MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Apr 4, 2013

A Gravity Feed Iron For My Birthday?



Heavens, readers -- it's almost my birthday again!

At this time of year, I'm always reminded of what Kitty Carlisle's mother purportedly said, that "once you're past fifty, every fifteen minutes it's breakfast." 

Naturally, loved ones have started asking me what I want for my birthday -- my mother did over lunch yesterday -- which always makes me uncomfortable, since a) I tend to get myself whatever I want when I want it; and b) I don't want much.  Can you relate to this?

Anyway, yesterday I was reading through Kenneth King's masterfully produced "Tailored Jacket" CD and in it, he discusses gravity feed irons and how useful they are.  Here's what he says (click pic to read larger):





I am extremely vulnerable to these kinds of arguments, readers.  I start to ask myself, Would I have much better results with a gravity feed ironAm I undermining myself by not using one?

(BTW, Kenneth sells a wide range of CD books on his website here.)

Generally, I'm a big skeptic when it comes to buying the latest this-and-that.  But nearly every time I've upgraded my tools -- which is pretty rare, actually -- I've been happy about it.  Actually, most of my upgrades have been with regard to fabric; my sewing machines are all decades old and I have no complaints.

Frank liked to keep Ava busy.

So of course I did a little online research, and you can buy what sounds like a decent gravity feed iron for not much more than the cost of a regular steam iron.  There are countless threads on Pattern Review about them (check this one out), and of course on sewing blogs.  Ann Steeves of Gorgeous Fabrics swears by the Consew CES-300 (at least she did in 2008), which is available right now at Allbrands.com for roughly $100.

Kenneth's recommendation, the Naomoto model, is closer to $400, which I can't see spending -- or asking someone to spend on my behalf.  (Actually, the model he recommends seems to be out of production, but there are newer replacement models in the same price range.)

The other question I have about these gravity feeds is whether an IV pole like this is going to be stable (or high) enough, since the water supply is supposed to be three feet above the iron (if I remember correctly).  Otherwise I'd have to suspend the water supply from the ceiling, which would not be my first choice.

I suppose the larger question, however, is whether this is an upgrade/investment I want to make.  Will I really get better results from my tailored garments?

The inevitable questions for you:

1) Do you own a gravity feed iron?  Did it make a big difference in the quality of your work -- i.e, are you glad you bought it?

2) Will the Consew CES-300 be adequate for my needs -- i.e., what would I be getting for an additional $300 or are we moving in the direction of diminishing returns here?

3) How much is a higher quality iron going to make, relative to other things (more experience, better quality fabric/notions, improved skills, etc.), in the results I get from my sewing?

Thanks for your input!

Should I trust the man in the orange plaid coat?

58 comments:

  1. OMG, I JUST cleaned my "household iron" and if I never have to do that again it'll be too soon. Of course, it got me thinking about the gravity feed iron (cuz I'm tailoring right now) and I do have to say that my iron in interfacing could be adhering better and I don't know if it's the interfacing (I doubt it, it's in good shape) or the iron. It's not so much the price that's keeping me from buying one (though at 100 bucks I want to SNAP it up), it's the space it will take up and the hideousness of the IV unit-esque canister.

    I totally agree that upgrading is a universally good idea when it comes to sewing. I have NEVER regretted it. So I want to read the comments that follow and do some more research.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love my Naomoto. I bought it at least 10 years ago, used, for maybe $100- I honestly don't remember. I did have to have the solenoid replaced once- because my little cabin studio got too cold and the ice inside cracked it. Some other pros you haven't mentioned- it will always be the same weight (not lighter as it runs out of water) the weight of it is iron and holds its heat steady (not plastic with a thin sole-plate). And some cons- it is heavy (bad for people with bad backs) and needs a dedicated space (you won't be packing it away every use) Can you hang one from your ceiling and hang a nice fern above it for disguise? :)
    Happy almost birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love my gravity feed iron. Consew Silver Star, it was a Christmas gift a few years ago, and is amazing. It's heavy, so even without steam, it does a marvelous job. I don't have an IV pole, but stationed my ironing board next to a rolling clothes rack, so the tank is elevated. The steam has always come out in a nice and steady "Pssshhhhhhh", except the time my husband tried to use it unsupervised (don't push the button for steam before it's properly warmed up). My gravity feed iron really has made a huge difference in the final appearance of my sewing projects. Get one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know anything about gravity feed irons, but I just upgraded my iron, and I'm thrilled. My old cheap iron was leaky and only steamed when it felt like it. I spent about $75 on a German made Rowenta, and the steam is amazing and I can iron so much more effectively now. upgrading is worth it when your current tools aren't cutting it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eager to read what others have to say; I've been irritated about my iron for the last 2-3 years and yet haven't done anything about it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree: get it (I think I have the Consew you mentioned) and worry about logistics afterwards. read the instructions and follow them. an iv pole should work. I have a counter-weight strung over a pulley and attached to the vinyl tubing. about 3oz. keeps the tubing out of my way.

