The Iron Maven

Iron Maven, J420. Best name for an iron ever.

Well, for a steam generator, technically.I’ve been debating a steam generator for over a year, and after finally deciding to buy one I agonized (hey, it’s hundreds of dollars, I agonized!) over whether to go with the Reliable Iron Maven J420 or the Rowenta DG8030. With a difference of only $50 between them I couldn’t use price as a factor, and since they both have their supporters on the sewing boards and are established manufacturers, I went with the one that looks way cooler.

I have a shelf under the ironing board that can hold it, but DH and I decided it would be best to reinforce the shelf first since this unit is heavy. For now I have set it on this (recycled newspaper) hamper that I use for storage in the sewing room, placing it right in front of the ironing board, opposite me. This works well because….

…I have this heatproof ledge on the wide side of my board. Handiest thing. If I didn’t have a ledge I could remove the plate from the unit and leave it on the ironing board:

That’s a nice feature, allowing the iron to rest where you need it when doing close work.

I have used it a few times and am happy so far. I was pressing some bias strips and found myself reflexively pulling my non-ironing hand away from the iron until I realized that unless I press the steam button, this really is a dry iron. By that I mean that with my Rowenta Professional regular iron, I could not use a steam setting and keep my other hand near the tip of the iron without burning my fingers. This is amazingly good. The steam is a burst if the button is pushed, or continual if locked down. Let me tell you, there is steam.

Sauna steam, there-goes-your-hair steam. Now that, of course, is if you are keeping the steam on continually and doing a lot of work, as I did when testing it recently by pressing a large pile of pillowcases.*

It really pushes steam through the fabric, even thick fabrics. I tested it out on a pair of jeans and was surprised at how the other side looked without pressing. The pillowcases were so fast – everything is faster – that I stacked two at a time and it was fine. 

It does take about 7 – 10 minutes to heat, and can be refilled while it’s still hot. In the first few days I worried about my decision and wondered if I should have ordered the Rowenta as well and given them side-by-side tests, then I got a grip on myself and let it go. 
It’s early, but I think this is a good addition to the sewing room. The steam, weight of the iron, ability to hold more water than a portable iron, and genuine difference between dry and steam are all good qualities. I am concerned about leaving it running for hours at a time while sewing, and the instructions do indicate that it should be turned off to cool down after an hour of use. 
 *Yes, sometimes I press the pillowcases and my more expensive sheets. This helps prevent fraying and wear from the creases along the edge that will eventually “crack” the fibers. Since I’m not a pressed-to-perfection person I have to remind myself that this falls under the category of properly taking care of things and just do it.

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