Embroidery, knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving…

A heavy iron…


4x5 originalMany of my sewing accessories are vintage. I use them because of their quality. I often wonder about the history of the items I own. Who used them before? How often did they use them and what was their life like?

Recently, I finally got around to purchasing an “new to me” iron. I like an iron that is heavy. I also favor metal instead of plastic. At times, it seems you have to search long to find an iron with that trait. Take for example the one I have. It’s mainly plastic, and I’ve had it for a few years, but at times it can be unpredictable. Sputtering and spitting steam all over the place when it doesn’t want to cooperate. When it does, it smooths out the wrinkles, but without the added weight that I adore.

Often, I found myself drifting back to the old Proctor Silex steam iron that I used when I was a child. It was my fathers iron before he married mom. He let me have it since I loved it so much and so that iron followed me from elementary school well into my twenties. I only discarded it because one time I forgot to remove the water and when I turned it on, a few weeks later it sprayed out rusty brown water.  I held onto it for quite some time, hoping it would recover, but it never did and so sadly I tossed it aside.

I’ve decided, finally, that it’s high time that I replace my modern iron with an antique heavy iron.

American Beauty Iron

American Beauty Iron – 16 pounds


I immediately went to Ebay, found a reputable seller and purchased this iron.


Sadiron – 20 pounds


Almost a week later, I went back to Ebay and placed a bid on the above sadiron. It weighs 20 pounds and was made in the 1800s. Yesterday, I was thrilled when I received the notification that I’d won!  I should be receiving both later this week. With the sadiron, I’ll be using a new technique (to me) on some of my garment construction. Immediately after using a my dry press iron, I’ll follow with the sadiron.

I first heard about sadirons when I read Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Little House on the Prairie. I was seven and had been handsewing for one year.

“Then Ma took the sadiron out of the wagon and heated it up by the fire. She sprinkled a dress for Mary and a dress for Laura and a little dress for Baby Carrie, and her own sprigged calico. She spread a blanket and a sheet on the wagon seat, and she ironed the dresses.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie


In the above video, Rory Duffy (bespoke tailor) talks about this technique shortly after the one minute mark. I’ve watched his The Making of a Coat video several times and I always seem to glean additional information. Take for example, using a paintbrush to apply water to the cloth. I’d been using a spray bottle. I’ll definitely try the paint brush on some of the garments I’m making and see how it compares to what I’m already doing.



Vintage Electric Irons


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