    I love it.

    I can't imagine what an extra $300 would get you. why don't you ask him if you can visit his iron.

    BTW I rest the hot pad I got with the iron on a 12" x 12" piece of marble... you might want one of those hospital style over-bed tables, retrofitted with an iv pole or two... then you could set it up, have it ready to hand, and roll it out of the way easily...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had a gravity feed iron for years and years until the rubber tubing disintegrated and the solenoid gave out one last time. Having to hang the bottle of water is a pain for sure and it takes up a lot of space and isn't easily moveable. That being said, I have never gotten a result out of an iron like my Sussman, I'm sure I paid over $200 in the 80's. I would recommend the Naomoto (good resale if you get tired of it). If I get to sew again (more than rarely) I will get a gravity feed iron again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Put the word out to see if you get someone to loan you a gravity feed iron for a trial run. It probably woundn't take very long for you to determine if it is a yay or nay. Can one be rented? It would be a shame to get one as a gift and find you don't like it.

    - Alex in California

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why do I have to read blogs that make me want things that I can't afford right now?? I have a $10 iron that leaks water splotches and barely steams, and everything you're saying about gravity fed irons is making me salivate. But I just shot the wad on a bunch of fabric a few days ago so I'm having a hard time justifying another major purchase so soon. Curses!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't have room for one of those, and I can't imagine that you do either! But I do love my Rowenta. For MY birthday (49 next week) I'm getting a ruffler attachment for my Bernina. Pricey! And I've always wanted one. Happy birthday to you! I look forward to future posts about your gravity feed iron!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mr. King is right on the money regarding pressing! If you can afford a gravity feed and have the space for it - why not??

    I have used a gravity feed, a Rowenta steam station and a Steam Irons.

    I personally LOVE my Rowenta Pro. I think that it produces more than enough steam and has enough weight that I am never exerting extra pressure on it. It also doesn't leak - only if I try to steam something before its hot enough - so that's my bad!


    ReplyDelete
  12. My iron is crap, so this topic has been on my mind for a while. I'm usually a "pay as little as possible" type shopper, but I'm trying to change that attitude when a quality item can be had for a reasonable amount.

    I'd haunt Craigslist, there's always someone moving or going out of business in NYC.

    PS- I would trust anything Mr. King has to say about sewing...or anything else for that matter!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have a Rowenta, and as much as I love it - it's getting time to upgrade (it's starting to leak water, for one, and the auto shut off is really grinding my nerves at this point) so I've been toying with the idea of a gravity iron. I didn't realize you could get them for $100 - that's actually less than the Rowenta cost, dang! If you do end up getting it (and my opinion is yes yes yes!), I'd very interested to hear what you think of it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My generous mother got fed up with the amount of space taken up by her Rowenta steam generator iron (not gravity fed but has a separate water tank with a hose running to the iron). She gave me the steam generator and it has made a huge, huge difference in all of my sewing. I was even using it commercially on draperies for a while. There are better steam generators available, but the step up from a regular steam iron to a domestic generator iron was very significant.

    The funny thing is that my mom realized she really missed the iron and went out and bought another one. Either way, gravity or steam generator, I think it's worth the space and the cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just pressed shirts with my Rowenta steam generator, and it's wonderful at delivering steam for longer periods of time (much fewer refills than a regular iron). Had I known about gravity feeds I would have likely bypassed the steam generator.

      A gravity fed system is the pressing system of choice for those in the know.

      Peter, spoil yourself a little!

      Oh, and always trust a man in orange plaid (it signifies that he's both a gentleman and a renegade).

