Had iron weirdness happening lately.
Back when I first started to sew, one of the first things I came across on sewing blogs, books, how-to YouTube videos was the need to iron as you sew, the importance of ironing, “marrying the seams”, the one thing that will take your sewing from the home-sewn look to professional…iron it! Really couldn’t see it back then (because yikes!! My first garment makes were…let’s just say there’s a learning curve!…and it took more than a well pressed seam to make my first garments look ok)…but I see it now and without my iron, I might as well not even turn my sewing machine on.
However, back when I first started out, I found myself going thru home irons left, front and center. I went to MegaLoMart for milk, bread, paper towels and an iron. Luckily, I wasn’t spending more than $26 for them but still…adds up. When number umpteenth iron failed, I started researching. What are the sewists I follow on the interwebs using? Surely not the MegaLoMart ones, right?
Sure enough, there are professional irons out there, and they’re not cheap. But when I added up all the $19.99-26.00 ones I had burned thru, I found I probably had a good down payment on one of the good ones. Extrapolating out, I thought I’d be better off investing in a professional model and be money ahead. I have a saying I’ve passed onto the kids “Cry once when you buy it.” And mind you, sewing garments is a skill I was determined, from day one, that I would master, no matter what. As far back as I can remember, I was fascinated with the idea of learning to sew. Like owning an RV for travel, I knew that a sewing machine would be a thing in my life, just something I had to do. That’s why I’m ok with investing serious money. I do have fly-by-night hobbies that I’m unwilling to spend more than a pittance on, so I know the difference.
I chose a Reliable iron. Here’s the one I have *now* and I’ll explain.
It’s a magnificent ironing system. The iron stays on, no auto-off switch, which is great when sewing because instant gratification. This iron is engineered to be turned on and left on all day. I don’t have to wait for it to heat up when I need to quickly press a seam before sewing the next seam. That large water reservoir is the bomb! I don’t have to fill it up with water every hour or so. Downside is, if I’ve been sewing and stop to leave the house there is always that moment of “Oh God! Did I remember to turn it off?” and panic sets in until I turn around, go back to the house to check. I should make a “Is The Iron Switched Off” sign (in RED) and tape it on the wall above the light switchplate so I have to look at it when I leave the sewing room. This is my second system. I started out with their smallest unit but found that I was still having to refill the boiler more than I’d like to. Then the iron started leaking. I took it to my local sewing machine repair shop, the guy said he did not want to take the job because water and electricity…he preferred to not have the liability. I eventually bought another unit, this time going with a bigger boiler. For whatever reason, I kept the iron from the original unit. So, cut to several years of happy ironing with this unit. I mean, I turn it on and it heats up and produces steam and there are no worries. Right up until the day there was a worry. This iron started to leak as well. Press the steam button and water flows.
I went back to the Reliable website, mostly because I really like this iron. The thing works! It works really well and I’m not ready to give it up! Since this is the 2nd time this has happened, of course the Reliable corporation will know about it, I can’t be the only person in the world this has happened to. Then I spotted those 2 magical words….“Lifetime Garuantee”.
Really?!?!?! I didn’t see that with the first unit because I had purchased it thru Amazon, not their corporate website. It could be there on the Amazon site but their site is a very busy site. There’s a lot to look at and may just have missed it.
I called the 1-800# and spoke to the company rep. She said yep, it’s a lifetime garuantee and they will fix anything that goes wrong with them for free except for the thermostat (she thought that was the problem) in the iron itself because that’s considered normal wear and tear (fair enough) but it’s a $40 fix plus T&L. She said it was a shame I didn’t have the original iron, they could have just fixed that one, too. I agreed, it was a shame. And sent my iron off for repair.
Sending mine in for a repair left me without an iron. I had 2 home irons stuck in the back of the closet from a long time ago and figured I could just get by in the meantime. But, no. One leaked like a funnel, I poured water into the top, it ran out as quickly on the bottom. The other one won’t even come on anymore. So…I thought “You know what I need? A backup iron. I’ll never be without an iron again. One goes in for a new thermostat, I’ll break out the backup until it needs a new thermostat.” And ordered the iron without the boiler from Amazon. Because fast shipping and I can’t sew without an iron.
In the meantime, digging thru the back of the sewing room closet I found the original iron! I still have it…for whatever reason!! However, I found it after ordering the backup.
The backup iron came, I connected it to the boiler, all happy-happy like and…pushing the steam button caused the circuit to trip. Not every time, maybe every other time…every 3rd time. So I returned it for a replacement. The replacement came but I suspect it’s a refurbished unit-the packaging wasn’t new, for one thing. It clearly looked like it had been repackaged in a different box and just wrapped in bubble wrap. Also, the owners instruction manual was crinkled and dirty, yes…dirty. Absolutely not the way the previous 3 irons had been shipped to me. But no matter, the minute it was delivered, I plugged it in and tested it out and lo & behold, it worked fine. It heated, produced steam and most importantly, didn’t trip the circuit. So, refurbished or not, I was pleased to keep it. Sadly, I then tried to attach the Reliable Bracket Lift set and found a screw was stripped, before I even touched the thing. I only had it in my house for just a couple of hours when I decided to return that one, too. I mean, c’mon! Just the iron alone (without a boiler unit) is $179! Not chicken feed! For that price, the thing should work to my satisfaction. Plus, I have to live with it for quite a while.
But darkest before the dawn, right? My repaired iron showed up yesterday (the day after the stripped screw iron was received and returned). I connected it…let it heat up…pressed the steam button (no tripped circuit)…after multiple tests…still no tripped circuits…so far, so good! Now, I’m thinking about sending in my original iron for repairs and there’s my backup right there! Next month or so, though. I’m…kinda done with iron issues for the moment, quite frankly.
Or so I thought.
One of my guilty pleasures is window shopping on eBay, don’t judge me. And there for $19.95 was a Reliable Maven iron. This is a discontinued item from Reliable, still highly rated across the board. Reliable replaced this unit with a newer system that allows the iron to detach from the boiler unit and be used alone. Nice. I’m more than fine with this one, because as much like I can’t use a sewing machine without an iron, I can’t use an iron without steam. I’m unclear on whether or not the new system iron has a smaller onboard water reservoir. Knowing Reliable products, it more than likely does.
I thought “$19.95? Heck yeah!” but never believed I’d win the bidding at that price. I’ve seen this iron for sale on the interwebs anywhere from $270 to $499. No way it would sell for $19.95! Well, it did. This is advertised as new, still in the unopened box. Why I bid on it, I don’t know. I guess it’s all the iron weirdness going on. I’m happy I got it but still, I just sorted my iron needs and even have a backup iron plan in the works. (The difference between this one and the unit I use every day is this is a home ironing station, the one in my sewing room is a professional model.)
But I woke up this morning and my first thought was “This is the iron I’ll take with me when I go to my daughter’s for the sew-a-thon for the kids.” So there. There was a reason for throwing $19.95 at it after all! It says “UltraLight” right there on the box. So..perhaps it’ll be my traveling iron?
The Iron Weirdness story is an all’s well that ends well and it ended with a score.