iron to begin with, so I kept it...and learned to work with the blob!

To give my blocks and quilt tops a good pressing and to get the wrinkles out of my fabrics, I mist the fabric lightly.
I use distilled water, because I happen to have it around (for maintaining the batteries of my off grid system).
The spray bottle I use happens to have the loveliest mist, and that's what you want.
You want to dampen not wet the fabric....and if you need to wet a tough wrinkle, you mist a few extra times.

In quilting, you are dealing with many seams and if you iron the patches the same way you would iron a shirt, you can easily distort the shape.
Instead you should 'press' them, using a dry iron, with an up and down motion only, adding some pressure.
Avoiding sliding the iron across the seams or block prevents stretching the fabric.
I have a 'Pressing' how to, which covers general pressing, applique & pieced blocks.
You can request the free file from the Technique page of the Library here.

As you can see in the picture above, that I took of my iron this morning, I need to clean the soleplate again.

Here's how I clean my iron...
I clean up the bottom of my iron by soaking paper towels with vinegar and laying the iron down on them for a few minutes.

I then scrub the iron over baking soda soaked with vinegar, until done. 
So simple & eco-friendly!

Happy Stitching!

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