      Delete
    2. Yep, I have one of these as well - not cheap, but it was my birthday pressie last year. I never thought that I would be that person who received a small appliance for birthday present - but this is a sewing gift, sot hat is different! I use de-mineralised water (very cheap) and the iron is fabulous - I love it and would not change it (well, not yet anyway)

      Go for it I say :)

      Delete
    3. I also have the Rowenta Pro Steam generator after I took a sewing class where the instructor taught us how important good ironing is to your results (as well as having all the right pressing tools--hams, seam roll, wooden clapper...). I've had this one for probably 10 years, still love it. It's also very easy to clean so you can get the sediment out before it is steam expelled onto your good fabric (something someone with hard water is constantly working around).

      I also want to wade in to say that that there is no shame in getting a much wanted appliance as a gift. My husband has bought me both a sewing machine (well.....bought it out of lay-away for me) and a very nice food processor for one Christmas or another and was met with GREAT contempt by his female co-workers who found these to be very inappropriate. I, on the other hand, was thrilled---who cares as long as it was something you really wanted? (or am I as boring as I feared?)

      Delete
  15. I don't own a gravity feed iron, but I acquired a Reliable i300 last year and it made a tremendous difference in my sewing. In fact it was my #1 item for 2012 http://jazz-couture.blogspot.ca/2013_01_01_archive.html; I'll never return to a home iron, never! When you use a professional iron, everything is easier and looks better. Get yourself that iron for your birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'll be contrary and say don't. I haven't used gravity feed so I'll try to stay ignorant of what I'm missing a little longer. But the more I sew, the more I become a pressing skeptic. How vital the ironing is depends on the fabrics you are using. The shape of a piece of wool can actually be transformed by pressing and I think most the pressing advice has been passed down from the days when people were primarily sewing with wool, e.g. the tailors King mentions. I sew very little wool and even when I do, I doubt I'm using patterns that actually incorporate these qualities of the fabric. Cotton on the other hand, looks beautiful when pressed but the fabric is not becoming reshaped so although a better iron might make pressing quicker, I don't believe it will make sewing look better. In fact sometimes, I like the look of my sewing less when it has been pressed. If there is a slight jog in a seam, I don't want it pressed perfectly open so that that becomes apparent, rather I find topstitching and under stitching is an alternative to pressing and when done without pressing can mask some slight sewing errors. It really comes down to what's being sewn. I mostly use cottons and some synthetic blends and quite a bit of knits. I gravitate toward the more casual type of designs which have topstitching and visible construction. E.g. for jeans I use no pressing in construction, except to prep patch pockets, hems and belt loops. I know you're embarking on a suit but unless that's you're new focus I'd say stick with what you've got at least until forced to upgrade. (But I'll be curious to hear your conclusions if you do try one.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I loved using a gravity feed iron when I was in design school but for home use they aren't so practical ESPECIALLY when your living space and your sewing place are in the same room. A gravity feed kind of needs to be set up and left alone.

    It's really the weight of the iron plus instant steam which is the factor. I personally have a steam generator iron. I currently have a shark brand but before that I had a sears brand I think. Both were ~$100 and are what I recommend. Portable, can double as a steamer and the steam to a certain extent is independent to the heat of the sole plate. Sure it needs to be hot enough but it also doesn't mean you need it set to scorch to get good steam. Conversely the steam can be set to off.

    This is the newer model to what I have. Mine is about 8 years old

    http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Euro-Pro-Shark-Steam-Generator-Iron-G6118-Refurbished/1422983/product.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. I started out of school with a Sussman Aqua Gold pump iron. It was wonderful, and at 5 lbs heavy, which is the way to go, because the iron does the work not your body.
    It lasted 22years and I was so sad when it died. I tried to replace it but couldn't find the same model and Sussman didn't own the irons anymore.
    I went with the Naomoto, it is isn't as heavy and has a better footprint. Sharper tip for getting in corners. I am very happy with it, I have had it 3 years now.
    We use the $99 Sapporo or Hi-steam gravity feed irons at school and they don't last more than a year, but still are better than the Rowenta and Oliso irons we've had.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I considered getting a gravity-feed iron for Christmas a couple years ago and my main concern was having to hang it and where I would put it, since my sewing room was a shared space with my husband's set-up for painting his miniature figures. I decided against it and went with the best Rowenta we could afford; so far I'm happy with that. I will say, though, that $100 seems like quite a bargain and I'm a firm believer in snapping up that kind of a bargain, as long as the quality is good.

    Now, however, I'm reconsidering the idea of the gravity-feed iron, particularly since in our new house I have a dedicated sewing space that's all my own. DH has been relegated to painting in his office space. :) Some others have suggested Craig's List -have you checked on ebay to see if you could perhaps find a gently used one?

    I have a similar problem when it comes to getting gifts - I hate telling people what I want because it seems so .... rude, for lack of a better word. Because, really, I don't want people to spend a ton of money on me and, if I need it, I buy it. My MIL does this all the time. If I make a suggestion or two, she'll go out and buy it. If my husband gives her a list of things to choose from, she'll buy everything on the whole list. It takes all the fun out of receiving a gift because I know exactly what I'm getting. If she's not given a list, she just writes me a check. Don't get me wrong - I end up being able to afford a lot of cute shoes that I wouldn't normally spend the $$$ on because I feel like I can't justify that in my personal budget. Still, I'd rather she just went out and shopped for me personally and surprised me with something or just didn't get me a gift. Honestly, what I'd really like is just time to myself. To sew, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would love a gravity feed iron. You might be able to try one out if you inquire with the theater department of a university, that's where I was able to try one (of course I was taking a class in the department).

    For my current, small, home sewing set-up, I've been trying to figure out a hook arrangement to just get the stupid cord of my iron out of the way while I'm pressing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Get one. I have a silver star gravity feed, less than $150.00. I had several Rowenta steam generators (and would still have the first one if the dog hadn't gotten tangled up in the power cord and pulled it to the floor) the newer Rowenta steam generators are not very good, it's not a good iron and not a good steamer. Perhaps if they'd just stuck to it being an iron? My dining room used to be my sewing room and everything had to be put away. it really wasn't such a hassle as you might think. At 5'10" I could get the tank up/down on the hook without a chair. And having it at a convenient height is important when you wan to fill the tank. Check with Amazon or Atlanta Thread for a good price.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Or, you could go completely the other way and get a dry iron and squirt water on the fabric when you wanted some steam. David Coffin recommended this approach in at least one of his books--the one on making pants. One source for a dry iron is http://www.vermontcountrystore.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually have a vintage dry iron I bought on eBay. Think I ever use it?

      Delete
  23. Good pressing can make the difference between cheap-looking homemade garments & haute couture. But it's as much about technique as the tools, so if you're getting good results out of the basic iron without a whole lot of effort, there's no great need to upgrade unless you just feel splurgy. But if it takes a long time or a lot of work to get that beautiful finish, then it may be time for a better iron to do the work for you.

    My basic old iron is (literally) sputtering to its deathbed, so I'm contemplating a radical upgrade. I don't know exactly what to, as money & space are concerns, so I'm watching this thread closely.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 1) Yes I have one and they do everything people claim they do

    2) You get what you pay for,a more expensive iron will have a higher quality solenoid, a higher quality thermostat and the heat shield will be better and it won't be painfully hot to the touch when it's fully heated up. if you buy a $130 gravity feed and the solenoid goes that a $70 repair right there (this happened to me.)

    3) It makes pressing much better because in addition to the copious steam it weighs 5 lbs and the weight alone makes a huge defference.

    Downsides: takes 10 minutes to fully heat up, Huge power hog (1500 watts enough to trip a circuit if you have it on the same one as a hair dryer or a coffee pot), no-auto off switch so if your forget and leave the house it stays on, the water bottles does need to be securely hung from a ceiling beam because it weights 5 lbs (an IV pole will not be strong enough) and they are meant to be set up and ready to use 100% of the time. Also with NYC water you'll need to add de-mineralizer beads to the water.

    But again - if you have the space they're fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually make that 10 lbs for the water bottle - it holds a gallon.

      Delete
    2. Phyllis, you're very persuasive. I'm going to hold off and maybe experiment with a dry iron (which I already own) and a spray bottle. I don't think I have the space -- or the patience -- for the fancier set-up.

      Delete
    3. I think the key thing is that gravity feeds are designed for sample rooms and dry cleaners where they can be set up full time. Not really optimal for NYC apartments. Your vintage dry iron won't produce steam but I bet it's still much heavier than a modern iron and that matters too; if I had one I'd give test drive for sure. Just run up lots of silk organza press cloths so nothing gets scorched. A steamer (also recommended by KK in that photo) might be better choice for you because it can be stored in a closet and Michael will like it too trust me. On those days when the goal is to be presentable and out the door in 10 mins a steamer is much handier and useful than an iron.

      Delete
    4. I agree about the steamer....I use it as much as the iron, and my hubby even more to get the rumples out of stuff he wants to wear quickly.

      Delete
  25. I just looked into these things and it looks like they are really hard to come by in Australia. It seems it would only be commercial places that could buy them because internet searching does not come up with a lot.
    I've got just a home iron I've had for about 8 years. It's Tefal and works just fine still.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have the Consew CES 300 and it makes a huge difference for the ~$100 investment.

    I keep a domestic iron for ironing clothes and for muslins - the gravity feed sucks up electricity like crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I don't have one. I have a rowenta (I think) but I never use the steam function. I prefer a spray bottle or a wet press cloth to a steam iron. For my next iron, I am considering a flat iron with no steam holes. And no, I am not immune to expensive pressing equipment. I have a mangle, which I am grateful for every time I press yardage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A mangle! I didn't know you could buy one nowadays. We had one when I was in highschool. Ironed everything on it - sheets, table cloths and uniform blouses. Every time I'm pressing a yard or two or five I dream of having one.

      Delete
  28. Having lived in Europe for 8 years where one can buy a steam generator iron even in grocery stores I was really disappointed when I returned to the US to find a real lack of affordable irons that could kick out a load of steam. I bought a Black and Decker which was quickly discontinued but ended up with a LauraStar basic model to use without the fancy vacuum ironing board. That was 10 years ago and it has been a dream. It can pump steam across the room and work it's magic on all the bridal gowns I work on. This year I bought a new screw top pressure valve for it for $25 from the dealer as it started to lose pressure and squeal. Now it is like new...how many irons last 10 years, work their ass off, never drip, never sputter, can regulate the temp and flow of steam and only need a new pressure valve? No hanging from dodgy IV hooks, fills with tap water, and cleans up nice with abrasive powder and water.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've been a tailor for almost 10 years now and this is the first time I've ever heard of an gravity feed iron! I must assume it is because I live in post Soviet union country and all awesome things just havent yet (even after 23 years of freedom) reached us.
    I use a very simple home iron for all the things I do. But I use the steam it provides only for light garments such as blouses and dresses.
    I press all the coats I make using a bucket, linien cloth and the iron with it's water tank full but steam off. I damp the cloth in water bucket, squeese the exsess water out and press trough it. The linen soaks up a lot of water and when a hot iron touches it it will of course produce a lot of steam. Linen cloth also protects the garment of getting shiny. I love the outcome and that is what I was teached in school and thats how we didi it at work when I was still working at a salon.
    Now I work in sewing industry and even there we dont have gravity feed irons...the water tank sits on the floor.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Now, why didn't this come up when you were visiting last week? I was lucky enough to inherit KK's Naomoto iron. At least you could have tried it out when you were here. Of course, I am still unsure whether I want to hang it up or use an IV pole. Space is limited for me so hanging from the ceiling would probably be best.

    KK got a new iron which I was lucky to see when I last visited him / picked up the Naomoto. The new iron is lovely but it takes up a bit of space. He wrote a post about on threadsmagazine.com. http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/29586/my-new-iron/page/all

    I was also recently gifted 3 new Rowentas that were used at the most recent Fashion Week. I gave away 2 / kept 1. This new Rowenta is just as good as the previous Rowenta I had but, I suspect the Naomoto will be much better overall. Now, I just need to make up my mind as where / how I want to hang the water bottle.

    Phyllis pretty much summed up the pros & cons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to come over and do your ironing sometime! ;)

      Delete
  31. I have a Rowenta, which I'm not crazy about. I've used gravity feeds at FIT. They are good, but they take up a lot of space and I don't have a sewing room. I think I'd also want a professional ironing station with a vacuum pedal that cools down the fabric.

    They're wonderful to have, but I'm not sure a home sewer needs one.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Peter, you really should get yourself a better iron! Seriously, it will make a way bigger difference in your life than any number of extra sewing machines ;)

    Once again you have brought up an excellent topic for discussion in a thought provoking way. Thanks for being who you are and bringing it to us, as well as bringing us together for the conversation, on the internet.

    In fact, I had such a long response to your post that I just ended up making a post on the subject on my blog.

    I can unreservedly say that I found that moving from a home iron to a Rowenta DG980 made a huge difference in the quality, speed, and pleasurability of my sewing. I went to a high quality, wide ironing board at the same time, which was fantastic.

    I second the opinion of those who say to make an attempt to try out a gravity fed before spending $400 on one; they are quite a lot different to use than a home iron and will take some getting used to.

    Maybe someday I'll be as awesome as Mcvelvetkitten and just use a damp rag and a sad iron heated on the wood burning stove. Until I can man up though, my steam generator iron is discharging its duties with distinction.

    If anyone wants to read yet more opinions on the fascinating subject of irons, you can find my post here:

    http://tooling-up.blogspot.com/2013/04/i-love-my-iron-and-ironing-board.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. Check out www.wawak.com. They took over Atlanta Thread and Supply a few years ago. Or get their printed catalog. They carry all sorts of sewing and tailoring goodies at very reasonable prices. Helpful, friendly customer service as well.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I agree with the pros and cons Phyllis mentions. I have both a vintage dry iron and a gravity feed iron. The gravity feed iron was about $100, it's a Sapporo brand.

    I like both irons but I tend to use the dry iron with a water spray bottle, and a muslin press cloth, because it's a lot more convenient than setting up the gravity feed iron.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I use a regular iron at home and a gravity feed iron at work. I love the gravity feed iron. If I had one, I might actually iron things at home! My vote is to go with the gravity feed one only if you are having problems with your current iron, though. If you didn't think you had a problem until someone tried to make you buy something, you probably don't actually have a problem! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sophie Miriam, I think you hit the nail on the head!

      Delete
  36. Phyllis - I think you've just saved me some money. I had been thinking about one, but based on the space and power needs, I'll stick with my 80's Rowenta and the steam press for now. I'll revisit the decision when/if my sewing output rises.

    Peter - with your karma, since you're thinking about gravity iron, I'm wondering how long before you find a perfectly good one sitting on the curb. If you do get one and an IV pole type setup isn't stable, I'd investigate how to add weight to the bottom of the pole first.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love the idea! Be careful buying through all brands. I just had a bad experience buying a sewing machine case for my vintage morse machine. They did not initially ship it out and when they caught the mistake they refused to upgrade the shipping to get it to me faster. This is after two weeks after ordering it and once it shipped they had no idea where it was.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Peter - I just saw that you are a new mood network blogger. How exciting! Just wanted to send a little congrats - (and jealousy) your way. Can't wait to see all of the cool things you make.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I just got a Namamoto GF iron at Christmas time. If I wasn't already married to an awsome man, I'd seriously marry this iron. I've gotten wonderfully pressed seams on both my garments and my quilting stuff and the steam, oh the steam! Mine is fine on an IV pole and I love the fact that I can put the crystals in the container to prevent mineral issues (I live on a farm with very hard water - rust issues make it bad enough that I can't use my jetted bathtub) I spent about two weeks reading and researching my iron and I will never love anything more for my sewing. I've gone through so many home irons and my only complaint with this one is that I'm going to have to rearrange and fool around with building a more sturdy ironing surface, my 20 year old ironing board thinks it's too heavy and wobbles a bit. But I was planning on a proper pressing surface anyway. The final straw last winter was trying to get a bunch of sewing done and having steam issues and having to wait for my old iron to reheat (8 minutes for auto-shutoff, seriously) I love a heavy iron though and it's getting harder and harder to find one, let alone one without auto-shutoff.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I know this will give me away as a total amateur, but what does an expensive iron do to get all these raves (e.g., " Rowenta DG980 made a huge difference in the quality, speed, and pleasurability of my sewing"; "it [Rowenta] has made a huge, huge difference in all of my sewing)?

    I have a T-Fal that steams like an old fashioned, coal-fired locomotive and definitely gets hot, hot, hot. I press before I cut and as I sew. So, what's the major thing with an industrial iron?

    ReplyDelete
  41. I don't know how well gravity feed irons are, because they are completely unknown here.

    But good pressing equipement IS worth it.

    (I have an Battistella from Italy, they are sold under various brands in Europe and still count as "houshold models". My model has lasted me nearly 10 years now and doesn't exist any longer, but the one that comes closest today might me like that: http://www.battistellag.it/scheda.asp?content=1,4,6,128,PROMETEO,01.html
    Without the sleeve pressing board. I already had one before.

    Whenever it might brake... I will never go back to a normal houshold iron.)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I have the Consew, and I've had it for years. I do like it and I've had no trouble with it but as Phyllis said, it's a space hog and you have to have it set up permanently. It's not something you can take down and put away. I like the amount of steam it produces and the large reservoir. I remember reading in a sewing book, that the author preferred a dry iron and added steam via wet cloth or just where you want to put it. A heavy iron is certainly preferable to the lightweight home iron especially for tailoring.






    \

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have a Silver Star, now Consew 300 and love it. It has been in storage for a few years while we were moving around. I just got it out and set it up. I attached a wood rod to a wooden bookshelf against the wall to suspend the water tank. The tank is near the ceiling but not suspended from it. When not in use the iron sits on a shelf. I set up an ironing board underneath and pull the iron out when needed. It most definitely improves the quality of sewing. I have gone the dry iron and spray bottle route and while it works nicely it just doesn't compare! I have pressed everything from the finest 24 K gold thread sari silk to thick wool. I have a silicon base shoe on the iron too.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I used a professional Rowenta that was a gift in 1993. It is still working to this day. Unfortunately, the new professioanl models of the Rowentas ARE NOT like the one I had in 1993. I bet they won't last 3 years. I finally broke-down and bought a Gravity Feed Iron! OMG, I finally do not have to fill the water tank every 30 minutes or less. The pressing is amazing, the heat is even, and the weight (though is giving my right arm a workout) is enough to press even without high temps. There are a couple of cavets to purchasing a GFI. One, it gets way-hotter than even my old professional Rowenta - two, it took some time to get used to the plastic tubing that is attached to the iron (just be careful not to iron over it) - three, the weight, four, the fast"ness" of pressing, since the heat is higher or seems higher, I had to gauge the setting a bit more. I cannot say anything negative about it. While some may read that the 4 points above could be a negative, I found them to work in my favor, and once I got used to the iron I will never go back to the top-filling irons again. I am currently working in the basement, and the beams act as my height adjustment for 3 feet. I am getting a sturdy IV Pole, which, after measuring, should suffice for the 3 feet minimum height requirement (since when I press the table is at seat-height when I "roll" to press after sewing). I bought my PACIFIC STEAM iron directly from the company. However, I did a Google search and found the same iron for 50 dollars cheaper. I paid 200 + 25 dollars for shipping. I then found it for 159 for free shipping. Really, for $200, I saw the professional Rowenta for $130 at the local bed Bath and Beyond, so what is another 20 or so bucks when you have a very sturdy (albeit a tad heavy), long-time running water supply, and a am hoping a lifetime of use!

    ReplyDelete
  45. As does Virginie, I own a Reliabel i300 steam generator and after many years of home irons, I was blown away. I had read that they are a little less persnickety than the gravity fed. My iron bundled with Reliable's vacuum board and a cart on which to place your iron. You will never want a home iron again.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I have used a GF iron at our local Bernina dealer during a class. OMG. Amazing. But... like Phyllis said, it has a few cons.

    I have owned - in the past - a Rowenta. I hated it with the fire of ten thousand burning suns. It sputtered, spit, and generally was ill-behaved.

    I currently own a Black & Decker vintage repro iron. It's a repro of the iron my mom and dad had back in the 70s and it's MUCH heavier than your typical domestic iron. It does NOT have a teflon sole-plate, either.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/142215300705544468/

    This iron has been dropped (not by me!) three times and although the metal butt is dented, it still steams like crazy, presses like a charm and is generally just a well-behaved appliance. Like ALL appliances should be. I got mine for under $20 on sale at Target and couldn't be happier. It is far superior to my Rowenta that cost almost 4 times as much.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I found this post because my Con-Sew gravity feed is (once again) having fits and this time I can't seem to fix it, so I am trolling the internet looking for solutions. The first time it stopped working correctly was right after it had gone out of warranty and when I wrote to Allbrands about it they told me it is basically a disposable iron and not worth trying to fix.

    When it works correctly, I love it - it is wonderful to have all that steam at the press of a button and it has definitely made a difference in my sewing. That said, I would never buy this particular GF iron again. I would save up (or make birthday requests!)and get a better one that is designed for the long haul.

    FYI, I have my reservoir hooked to a sturdy metal plant hanger. Not the best option, but I was nervous about the stability of an IV pole. When people come over, I can easily move the reservoir and the iron, though I am stuck with the moderately hideous plant holder attached to my wall.

    Happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails